On Sunday, April 8, the FrontRunner schedule will change as we implement Positive Train Control. Trains will travel at slightly reduced speeds along some sections of track, increasing total travel time between Ogden and Provo. As a result, most bus, TRAX and flex route schedules will change to facilitate transfers to and from FrontRunner. Read on to learn more about Positive Train Control.

What is Positive Train Control?

Positive Train Control (PTC) is a system of safety features mandated by the 2008 Rail Safety Improvement Act. PTC is designed to prevent accidents like head-to-head collisions or issues caused by excessive speed. All major railroad lines and lines that serve intercity or commuter populations must implement PTC by Dec. 31, 2018, unless they are granted an extension. The Federal Railroad Administration estimates that PTC will be implemented on 60,000 miles of track and will affect 20,000 locomotives.

How will PTC be implemented?

When FrontRunner opened in April 2008, several of the required PTC safety features were engineered into the original design:

  • A signal enforcement system prevents train-to-train collisions by automatically slowing or stopping a train before it enters a section of track where another train is present.
  • Trains are forced to stop if they enter a section of track in the wrong direction.
  • An Automatic Train Control (ATC) system prevents trains from operating above set speed restrictions.

The following features are being installed and will be fully operational by Dec. 31, 2018:

  • Trains will automatically slow through sections of track where maintenance or other work near the track is being performed.
  • Trains will automatically stop or slow to 15 miles per hour before proceeding through a malfunctioning railroad crossing.
  • An Enhanced Automatic Train Control (E-ATC) system will be installed to ensure all cab speed limits match track speed limits. Currently, several sections of track will not shut down the train until the train is traveling five to ten miles per hour above the track speed limit.

Why won’t PTC be implemented between Ogden and Pleasant View?

In August, UTA will suspend FrontRunner service between Ogden and Pleasant View due to the cost of implementing PTC on that section of track, as well as the cost of ongoing maintenance expenses. Union Pacific owns the track north of Ogden Station and uses different PTC technology. To continue service, UTA would have to implement Union Pacific’s PTC system, and all passengers would be required to transfer to specially outfitted trains. The cost of implementation is estimated at $1.5 million. UTA is exploring more cost-efficient alternatives to serve the small number of riders who currently travel between Ogden and Pleasant View.