US officials say key rail safety technology 90% complete

July 31, 2019 - 4:23 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal railway officials say the railroad industry has installed safety technology on nearly 90% of tracks where it is required, but "significant work" is needed to ensure the technology is completely installed by a December 2020 deadline.

Federal Railroad Administration chief Ronald Batury says technology known as positive train control, or PTC, is in operation on more than 50,000 route miles (80,000 kilometers) of the nearly 58,000 route miles (93,000 kilometers) where it is required. The technology is intended to prevent deadly crashes by automatically stopping or slowing a train before a collision or derailment.

Congress required in 2008 that railroads adopt PTC and gave them seven years to do the job. When it became clear that wasn't enough, Congress extended the deadline through 2018 and again through 2020. No more extensions are expected.

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