[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 39 (Monday, February 29, 2016)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 10126-10131]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-04293]



Federal Railroad Administration

49 CFR Part 236

[Docket No. FRA-2016-0012, Notice No. 1]
RIN 2130-AC56

Positive Train Control Systems

AGENCY: Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: FRA is amending its regulations to address changes in 
deadlines for positive train control (PTC) system implementation 
required by the Positive Train Control Enforcement and Implementation 
Act of 2015. FRA is also making conforming amendments and removing 
portions of its PTC regulations that are no longer applicable.

DATES: This final rule is effective April 29, 2016. Petitions for 
reconsideration must be received on or before April 19, 2016. Petitions 
for reconsideration will be posted in the docket for this proceeding. 
Comments on any submitted petition for reconsideration must be received 
on or before June 3, 2016.

ADDRESSES: Petitions for reconsideration and comments on petitions for 
reconsideration: Any petitions for reconsideration or comments on

[[Page 10127]]

petitions for reconsideration related to Docket No. FRA-2016-0012, may 
be submitted by any of the following methods:
     Web site: The Federal eRulemaking Portal, 
www.regulations.gov. Follow the Web site's online instructions for 
submitting comments.
     Fax: 202-493-2251.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., W12-140, Washington, DC 
     Hand Delivery: Room W12-140 on the Ground level of the 
West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC between 9 
a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
    Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name and 
docket number or Regulatory Identification Number (RIN) for this 
rulemaking. Note that all petitions received will be posted without 
change to www.regulations.gov including any personal information. 
Please see the Privacy Act heading in the ``Supplementary Information'' 
section of this document for Privacy Act information related to any 
submitted petitions, comments, or materials.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments received, go to www.regulations.gov or to Room W12-140 on the 
Ground level of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 
Washington, DC between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except 
Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Blackmore, Office of Technical 
Oversight, Railroad Safety Program Manager for Advanced Technology, 
Federal Railroad Administration, Mail Stop 25, West Building 3rd Floor, 
Room W35-332, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590 
(telephone: 202-493-1332); or Jason Schlosberg, Trial Attorney, Office 
of Chief Counsel, RCC-10, Mail Stop 10, West Building 3rd Floor, Room 
W31-207, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590 (telephone: 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: FRA is issuing this final rule to amend 
certain PTC system implementation deadlines in 49 CFR part 236, subpart 
I, to conform with statutory changes made by the Positive Train Control 
Enforcement and Implementation Act of 2015, Public Law 114-73, 129 
Stat. 576, 582 (Oct. 29, 2015). FRA is also making conforming 
amendments and removing portions of its PTC regulations that are no 
longer applicable.

I. Background

    Under the Railroad Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA), Public 
Law 110-432, 122 Stat. 4854 (Oct. 16, 2008) (codified at 49 U.S.C. 
20157), much of the railroad industry had been implementing PTC to meet 
a statutory deadline of December 31, 2015. Under defined circumstances, 
certain small railroads could also delay PTC system implementation on 
locomotives until after December 31, 2015. See 49 U.S.C. 20157(i)(4) 
(2008); 49 CFR 236.1006(b)(4).
    On October 29, 2015, the Positive Train Control Enforcement and 
Implementation Act of 2015 (PTCEI Act), amended RSIA to extend the PTC 
implementation deadline to December 31, 2018, or, alternatively 
December 31, 2020, and provide qualifying small railroads with an 
additional three years to comply from the dates in FRA's regulation at 
49 CFR 236.1006(b)(4)(iii)(B). See Public Law 114-73, 129 Stat. 568, 
576-82 (Oct. 29, 2015); 49 U.S.C. 20157(a)(1), (a)(2)(B), (k). Congress 
made further amendments in the Fixing America's Surface Transportation 
(FAST) Act, which clarified FRA's authority under the PTCEI Act. See 
Public Law 114-94, sec. 11315(d), 129 Stat. 1312, 1675 (Dec. 4, 2015) 
(codified at 49 U.S.C. 20157(g)).
    By statute, and delegation from the Secretary of Transportation, 
FRA is required to remove or revise the date-specific deadlines in the 
regulations or orders implementing 49 U.S.C. 20157 necessary to conform 
with the amendments the PTCEI and FAST Acts made. See 49 U.S.C. 
20157(g)(2); 49 CFR 1.89. FRA is not required to make any changes to 
its regulations other than changing the dates. 49 U.S.C. 20157(g)(3) 
(``Nothing in the Positive Train Control Enforcement and Implementation 
Act of 2015, or the amendments made by such Act, shall be construed to 
require the Secretary to issue regulations to implement such Act or 
amendments''). Accordingly, the only amendments made in this final rule 
are the date changes and any necessary conforming amendments.

