tv Senate Commerce Hearing on Train Safety Control Implementation CSPAN August 1, 2019 12:07am-1:22am EDT
testimony from other transportation industry officials this runs one hour 15 minutes [inaudible conversations] good afternoon the committee gathers for a hearing in the next steps of train control implementationnd ranking member senator cantwell thank you to the witnesses for appearing and the director physical infrastructure and the gao vice president of strategic
development chris matthews assistant vice president bnsf railroad and jim dolinsky ceo and the executive a director. and with those challenges to meet the final implementation deadline of december 31st. the recent committee hearing is anig important technology with the ability to prevent accidents and derailments such as the tragic derailment in washington in 2017. then to pass by congress and october 2015 and then to
implement tpc by december 31st but allows the railroad the extension of up to 24 months if and only if they hit the milestones are pleased to say under the secretary chao in under the leadership the framework has been faithfully implemented and to submit documentation and to qualify for the extension so then to receive a certain extension from that deadline and to make progress on tpc implementation
and availability for updates and across the network and from the end of last year witnesses to discuss freight how they implement tpc and to describe what is needed to achieve full implementation that the railroads be interoperable in other words to operate seamlessly across tracks on five different railroads the interoperability requires coordination across the rail industry between the fair at earl railroad administration vendors and suppliers and other stakeholders to undertake their complex areas where multiple railroads interact and then to provide an update
on testing with any success through such testing i also invite our expert witnesses of the interoperability through that network and less than a year and a half away and then to focus on those that require additional attention in that past tpc hearings we hear about software and railroads and field testing. so i invite all witnesses on the availability to support tpc installation and to identify any other challenges to full implementation require
look forward to a robust discussion we think the wet - - the witnesses for today and to be recognized and also senator duckworth for a special introduction i will recognize senator cantwell. >> thanks for holding this important hearing of this implementation thanks to the witnesses we look forward to hearing your perspective but the headline of 2020 the importance of the life-saving technology in december 2017 then to derail near the bend in washington claiming three lives and entering 65 people
the ntsb investigation found tpc would have prevented this tragedy. just one of many preventable tragedies since the ntsb first recommended positive train control implementation it could have prevented 150 crashes and fatalities brick i am pleased that chairman wicker shares my commitment to make sure 2020 is the deadline that the committee takes the oversight with positive train control if we still do not fully implement to support the safety even at the full implement there will still be those that were not part of tpc including 1400 miles of tracks used by amtrak
expressing concerns about this during a previous committee hearing last month and we followed up to seek more information about the safety measures that should be in place this includes speed limit action plan and the technologies thank you to the administrator for the response for your commitment to ensure safety everywhere that amtrak operates. this will help prevent another washington accident from happening again even with tpc in place we have to prioritize cufety no technology is a cure all for well chain just trained engineers at a railroad that is a major step forward for safety and a long time coming to get where we toe today with a special
commuter railroad system facing challenges and look forward to the opportunity to hear from the witnesses about tpc to be fully implemented everywhere to make sure it is on the rail system. i look forward to asking specific question about that implementation and is 1400 miles of track that will not be covered. >> also senator duckworth i thank you mister chairman it is my pleasure to welcome ceo and executive director who has successfully led the organization in 2017 every weekday metro operate 700 trains transporting 290,000 passengers to provide service to and from downtown chicago on 11 lines covering more than 1200 tracks. 's extensive experience and
technical expertise allows him to lead one of the most complex systems in the nation to pull every drop of value out of state and federal resources. a few monthsy va ago the 47th street coach and then to fine tune the rolling stock. and then then to go a little bit further and it was t there with the real and deep appreciation of tpc $250 million receiving less than 50 million of federal grants expected the implementation to be between $350,000,400,000,000 with that 2ditional per year of operating cost i am confident
welcome and thank you for being here today we stand to learn a lot from you and i yelled back. >> thank you senator. we will now proceed to hearing summaries and we will begin mister administrator you may begin. >> good afternoon. chairman booker ranking member cantwell and members of the committee thank you for the opportunity to testify about the high priorities in the full implementation and interoperable systems by decembt 2020 and with the industry as of march 31st tpc is in
