According to a recent Progressive Railroading news release, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) committees recently approved a contract expansion with Bombardier Transportation and Siemens Rail Automation in a joint venture to expedite the installation process of system upgrades to meet positive train controls (PTC) requirements.
The installation investment, which will be focused on the Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), would add $11.3 million to a $428.5 million existing contract. These investments are being put towards accelerating the existing system towards PTC compliance deadlines in December of 2015.
MTA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Prendergast, said about the PTC program’s acceleration in the news release, "Bearing in mind that the safety of our customers is the top priority of the MTA and its railroads, we are taking careful steps to accelerate the implementation of this important technology. Positive train control will provide a strong layer of safety over our existing systems."
A U.S. Government Accountability Office report says the PTC program is a communications-based system designed to prevent certain types of train accidents caused by human factors. The $8 billion to $10 billion project requires railroad companies to upgrade and rewire the nationwide network of more than 50,000 switches and signals that are already in use, add a network of fiber-optic cable, cellular and satellite equipment, and create software programs for it all to run on.
In order to meet these demands, railroad companies will likely need to invest in software testing and software testing tools to ensure the systems are running as efficiently as possible.