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FRA, DOT Publish Cost-Saving Revisions to Implementation of Positive Train Control Regulations

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Department of Transportation published a final rule revising the requirements for implementing Positive Train Control (PTC) systems on the country’s railroad network.  The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA) mandates that PTC, a system of integrated safety-related railroad technologies, be installed across much of the country, including on lines where intercity passenger rail and commuter service is regularly operated or where poisonous by inhalation hazardous (PIH) materials are transported.  Under the final rule, railroads will no longer be required to conduct risk analyses to obtain FRA approval for exemption from PTC requirements on track that will not serve passenger trains and will not be used to transport PIC materials as of December 31, 2015.  Instead, railroads may utilize less costly safety measures on these lines, where appropriate.  Prepared statements from U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood and FRA Administrator Joseph C. Szabo noted the significant cost savings to railroads expected as a result of the changes while also emphasizing that improvements to national railroad safety mandated by RSIA, including PTC, will continue to move forward.