House to probe the status of automated train conversion

House to probe the status of automated train conversion
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Lawmakers in the House are planning to probe the progress of railroads implementing an automated train navigation system known as positive train control next week. 

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing on June 24, titled “The State of Positive Train Control Implementation in the United States.”

The hearing comes after federal regulators warned lawmakers recently that most of the nation’s railways will fail to meet a December deadline for implementing the automated system, which investigators have said would have prevented a deadly Amtrak crash in May. 

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Railroads currently have until Dec. 31 to install the positive train control (PTC) system, which regulates the speed and track movements of trains, under a law passed in the aftermath of a 2008 commuter rail crash in California.  

Prior to last month's Amtrak crash near Philadelphia, lawmakers had sought to push back the deadline to 2020 at the behest of railroad companies. 

The companies argued that the December deadline for the implementation of the PTC automated train system is too onerous to meet. 

Safety groups, meanwhile, have criticized the effort to roll back the deadline, citing reports that the derailed Amtrak train was traveling 106 miles per hour as it approached a curved section of track. 

The House Transportation Committee is scheduled to hear testimony on Wednesday from the Federal Railroad Administration, Federal Communications Commission, CSX Transportation, Metra Commuter Railroad and California's Metrolink commuter railway.