Money Rail Runner eyes service cuts amid mandated safety upgrades

05:40  10 september  2017
05:40  10 september  2017 Source:   MSN

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Expensive federal safety standards may force New Mexico to reduce service for the state's commuter rail line. KRQE-TV in Albuquerque reports ( ) the Rail

13, 2014 file photo shows a Rail Runner Express locomotive at the depot in Santa Fe, N.M. Expensive federal safety standards may force New Mexico to cut service levels for In 2008, federal lawmakers passed a bill mandating the installation of Positive Train Control on all passenger rail systems.

  Rail Runner eyes service cuts amid mandated safety upgrades © Provided by thecanadianpress.com ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Expensive federal safety standards may force New Mexico to cut service levels for the state's commuter rail line, state officials said.

The Rail Runner is facing a short deadline and an estimated $50 million cost to implement a state-of-the-art train safety system called Positive Train Control, KRQE-TV in Albuquerque reported (https://goo.gl/hkWtvc).

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Eye on the sky. Dating in the digital age. 13, 2014 file photo shows a Rail Runner Express locomotive at the depot in Santa Fe, N.M. Expensive federal safety standards may force New Mexico to cut service levels for the state's commuter more.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Expensive federal safety standards may force New Mexico to reduce service for the state's commuter rail line. State officials acknowledge the Rail Runner is unlikely to make a Dec.

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State officials acknowledge the Rail Runner is unlikely to meet a Dec. 31, 2018, deadline for installing the safety system. They have submitted a limited operations plan that may result in a reduction in the number of daily passenger trains.

The Rio Metro Regional Transit District believes it will take $50 million to get the system installed on Rail Runner's 96-mile track between Santa Fe and Belen, Rio spokeswoman Augusta Meyers said. The transit district oversees the Rail Runner.

"When you stick a $50 million price tag on a safety enhancement, it is a burden," Meyers said.

The required technology upgrade is an automatic, computer controlled braking system. It uses GPS satellites, radio towers and ground sensors to track where trains are moving and how fast they're going.

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Expensive federal safety standards may force New Mexico to cut service levels for the state's commuter rail line, state officials said.T

13, 2014 file photo shows a Rail Runner Express locomotive at the depot in Santa Fe, N.M. Expensive federal safety standards may force New Mexico to cut service levels for In 2008, federal lawmakers passed a bill mandating the installation of Positive Train Control on all passenger rail systems.

The safety system is aimed at preventing high-speed derailments or crashes.

In 2008, federal lawmakers passed a bill mandating the installation of Positive Train Control on all passenger rail systems. Lawmakers originally set 2015 as the deadline to install the system. That deadline has since been extended to December 31, 2018.

But since 2008, Rio Metro and the state have only set aside a fraction of the money needed for the technology.

While train operators say the Rail Runner has been involved in 17 crashes since it first began service in 2006, Meyers told KRQE News 13 that none of the incidents could have been prevented by a Positive Train Control safety system.

The Rail Runner has submitted a "formal request . for limited operations," according to a quarterly progress report that the Rail Runner submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration on the safety system implementation in August.

While Federal Railroad Administration officials acknowledged the financial difficulties Rail Runner is facing, they also wrote, "We remind you that Congress first enacted the Positive Train Control implementation over eight years ago."

After a recent meeting with FRA officials, Rio Metro Board Chair Maggie Hart Stebbins said she believes that the Rail Runner has a plan that won't result in fines.

"Their message was, 'We want to work with you, this is a mandate from Congress, we're not here to penalize railroads, but we recognize that you are under a tremendous burden and time constraints in complying with federal law,' " Hart Stebbins said.

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Information from: KRQE-TV, http://www.krqe.com

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