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SEPTA Demonstrates PTC, Conducts Tour for Elected Officials

Media Relations
Southeastern Pennsylvania ­Transportation Authority (SEPTA)

With the deadline requiring intercity, commuter and freight rail systems to install PTC less than six months away, SEPTA is positioned to successfully implement PTC in compliance with the law, barring any unforeseen technical challenges or concerns that arise during testing.

On July 1, SEPTA invited Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-PA), Reps. Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Pat Meehan (R-PA) and Ryan Costello (R-PA), media and other officials to its Frazer Maintenance Facility for a demonstration and update on its PTC implementation progress.

Tour participants were able to see on-board and trackside communication equipment. SEPTA officials also showcased the technology in action as a train car traveled along a working test track.

“PTC is a complex undertaking that involves our control center, wayside signals, communications, and our vehicles are equipped with multiple devices including an ­on-board computer, which really takes this to the next level,” said SEPTA Deputy General Manager Jeff Knueppel. “We have 290 vehicles to equip with PTC devices and we’re 43 percent complete.”
PTC is the next generation of signal safety equipment, designed to reduce the chance of human error and automatically prevent train-to-train collisions and over speed derailments.

“I want to thank the whole SEPTA team for this demo and tour,” Casey said. “There is nothing like seeing this up close. I think we all have a better understanding of what Positive Train Control means and we have a better sense of some of the challenges in making sure it’s implemented.”

In 2008, Congress passed the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (PL 110-432), which mandated that all U.S. passenger and freight railroads install PTC by Dec. 31, 2015. SEPTA is one of the few systems across the nation poised to meet the deadline.


SEPTA Deputy General Manager Jeffrey Knueppel, left, shows the placement of a scanner antenna on a Silverliner IV train car to Reps. Pat Meehan, center, and Chaka Fattah, Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. and Rep. Ryan Costello. SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey also participated in the event.

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