SOURCE: BNSF Railway Company

October 08, 2008 17:40 ET

BNSF Ready to Implement Positive Train Control

FORT WORTH, TX--(Marketwire - October 8, 2008) - BNSF Railway today announced that it is prepared to implement Positive Train Control (PTC) technology by Dec. 31, 2015, as mandated by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, and that it can have the wayside devices necessary to implement PTC in place in the Los Angeles Basin by the end of 2012.

"BNSF has had a plan in place for implementation of PTC over many of the routes specified in the legislation," says Carl Ice, BNSF's executive vice president and chief operations officer. "We will be able to accelerate that plan to meet the statutory deadline and, if financing is available, may be able to implement PTC sooner in specific parts of our system, such as those where rail commuter service operates."

BNSF Railway began development of its Electronic Train Management System (ETMS) in 2003 as a partnership with Wabtec Railway Electronics and has been testing ETMS in revenue service since 2006.

ETMS is a PTC technology that has been proven to protect against the consequences of human error during extensive testing on BNSF. This system, which uses global positioning satellite data, enforces compliance with train movement authorities, signal aspects, speed restrictions, and work zones, and also checks switch position in non-signaled territory. If the crew does not respond to a warning, ETMS will stop the train with a full service brake application prior to an incident.

BNSF has successfully tested ETMS on a 135-mile stretch of track in Illinois and is continuing to test it between Fort Worth, Texas, and Oklahoma City. ETMS has passed every test during more than 1,600 train trips made so far. ETMS has stopped every train that it should have stopped, and has not stopped any train that it should not have stopped.

BNSF has approval from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to implement the system on a test basis under certain conditions. Other railroads are developing similar systems and working to help ensure compatibility of those systems across all railroads. Testing of ETMS on multiple-track main lines, shared by freight and passenger trains, is underway.

A subsidiary of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation (NYSE: BNI), BNSF Railway Company operates one of the largest railroad networks in North America, with about 32,000 route miles in 28 states and two Canadian provinces. The railway is among the world's top transporters of intermodal traffic, moves more grain than any other North American railroad, transports the components of many of the products we depend on daily, and hauls enough low-sulfur coal to generate about ten percent of the electricity produced in the United States. BNSF Railway is an industry leader in Web-enabling a variety of customer transactions at

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Patrick Hiatte
    (817) 867-6418