II. Justification for Final Rule

    FRA is issuing this final rule without providing an opportunity for 
prior public notice and comment as the Administrative Procedure Act 
(APA) normally requires. See 5 U.S.C. 553. The APA authorizes agencies 
to dispense with certain notice and comment procedures if the agency 
finds for good cause that notice and public procedure are 
impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest. See 5 
U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B). For example, an ``impracticable'' good cause 
situation might be where the federal railroad safety rules should be 
amended without delay if FRA determines that the safety of the 
traveling public is at stake. Public notice is unnecessary when the 
public does not need or benefit from the notice and comment, such as 
with a minor or technical amendment.
    In this case, FRA finds, for good cause, that notice and public 
comment is unnecessary, because the public would not benefit from such 
notice. The scope of this regulatory change is very limited; FRA is 
merely replacing old statutory deadlines with the new statutory 
deadlines and is otherwise making no substantive changes to the 
regulations; making conforming amendments; and removing portions of its 
PTC regulations that are no longer applicable.

III. Section-by-Section Analysis

    Unless otherwise noted, all section references below refer to 
sections in title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

Proposed Amendments to 49 CFR Part 236

Section 236.1005 Requirements for Positive Train Control Systems
    Originally, Congress mandated PTC implementation by December 31, 
2015. However, the PTCEI Act extended that deadline. In the PTCEI Act, 
rather than choosing a single future date, Congress elected to provide 
an implementation deadline of December 31, 2018, with an opportunity to 
extend the deadline up to December 31, 2020, for those railroads that 
qualify. To be eligible for such an extension, a railroad must fulfill 
certain statutory conditions and prerequisites and receive FRA 
    Because each railroad's implementation deadline may be based on a 
variety of currently unfulfilled conditions or prerequisites, 
modification of the deadlines in this rule is not merely a simple 
replacement of dates in the applicable regulations. To address these 
variables, and place the statutory requirements in a regulatory 
context, some regulatory explanation and conforming amendments are 
required. This rule text includes some of the more explicit 
requirements necessary to receive FRA approval for an extension beyond 
2018; some of the less definitive prerequisites (i.e., training and 
revenue service demonstration requirements under 49 U.S.C. 
20157(a)(3)(B)) remain applicable as stated in the legislative text. 
FRA intends that all linguistic changes to be

[[Page 10128]]

