Amtrak reviews risks of ‘dark territory’

Penney Vanderbilt and KC Jones: All About Railroads

Albany Times-Union

They’re called “dark territory,” stretches of track that lack not only sophisticated safety systems such as positive train control designed to automatically stop a train, but even the green and red signals that tell an engineer whether the track is clear.

In the wake of two recent fatal accidents, Amtrak’s CEO Richard Anderson told a Congressional panel earlier this month that the passenger railroad “will change how we operate through sections of track with no signals at all, so-called ‘dark territory,’ which is also exempted from the PTC mandate.”

Anderson said Amtrak trains currently travel over 222 miles of dark territory track nationwide, about one percent of its routes. At least some of that track is in New York, Vermont and Quebec, and is used by the Adirondack and Ethan Allen Express services, according to two industry sources. Freight railroads own most of the track over which Amtrak…

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