Trains Magazine Article Reported That Amtrak Would Halt Service on All Non-PTC Routes - That Included the Downeaster! Amtrak Issued a “Clarification”
An article in Trains Magazine set off a firestorm of conflicting statements and nationwide pushback after it stated that the Amtrak Board had decided not to run service on trackage that is not Positive Train Control equipped after December 31st of this year!
This would have eliminated Amtrak service on the Downeaster route and seven other essential Amtrak services.
TrainRiders/NE along with other grassroots passenger rail organizations joined with the Rail Passengers Association to demand clarification from Amtrak as the story contradicts Amtrak's previous position that risk assessments would be conducted to determine what adjustments might be needed on non-PTC trackage.
Trains Magazine has now received "clarification" from Amtrak top management:
"Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari tells Trains News Wire, "where PTC is not implemented and operational, it is expected that nearly all carriers will qualify for an alternative PTC implementation schedule under law.
"For those carriers and routes operating under an extension or under an FRA-approved exemption, Amtrak is performing risk analyses and developing strategies for enhancing safety on a route-by-route basis to ensure that there is a single level of safety across the Amtrak network.
"For those very limited routes where a host may not achieve an alternative schedule by year’s end, Amtrak will suspend service and may seek alternative modes of service until such routes come into compliance."
NNEPRA and Amtrak have been conducting a risk assessment of the Downeaster route and, according to a knowledgeable source, preliminary results do not indicate any factors which would jeopardize the Downeaster Service.