conforming, to merely incorporate the new statutory deadlines, and not 
to include any additional requirements. Therefore, FRA is issuing a 
final rule in this proceeding. Even if FRA had issued a proposed rule, 
and received comments, FRA could not make any changes without violating 
the statute.
    To this end, FRA is striking the deadline referenced in Sec.  
236.1005(b)(1) and is adding a paragraph (b)(7) to address the new 
deadlines the recent legislation mandates.
    Paragraph (b)(6) currently states that no new intercity or commuter 
rail passenger service shall commence after December 31, 2015, until a 
PTC system certified under this subpart has been installed and made 
operative. FRA continues to believe this is a clearly necessary 
requirement to satisfy the statute and to ensure PTC operations for 
railroads commencing new operations after the statutory implementation 
deadline. However, per the PTCEI Act, FRA recognizes the need to change 
the deadline. Accordingly, FRA is amending paragraph (b)(6) by striking 
``2015'' and replacing it with ``2020.'' Since that paragraph only 
concerns new rail passenger service commencing after the full 
implementation deadline, it is consistent with the PTCEI Act to change 
the date to 2020. However, all rail passenger operations commencing 
before December 31, 2020, must comply with the implementation deadlines 
in the PTCEI Act.
Section 236.1006 Equipping Locomotives Operating in PTC Territory
    For the same reasons stated in the analysis of Sec.  236.1005 
above, FRA is striking the deadline in Sec.  236.1006(b)(1) and (b)(3). 
For purposes of clarity and context, we are replacing the latter change 
with a cross-reference to new paragraph Sec.  236.1005(b)(7).
    Paragraph (b)(2) references a number of reports that were due in 
prior years. Given that this regulation is now stale, it is being 
    Paragraph (b)(3) refers to the original deadline that has passed. 
Accordingly, FRA is striking the introductory phrase. Since the 
remaining text applies at all times, and is no longer limited to the 
implementation deadline, FRA does not believe it is necessary to cross-
reference to Sec.  236.1005(b)(7) or otherwise reference a deadline.
    In addition to changing the implementation deadline, the PTCEI Act 
also provides some flexibility for railroads that may achieve PTC 
System Certification earlier than others. The PTCEI Act, codified at 49 
U.S.C. 20157(j)(1), provides that until 1 year after the last Class I 
railroad achieves PTC System Certification and full PTC system 
implementation, each railroad shall comply with the operational 
restrictions in 49 U.S.C. 20157(j)(2)-(j)(4) in lieu of those required 
under 49 CFR 236.567 and 236.1029. While these statutory provisions are 
substantively outside the scope of this rulemaking, FRA recognizes that 
paragraph (b)(3) also references Sec.  236.1029. To reduce confusion, 
and without making any interpretation or determination about the effect 
of the PTCEI Act, FRA is also referencing 49 U.S.C. 20157(j). The 
actual applicability at any given time of either 49 U.S.C. 20157(j) or 
49 CFR 236.1029 would be determined at a later date in a different 
    As previously noted, since the rule was first issued in 2010, FRA 
has provided Class II and Class III railroads a limited opportunity to 
delay or avoid PTC implementation on certain locomotives in prescribed 
circumstances. The PTCEI Act requires this rule to extend those 
permissible delays another 3 years from the dates in FRA's regulation 
at 49 CFR 236.1006(b)(4)(iii)(B). Accordingly, FRA is merely adding 
three years to each date referenced in paragraph (b)(4)(iii)(B).
Section 236.1009 Procedural Requirements
    Under the existing regulations, each railroad is required to submit 
an annual progress report on each anniversary of its initial PTCIP 
filing. Since the statute was amended to require annual submission of 
such progress reports by March 31 of each year (see 49 U.S.C. 
20157(c)(1)), FRA is amending paragraph (a)(5) to reference that new 
progress report deadline and to avoid confusion and potential redundant 
submissions. FRA notes, however, that it retains under the existing and 
amended statutes and regulations the authority to require more frequent 
Section 236.1011 PTC Implementation Plan Content Requirements
    For the same reasons explained above regarding the amendments to 
Sec.  236.1005, FRA is amending the deadline in Sec.  236.1011. Given 
that a different deadline, albeit within the statutory limits, may 
apply to each railroad, FRA believes a single date in the regulation is 
no longer appropriate. Accordingly, the amendments to this section 
merely cross-reference to the applicable deadline determined under 
Sec.  236.1005(b)(7).
Appendix A to Part 236--Civil Penalties
    For the same reasons as previously explained regarding the 
amendments to Sec.  236.1005, FRA is amending the deadline dates 
referenced in Appendix A. In addition, in the new legislation, Congress 
reaffirmed FRA's authority to enforce the requirements of subpart I. 
Therefore, FRA has reviewed its related civil penalties guidance found 
in Appendix A. Although FRA is currently not suggesting any substantive 
changes to the regulations, the agency believes that some clarity is 
warranted. And, of course, FRA retains the authority to enforce any 
violations of the new legislation or regulations whether or not 
explicitly mentioned in Appendix A.

