For Full Story: Spectrum News 13

Article By: Curtis McCloud



Only four out of 41 railway systems in the United States successfully met an important January 1 deadline to have computer technology installed to prevent train accidents.

At least three of those railway systems pass through Central Florida, including SunRail.

– SunRail, Amtrak, CSX applied for extensions to complete PTC

– PTC (Positive Train Control) helps with train safety

– PTC expected to be completed for SunRail corridor by end of 2019

According to officials with the Florida Department of Transportation, 13 miles of the 61-mile SunRail Corridor has Positive Train Control, or PTC, installed.

While an extension has been granted, frequent riders say they are looking forward to the extra safety measure.

“Safety is important, especially being a rider. That’s the number one thing you want to know — that the transportation is safe,” said Felichia Ellison, a frequent SunRail rider.

Steve Olson with FDOT says Positive Train Control uses computer technology to prevent trains from going too fast, collisions, and derailments, like the 2015 Amtrak derailment that happened in Philadelphia, killing eight people and injuring more than 200.

Still, Olsen says there are some limitations to PTC.

“It’s not going to prevent, let’s say, if someone has their car on the railroad tracks at a crossing, you know, the train from seeing that and stopping. The engineer is going to have to stop that train in the nick of time,” Olson said.

While extensions for some rail systems have been granted for as far out as 2020, SunRail hopes to have PTC completed for the entire 61-mile stretch by the end of 2019.