By Alan Kandel
In 1976, the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act passed, as did the Staggers Act of 1980, effectively granting a stay of execution to American railroading. These two pieces of legislation are what enabled railroading in this country to ascend to where it is today, enjoying a near-resounding success – particularly mainline freight railroading.
Despite this achievement and acclaim, one aspect of railroading has recently been prompting intense debate: the nationwide deployment of Positive Train Control, or PTC, to aid in the prevention primarily of train-to-train collisions and overspeed derailments.
The debate centers on a proposed delay to install PTC nationally on approximately 70,000 to 80,000 miles of railroad track. Instead of full implementation occurring by the current federally mandated deadline of December 31, 2015, a five-year extension is being sought whereby full implementation wouldn’t be required until year-end 2020.