PTC is an advanced system of technology that is designed to prevent collisions and incidents such as train-to-train collisions, excessive speed derailments and movement of a train through a main line switch in the wrong position. However, PTC will not prevent accidents caused as a result of track or equipment failure, certain types of train operator error or improper vehicular movement through a grade crossing.
PTC works by enforcing braking or speed reductions if the train operator fails to adequately reduce the speed of the locomotive.
In 2008, Congress passed the Rail Safety Improvement Act to prevent railroad injuries, fatalities and hazardous material releases. Among the many provisions is PTC. The Federal Railroad Administration implemented a federal mandate requiring that all hardware and all required employee training be completed by Dec. 31, 2018. However, entities that meet the Dec. 31 deadline can obtain an additional 24 months to test and ensure the system works with any PTC-equipped locomotive running on any of the railroad tracks through the United States where PTC is required.
DCTA officials said testing may continue through September.
To maintain the progress on PTC testing, DCTA has identified temporary A-train service modifications on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings only. The last two trains on Friday evenings and the first train on Saturday mornings are suspended to accommodate the required testing.