‘The railroads are dragging their feet’: Senator Nelson urges priority for safety measures

Senator Nelson urges priority for safety measures. (WPEC)

High speed and commuter trains blowing through our communities are missing one very important safety device.

The clock is ticking for railroads to install and implement life-saving crash avoidance technology. The technology is known as Positive Train Control and it’s still missing from Brightline and even Tri-Rail.

“I’m very concerned that Tri-Rail is not getting it done and we’re going to ask them to accelerate,” Sen. Bill Nelson said.

Records reviewed by CBS12 show both Brightline and Tri-Rail have made little to no progress installing PTC. In fact, neither have equipped a single locomotive or even submitted their safety plan according to the documents.

As a result, the senator wrote a letter to the railroads urging them to speed up their efforts to implement it.

“The railroads are dragging their feet,” he said.

PTC relies on GPS satellites, radio towers and ground sensors to monitor a train's speed and location. It detects if a train is going too fast or being operated unsafely. Onboard computers can kick in to slow or even stop it. It should have been installed on most trains two years ago, but congress extended the deadline to December 31, 2018.

“You can’t keep running trains that we’re seeing all of these accidents occur that could have been prevented by positive train control,” Sen. Nelson said.

Tri-Rail says it’s on track to meet the deadline. Brightline says its working on the installation and expects to have it operating before the end of the year.

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