Short Line Connector - Fall 2016 - 6


INSIDE TRACK

ASLRRA SEEKS POSITIVE TRAIN
CONTROL PROVIDER FOR SHORT
LINE RAILROADS
BY MIKE OGBORN, OGBORN CONSULTING

I

n 2008, Congress passed the Rail
Safety Improvement Act (RSIA), which
mandated freight railroads handling
toxic-by-inhalation (TIH) materials and any
railroad mainline operating over intercity
passenger or commuter rails to install positive train control (PTC) technology. As a
result of the legislation and Federal Railroad
Administration (FRA) regulations, a number
of short line and regional railroads were required to implement PTC, subject to certain
exemptions and different implementation
deadlines than those for Class I railroads.
Beyond that FRA ruling, some host
railroads are requiring tenants to implement
PTC on the Class I timeline, citing contractual obligations, liability exposure and safety
concerns. This requirement has created a
number of challenges for tenant railroads. A
survey of ASLRRA members indicated that
at least 92 small railroads will now have to
implement PTC according to the terms set
forth by their host railroads.
Some of the biggest challenges railroads
might encounter in meeting the PTC
requirements, especially ASLRRA's smaller
members, include:
* The cost of developing, implementing
and supporting an interoperable back
office server (BOS) on an individual
railroad basis.
* Obtaining liability insurance coverage of
up to $200 million.
* Equipment availability for locomotives.
ASLRRA PTC Task Force Formed
Recognizing the scope and importance of
this issue, ASLRRA formed an executive
working group to address the questions

6

SHORT LINE CONNECTOR // FALL 2016

raised and to propose solutions to the
ALSRRA Executive Committee to fit the
needs of ASLRRA members. Mark
Wegner, president of Twin Cities &
Western Railroad, was selected to head the
working group, and additional members
were recruited from across the ASLRRA
railroad membership.
The working group assessed the
implementation challenges short lines
could encounter. The solution must meet
statutory, regulatory and host railroad
requirements regarding interoperability
with the Federated Rail Network and must
be economically feasible for small railroads.
The provider must be able to serve the
needs of small railroads, particularly those
that must implement PTC systems that are
interoperable with Class I systems.
The PTC Executive Working Group
identified the following benefits of
pursuing a single-source approach:
* Reduction in duplication of efforts
and cost. Costs for subscribing railroads
would be far less than the cost on an
individual railroad basis.
* Greater likelihood of an interoperable
PTC system on tenant railroads by the

Class I-imposed deadlines, some as early
as the end of 2016.
* Assurance of meeting communication
requirements on all Class I railroads.
A small railroad is often a tenant on
more than one Class I, each of which
might well have different requirements.
Conversely, Class I's have multiple
tenant railroads with different needs. A
single BOS system would address these
communication challenges.
* Simplifying the work process for FRA
staff. Rather than working on multiple
test plans at the same time, FRA would
coordinate with one entity, reducing
the test and acceptance test costs for the
federal government.
Under the leadership of Jo Strang, vice
president of safety and regulatory policy at
ASLRRA, a request for proposals to provide a BOS for short lines was prepared. It
outlined the following responsibilities of
the selected provider:
* Implementation and support of a webbased interface that allows participating
railroads to enter the necessary crew
and consist information to a standalone BOS.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Short Line Connector - Fall 2016

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Short Line Connector - Fall 2016 - Cover1
Short Line Connector - Fall 2016 - Cover2
Short Line Connector - Fall 2016 - No label
Short Line Connector - Fall 2016 - 2
Short Line Connector - Fall 2016 - 3
Short Line Connector - Fall 2016 - 4
Short Line Connector - Fall 2016 - 5
Short Line Connector - Fall 2016 - 6
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Short Line Connector - Fall 2016 - 32
Short Line Connector - Fall 2016 - Cover3
Short Line Connector - Fall 2016 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/summer19
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/spring19
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/winter19
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/fall18
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/summer18
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/spring18
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/winter18
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/fall17
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/summer17
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/FactsAndFigures
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/spring17
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/winter17
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/fall16
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/summer16
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/spring2016
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com