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NJ TRANSIT Threatens Rail Shutdown As Positive Train Control Deadline Nears


October 9, 2015 5:10 PM

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — NJ TRANSIT is warningcommuters that train service could grind to a halt at the start of next year.

An unthinkable act: stopping NJ TRANSIT would be paralyzing for thousands of commuters.

Threatening that service might come to a screeching halt after Dec. 31, the railroad is sending a serious message to Congress to pass an extension of the deadline for positive train control — or else, WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported.

NJ TRANSIT is still trying to install and test an emergency backup system that will automatically stop trains that speed or ignore signals.

NJ Transit said it was unclear whether they would be able to operate their trains come the new year, beyond that they would not elaborate, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported.

For commuters a shutdown could be a nightmare, but is it real?

The federal government said without PTC the trains can’t legally roll and only Congress can change that.

Sources told CBS2 that trains will probably keep rolling and that NJ Transit will be fined heavily, which could result in fare hikes or service cuts.

NJ Transit issued a statement on Friday.

“Without a PTC extension, it is unclear whether NJ Transit will be able to operate passenger service as of January 1, 2016.”

Safety experts believe PTC could have prevented Amtrak’s deadly derailment in Philadelphia in May. It is designed to prevent derailments and collisions by automatically stopping a train that speeds or disobeys a signal.

CBS2 pressed NJ Transit to go on camera and explain what unclear means, but they would not.

As it stands railroads operating trains on systems without PTC after the current deadline could face fines and other penalties.

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