Caltrans to Improve Safety, Mobility of Railways With Help of Grant


District: Headquarters
Contact: Thomas Lawrence
Phone: (916) 654-3633

SACRAMENTO — Caltrans will improve the safety, mobility, and efficiency of railways across the state thanks in part to an $11.3 million grant from the Federal Railroad Administration's Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement (CRISI) program.

This grant is targeted toward deploying Positive Train Control (PTC) – an advanced safety system designed to automatically stop a train before potential train-on-train, speed-related, and signal-related incidents occur.

"Caltrans knows the importance of mobility options for Californians, and intercity passenger rail service is a key component. This grant helps agencies improve the safety of these railways through PTC."

Laurie Berman, Director, Caltrans

CRISI grants assist the costs of improving passenger and freight rail systems for safety, efficiency, and reliability benefits. This funding will go specifically to PTC development between Oakland and San Luis Obispo – a stretch of roughly 225 miles. This is a critical interregional connection for both existing and planned service between the Bay Area and Central Coast. California's CRISI grant application included matching funds totaling $6.3 million from funds provided by Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and other state and local funding sources.

Caltrans will begin using the CRISI funds for PTC implementation across this specific stretch by summer 2019, and full implementation is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2021. Additionally, three other California train operators received CRISI grants totaling $33.6 million to implement PTC on their respective systems. Caltrans is working collaboratively with our operators to ensure California meets federal PTC requirements by December 2018.

PTC was mandated by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, and the technology must be installed on all main-line railroads where intercity passenger and commuter trains operate, as well as railroads carrying hazardous materials that are toxic inhalation hazards.