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Rail News: Positive Train Control

Metra has applied for a federal grant to help fund a $25.2 million program to install positive train control (PTC) on the commuter railroad’s Milwaukee North and West lines.

The agency applied for the grant under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which authorizes $199 million in fiscal-year 2017 to help railroads install PTC. That program covers up to 80 percent of the cost and requires a 20 percent local funding match.

Metra has requested $20.2 million and has identified $5 million in local matching funds for the project, agency officials said in a press release.

Metra plans to use the funds to install PTC on its Milwaukee West line to Elgin, Ill., and North line to Fox Lake, Ill.

“Grant programs like this one are essential funding sources to help meet our goal to fully implement PTC on Metra-controlled lines by 2019 or sooner,” said Metra Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Don Orseno.

Three independent components need to be addressed before PTC is operable along the lines; the grants will help fund those projects. All projects would be completed by fall 2018, according to Metra’s application.

The three projects and costs are:
• upgrading signaling on the 17.5-mile Fox Lake subdivision on the Milwaukee North Line, $12.5 million;
• reconfiguring and upgrading signals at the Rondout interlocking between Milwaukee North line stations in Libertyville and Lake Forest, Ill., $7.5 million; and
• installing wayside PTC signals on the Milwaukee West and North lines, $5.2 million.

So far, Metra has spent $95 million and has $208 million under contract toward overall PTC installation.