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New Technology to Provide Fail-Safe System for NJ TRANSIT Trains

NEWARK, NJ, February 13, 2002 -- The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors awarded Phase III of a contract with Union Switch & Signal, Inc. of Pittsburgh, PA to complete installation work on the Corporation's Positive Train Stop (PTS) advanced rail safety system.

PTS is part of a rail safety initiative launched by the NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors in August 1997. NJ TRANSIT is the first passenger railroad in North America to merge two railroad safety technologies -- Automatic Train Control (ATC) and Positive Train Stop (PTS). The combined technology is now known as the Advanced Speed Enforcement System (ASES).

Today's $25.7 million contract authorization brings the total contract award to Union Switch & Signal to $42.3 million and is funded by the Federal Transit Administration and the State Transportation Trust Fund.

"Working closely with the Federal Railroad Administration, NJ TRANSIT has become a national leader in the development of this integrated rail safety system," said NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman and Acting State Transportation Commissioner John F. Lettiere. "Governor McGreevey and the Board of Directors remain committed to the exploration and implementation of new technologies that enhance safety for the more than 110,000 daily NJ TRANSIT rail passengers."

"The merging of the ATC and PTS rail safety systems places NJ TRANSIT on the cutting edge of the transit industry," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Jeffrey A. Warsh. "It also reaffirms NJ TRANSIT's reputation as one of the nation's safest railroads, providing an added level of protection for our customers that is second to none."

The ATC system uses electrical impulses in the rail to send a continuous signal through the train's computer to the engineer in the locomotive. The system monitors the conditions on the railroad as the train is proceeding. It enforces an appropriate speed for the train and provides protection against a broken rail or improperly thrown switch by providing the engineer with that information so the train can be stopped in time. It will also prevent a train from passing through a stop signal at 20 MPH or above.

PTS provides an engineer with intermittent commands in the cab car or locomotive that will control the train's movements if an engineer fails to respond appropriately. The system uses transponders placed at intermittent locations in the track to send radio signals to the train's computer, which, in turn, provides information to the engineer in the locomotive. The PTS system has the ability to automatically slow or stop a train before a stop signal if an engineer does not respond appropriately to commands given by the train's on-board computer system. Speed restrictions will also be enforced on curves and where rail maintenance work is taking place.

To date, NJ TRANSIT has:

  • Installed a fully operational PTS system on the 23-mile Pascack Valley Line, serving commuters in Bergen and Rockland counties (became operational in November 2001). PTS installation under today's contract is to be completed on all other NJ TRANSIT-owned rail lines by 2008.
  • ATC system installed on 82 percent of the NJ TRANSIT-owned rail system. Balance of ATC work is to be performed on the Main and Boonton lines (2002) and Pascack Valley Line (2004).
  • Installed a combined ASES system on the Boonton Line (between Denville and Mountain Lakes) and Morristown Line (between Dover and Morristown) for test purposes. Combined ASES system scheduled for completion on all NJ TRANSIT-owned right-of-way by 2008.
  • Retrofitted 98 of 109 cab cars, locomotives and Arrow III Multiple Unit rail cars to offer ASES signal displays for NJ TRANSIT engineers. Installation on the remaining 11 cars is scheduled for completion under today's contract by December 2002.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing Bus, rail and light rail services for 380,600 daily commuters on 238 bus routes, two light rail lines and 12 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 163 rail stations, 26 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.