Practical Positive Train Control in the Northeast Corridor and in an Emerging Corridors

The purpose of this paper is to review some practical principles emerging from Amtrak’s successful development of new train control systems over the past fifteen years. The paper will note the importance of keeping the functionality as simple as possible, the advantage of modular architecture utilizing well-proven technologies when available, and the importance of early involvement of all disciplines affected by the new system to ensure timely acceptance for revenue service. Amtrak’s experience has come out of the search for enhanced safety while reducing passenger trip times in the Northeast Corridor and in the emerging corridors. In the Northeast Corridor, the Acela Express required full Positive Train Control (PTC) to raise speeds from 110 and 125 MPH to 150 MPH in December 2000. This system is now in operation on 430 track miles of the Northeast Corridor. In the “emerging” Chicago-Detroit Corridor, a 45-mile “new start” PTC system has achieved sufficient maturity to support revenue service speed increases from 79 MPH to 95 MPH, with the design speed of 110 MPH expected in 2007. This system will also be extended another 20 miles in 2007. The paper will walk through the development of these two vital failsafe train control systems. Both systems meet the basic requirements of PTC as defined by the Federal Railroad Administration. These systems, though different technologies in different service environments, have some common elements worth reviewing.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Pagination: 7p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 86th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers CD-ROM

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01045987
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 07-2798
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Feb 8 2007 7:29PM