Metro-North: Positive train control in place on 90% of Hudson line trains

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A federally mandated system aimed at making Metro-North trains safer is now on almost the entire Hudson Line.

Metro-North announced Tuesday that all Hudson Line trains, including Amtrak and CSX, between Poughkeepsie and Marble Hill are now operating in positive train control. That's 90 percent of the entire Hudson Line, and includes the Spuyten Duyvil curve, the site of a fatal 2013 derailment.

Officials say positive train control (PTC) is designed to enhance railroad safety by working to eliminate human error.

The system builds on safety measures already in place including in-cab signaling and automatic speed enforcement at critical curves and bridges. "It's an upgrade to our existing signal system that gives additional functionality and protection against certain kinds of accidents," says Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi.

Officials hope positive train control will help prevent accidents like the deadly 2013 derailment at Spuyten Duyvil that claimed four lives and injured dozens of others.

Investigators ruled that crash was an undiagnosed case of obstructive sleep apnea on the part of the engineer that caused the train to derail off the tracks at 82 mph. "Speed enforcement is a major functionality of PTC and prevents against derailments due to excessive speed,” says Rinaldi.

But Metro-North isn't stopping there with the Hudson Line. "The next milestone is full PTC functionality between Wassaic and Mount Vernon west on the Harlem Line, and we are on target to do that by the middle of December," says Rinaldi.

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