Keep train safety system on deadline

June 22, 2015

Mass transit car_FotorWhen a passenger boards a Metro-North train, there is every expectation to arrive at the destination safely.

Yet Congress is considering easing a year-end deadline for railroads to install a technology — called Positive Train Control — that will prevent accidents like those due to speed on curves. Some of the nation’s railroads, including Metro-North, say they cannot meet the Dec. 31 deadline, which was mandated in 2008 after a California crash killed 25.

A Federal Railroad Administration safety officer testified before a Congress last week that 71 percent of rail commuter lines in the country will not make the deadline. Positive Train Control, which automatically slows down or stops a train, can prevent four types of accidents: a train-to-train collision on the same track, a switch improperly aligned or a bridge not in the right position, as well as excessive speed on a curve. 

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