Metrolink will launch Positive Train Control life-saving rail safety technology along the commuter railroad’s San Bernardino Line between Los Angeles and San Bernardino

LOS ANGELES, 2015-3-2 — /Travel PR News/ — On Monday, Metrolink will reach another critical milestone by launching the life-saving rail safety technology known as Positive Train Control (PTC) in revenue service demonstration (RSD) along the commuter railroad’s San Bernardino Line between the cities of Los Angeles and San Bernardino. With this latest accomplishment, Metrolink remains on track to become the nation’s first passenger rail system to have a fully implemented, interoperable PTC system in place.

Functional field testing of the integrated PTC system along the San Bernardino Line began in July 2014. More than 150 unique test cases were performed on the subdivision in addition to extensive end-to-end functional testing. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) formally approved the commencement of RSD on the San Bernardino Line in mid-February.

“This is a huge step toward fully implementing an interoperable safety initiative that will keep millions of lives safe,” said Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson, who is the chair of the Metrolink Board of Directors. “We fully understand the challenges of implementing PTC and continue to work with our rail partners to make certain every inch of the Metrolink service area is covered. We remain on track to have our entire system fully operable with PTC well before the December 2015 federal deadline.”

The San Bernardino Line traverses the cities of Los Angeles, Alhambra, Rosemead, El Monte, San Dimas, Baldwin Park, Covina, Pomona, Claremont, Montclair, Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Rialto, and San Bernardino along with unincorporated areas of Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.

Metrolink first launched PTC in revenue service demonstration under the authority of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad in February 2014. That set of tracks includes portions of Metrolink’s Orange County Line, the 91 Line, along with the agency’s Inland Empire-Orange County Line.

The agency recently completed end-to-end testing on the Ventura County Line and just initiated similar testing on the Antelope Valley Line, which are the next two lines expected to go into RSD. Testing and RSD will then take place on the Orange County Line this spring.

Metrolink intends on having RSD across all track dispatched by the agency by late summer of 2015. Despite monumental challenges, Metrolink is scheduled to meet the federally mandated December 31, 2015 PTC implementation deadline set by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA).

PTC involves a complex GPS-based technology capable of preventing train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, unauthorized incursion into work zones and train movement through switches left in the wrong position. PTC monitors and, if necessary, controls train movement in the event of human error. PTC may also bring trains to a safe stop in the event of a natural disaster.

The National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) has consistently included PTC in its lists of most wanted safety technologies for more than 40 years. According to the NTSB, PTC is one of the greatest rail safety innovations during the last 200 years.  Unfortunately, more than 600 PTC-preventable incidents occur annually.

The FRA has authorized Metrolink to operate PTC RSD using Wabtec’s Interoperable Electronic Train Management System (I-ETMS) ®. Wabtec’s I-ETMS® PTC System was selected by the four Class One freight railroads and by Amtrak outside of the northeast corridor as well other commuter railroads including Metra and Coaster.

Parsons Transportation Group, Inc., a business unit of Parsons Corporation, is the primary contractor managing Metrolink’s PTC program.

Metrolink also operates on track owned and dispatched by the Union Pacific Railroad (UP) and the North County Transportation District (NCTD) in San Diego County. Metrolink, BNSF, UP and NCTD, along with Amtrak trains, will all have to install and implement an interoperable system for PTC to be complete in the region.

The estimated cost for developing, installing and deploying PTC on the Metrolink system is expected to be $216.3 million, using a combination of federal, state and local funding sources. Investments were also made to upgrade and expand the existing communication network, which is necessary for PTC and other modern railroad operations.

Metrolink’s PTC program is an extraordinarily complex undertaking that requires developing, installing, integrating, testing and commissioning an array of advanced systems and components. Aspects of the program include: deploying a back-office server (BOS) system and new PTC-compatible computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system, installing on-board PTC equipment on 57 cab cars and 52 locomotives, installing signal communication devices at 168 wayside locations, and implementing a six-county specialized communication network to link the wayside signals, trains and a new 24,000 square foot security-enhanced building to house the command and control equipment and personnel to dispatch the railroad at all times.

The Metrolink Dispatch and Operations Center (DOC) in Pomona is the dispatching hub for Metrolink train service, including other passenger and freight carriers which traverse the Metrolink territory, making it one of the nation’s busiest and most complex rail networks. The existing control center will remain as a redundant site and PTC test lab.

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Metrolink is Southern California’s regional commuter rail service in its 23rd year of operation. The Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA), a joint powers authority made up of an 11-member board representing the transportation commissions of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, governs the service. Metrolink operates over seven routes through a six-county, 512 route-mile network, which includes a portion of northern San Diego County. Metrolink is the third largest commuter rail agency in the United States based on directional route miles and the eighth largest based on annual ridership.

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