Updated on Monday, July 23, 2018
Over the past year, the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) has been working with its service partners to advance the implementation of an important safety technology, Positive Train Control (PTC), for Capitol Corridor passengers, employees, and the communities served by our trains.
This week, Amtrak, the Capitol Corridor’s train operator, along with the host railroad, Union Pacific, will begin field testing of PTC to ensure that the system operates in compliance with federal rules and regulations. Testing will occur along the segment of the route between Oakland Jack London Square and Auburn and use test trains, not regularly-scheduled Capitol Corridor passenger trains. We do not expect regularly-scheduled trains to experience delays as a result of the testing, and Amtrak crews will be doing their best to minimize any potential for delays.
What is PTC?
Positive Train Control, or PTC, is an advanced, state-of-the-art railroad train collision-avoidance safety system that will reduce human-error caused accidents by automatically stopping a train before certain accidents can occur. The implementation of PTC is an historic innovation and one of the most significant rail developments since the 1800s. The technological challenges of installing PTC cannot be underscored. Because the system is not something rail services could simply buy “off-the-shelf”, the technology behind the Capitol Corridor’s PTC system has been customized for the unique characteristics of our route and train equipment.
Our Commitment to Safety
The safety of our passengers and employees is the CCJPA’s top priority, and PTC is a mission-critical system that will ensure a safer operation of the Capitol Corridor trains. Even without the implementation of PTC, rail travel is among the safest forms of transportation; traveling by commuter and intercity rail is in fact 18 times safer than traveling by auto. The rail industry’s dedication to safety is the driving force behind the implementation of PTC, and the CCJPA is proud of its commitment to ensuring a thorough and timely compliance to this enhanced safety requirement.
If the field testing of PTC proceeds as planned and without significant operational issues, PTC will be launched on a few select trains assigned to the Capitol Corridor shortly thereafter. Please stay tuned for more information and updates from us as the testing and implementation are rolled out.
We appreciate your patience and understanding as the CCJPA and our service partners implement this critical safety technology for the Capitol Corridor trains.
Want to know how PTC works? Watch this informational video from Union Pacific.