Long Island Rail Road Train

Marta Zielinska/WCBS 880

LIRR, Metro-North Seeking More Time To Install Positive Train Control

July 25, 2018 - 7:33 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- The New York commuter railroads will miss the year-end deadline to install life-saving safety technology.

Metropolitan Transit Authority officials confirmed Tuesday that the Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road will join New Jersey Transit in petitioning the federal government to extend the deadline to install the positive train control (PTC) protection system.

The rails are asking the Federal Railroad Administration for an extra two years to install the technology, which monitors a train’s speed and location, and activates brakes as necessary.

The U.S. Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, passed after a deadly train crash in 2015, mandates that all railroads must have PTC by Dec. 31, 2018. If the deadline is missed, heavy fines could be imposed.

The MTA has long been adamant that they would meet the deadline. However, officials say to implement the changes, staff will need to undergo extensive training and trains will need to be pulled out of service, most likely causing a slew of delays and cancellations.

“No more excuses,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-New York), “the MTA has had ample time and ample money to get this job done.”

Metro North and the LIRR have received nearly $1 billion in federal loans to install the technology.