Automated Positive Train Control system increases Sounder riders’ safety

Automated Positive Train Control system increases Sounder riders’ safety

Brakes applied if engineer exceeds speed or fails to brake

  • Monday, January 28, 2019 3:36pm
  • News

Sound Transit has completed implementation and certification of Positive Train Control (PTC) on all Sounder commuter rail vehicles that run between Lakewood and Everett.

Positive train control technology can control train movements under certain conditions, automatically applying brakes and avoiding collisions.

“Safety is our most important priority at Sound Transit,” said CEO Peter Rogoff in a Sound Transit news release. “Each and every one of our riders must get home or to work safely every time. Adding Positive Train Control on all our Sounder trains will help us maintain our impeccable track record.”

Under the Positive Train Control system, should an engineer exceed the permitted speed or fail to brake on approach to a work zone or a signal, PTC will automatically apply the brakes and stop the train.

There are three categories of PTC equipment: Wayside equipment which is installed on the track; onboard equipment which is installed on the train; and back office equipment which is installed in the train operations center. Once the system is operational wayside radio and global positioning systems (GPS) determine train location and ensures trains are operating within established parameters.

Sound Transit implemented PTC in close collaboration with Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), an industry leader in PTC and the operator of Sounder service under contract to Sound Transit. PTC equipment on trains and tracks must communicate seamlessly and routinely with the back office systems deployed by BNSF. Sound Transit PTC equipment is fully interoperable with BNSF systems. Sound Transit executed its contract for installing PTC equipment in 2013, well ahead of many passenger rail agencies, and completed the installation and commissioning last year well in advance of the federal government’s deadline.

Sounder trains from Everett to Seattle began testing PTC in June 2017. Sounder trains from Tacoma to Seattle began testing PTC in August 2017. Sounder also operates on tracks owned by the agency between Tacoma and Lakewood known as the Lakewood Subdivision. Sounder service is also certified to operate under PTC in this subdivision.

BNSF has a two minute video that explains how PTC works at youtube.com/watch?v=rIE8ZhqvxCU.

Sound Transit has a two-decade track record of no rider injuries on Sounder or unavoidable incidents.

Sounder trains serve more than 17,000 riders each weekday, with the region’s rising congestion expected to continue pushing demand higher. In 2016 voters approved significant investments in expanding Sounder South service, including longer trains and platforms to increase system capacity by more than 40 percent. Future investments will extend service further south to Tillicum and DuPont and improve stations. Other potential investments include schedule and service improvements and projects to make stations more accessible.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

t
Kent Police seek man who reportedly tried to kidnap girl from apartment

Man allegedly reached into bathroom window to grab girl in attempted kidnapping

t
Kent Police arrest man, 18, in fatal shooting of 13-year-old boy

Judge finds probable cause to hold the Kent man for murder, attempted murder and robbery

The Judge Patricia H. Clark Children and Family Justice Center in Seattle that handles juvenile detention. COURTESY PHOTO, King County
High-profile juvenile crimes continue to rock Kent this summer

Six incidents in five weeks include fatal shooting, vehicular homicide, vehicular assault

King County Correctional Facility in Seattle. COURTESY PHOTO, King County
Kent man charged with attempted kidnapping of 6-year-old girl

40-year-old man allegedly try to take girl from apartment complex parking lot

Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. FILE PHOTO
Kent man receives 8-year sentence in 2021 fatal shooting

Pleaded guilty to lesser charge of manslaughter in shooting at apartment complex over parking dispute

Courtesy Photo, King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
Judge finds probable cause to hold Kent man for kidnapping girl

Man, 40, reportedly grabbed 6-year-old girl in East Hill apartment complex parking lot

t
King County residential property values rise 12.4% in SE Kent

King County Assessor John Wilson begins to release 2024 numbers

t
Three 11-year-old girls in Kent help stop kidnapping of 6-year-old girl

40-year-old man reportedly grabbed girl in apartment complex parking lot on East Hill

t
Kent Police seek male teen driver in fatal hit-and-run on East Hill | Update

Teen reportedly driving stolen vehicle and fleeing police during Saturday, July 13 incident; victim identified

t
13-year-old boy fatally shot in Kent on East Hill near Turnkey Park | Update

Boy found shot near apartment complex Tuesday night, July 16 identified by medical examiner

t
Kent School Board votes 3-1 to send levy to voters in November

Capital projects and technology levy reduced from $192 million to $97 million after previous failures