Fed reports show no NJ Transit trains equipped with positive train control

The NJ Transit train that crashed in Hoboken was not equipped with a high-tech crash prevention system known as positive train control.

The NJ Transit train that crashed in Hoboken was not equipped with a high-tech crash prevention system known as positive train control. (9/29/16)

HOBOKEN, N.J. - The NJ Transit train that crashed in Hoboken was not equipped with a high-tech crash prevention system known as positive train control. In fact, reports on file with the Federal Railroad Administration show no New Jersey Transit trains have the technology yet, and the railroad has yet to submit a safety plan to the federal government about how it intends to deploy the safety technology. 

The deadline for passenger railroads to implement PTC had been the end of last year, but was extended to 2018. PTC uses signals and sensors along the track to communicate train location and speed. If a train is going dangerously fast, on-board equipment will automatically slow or stop it. 

According to data from the Federal Railroad Administration, and New Jersey Transit's own reports, none of New Jersey Transit's 440 commuter trains were equipped with the accident prevention system as of the end of the second quarter of this year. But NJ Transit is not alone. 

Nationwide, only 29 percent of passenger trains are PTC-equipped, according to federal railroad data. Here in this area, SEPTA in Pennsylvania has all of its trains equipped with positive train control, but only about a third of its tracks are equipped with the sensors needed to make it work. Elsewhere, 86 percent of PATH trains are equipped with PTC, but there are no track sensors in place. And like NJ Transit, the Long Island Railroad and Metro North have no PTC-equipped trains.

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