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SEPTA Holds Positive Train Control and Briefing and Tour for Elected Officials

Kristin Geiger and David Gaines
SEPTA Media Relations

With the deadline requiring may freight railroads and all intercity and commuter rail systems to install Positive Train Control (PTC) only six months away, SEPTA is positioned to successfully implement PTC in compliance with the law, barring any unforeseen technical challenges or concerns that arise during testing. On July 1, SEPTA invited U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr., U.S. Representative Chaka Fattah, U.S. Representative Pat Meehan U.S. Representative Ryan Costello, media and other officials to its Frazer Maintenance Facility for a demonstration and update on the Authority's Positive Train Control implementation progress.

Those who participated in the tour were able to see on-board and track-side communication equipment. SEPTA officials also showcased the technology in action as a train car traveled along a working test track.

"PTC is a complex undertaking that involves our control center, wayside signals, communications and our vehicles are equipped with multiple devices including an on-board computer which really takes this to the next level," SEPTA Deputy General Manager Jeff Knueppel said. "We have 290 vehicles to equip with PTC devices and we're 43 percent complete."

PTC is the next generation of signal safety equipment designed to reduce the chance of human error and automatically prevent train-to-train collisions and over speed derailments.

"I want to thank the whole SEPTA Team for this demonstration and tour," Senator Casey said. "There is nothing like seeing this up close. I think we all have a better understanding of what Positive Train Control means and we have a better sense of some of the challenges in making sure it's implemented."

In 2008, Congress passed the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (PL 110-432), which mandated that all passenger and freight railroads in the United States install Positive Train Control by December 31, 2015. SEPTA is recognized as one of the few systems across the nation poised to meet the deadline.

During the demonstration and tour at SEPTA's Frazer Maintenance Facility, a diagram of the Authority's PTC test track was displayed.

SEPTA Deputy General Manager, Jeffrey Knueppel (right) explains the role of a receiver coil in Positive Train Control technology to Congressman Ryan Costello (left), Senator Bob Casey, Congressman Pat Meehan and Congressman Chaka Fattah at the Authority's Frazer Maintenance Facility.

SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey (Left) discusses Positive Train Control with Congressman Pat Meehan, Senator Bob Basey and Congressman Chaka Fattah.