Questions, Confusions, and Clarifications About PTC

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  • Member since
    March, 2018
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Questions, Confusions, and Clarifications About PTC
Posted by Trainzguy2472 on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 6:38 PM

Hello,

Ever since congress announced the new PTC mandate, I've been a little confused about what will need to change.  It seems like the news reporters don't really know what's going on, as I've heard different things from various news sources.

Will PTC need to be installed on all passenger lines?  If so, what will happen to tourist lines?  I thought it was only Amtrak and commuter lines, but wasn't sure.

Do all freight railroads need to have PTC or is it only the Class 1s?  What about branch lines that Class 1s own?  Does every single stretch of Class 1 railroad track need PTC?  That would seem a little ridiculous.

Also, how will the installation of PTC on locomotives work?  Lots of railroads own locomotives built in the 60s or earlier.  Will all locomotives be required to have PTC permanently installed, or would it be possible to have some sort of compact kit that could simply be plugged in to a locomotive when needed?  Having a PTC kit would be useful because it could be shared by multiple locomotives, which would reduce the cost.  It could also be used on excursion trains pulled by older historic diesels.

Lastly, are mainline excursion locomotives required to be PTC-equipped?  If so, than this PTC kit idea might actually be worth it!  A few museums or private owners could share this thing and borrow it whenever needed.  How much does PTC cost per locomotive, anyways?

Thanks,

Matthew

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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 8:00 PM

Here is a good place to start:

https://www.fra.dot.gov/ptc

 

  • Member since
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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 8:20 PM

Regarding tourist lines, my understanding is that if the line is not an active part of the national rail network (interchange?) then they do not come under this FRA directive.  However, and excursion onto a PTC mandated line would apparently have to have PTC ability.  Some mainline steam engine groups are trying to raise the funds to get their locos equiped.

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Posted by oltmannd on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 7:19 AM

Trainzguy2472
Will PTC need to be installed on all passenger lines? 

No.  Only those with significant other traffic.  Part of the California Zephyr route in in eastern Utah will not have PTC, neither will the Vermonter and Ethan Allen on part of their routes.

Trainzguy2472
Do all freight railroads need to have PTC or is it only the Class 1s?  What about branch lines that Class 1s own?  Does every single stretch of Class 1 railroad track need PTC?  That would seem a little ridiculous.

Only routes carry toxic and poisonous inhalation hazardous material and/or passenger trains need to have PTC.  Routes with just a tiny amout of TIH/PIH traffic can be excluded.

Trainzguy2472
Also, how will the installation of PTC on locomotives work?  Lots of railroads own locomotives built in the 60s or earlier.  Will all locomotives be required to have PTC permanently installed, or would it be possible to have some sort of compact kit that could simply be plugged in to a locomotive when needed?  Having a PTC kit would be useful because it could be shared by multiple locomotives, which would reduce the cost.  It could also be used on excursion trains pulled by older historic diesels.

You can install PTC on any locomotive.  You need the antenna array, onboard PTC computer, PTC display, speed signal and airbrake interface.  I don't think it would be possible to have a simple, complete kit, but you probably could share the computer and maybe the displays if you were clever on how you mounted the equipment.

Finally, the rule allow some trains not equipped with PTC to operate on PTC territory provided they conform to certain restrictions, I think on size and speed.  For example, you could run a transfer job between two yards in a city without PTC.

Mainline excursion trains will have to have PTC, however.  261 and 765 just were awarded some money to help with the installation.  

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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