Senators announce train safety funding for local line

Control systems can reduce accidents
An Amtrak train sits idle.
An Amtrak train sits idle.

The railroad line that runs from Poughkeepsie to Amsterdam will receive more than $33 million in federal funding to add safety measures that help control train speed and reduce accidents, Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced Wednesday.

The funding will support the use of a Positive Train Control system, a tool used to monitor train speeds and control train movements in a broad, integrated way.

The agencies and companies that run the railways south from Poughkeepsie to New York and west from Amsterdam to Buffalo have already moved forward with implementing the train safety system, according to a release from Schumer’s office.

That left the central leg of the trip through the Capital Region waiting for funds for the safety system.

In October, Schumer visited Schenectady with Federal Railroad Administration Administrator Sarah Feinberg to highlight the need for the project funding.

“The technology truly is a lifesaver for both passenger and freight trains,” Schumer said during that visit.

The money covers a 97-mile section of the Empire Corridor route used by about 2 million riders per year.

Positive train control uses advanced electronics installed on both tracks and in locomotives to measure train speeds and positions and slow or stop trains in an emergency. High-profile fatal train derailments in Philadelphia and New York and New Jersey increased attention and urgency for wider implementation of the positive train control system.

“We have the technology, we have the experience, we know how to do it. The one thing standing in the way is money,” Feinberg said in October.

Categories: -News-, Schenectady County

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