PTC is a predictive collision avoidance technology that can stop a train before an accident occurs. Because of its complex design and requirements, PTC is not an off-the-shelf system or software application that can be implemented quickly. The primary PTC functions:
- Prevent train to train collisions
- Prevent over-speed derailments
- Prevent incursions into work zone limits
- Prevent movements through a switch left in the wrong position
- Provide interoperability between PTC systems of different railroads
PTC system provides public benefits through a reduction in risk to railroad passengers and railroad employees and would potentially improve the efficiency of the national railroad network.
With the deadline for PTC deployment getting closer, railroads, commuters and transits require solutions across all phases of PTC Planning and implementation.
As shown in above representative diagram, PTC system consists of following components.
- PTC back office server
- PTC onboard system
- PTC wayside interface unit
- PTC communication
PTC back office server - Consists of one or more Back Office Server(s) (BOS). It interfaces with other railroad back office systems or applications, the railroad dispatch system and the Locomotive and Communications segments.
PTC onboard system - Consists of onboard systems (hardware and software) which enhance safety by interfacing with locomotive control equipments capable of accepting directives, manage speed limit mandates, braking, better communication systems, dedicated PTC display.
PTC wayside interface unit - Monitors and reports switch position, signal indications, or status of other monitored wayside devices directly to the Locomotive Segment and Office Segment using one or more radio networks.
PTC communication - Consists of a messaging system, hardware and multiple wired and wireless networks through which messages are exchanged between the Locomotive, Wayside and Office Segments.