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 236

    Penalties, Positive Train Control, Railroad safety, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements.

The Rule

    In consideration of the foregoing, FRA hereby amends 49 CFR part 
236 as follows:


1. The authority citation for part 236 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 20102-20103, 20107, 20133, 20141, 20157, 
20301-20303, 20306, 20501-20505, 20701-20703, 21301-21302, 21304; 28 
U.S.C. 2461, note; and 49 CFR 1.89.

2. In Sec.  236.1005, revise paragraphs (b)(1) introductory text and 
(b)(6) and add paragraph (b)(7) to read as follows:

Sec.  236.1005  Requirements for Positive Train Control systems.

* * * * *
    (b) PTC system installation--(1) Lines required to be equipped. 
Except as otherwise provided in this subpart, each Class I railroad and 
each railroad providing or hosting intercity or commuter passenger 
service shall progressively equip its lines as provided in its approved 
PTCIP such that a PTC system certified under Sec.  236.1015 is 
installed and operated by the host railroad on each:
* * * * *
    (6) New rail passenger service. No new intercity or commuter rail 
passenger service shall commence after December 31, 2020, until a PTC 
system certified under this subpart has been installed and made 
    (7) Implementation deadlines. (i) Each railroad must complete full 
implementation of its PTC system by December 31, 2018.
    (ii) A railroad is excepted from paragraph (b)(7)(i) of this 
section and

[[Page 10129]]

must complete full implementation of its PTC system by December 31, 
2020, or the date specified in its approved alternative schedule and 
sequence, whichever is earlier, only if the railroad:
    (A) Installs all PTC hardware and acquires all spectrum necessary 
to implement its PTC system by December 31, 2018;
    (B) Submits an alternative schedule and sequence providing for 
implementation of positive train control system as soon as practicable, 
but not later than December 31, 2020;
    (C) Notifies the Associate Administrator in writing that it is 
prepared for review of its alternative schedule and sequence under 49 
U.S.C. 20157(a)(3)(B); and
    (D) Receives FRA approval of its alternative schedule and sequence.
    (iii) If a railroad meets the criteria in paragraph (b)(7)(ii) of 
this section, the railroad must adhere to its approved alternative 
schedule and sequence and any of its subsequently approved amendments 
or required modifications.
* * * * *

3. In Sec.  236.1006, revise paragraphs (b)(1) and (3) and 
(b)(4)(iii)(B) to read as follows:

Sec.  236.1006  Equipping locomotives operating in PTC territory.

* * * * *
    (b) Exceptions. (1) Each railroad required to install PTC shall 
include in its PTCIP specific goals for progressive implementation of 
onboard systems and deployment of PTC-equipped locomotives such that 
the safety benefits of PTC are achieved through incremental growth in 
the percentage of controlling locomotives operating on PTC lines that 
are equipped with operative PTC onboard equipment. The PTCIP shall 
include a brief but sufficient explanation of how those goals will be 
achieved, including assignment of responsibilities within the 
organization. The goals shall be expressed as the percentage of trains 
operating on PTC-equipped lines that are equipped with operative 
onboard PTC apparatus responsive to the wayside, expressed as an 
annualized (calendar year) percentage for the railroad as a whole.
* * * * *
    (3) A train controlled by a locomotive with an onboard PTC 
apparatus that has failed en route is permitted to operate in 
accordance with 49 U.S.C. 20157(j) or Sec.  236.1029, as applicable.
    (4) * * *
    (iii) * * *
    (B) To the extent any movement exceeds 20 miles in length, such 
movement is not permitted without the controlling locomotive being 
equipped with an onboard PTC system after December 31, 2023, and each 
applicable Class II or III railroad shall report to FRA its progress in 
equipping each necessary locomotive with an onboard PTC apparatus to 
facilitate continuation of the movement. The progress reports shall be 
filed not later than December 31, 2020 and, if all necessary 
locomotives are not yet equipped, on December 31, 2022.
* * * * *

