Possible Amtrack Shutdown
Amtrak warned lawmakers of possible railway services being shut down if Congress denies the extension of implementing advanced safety technology.
According to a Fox News article, Joseph Boardman, Amtrak Chairman, sent a letter Monday to the Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune describing the efforts being made to improve train safety by installing Positive Train Control (PTC).
The Rail Safety Improvement Act, passed in 2008, gave several commuter and freight trains a deadline to install their trains with a new monitoring system and GPS technology (PTC) that would control the speed of the trains when they came into highly populated areas or near sharp turns. This regulation’s purpose is to reduce the amount of deadly high-speed train wrecks.
The current deadline is December 31, 2015. The Union Pacific Railroad and the BNSF Railway are two of the nation’s biggest railroads. Much of these railroad networks, including commuter service in Chicago and Amtrak passenger service, say they plan to shut down their services rather than violate a federal law says an article from The Chicago Tribune.
About 5,400 Amtrak customers pass through Chicago each day, but the shutdown would greatly affect other cities as well. If the extension does not take place, over 300,000 trips, that pass through all 11 Metra lines, could be at risk could be at risk.
Boardman said in a recent Fox News article, “Should Congress fail to pass legislation to extend the PTC deadline beyond December 31, 2015, there will be significant impacts to our service and on our customers and tenant railroads.” He also added, “The potential impacts would also be substantial since a vast majority of our network would be inoperable without an extension of the deadline.”