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Posted on: December 23, 2020

Rail Runner Receives Final PTC Certification

New Mexico Rail Runner Express

The New Mexico Rail Runner Express has been notified by the Federal Railroad Administration that its Positive Train Control or “PTC” system has been approved and conditionally certified by the FRA. This means that the commuter train operator has met the end-of-year deadline for installing the $60-million federally mandated safety enhancement.

“The Federal Railroad Administration is very pleased to announce that the New Mexico Rail Runner has completed all the necessary steps required to fully implement PTC”, said FRA Administrator Ronald Batory. “We (FRA) have conditionally certified the Rail Runner’s PTC system and recognize its significant accomplishment in meeting the year-end deadline”, added Batory.

About Positive Train Control

Positive Train Control (PTC) is a federally mandated safety enhancement designed to prevent train-to-train collisions, high-speed derailments on reduced speed curves, operations through a misaligned switch, and incursions into active work zones. Rio Metro Regional Transit District, which operates the Rail Runner, began installing the system on the train’s 100-mile corridor in April 2019. 

“After undergoing months of rigorous testing, the FRA has given us the green light and we are confident that this new system will provide an additional level of safety for our passengers”, says Rio Metro Director Terry Doyle. “This also means that all trains that operate in the Rail Runner’s territory will now be protected by PTC.”

A Regional Transit Network

In addition to Rail Runner trains, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) runs freight trains on the line every day, and Amtrak operates regular passenger service in the corridor. 

“The Rail Runner is part of a regional transit network that is integral to our state’s economy” said Dewey V. Cave, Executive Director of the Mid-Region Council of Governments. “This critical safety enhancement will support the state’s efforts to continue providing safe and reliable service to New Mexicans and tourists who have come to depend on it regularly.”

About the Rail Runner Operations

As passenger service continues to be suspended due to the current public health orders, the Rail Runner will continue to operate in the corridor. We are still subject to FRA regulations that mandate that we keep our operating crews tested and qualified. This is an ongoing process whether we are transporting passengers or not. In addition, with the Positive Train Control system now installed and certified, we are making sure the equipment is functioning properly, and more importantly that our train crews are totally trained and qualified under the new system.

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