Mr. Anderson's written testimony can be found HERE.
So, to quote the crucial bits:
...It is now clear that we are likely to encounter four different scenarios where PTC is not yet operational by
the end of the year.
First, there will be carriers that have made sufficient progress to apply to FRA for an al-
ternative PTC implementation schedule under the law. In these instances, Amtrak’s equipment
will be ready for PTC operation, but additional work, testing or approvals are still required by the
host railroad before the system is considered functional. We believe a significant number of
routes outside of the NEC will face this situation. The question we must ask ourselves is
whether we continue to operate over such routes until PTC is turned on and if so, what additional
safety protections are appropriate to reduce risks?
Second, there will be carriers over which we operate who appear unlikely to achieve suf-
ficient progress to apply for an alternative PTC implementation schedule by year’s end. For any
such route segments, Amtrak will suspend operations until such time as the carrier becomes com-
pliant with the law.
Third, there are areas over which we operate for which there is an FRA “Mainline Track
Exclusion” in place exempting that segment from the PTC requirements based on the low levels
of freight and passenger train traffic or the presence of low-speed operations, such as in yards
and terminals. We are currently reviewing our policy on operating passenger trains on Exclu-
sions to determine whether we have adequate safety mitigation practices in place for each
territory and in certain areas, where signal systems are not in place, we will reconsider whether
we operate at all.
Lastly, there may be railroads that operate over Amtrak tracks in the NEC which may not
have sufficient PTC-commissioned rolling stock by the December 31, 2018 deadline to operatenormal services. Under the present rules, Amtrak cannot permit non-compliant equipment to be
used over our railroad after the deadline and we will be working closely with our partners and
the FRA to determine the best way to address this situation.
Mr. Anderson is saying different things about these four situations.
For the first situation (an approved extension of time), I believe Mr. Anderson is saying that he will keep trains running but add additional safety measures until PTC is active.
The second situation is carriers who will be breaking the law plain and simple, and it's a warning to those carriers. I'm not sure who is most likely to be in that situation: perhaps MBTA on the Northside (Downeaster line) if it doesn't get its act together, perhaps Metro-North, perhaps RailRunner, perhaps Terminal Railroad Association of St Louis. Most of the potential carriers in this siuation are commuter lines; the fact is that most of these commuter railroads will have to shut down their own operations if they don't comply with the law -- so they will probably do whatever they can to comply. I'm not sure how many freight hosts (if any) are in this situation; probably none of the Class Is, and I know that matters were resolved for Kansas City Terminal, so maybe TRRA in St. Louis, and maybe Pan Am in Massachusetts?
The third situation is the one most of y'all are talking about: the lines which are exempt from PTC due to low traffic or yard status or whatever. I read Mr. Anderson as saying that he will continue operations on such areas which *do* have signalling systems -- adding additional safety rules to stop things like the Hoboken crash -- but will probably discontinue operations on totally unsignalled "dark territory" lines. I think almost all of the routes are actually signalled. The Moffat Tunnel line and the Raton Pass line and the California Coast line are all signalled, so they'll presumably continue. Everything on the LSL route is signalled from end to end. Does anyone know the status of the Minnesota Commercial in Minneapolis-St Paul? I think it has signals. Anyway, is there any "dark territory" on which Amtrak actually operates right now? I can't think of any.
Approximately 1 percent of our current or planned routes transit through dark territory, totaling 222 miles in Indiana, Maine, New York, Quebec, and Vermont.
Oh-kay. Where are these tracks?
-- The Maine dark territory has to be the Downeaster. Pan Am is also a PTC laggard, so the Downeaster is at risk if Maine doesn't step up to pay for the upgrades.
-- The Quebec dark territory has to be the Adirondack. A route also planned for the Vermonter extension to Montreal. Some state or province would have to pay for these upgrades.
-- The New York dark territory is most likely the Ethan Allen Express. Though it might be the Adirondack. I believe the LSL and Empire Service routes are fully signalled.
-- The Vermont dark territory is either the Vermonter or the Ethan Allen Express. Considering those and the costs in Quebec, Vermont is going to have a bill to pay.
-- I have no idea what the Indiana dark territory is. All I know for sure is that it isn't the LSL/CL route. It probably isn't the Detroit route either. It could be the Pere Marquette but I doubt it (since there's no dark territory in Michigan). I'm guessing it's the Cardinal/Hoosier State route? The west end of that route is a mess of undermaintained trackage.
But he's leaving the door open to keep running in dark territory (or to signal it, if it's a short section):
Based on hazard analyses and mitigation options, the application of new technologies like switch
position indicators; altered operating practices; signal system and PTC investments or rerouting
or route abandonments may all be appropriate for such dark territory.
I think perhaps the most significant meaning of the third situation is that planned signal outages, such as the one on CSX, will cause train cancellation in the future (just as would be done for bridge outages). Except:
We are changing our policies on operating on host railroad territories with temporarily
inoperable signal systems. While we are evaluating two different approaches, they both boil
down to reducing speed significantly in these circumstances in advance of known hazards.
...maybe they'll just slow down in this situation.
The fourth situation is directed at Amtrak's tenants and is a direct order to NJT, MARC, VRE, et alia to get their locomotives equipped by the deadline. (SEPTA's already finished.) Since the locomotive side is the simple side, and ACSES is way easier to implement than I-ETMS, I'm pretty sure the commuter lines will do so.
So, Maine, Vermont, and possibly New York and Quebec are facing large bills to get their signal systems up to snuff. Based on past history, I think everyone except Quebec will pay to get it done, probably with grumbling -- but do write your state legislators and governor to tell them to pay for it!
The two routes which seem to me to be actually at risk of discontinuation are the Adirondack service from the border to Montreal (due to Quebec's historic unwillingness to support cross-border routes), and the Cardinal/Hoosier State (due to Indiana's historic unwillingness to support any upgrades). Both Quebec and Indiana have shown signs of attitude change so both of these might be saved, but I wouldn't reckon on good odds.
Edited by neroden, 17 February 2018 - 09:47 AM.