THE US Federal Railroad Administration has instructed Amtrak to install a transponder-based system to enforce adherence to permanent speed restrictions on its Northeast Corridor between New Haven and Boston. The work forms part of Amtrak’s programme to upgrade and electrify the route to accommodate 240 km/h American Flyer trainsets from the end of 1999.

In combination with existing cab signalling, the Advanced Civil Speed Enforcement System will create an equivalent to Positive Train Control. As part of the project, commuter trains in Connecticut and Massachusetts and freight trains belonging to two railways will have to be equipped. ’By significantly reducing the risk of derailment or collision, this order will benefit all users’, said FRA Administrator Jolene M Molitoris.

The FRA order also authorises Amtrak to increase the maximum speed of its existing trains by from 201 to 217 km/h south of New York City following the installation of Acses. Although there is no requirement for commuter operators south of New York to install the equipment, New Jersey Transit is planning to install Acses-compatible ATP throughout its network.

  • On July 31 Bombardier and Alstom announced that Amtrak had decided to exercise its option for two extra American Flyer trainsets at a cost of US$35m. This lifts the total order to 20 sets of two power cars and six trailers plus 15 electric locos. o