DCTA's Positive Train Control Progress Report

May 16, 2018

DCTA is committed to rail safety and is working diligently to implement Positive Train Control (PTC) by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) deadline of December 31, 2018. PTC was designed to prevent collisions and other incidents by automatically detecting and controlling the movement of trains.

After multiple attempts to find a financially viable solution to implement PTC with the input of outside consulting firms, DCTA decided to take a different approach. Critical to the success of DCTA’s new approach was the solicitation of industry feedback in the development of the technical approach to implement PTC, as well as seizing opportunities presented by the specific characteristics of the agency’s A-train system.

PTC Vendor Selection Process

Early 2015, DCTA invited vendors to learn the intricate details and specific needs of its rail operations.  During this time, the agency shared information about its unique A-train characteristics which include temporal separation of limited freight operations, a recently installed signal system, single track railroad with sidings, and an absence of Class I freight traffic through the corridor.

After many discussions, DCTA solicited vendor suggestions for the agency to implement PTC in a safe and timely manner. Based on industry and vendor input, the quickly developed a scope of work from what was learned from the industry input process. DCTA developed a scope of work that offered bidders the opportunity to compete fairly, which resulted in bidders having a good understanding of our requirements with few questions asked during the bidding process.

DCTA utilized a best value procurement process which included both capital and 10-year operating costs so that the agency had a true understanding of the long-term cost and operational impact of the various solutions.  As a result of the industry participation up front and the use of a best value procurement process, the procurement process went smoothly and we were able to award a contract within three months from the point of issuing the solicitation for bid.

Current Status of PTC Implementation

All wayside (signal) and onboard (on the car) equipment were installed by January 2018. Currently, DCTA is undergoing testing which began in March 2018 and is in preparatory mode for revenue service demonstration application with the FRA.

DCTA is the first public transit agency in Texas to begin testing on PTC. The agency is diligently working with the FRA to implement PTC within the federally mandated requirements, and is currently listed by the FRA as one of the top third of public transit agencies for PTC implementation progress.

A-train Service Modifications during PTC Testing

DCTA has identified temporary A-train service modifications in order to maintain the agency’s progress on Positive Train Control (PTC) testing. DCTA plans to suspend the last two trains on Friday evenings and the first train on Saturday mornings, effective May 18, to accommodate the required testing.

We encourage riders who typically utilize these specific A-train schedules make plans to board an alternate schedule. PTC testing will commence on Friday, May 18, 2018, and may continue through September 2018.

The following A-train schedules will be suspended until PTC testing is complete:

Friday A-train Cancellation

Train #Green Line (Departs)Trinity Mills StationHebron StationOld Town StationHV/LL StationMedPark StationDDTC (Arrives)
596410:24 p.m.10:30 p.m.10:35 p.m.10:40 p.m.10:46 p.m.10:57 p.m.

11:02 p.m.


Train #DDTC (Departs)MedPark StationHV/LL StationOld Town StationHebron StationTrinity Mills StationGreen Line (Departs)
596311:15 p.m.11:20 p.m.11:31 p.m.11:37 p.m.11:42 p.m.11:47 p.m.

11:59 p.m.*


Saturday A-train Cancellations

Train #Green Line (Arrives)Trinity Mills StationHebron StationOld Town StationHV/LL StationMedPark StationDDTC (Arrives)
5370---7:40 a.m.7:46 a.m.7:57 a.m.

8:02 a.m.


*Green Line train terminates before Buckner Station. Visit dart.org for the full DART schedule.

Riders who want to monitor A-train schedule updates, sign up for our Rider Alerts. To view A-train schedules in real time, learn more about DCTA’s Transit Tracker and download the Transit mobile application, click here.

PTC Implementation Next Steps and Estimated Completion

  • Wayside (Signal Testing) – Ongoing with an estimated completion by June 15, 2018
  • Dynamic Testing (Car Testing) – Expected to start June 15, 2018, and expected to finish by July 15, 2018
  • Revenue Service Demonstration (RSD) application by June 15, 2018
  • Expected RSD approval by the FRA by August 15, 2018
  • RSD slated to start by September 1, 2018
  • RSD slated to be complete by December 1, 2018
  • Revenue service expected to begin no later than December 31, 2018

*All completion dates are dependent on several factors, including: FRA approval, required testing completions and many other factors that directly or indirectly effect the completion dates. DCTA is working diligently to meet all testing completion dates.*