MTA Press Releases

Press Release
March 17, 2020
Metro-North Announces Full Implementation of Positive Train Control on Harlem and Hudson Lines
Wayside Installations Now Cover 189 Route Miles Across Metro-North as PTC Progress Continues

MTA Metro-North Railroad President Cathy Rinaldi today announced that as of this past Saturday, March 14  Metro-North's full Harlem and Hudson lines are operating in Positive Train Control (PTC). The coverage includes all trains along the Hudson Line’s 74 miles from Grand Central Terminal to Poughkeepsie and the Harlem Line’s 82 miles from Grand Central Terminal to Wassaic, including Amtrak and CSX freight.  

In Connecticut, crews simultaneously completed activating PTC wayside equipment on the eight miles of the New Canaan Branch.  

The completions put a total of 189 route miles into PTC functionality, which represents 68% of Metro-North's mileage. 

“The activation of PTC along our entire Harlem and Hudson Lines and the New Canaan Branch demonstrates our swift and steady progress to meet our systemwide goals for the end of the year,” said Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi. “Our team has been working diligently on this crucial initiative to ensure the safety of our system.” 

Positive Train Control enhances train safety behind the scenes by eliminating the potential for human error to contribute to train-to-train collisions, trains traveling into zones where railroad employees are working on tracks, or derailments caused by a train traveling too fast into a curve or into a misaligned switch. 

The system uses a network of computers on board trains and along the tracks that are in communication with a central control hub, sharing data on rail conditions in real time. Like roads, every stretch of track has a speed limit; lights at the railroad’s equivalent of intersections flash red and green to indicate when a train must stop or can proceed. If the Positive Train Control system detects that a train is operating too fast for a given stretch of track, or is at risk of passing a stop signal, the system automatically steps in to slow or stop the train, while alerting the train’s engineer that it is doing so. 

PTC builds upon existing Metro-North systems such as in-cab signaling and automatic civil speed enforcement. These safety measures already offer some of the most substantial functions of PTC to Metro-North customers. 

Installations continue on the remaining 62 miles of the New Haven Line. Full implementation of PTC will be completed on Metro-North by the federally mandated deadline of Dec. 31, 2020.