Engineering Inc. - March/April 2019 - 44

SEPTA installed onboard Positive Train
Control equipment in nearly 400 vehicles
as a part of implementing the system on
the regional commuter rail system.

Positive
Train Control
PROJECT: SOUTHEASTERN
PENNSYLVANIA TRANSPORTATION
AUTHORITY POSITIVE
TRAIN CONTROL
SOUTHEASTERN, PENNSYLVANIA
FIRM: BURNS ENGINEERING
PHILADELPHIA

I

n May 2017, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority
(SEPTA) Regional Rail system became
the first commuter railroad east of the
Mississippi, and the second in the nation,
to implement Positive Train Control (PTC)
on its Regional Rail system.
The train signaling system is designed
to prevent crashes, derailments and track
worker injuries resulting from railroad speed
and signal violations. With a total project
cost of roughly $340 million, SEPTA
installed more than 1,200 transponders and
equipped nearly 400 vehicles with onboard
PTC equipment.
Burns Engineering served as systems
integrator and lead for the wayside

44

ENGINEERING INC. MARCH / APRIL 2019

engineering-no small task,
was required to build a dataconsidering the SEPTA
base map of the rail system.
system consists of 13 rail
The track typography and
lines and 155 stations that
geographic survey data were
provide service to and from
loaded into transponders
Center City Philadelphia
along the tracks, which hold
Daren Petroski
and operates 770 weekday
this information and identify
Vice President, Railroad
and Transit
Regional Rail trains over
each train's railroad, line, track
Burns Engineering
474 track miles.
number, current location
"Integrating the technology
within the set of other tranusing the existing wayside signal technology
sponders, distance to next speed restriction
and technology that was still under develor upgrade target, and speed of next restricopment was the biggest challenge," says
tion or upgrade target.
Daren Petroski, vice president, railroad and
Interoperability among different trains
transit for Burns Engineering. This required and freight lines also was challenging:
a unique approach that included extensive
SEPTA's PTC integration required working
development work, integration with other
knowledge of railroad operations involvrailroads, lab- and field-testing, troubleing three separate sources: a remote locashooting and system validation.
tion, such as an office, for protection of
"The volume of equipment, diverse
work crew or hazardous conditions; a local
technical staff and stakeholder coordination
source, such as a signal displaying a "stop"
added to the complexity of this project,"
or a switch improperly lined for a safe
says Petroski, noting that multiple engineer- movement; and a transponder providing
ing services worked together to build the
permanent speed restrictions due to track
PTC system.
geometry.
An understanding of the five train types
SEPTA is continuing its efforts to
played a key role, as braking standards
establish interoperability with CSX and
vary for each train. Track topography was
Norfolk Southern freight lines that operevaluated for each train to determine the
ate along portions of SEPTA territory,
proper distance required to reduce a train's
and is scheduled to complete this task in
speed or stop it. A geographical survey also
the near future.



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