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Positive Train Control (PTC)

Positive Train Control (PTC) is a system designed to prevent train-to-train collisions, derailments caused by excessive speeds, unauthorized train movements in work zones, and the movement of trains through switches left in the wrong position. PTC networks enable real-time information sharing between trains, rail wayside devices, and “back office” applications, regarding train movement, speed restrictions, train position and speed, and the state of signal and switch devices.

The Rail Safety Improvement Act (RSIA), which was enacted on October 16, 2008, and the corresponding regulations issued by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) require passenger and major freight railroads to implement PTC on most major track lines by December 31, 2015. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has named PTC as one of its "most-wanted" initiatives for national transportation safety.

Positive Train Control (PTC) and Compliance with Historic and Environmental Statutes

The systems deployed by railroads to implement Positive Train Control (PTC) may require new infrastructure to be built. In certain circumstances, new infrastructure projects must be reviewed for compliance with the historic and environmental statutes. For more information about the review process, please go to the FCC’s tower and antenna siting website.


List of Tribal Nations and State Historic Preservation Offices Eligible for Grants from Positive Train Control Cultural Resource Fund.

PTC Program Comment Process Guidance and Flow Chart

Positive Train Control Program Comment Questions and Answers

Association of American Railroads selects Administrator of the Cultural Resources Fund.

Template for an Adverse Effect Agreement.

Public Notice:
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Modifies Ex Parte Rules For Environmental Assessments Submitted For Positive Train Control Facilities.

Online Review under the Endangered Species Act for PTC Poles


Environmental Review Process for PTC Wayside Poles (Last Updated April 3, 2015)
- Attachment A (Last Updated July 11, 2014)
- Attachment B (Last Updated August 27, 2014)
- Attachment C (Last Updated August 27, 2014)

Press Release:
FCC Announces Two Actions to Facilitate Positive Train Control Implementation
- BNSF Railway Company MOU
- Canadian National Railway MOU
- Canadian Pacific Railway Company MOU
- CSX Transportation, Inc. MOU
- Kansas City Southern Railway Company MOU
- Norfolk Southern Railway Company
- Union Pacific Railroad MOU

Public Notice:
Positive Train Control Program Comment Adopted
- Program Comment

Public Notice:
Positive Train Control Draft Program Comment Released for Comment.

Public Notice:
Erratum - Input Sought on Program Comment: Positive Train Control.

Public Notice:
Input Sought on Program Comment: Positive Train Control Infrastructure.

Public Notice:
Tribal Nations Consultation on Positive Train Control.

Webinars & Trainings

Positive Train Control: Environmental Compliance and Historic Preservation Review Workshop
Video & Materials

Published: September 26, 2013 Updated: September 26, 2013

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