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SEPTA Positive Train Control Implementation

Bringing science to safety through positive train control.
  • SEPTA Positive Train Control-Gannett Fleming

    In addition to the development of PTC plans, this project included base mapping for more than 100 route miles of commuter railroad.

  • A SEPTA train leaving the station – Gannett Fleming

    This first-of-its-kind contract installed PTC technology on SEPTA's five-county rail system.

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Our Role
Construction Services.

280 miles
Construction Cost
$157 million
5 years
  • First-of-its-kind PTC implementation project
  • PTC offers a level of safety beyond traditional signaling systems.

Following the federal Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA08) mandate, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) was among the first to act on creating positive train control (PTC) infrastructure. Since 2009, Gannett Fleming has worked to design, procure, and install PTC technology on SEPTA’s five-county, 280-mile regional commuter rail system. 

A PTC system calculates the train’s location and speed, warns train operators, and takes action if the operator does not respond. PTC integrates information processing capabilities, and communications systems to incorporate and analyze the variables that affect railroad operations. For instance, to stop the train, the PTC must take into account the terrain, the train’s size and weight, and braking technology. To ensure safety in the event of signal power distribution outages, or system or communication failures, PTC technology is supported by robust back-up systems and procedures.

What We Did

This contract represents one of the first-of-its kind to be awarded in the U.S. rail industry.

Gannett Fleming’s responsibilities include design, installation, documentation, and bid assistance. In addition, the team led the overall radio frequency infrastructure development, managed the development of the network management system, and modernized the dispatching system.

Key Features

  • PTC and automatic train control onboard computers, aspect display units, cellular receivers, and 220-MHz data radios on 287 powered units
  • Interlocking modifications and new base station radio instrument enclosures at 58 interlockings
  • A specialized communications network.

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