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Amtrak turns on positive train control for northeast corridor

December 21, 2015  - By
Image: GPS World

Travelers taking Amtrak between New York City and Philadelphia are now being protected by a new crash-prevention system.

Amtrak, the United States’ national passenger railroad, has activated positive train control between New York City and Philadelphia, the last stretch of its tracks on the busy Northeast Corridor to get the system, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Amtrak activated the system between Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., earlier this month. It is meeting an original Dec. 31 federal year-end deadline. In October, Congress extended the deadline to December 2018.

If it had been operating, the safety system could have prevented an Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia in May that killed eight and injured more than 200 others.

Positive train control prevents train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, incursions into established work zone limits and a train going to the wrong track because a switch was left in the wrong position.

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4 Comments on "Amtrak turns on positive train control for northeast corridor"

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  1. Wiliam K. says:

    Positive train control would seem to be a very good idea. I am wondering, though, how it knows what the speed limits are for everywhere, and also, how it knows where work zones are, because work zones are temporary and move around. My guess is that all of this data is entered by human operators, leaving me wondering about who verifies that the data is correct.
    How the database that is used to set limits would be a very interesting topic for another posting. It may also be quite disturbing, is my guess.

  2. still cold says:

    The serious accident has killed dozens of people for the failing train control system

    • Wiliam K. says:

      The two comments do not address the question of how the database that the control system must use is created. Computers seldom go by intuition, and so it is up to somebody to create that database that is used to set the maximum speed allowed for each section of the routes. If a computer believes that it is smart enough to make that decision based on intuition then we are all in trouble.

  3. still cold says:

    in China