PATH on track to finish positive train control installation by 2018 deadline

The general manager of the PATH says the Port Authority is expected to complete the installation of the positive train control safety system by the 2018 federal deadline.

PATH general manager Mike Marino says that the PATH is actually ahead of schedule on the project.

The deadly New Jersey Transit crash in Hoboken and the recent derailment of an LIRR train in Brooklyn has highlighted the importance of the PTC system. Both incidents occurred when trains were traveling faster than the speed limit.

PTC is expected to reduce the risks of these types of incidents by sharing the burden of control with the engineer of the train.

"He or she still has control of the train but if they make a mistake and they go through a signal or they have a physical problem, the train will stop itself based on all of this technology," Marino says.

Each train is equipped to send messages to square transponders that are placed every 200 feet on the tracks. The transponders send messages to a state-of-the-art control center that is constantly monitoring train speed.

"If something happens to the train, the train comes to a complete stop," says Marino.

Marino says that the PTC system will cover the entire 13.8-mile PATH system.

PTC should be installed on all rail systems nationwide by Dec. 31, 2018, per a federal deadline.

PATH officials say that they will meet this deadline and hope to install even more upgrades on their own. They would also like to see more trains added to the PATH by 2020 to increase efficiency.

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