ARINC Incorporated today announced that it is developing a Positive Train Control (PTC) Hosted Network service prototype for the exchange of PTC messages between the four largest U.S. Class 1 freight railroads and some smaller railroads. A standard messaging platform is essential to achieving PTC technology interoperability across the industry.
The development of a hosted PTC network service will support efforts by railroads who are required to implement PTC technology by December 2015 as mandated by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008. PTC systems monitor and control train movements to ensure safety by enforcing speed limits, preventing collisions, and protecting employees working on the tracks. A hosted PTC network service will provide significant benefits to the entire industry, including supporting efficient communications and improving cost effectiveness.
Currently, Class 1 railroads are implementing a fully connected PTC network to meet the Congressional mandate. ARINC’s proof of concept will extend this approach to smaller railroads covered by the Federal law, and will support a complete network environment spanning the railroad industry. The shared PTC network prototype will also allow a simplification of the connection between the Class 1 and other railroads. In addition, it will support the establishment of one common messaging infrastructure for all railroads.
“Many smaller railroads do not have the IT infrastructure or staff to implement and maintain PTC software,” said Denny Lengyel, Vice President of Surface Transportation Systems at ARINC. “This proof of concept will support those railroads and will enable them to take advantage of a number of PTC applications used by larger railroads such as system monitoring, locomotive and wayside software updates, and wayside status reporting to improve operations.”
In addition to its prototype service development, ARINC has received a research and development contract from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to work with the industry to develop a concept of operations for a hosted PTC networking environment and demonstrate its feasibility. The purpose of this research is to advance understanding of PTC network interoperability, configuration management, and IT governance in the railway industry.
“ARINC is excited to develop this prototype service given our experience as a current PTC integrator and our industry expertise in providing communications technology and infrastructure services for the aviation industry,” Lengyel continued. “We look forward to working with short lines and commuter railroads to enable PTC functionality while reducing operational and program deployment risks. We believe this work will be important for the entire industry.”