operation of the 70000 miles subject to the statutory mandate nevertheless still to have extensive work including activating tpc with the required mainline and achieving interoperability. notably to put on that required mainline in 2018 and the other 37 railroads on target scheduled the statutory mandate requires so as of march 5th to approve all applicable schedules before the 90 daych deadline. and we continue to actively monitor railroads progress including the reports do
today. planarity reports show tpc was in operation 87 percent of the required mainline nationwide june 2019 including 91 percent of the class one required. commuter railroads conducting revenue service on 37 percent of their required lines as of june a 12 percent increase over quarter one. amtrak often onto support it is in operation 99.8 percent of its required mainline and in addition to implement the passenger rail service it has been operating at full implement system since 2018 and another five are conducted in the field and then the focus mandated mainline is a high concentration including
commuter railroads. on july 12th i initiated monthly meetings with leadership of amtrak and commuter railroads of the northeast corridor with her own teeth ten required line of the northeast as this committee is aware interoperability is the primary challenge of full implementation by december 31st 2020. approximately the railroads that are operating on the mainlines there are 227 relationships are interoperability must be achieved as of march 31st 70 percent of those have achieved interoperability and 38 percent were conducting testing. as leadership of 61 of the 71 freight class one to discuss
the next steps are interoperability also posting more additional collaboration over the next 17 months focusing on debt p practices and the ultimate statutory deadline the role has accontinued that tpc vendors and suppliers are resource constrained in part due to increased demand as the deadline approaches. after being confirmed as administrator i met with the ten major vendors to discuss the critical role they play. this year i have set those issues that require some suppliers immediate action including the recall equipment due to defects and capacity limitations hindering interoperability and as we continue to meet with vendors and suppliers they are in
trouble to meet the deadline. in additionas to technical assistance awarded two.$6 billion were awarded in grant funding to support tpc implementation representing 18 percent of this million dollar industry. and specifically 42 percent that estimates the implementation is costing the commuter railroad also the maintenance cost citing hundreds of millions of additional dollars with 100 million per year. that's why we appreciate the prioritization and the continued funding and to continue to work with stakeholders to ensure the fully implement those systems if any world fails to meet the deadline with the plans to enforce the statutory mandate
with those that are authorized by congress thank you and i'm here to answer questions. >> thank you very much director fleming. >> it afternoon ranking member and members of the committee and chairman thank you for the opportunity to prevent implementation and oversight of tpc one of the most promising technological advantages in rail safety and decades back over thee years we have reported on progress reporting on tpc which is complex and lengthy process involving nearly all major rail lines and every aspect of operation while railroads are required to implement by last december you're allowed to grant extensions through december 2020 if they met specific requirements d. moore have fully implemented tpc the others continue to h work to achieve full implementation. in terms of equipment testing
but with respect to interoperability to be made to fully implement tpc i will focus on two main issues railroad implementation progress in remaining challenges and the approach to meet the 2020 deadline turning to the implementation update since december making progress on the limitation of your own system six railroads reported implementing on all their own territories as only one commuter at this stage in december but 11 railroads reported they remained in field testing which is an early stage of implementation regarding the interoperability as of march 11th the most operable systems reported they achievedra interoperability with one and collectively of the 227 unique relationships
they've only turned which actually achieve 20 percent in response to the questionnaire most reported that vendor and software issues are significant problem it is now more acute because of the 2020 deadline and then add dressing these issues and delays with highat demand for services continue to cause problems more than half of the railroad interoperability was a major challenge and can be complicated by software issues with host and tenet schedules one said that certain software functionality still has to be developed, tested and implemented to address reliability issues causing system disruptions interoperability challenges through the systems and geographic areas are difficult and dense urban areas like the northeast or chicago with
different stages of implementation and the commuter railroads and amtrak are implementing a form of the system on a portion of their equipment and in some cases two different systems are operating can't currently which adds to the complexity of interoperability. now to my second point, providing assistance and support to railroads and the testing processe but as we continue to face the substantial workload through 2020 overseeing those implementations including lengthy safety plans as such to prioritize the resources based on risk. and to make improvements to the extended deadline for the full implementation less than 18 months away and then to have substantial work to
