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Article by: Julie Gargotta

ORLANDO, Fla. — Technology that reduces the likelihood of crashes and regulates train speed will soon be on one Central Florida railway.

  • SunRail to install positive train control (PTC) to entire line
  • Will train employees, run 15-mile test line by end of 2018
  • Tech costs around $62.8 million, $1.8 million covered by federal grant

Even as they add four new stops, extending their service into Osceola County, SunRail is in the process of installing positive train control along their entire rail line.

“For the average person riding the train, they’re probably not aware of it. But it is something that will keep them safe,” said Steve Olson, SunRail spokesperson.

So far, SunRail said that they’ve acquired the spectrum and are installing hardware. They’ll be training employees and running a 15-mile test line between the Longwood and Debary stations by the end of the year.

“We have safety mechanisms in place on SunRail trains, but positive train control offers that other layer,” Olson said.

“I hate I-4,” said Mary Strates, who takes the rail service from her home in Deltona to Longwood every two weeks for a doctor’s appointment, located about three blocks away from the station.

“You can just relax and get there faster than if you were driving, actually,” she said.

While Strates didn’t know about PTC before, she now feels strongly that it’s a good addition.

“I think they should. It really needs to be done as far as I’m concerned,” she said.

PTC was installed before a deadly Amtrak crash in Washington State in December, but reportedly not operating at the time.

It’s also a must for Brightline, as they build their Miami to Orlando rail service.

SunRail needs to comply with the congressional mandate for the technology by 2020.

The technology costs around $62.8 million dollars, $1.8 million of which is covered by a federal grant, according to Olson.