SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) — It has been a week of delays and repairs for Amtrak’s Vermonter line. The line is back on track for Columbus Day weekend. However, this might not be the end to Amtrak’s problems.
In the coming months, Amtrak passengers could be forced to find another means of transportation.
Railroads have until December 31st to install a train navigation system called Positive Train Control on all of their rails. PTC regulates the speed and tracks the movements of trains.
This week, Amtrak wrote a letter to Congress warning that they’ll have to shut down service along the Northeast Corridor if lawmakers do not extend the deadline to install PTC. Service in Massachusetts, New York, Philadelphia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. would come to a halt.
In the letter to Congress, Amtrak CEO Joseph Boardman wrote: “We’ll begin notifying passengers through our reservation system of disruptions that may occur as a result of the PTC deadline,” beginning Dec. 1.
The December deadline is part of a law that was passed in 2008 following a commuter rail crash in California. This past May, the new technology was in the spotlight again, after a speeding Amtrak train derailed near Philadelphia, killing eight people. The Federal Railroad Administration said the tragedy might have been avoided if the train been equipped with the safety technology.
A bill was introduced last week that would extend the deadline by three years.