Afternoon Coffee: PTC Safety Requirements Posing Problems for Railroad Companies, Some Seek Deadline Extension

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As the deadline to adopt positive train control, or “PTC” measures, approaches, some railroad companies have started seriously considering having to suspend service as they are not likely to meet the federal safety obligations by Dec. 31. And, a member of the US Surface Transportation Board said railroad companies do not necessarily have to honor requests for service from shippers to transport hazardous material if the PTC is not installed by the new year.

BNSF Railway Co., is asking Congress to extend the Dec. 31 deadline to installing the new safety measures on trains. Major railroads like BNSF said they are still “years away” from fully implementing the PTC safety system.

The Association of American Railroads called the Dec. 31 deadline “arbitrary, unworkable and unrealistic,” and said a deadline of December 2018 would be more realistic for railroad companies to meet.

Another problem posed to some railroad companies is lower shipments. For Union Pacific, the slump in activity has resulted in a total of 2,300 temporary layoffs of workers in recent months.  

 

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