Positive Train Control (PTC) is a technology designed to prevent, overspeed derailments, entry into work zone limits and the movement of trains across switches in the wrong position.
Congress mandated all Class I Railroad main lines carrying poisonous-inhalation-hazard materials as well as all railroad main lines with regularly scheduled intercity and commuter rail passenger service to fully implement PTC by December 31, 2018.
The PTC systems for commuter rail, freight, Amtrak trains and associated components are required to be interoperable. The radio spectrum provides a wireless connection allowing rail vehicles and wayside equipment to share information and update the onboard PTC system with the most accurate and current safety data.
NJ TRANSIT needs to have its own individual spectrum to prevent overlap or interference with other transmissions in the region. Last spring, the agency’s board authorized the purchase of a radio frequency spectrum from PTC-220, LLC for the southern, central and western regions. In October, NJ Transit authorized a lease agreement with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) for the last component of radio spectrum needed for its northern and eastern portions. It will lease the 218MHz radio frequency spectrum from the MTA for a 50-year period for up to $725,000.
“This is another milestone in our commitment to upgrading our current safety systems to Positive Train Control by the federal deadline,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Steve Santoro in a press release.
NJ TRANSIT is also securing the necessary hardware and software for the PTC system including transponders and 124 radio towers in addition to the radios and antenna equipment for 440 locomotives, EMUs and cab cars.