4. In Sec.  236.1009, revise paragraph (a)(5) to read as follows:

Sec.  236.1009  Procedural Requirements.

    (a) * * *
    (5) Each railroad filing a PTCIP shall report annually, by March 31 
of each year, and until its PTC system implementation is complete, its 
progress towards fulfilling the goals outlined in its PTCIP under this 
part, including progress towards PTC system installation pursuant to 
Sec.  236.1005 and onboard PTC apparatus installation and use in PTC-
equipped track segments pursuant to Sec.  236.1006, as well as 
impediments to completion of each of the goals.
* * * * *

5. In Sec.  236.1011, revise paragraphs (a)(6)(ii), (a)(7), and (b)(3) 
to read as follows:

Sec.  236.1011  PTC Implementation Plan content requirements.

    (a) * * *
    (6) * * *
    (ii) The schedule to equip that rolling stock by the applicable 
deadline under Sec.  236.1005(b)(7);
* * * * *
    (7) The number of wayside devices required for each track segment 
and the installation schedule to complete wayside equipment 
installation by the applicable deadline under Sec.  236.1005(b)(7);
* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (3) Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to create an 
expectation or requirement that additional rail lines beyond those 
required to be equipped by this subpart must be equipped or that such 
lines will be equipped during the period of primary implementation 
ending on the applicable deadline under Sec.  236.1005(b)(7).
* * * * *

5. In Appendix A to part 236:
a. Revise footnote 1;
b. Add footnote 2; and
a. Under Subpart I--Positive Train Control Systems, revise the entries 
for Sec. Sec.  236.1005, 236.1006, 236.1007, 236.1009, 236.1011, 
236.1019, 236.1029, 236.1035, and 236.1039.
    The revisions and addition read as follows:

[[Page 10130]]

Appendix A to Part 236--Civil Penalties 1 2

    \1\ A penalty may be assessed against an individual only for a 
willful violation. The Administrator reserves the right to assess a 
civil penalty of up to $105,000 per day for any violation where 
circumstances warrant. See 49 CFR part 209, Appendix A.
    \2\ Each plan has numerous conditions and requirements with 
varying degrees of importance or impact. Thus, a single recommended 
civil penalty amount for a violation for failure to adhere to each 
plan or condition is not advisable or warranted. When a violation of 
a plan or condition is found, FRA may consider a variety of factors 
to determine the appropriate civil penalty to assess, including any 
underlying or related violation.

