New York – The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has certified that PATH’s system-wide signal upgrade has met the federal regulatory requirements for Positive Train Control (PTC), achieving formal completion ahead of the FRA’s December 31 deadline and providing vital safety enhancements to the railway.
PATH is the first railroad system in the region and one of the first in the country to meet the PTC requirements by the federal deadline.
FRA certification follows extensive testing and review by the federal oversight agency and affirms PATH and compliance by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey with all technical and operational elements of the PTC mandate. The new technology provides automatic emergency braking capabilities on each line to prevent accidents such as train-to-train collisions and derailments caused by excessive speed. It was mandated for all U.S. rail systems after a deadly Amtrak crash in California in 2008.
This year, PATH scheduled weekend station and service outages between early June and the end of October to complete the process of installing and testing equipment and software. The new PTC-mandated signal system is now operational on all PATH lines.
“The Port Authority and PATH have worked diligently to ensure that we continue to provide exceptional safety and security for all of our customers,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “What this will mean in the long term is a safer passenger experience for PATH riders that meets the most rigorous federal safety standards.”
PTC is one component of Communication Based Train Control (CBTC), a more comprehensive signal system currently being installed to replace a fixed-block system that limits the movement of trains from one section to the next. CBTC calculates and communicates a train’s exact position, speed, travel direction and safe braking distance.
As installation of this comprehensive new signal system continues, regular software updates and patches required by the new technology will enable PATH to continue to fine-tune the new system.
When completed, trains will be able to run more frequently and closer together, a key component in plans to increase rush-hour service on PATH and reduce car and platform congestion.
Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency’s network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where the 1,776-foot-tall One World Trade Center is now the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the State of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency raises the necessary funds for the improvement, construction or acquisition of its facilities primarily on its own credit.