The North County Transit District (NCTD) Coaster Line is of only ten railroads in the nation to receive conditional approval from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for Positive Train Control (PTC) integration.
Oceanside, CA—The North County Transit District (NCTD) will soon achieve their PTC goals thanks to the implementation of Herzog’s on-board, wayside, and back office system infrastructure. By integrating all of these components into one system, NCTD will improve rail safety and increase operational efficiency along the corridor. Since 2012, Herzog has been working to implement PTC on the San Diego Subdivision bringing the NCTD into FRA compliance for PTC. The line reached Extended Revenue Service Demonstration in late 2017 and has since been awaiting FRA-approval of the NCTD PTC Safety Plan. Now that the railroad has been granted conditional approval, trains that operate on NCTD-owned rail (including Metrolink, BNSF, Amtrak, and Pacific Sun) can begin interoperability testing with their own PTC system. NCTD is on track to complete full implementation by the December deadline.
PTC is an advanced system technology designed to prevent dangerous train-to-train collisions and over-speed derailments. This complex system also keeps trains from entering unauthorized work zones or rolling through tracks with misaligned track switches. After a crash in Southern California in 2008 between a commuter train and a freight train, Congress mandated the nationwide implementation of the PTC communications system on railroads by December 2015. However, due to the complexity of the United States rail network, implementing PTC technology has proven difficult. To avoid a partial railway shutdown, Congress extended its deadline to December 31, 2018. The most recent FRA data for the second quarter of 2018 indicates that only 24% of passenger route miles and 66% of freight lines are in PTC operation.