The topic of Positive Train Control has emerged in discussions about renewing Sunset service between New Orleans and Orlando. PTC was also a topic during the recent Intermodal Steering Committee and Texas High Speed Rail Commission joint meeting in Little Rock.
During this conference, representatives of operating rail lines cast PTC as both an unfunded mandate and an opportunity to optimize operations. This innovative system will demand trackside monitors and computers in the cabs. It’s a brave new world.
Progressive Railroading features a good discussion from the locomotive engineer’s viewpoint, with expansion from the FRA and reader’s reactions.
In an optimized train pacing process fuel would be conserved by reducing energy losses due to braking and reduced throttle running position on the paced train. There is no reason to run up to the approach in throttle 8, dump the kinetic energy by braking, pull into the siding and wait 30 minutes when a properly designed train pacing process would allow for a timed meet that would optimize fuel consumption with minimum effect on average train velocity.
It does not answer every question, but you will gain some insight.