NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It’s a sprint to the finish for local railroads to meet a looming safety deadline.

The $1 billion crash prevention system called positive train control, or PTC, is supposed to be installed on commuter trains by the end of the year.

The installation is taking longer than expected.

PTC is supposed to be able to stop a train in its tracks if it’s going too fast.

The federal government mandated the system be installed on all commuter trains nationwide by the end of the year.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is facing some delays installing PTC on its PATH, LIRR and Metro-North lines, CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge reported.

“We’ve had a setback in terms of some of the software testing, but we’ve already identified the root cause of the problem we’re at a place now that we’re trying to figure out a fix,” said Metro-North’s President Catherine Rinaldi.

When PTC is ready, GPS and radio transponders can slow or stop a train not only if it’s speeding but also if it violates a traffic signal. However, in recent simulations, the software failed 16 of 52 tests.

“We tell folks when we do a test what does work and what doesn’t work. It’s worked more times than it hasn’t,” said MTA Chairman Joe Lhota.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board believe PTC could have prevented several recent fatal train accidents, including the 2013 Bronx derailment of a Metro-North train that killed four people and injured more than 100. In 2015, an Amtrak train bound for New York went off the tracks in Philadelphia, killing eight. In both cases, officials say the trains were going too fast around a curve.

“It makes sense to have it but I’ll believe it when I see it, when they finally put it in,” said rider Vinny Violo.

Officials say the system is about 70 percent ready to go.

The MTA blames the delays on managing the busiest commuter railroads in the country.


Leave a Reply