Thursday, August 31, 2017

Union Pacific PTC update: 1,900 more route miles in operation

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Union Pacific provided a second quarter update on its progress regarding implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC) and notes it has made strides toward its 2018 goal.


The Class 1 has acquired the necessary spectrum to support PTC operations and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) approved its PTC Safety Plan in April. UP is running PTC operations on nearly 5,900 route miles in California, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Washington state, Wyoming, Nebraska and Colorado.

UP says notable achievements in the second quarter of 2017 include preparing 27 additional track segments for PTC operations, which brings the total number of track segments to 104 (56 percent complete). These 27 track segments are equipped with wayside devices (signals, switches and radios) and have defined GPS coordinates, which identify thousands of precise locations for system-wide PTC coordination.

The railroad has also trained 3,400 additional employees on PTC operations, which brings the total number of employees trained to about 16,000 and it placed 1,900 more route miles into PTC operation.

Union Pacific now has 74 percent of required locomotives equipment with PTC technology. This is up from 70 percent in its 2017 first quarter update. The railroad also has 87 percent of required radio towers equipped with PTC technology, up from 86 percent in the first quarter of the year.

The railroad did clarify some discrepancies in its data versus FRA data. For example, FRA notes only 1,245 UP locomotives are PTC equipped, but UP says nearly 4,200 are fully PTC equipped with the exception of a single component, due to a supplier-related issue that the railroad expects to have resolved this year.

Through June 30, Union Pacific:

  • Installed 97 percent, or 16,782 miles, of required route miles with PTC signal hardware.
  • Partially installed PTC hardware on 94 percent of its 5,656 locomotives earmarked for the technology.
  • Equipped 3,193 locomotives with PTC hardware and software.
  • Installed 98 percent of the wayside antennas needed to support PTC along the company's right of way.

Union Pacific plans to spend approximately $300 million on PTC in 2017 toward the current total estimated $2.9 billion cost.