Feds: Railroads slow to make progress

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The nation’s three busiest commuter railroads — which together serve nearly 1 million riders in the New York City area each day – continue to lag behind their smaller West Coast counterparts in installing sophisticated train-control technology that’s seen as an antidote to crashes involving speeding and other human factors, federal regulators said Monday.

The Long Island Rail Road, New Jersey Transit and Metro-North all made scant progress on implementing GPS-based positive-train control in the quarter ending Sept. 30, according to new Federal Railroad Administration data. Over the last three months, the LIRR and Metro-North have trained more employees on the system, the data shows, but neither they nor NJ Transit installed it.

The railroads say the federal data doesn’t fully reflect their progress and that they are on track to meet a December 2018 deadline to install the technology, which is designed to automatically slow or stop trains that are going too fast.

“Metro North and LIRR have aggressively and diligently moved forward to fully implement PTC on both railroads before the Congressionally mandated deadline,” said Tom Prendergast, the chairman of New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority.