Senators Durbin, Duckworth Press Canadian National Railway for Update on Implementation of Train Control Safety Technology

Durbin and Duckworth
Illinois’ U.S. Senators Durbin and Duckworth (Source: Chicago Tonight – WTTW)


By: Rosemary Piser

Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) pressed for an update yesterday on Canadian National (CN) Railway’s current progress on implementing positive train control (PTC) safety technology in Illinois as well as an update on what efforts CN is making to improve Amtrak’s on-time performance in the state. The Senators request follows reports that CN Railway may not meet the statutory deadline to implement the PTC safety technology, which could force Amtrak to shut down CN’s tracks.

Shutting down Amtrak service on CN’s tracks would be devastating for passenger rail in Illinois because Amtrak relies on CN’s tracks for three of the eleven Amtrak routes that cross Illinois.  PTC is a federally mandated computerized system that prevents derailments and other accidents caused by excessive speed and increases safety for rail passengers and workers.

Senators Durbin and Duckworth wrote in a letter to CN’s Interim CEO, Jean-Jacques Ruest, “Aside from interfering with Amtrak’s service, any further delay in PTC implementation prevents railroads from assuring the highest level of safety for travelers and rail workers. Failure to meet the statutory conditions for a PTC extension is simply unacceptable, and we urge you to do all that you can to ensure CN meets the statutory requirements and prevents any loss in Amtrak service.”

PTC safety technology integrates GPS, communications units, and a railroad’s centralized dispatching system. Together, these components track trains, convey operating instructions, and monitor the crew’s compliance.  PTC will automatically stop a train if the system detects that a violation is about to occur.

Full text of the letter is available here

Source: www.durbin.senate.gov

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