Commuter Rail Positive Train Control (PTC)
About the Project
As part of a federal mandate passed by Congress in 2008, the MBTA is installing Positive Train Control (PTC) technology across all Commuter Rail lines. The goal is to have all hardware installed by December 2018 and to have the PTC system fully operational by the end of 2020.
PTC can automatically reduce a train’s speed or even stop it to avoid a collision or derailment. It will improve safety and reduce human error on the commuter rail.
For the latest information on service disruptions and replacement shuttle bus schedules, see PTC Construction and Service Updates.
The MBTA’s PTC system is designed to prevent:
- Train-to-train collisions
- Derailments caused by high speed
- Trains speeding through work zones where crews are near the tracks
- Unexpected movement of trains through “open” switches
The system works through:
- Onboard controls that monitor and regulate a train’s speed if the operator fails to
- Signals along the rail corridor that transmit safety data
- System-wide communications throughout the commuter rail network
- An upgraded, centralized dispatch for the network
This project impacts every element of the commuter rail system—the tracks on every line, hardware and software in the dispatch center, signal houses, antennae, radios and hardware on the train engines, and more.
The PTC project will improve every commuter rail passenger’s safety by reducing human error in a range of scenarios, including possible derailments and collisions.
Congress first passed the mandate for the installation of PTC systems in 2008. Their original deadline of 2015 was extended to December 31, 2018, with a further extension to December 31, 2020 available to transit authorities that meet key milestones.
- 2015-2016: PTC installation contract awarded to Ansaldo STS USA, Inc. (ASTS); Notice to Proceed provided.
- 2017-2018: Work to install hardware along all Commuter Rail lines.
- 2018-2020: Installation of software and other technical elements needed to bring PTC system online.
To install the hardware for PTC along the tracks, weekend service will be suspended on each line for a period of time during 2017-2018. No more than 2 lines should be affected at any given time.
Weekend shutdowns will take place in the fall of 2017 and spring of 2018.
|Commuter Rail Line||PTC Weekend Shutdowns|
|Commuter Rail Line||Fairmount Line||PTC Weekend Shutdowns||Weekends from December 2, 2017 to December 16, 2017|
|Commuter Rail Line||Fitchburg Line||PTC Weekend Shutdowns||Scheduled for 2018|
|Commuter Rail Line||Framingham/Worcester Line||PTC Weekend Shutdowns||Scheduled for 2018|
|Commuter Rail Line||Franklin Line||PTC Weekend Shutdowns||Scheduled for 2018|
|Commuter Rail Line||Greenbush Line||PTC Weekend Shutdowns||No shutdown required|
|Commuter Rail Line||Haverhill Line||PTC Weekend Shutdowns||Weekends from September 23, 2017 to November 25, 2017|
|Commuter Rail Line||Kingston/Plymouth Line||PTC Weekend Shutdowns||No shutdown required|
|Commuter Rail Line||Lowell Line||PTC Weekend Shutdowns||Weekends from August 5, 2017 to September 30, 2017|
|Commuter Rail Line||Middleborough/Lakeville Line||PTC Weekend Shutdowns||No shutdown required|
|Commuter Rail Line||Needham Line||PTC Weekend Shutdowns||Weekends from September 2, 2017 to October 21, 2017|
|Commuter Rail Line||Newburyport/Rockport Line||PTC Weekend Shutdowns||Weekends from July 8, 2017 to August 26, 2017|
|Commuter Rail Line||Providence/Stoughton Line||PTC Weekend Shutdowns||No shutdown required|