December 4, 2020
E-ATC Update

Modern Railway Systems pioneered E-ATC as a vital solution to the PTC legislation enacted in 2008. These efforts required MRS to work at the top level with our nation’s regulatory authorities to obtain compliance and certification. On November 18, 2020 the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) received vital PTC certification from the FRA for their FrontRunner commuter rail system. Capital Metro and TriMet (as a tenant on the Portland & Western Railroad), have also achieved vital certification in the last six months. Modern Railway Systems was instrumental in the implementation of the E-ATC solution for each of these agencies.

Currently there are only two other systems that have vital certification for PTC - ACSES II/ASES II and ITCS. Both designs, like E-ATC, involve enhancements to existing systems. These designs are in use by Amtrak and New York MTA commuter railroads.

The remaining railroads operating with PTC have their PTC Safety Plans FRA approved as non-vital. 

November 18, 2020
UTA Receives FRA Certification for PTC

The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) has received vital positive train control (PTC) certification from the Federal Railroad Administration for their FrontRunner commuter rail system. Federal regulations require all heavy rail, freight, and commuter train systems, including UTA’s FrontRunner, to fully implement all aspects of PTC by Dec. 31, 2020.

The design and implementation of Enhanced Automatic Train Control (E-ATC) was pioneered by Modern Railway Systems as a result of the Rail Safety Improvement Act (RSIA) of 2008. The existing Automatic Train Control (ATC) system was already in compliance with many of the requirements of RSIA. However, E-ATC implemented PTC functionality for temporary speed restrictions (TSR) and mandatory directives (MD) into the back office and wayside signaling controllers. UTA’s E-ATC system provides more flexibility for the TSR function than other similar systems as it can have up to five different speeds to choose from when issuing a TSR. This seemingly small function required extensive design and testing to implement on the system but was able to greatly increased UTA’s operational efficiency in some situations.

Modern Railway Systems (MRS), in a joint venture with MJG Inc., designed and implemented the complex PTC system which brought the FrontRunner system into compliance with the federal mandate on time.