Two-thirds of U.S. commuter railroads may not meet crash technology deadline

Reuters – As many as two-thirds of the 29 U.S. commuter railroads may not meet a deadline to install an anti-crash technology by the end of the year, according to a report by a government watchdog seen by Reuters.

The report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office is expected to be released on Thursday at a U.S. Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the technology known as positive train control (PTC).

It follows a number of recent train accidents that the National Transportation Safety Board has said could have been prevented with positive train control, including deadly crashes in South Carolina and Washington State.

In 2008, Congress required that PTC be implemented across the country by the end of 2015. It then extended the deadline to the end of 2018. The government can stretch the deadline to 2020 to complete some aspects of the system if railroads have met certain requirements.

The technology automatically stops a train to prevent a derailment or crash but it is in operation on only 45 percent of tracks owned by freight railroads and 24 percent of tracks owned by passenger railways.

Read more at Reuters.

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Investigators standing next to a crashed train