Satellites aid new Amtrak safety system

US NATIONAL passenger operator Amtrak is buying a Positive Train Control (PTC) system – RailwayNet – from aviation technology and communications company Rockwell Collins.

The system will be implemented across the USA on all Amtrak routes, where it operates over other railroads’ routes.

All of the Amtrak main line diesel fleet will be equipped with a new PTC system – the most numerous loco type being the GE-built ‘P42’ such as No. 114, seen on the street-running section at Oakland Jack London Square with an Amtrak California service to Bakersfield on March 13. KEITH FENDER

Amtrak will install it on around 310 locos in its diesel loco fleet as all US passenger operators are required by law to have PTC, although the deadlines to implement it have been pushed back previously.

The RailwayNet system will utilise radio-based communication from both fixed locations, but also orbiting satellites.

The Amtrak-owned electrified Washington DC to Boston route has different PTC systems so its electric locos and ‘Acela’ high-speed trains will not be fitted with the new system.

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