Rail Safety Suffers a Blow

On October 20, 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill giving railroads 3 more years to install Positive Train Control (PTC) technology across 60,000 miles of the nation’s rail system. This technology, which automatically slows down trains, prevents train crashes caused by excessive speed.

    The PTC technology was supposed to be installed within 7 years following a 2008 train crash in California that killed 25 people. It is widely believed that the PTC technology would have prevented the Philadelphia Amtrak crash in May, 2015 that killed 8 people. 

    According to the rail industry, 3 more years will be required to install the technology and they threatened to close down the railroad system unless they received an extension. The Congress caved in to this threat and to the pressure of rail passengers in the Northeast and those industries that depend on rail service.