Information published on 26 January 2010 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 169.

U.S Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood Announces Historic new safety standards for freight and passenger trains

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Administrator Joseph Szabo announced on 12 January historic safety regulations requiring that Positive Train Control (PTC) technology be installed on the nation’s major rail lines as well as commuter and intercity passenger rail routes. PTC is an integrated set of technologies that will help avert train-to-train collisions, derailments caused by excessive speed, accidents caused by human error or misaligned switches, and harm to roadway workers.

“Safety is our highest priority, and we believe the installation of this equipment will make our nation’s railroads safer,” said Secretary LaHood.

PTC sends and receives a continuous stream of data transmitted by wireless signals about the location, speed, and direction of trains. PTC systems utilize advanced technologies including digital radio links, global positioning systems and wayside computer control systems that aid dispatchers and train crews in safely managing train movements.

“We believe this final rule, as mandated by Congress, is a giant step forward toward ensuring the safety and reliability of our freight, commuter and intercity passenger rail routes,” said FRA Administrator Szabo.

The final rule will also allow railroads to immediately begin finalizing their PTC Implementation Plans, which are required by statute to be submitted to FRA by April 16, 2010.

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