KC passenger trains lack same safety measure as train in fatal Washington derailment

Posted at 2:25 PM, Dec 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-19 20:11:10-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Investigators say a train that derailed in Washington had not yet implemented positive train control, or PTC, a safety technology designed to prevent accidents.

PTC combines monitors on the tracks and the train itself that show position and speed. If the train is traveling too fast, the technology can hit the brakes.

41 Action News learned from a Federal Railway Administration report that passenger trains traveling in and out of Kansas City also have not completed installation of the technology. 

"I think they should implement that immediately, especially after what happened in Seattle," Chris Lockridge, who was about to board an Amtrak train to St. Louis, said. 

An FRA progress report shows Amtrak, the only passenger line that stops in KC, has only outfitted 49 percent of its locomotives with the technology. Operation of PTC depends on installation in the trains themselves and on the tracks. 

Graphic courtesy of FRA.

All passenger trains and some freight lines must be equipped with PTC by the end of 2018. The original 2015 deadline was pushed back after railway companies lobbied Congress for more time.

The Kansas City Terminal Railway has seven member railroads using the tracks. You can read the latest PTC progress reports for the KCT and each member below:

For a full visual chart of progress as of June 2017, click here.