Railroad Industry Leaders Agree On Establishing Positive Train Control Interoperability Standards
Omaha, Neb., Fort Worth, Texas, and Norfolk, Va., October 08, 2008 Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE: UNP), Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation (NYSE: BNI) and Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) today announced that they have reached an agreement on establishing interoperability standards for Positive Train Control (PTC), a critical component to safely implementing PTC technology across all rail systems.
PTC is a predictive collision avoidance technology that can stop a train before an accident occurs. PTC is designed to keep a train within authorized limits on a track and under its maximum speed limit. To accomplish this, sophisticated technology and braking algorithms will automatically bring PTC-equipped passenger and heavy freight trains to a safe stop. This will help prevent train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments and casualties or injuries to the public and railway workers.
"Our joint development of interoperable standards for a PTC system with NS and BNSF is a significant hurdle that we have overcome and brings us much closer to a safe technology solution. Interoperability is one of our key challenges since freight and passenger trains share tracks and must be able to exchange and use information in order for PTC to function appropriately," said Dennis Duffy, Union Pacific executive vice president-Operations. "We look forward to working with elected officials and regulators on another key challenge – the need for additional radio spectrum – so that we have sufficient communication, especially in metro areas such as Los Angeles and Chicago."
"The development and testing of positive train control systems has made great progress in the past decade," said Carl Ice, BNSF Railway's executive vice president and chief operations officer. "The railroad industry is committed to continuously improving safety by developing and implementing proven, effective technologies that can operate across multiple railroads and rail lines, and this agreement is essential to that process."
"PTC has been a focus for NS and the industry for many years. While we have worked diligently to address the technical challenges of developing a deployable system, interoperability among railroads has remained a challenge. This agreement has put us on a fast track to realizing the benefits of PTC," said Stephen Tobias, NS vice chairman and chief operating officer.
Passed October 1, 2008, The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 requires all Class I railroads and passenger railroads to implement a PTC system by December 31, 2015 on all main line track where intercity passenger railroads and commuter railroads operate, as well as on lines carrying toxic-by-inhalation hazardous materials. Train signal systems such as Automatic Train Control (ATC) and Automatic Train Stop (ATS) are used across many rail networks today, but these are not PTC systems. ATC and ATS are reactive systems, which means they wait for train engineers to acknowledge alarms and would not prevent collisions under all circumstances. PTC involves robust, predictive technology that detects upcoming conditions and takes control of the train when needed.
PTC's sophisticated computer systems, with safety-critical software, use GPS for determining train location. The requirements for data accuracy, availability and communications have been developing for more than a decade, requiring hundreds of millions in funding from the railroads, the government and suppliers.
About Union Pacific
Union Pacific Corporation owns one of America's leading transportation companies. Its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad, links 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country and serves the fastest-growing U.S. population centers. Union Pacific's diversified business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Energy, Industrial Products and Intermodal. The railroad offers competitive long-haul routes from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways. Union Pacific connects with Canada's rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major gateways to Mexico, making it North America's premier rail franchise.
About Burlington Northern Santa Fe
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation's subsidiary BNSF Railway Company operates one of the largest North American rail networks, with about 32,000 route miles in 28 states and two Canadian provinces. BNSF is among the world's top transporters of intermodal traffic, moves more grain than any other American railroad, carries the components of many of the products we depend on daily, and hauls enough low-sulfur coal to generate about ten percent of the electricity produced in the United States. BNSF is an industry leader in Web-enabling a variety of customer transactions at www.bnsf.com.
About Norfolk Southern
Norfolk Southern Corporation is one of the nation's premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway subsidiary operates approximately 21,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serving every major container port in the eastern United States and providing superior connections to western rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is North America's largest rail carrier of metals and automotive products.
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