                 Section                     Violation       violation
                              * * * * * * *
    Subpart I--Positive Train Control
236.1005 Positive Train Control System
    Failure to timely complete PTC                16,000          25,000
     system installation on track
     segment where PTC is required......
    Commencement of revenue service               16,000          25,000
     prior to obtaining PTC System
    Failure of the PTC system to perform           5,000           7,500
     a safety-critical function required
     by this section....................
    Operating outside the limits of an            15,000          25,000
     approved de minimis exception......
    Failure to integrate a hazard                 15,000          25,000
    Non-compliant event recorder........           2,500           5,000
    Failure of event recorder...........           2,500           5,000
    Failure to provide notice, obtain              5,000           7,500
     approval, or follow a condition for
     temporary rerouting when required..
    Exceeding the allowed percentage of            5,000           7,500
     controlling locomotives operating
     out of an initial terminal after
     receiving a failed initialization..
236.1006 Equipping locomotives operating
 in PTC territory:
    Failure to adhere to a PTCIP........           (\2\)           (\2\)
    Operating in PTC territory a                  15,000          25,000
     controlling locomotive without a
     required and operative PTC onboard
    Operating with a PTC onboard                  15,000          25,000
     apparatus that is not functioning
     in accordance with the applicable
    Failure to report as prescribed by             5,000           7,500
     this section.......................
    Non-compliant operation of                    15,000          25,000
     unequipped trains in PTC territory.
    Failure to equip locomotives in               15,000          25,000
     accordance with the applicable
    Failure to comply with conditions of           (\2\)           (\2\)
     a yard movement exception..........
    Improper arrangement of the PTC                2,500           5,000
     system onboard apparatus...........
    Engineer performing prohibited                 5,000           7,500
236.1007 Additional requirements for
 high-speed service:
    Installing or operating a PTC system          15,000          25,000
     without the required safety-
     critical functional attributes of a
     block signal system................
    Operation of passenger trains at              15,000          25,000
     speed equal to or greater than 60
     mph on non-PTC-equipped territory
     where required.....................
    Operation of freight trains at speed          15,000          25,000
     equal to or greater than 50 mph on
     non-PTC-equipped territory where
    Failure to fully implement incursion           5,000           7,500
     protection where required..........
236.1009 Procedural requirements:
    Failure to file PTCIP when required.           5,000           7,500
    Failure to amend PTCIP when required           5,000           7,500
    Failure to obtain Type Approval when           5,000           7,500
    Failure to update NPI...............           5,000           7,500
    Operation of PTC system without               16,000          25,000
     system certification...............
    Failure to comply with FRA condition           (\2\)           (\2\)
     or modification....................
    Failure to report as required.......           5,000           7,500
    Failure to provide FRA access.......          10,000          16,000
236.1011 PTCIP content requirements:
    Failure to install a PTC system as            11,000          16,000
    Failure to maintain a PTCIP as                 (\2\)           (\2\)
                              * * * * * * *
236.1019 Main line track exceptions:
    Operations conducted in non-                  16,000          25,000
     compliance with the passenger
     terminal exception.................
    Operations conducted in non-                  16,000          25,000
     compliance with the limited
     operations exception...............
    Failure to request modification of            11,000          16,000
     the PTCIP or PTCSP when required...
    Operations conducted in violation of          16,000          25,000
    Operations conducted in violation of          25,000          25,000

[[Page 10131]]

                              * * * * * * *
236.1029 PTC system use and en route
    Failure to determine cause of PTC              5,000           7,500
     system component failure without
     undue delay........................
    Failure to adjust, repair, or                  5,000           7,500
     replace faulty PTC system component
     without undue delay................
    Failure to take appropriate action            15,000          25,000
     pending adjustment, repair, or
     replacement of faulty PTC system
    PTC territory operation with an                5,000           7,500
     inoperative PTC onboard apparatus..
    Interference with the normal                  15,000          25,000
     functioning of safety-critical PTC
                              * * * * * * *
236.1035 Field testing requirements:
    Field testing without authorization           10,000          20,000
     or approval........................
    Failure to comply with FRA condition           (\2\)           (\2\)
                              * * * * * * *
236.1039 Operations and Maintenance
    Failure to implement and maintain              3,000           6,000
     Operations and Maintenance Manual
     as required........................
    Failure to make Operations and                10,000          16,000
     Maintenance Manual available to FRA
     when required......................
    Failure to make Operations and                15,000          25,000
     Maintenance Manual available to
     persons required to performed the
     required tasks.....................
    Amends Operations and Maintenance              5,000          10,000
     Manual without FRA approval........
                              * * * * * * *

    Issued in Washington, DC, on February 23, 2016.
Sarah Feinberg,
[FR Doc. 2016-04293 Filed 2-26-16; 8:45 am]