complete those challenges to address before the deadline. going forward have that transition as a routine part of operations after the 2020 deadline similarly we need to transitionne from implementation largely done by contractors to maintain the tpc system so december 2020 that is now the deadline for implementationn but also a point after which railroads will face new operational and oversight environment this can was my statement pleased to answer questions you may have. >> thank you very much. >> good afternoon chairman and ranking member and all the members of the committee thank you for holding is important hearing for the next steps for tpcth implementation with the
vice president of strategy and growth it is our privilege to represent to appear before you today with two of the earliest partners bnsf. going back to the origins in 1869 safety has been and is the core issue for lab tech supporting freighty and passenger customer railroad commitments to meet the decembet deadline of implementation is a foremost priority. at the outset i thought to be helpful to note to be deployed by railroads tpc function has a safety overlay that is designed to enforce existing indications this means that tpc serves as a supplement insurance measure with the safety practices and procedures. lab tech's role is built on the interoperable electronic train management system and
diploid both passenger railroads operating outside the northeast corridor. lab tech is a hardware and softwarere supplier for onboard a back office segments it also serves as a tpc system for a number of passenger railroads. and to implement the 2018 requirements lab tech manufactured and delivered more than 23000 on board systems. it also developed a customized software application for the back office interfaces to or replaces existing railroad back office systems. focusing on our customers tmeeting that december 31st deadline is twofold. first, lab tech is committed
to those customer requirements for interoperability. specifically we have released software updates to enable increase traffic and working toward another update this fall that will have the onboard capacity to handle train bulletins. certification e supporting customer agencies to complete revenue service demonstrations, achieve approval
of safety plans and free, validate host interoperability. in summary, we are dedicated to fulfilling commitments to enable full interoperability across the system. wewe are teaming up with the wih our customers to continually include david could improve performance and working directly with passenger railroad customers where they have a lead system integration will. looking to the future, it's an ongoing commitment for all stakeholders into the work and i investment will continue past 2020. new digital technologies will enable even greater safety operational benefits. we look forward to partnering with our customers and other industry stakeholders to advance this vision for the future. thank you for the invitation to testify, and i would be pleased to answer any questions you may have. >> thank you sir. mr. matthews.
>> afternoon members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to do is to provide an update on the implementation of the positive control. ptc is an important component of the overall risk reduction program that has resulted in a meaningful progress towards the vision of zero accidents and injuries. safety is the most important thing we do. in such ongoing risk reduction efforts combining robust capital investment program, training that reinforces the safe operating practices and maintenance of a strong employee safety culture is also increasingly involves development and deployment of new technologies. we've invested nearly $65 billion in private capital back into the railroad since 2000 advanced windows 3.5 billion in 2019. the railroad's t physical plantn the best condition in its01 history. ttc is an important safety development and also one of the most significant costly and complex technologies that the industry has ever deployed.
the capital investment will exceed $2 billion. as the industry deploys other s portant technological advancements, we are working closely in support of moving towards a regulatory paradigm that will allow leveraging theel investment and support future innovation. today we are operating ptc on all 88 federally mandated subdivisions covering more than 11,500 miles and 80% of the freight volume. we've also equipped an equippede operating on mine on mandated an additional 2,000 miles of protection. we are running more than 4,000 trains daily in the revenue service and have run more than 2.5 million trips since december, 2012. more than 21,000 employees to operate and maintain training equipment which involves not just technology that changes in the work processes of the operations teams and many other departments.
the volume of trainings running on the networks demonstrates that people know how to operate and support the system. moving forward, we have three major focus areas to continue refining and driving continuous improvement. ensuring reliability, fully integrating into the operations and achieving full interoperability. enosely engaged with vendors and suppliers become part hardware and software to refine the key components of the system to ensure they have the necessary capacity, longevity and reliability to separate the operations. unicef is actively working on painteroperability with our suppliers with which we need to be interoperable to identify their needs and provide technical and operational assistance with services such as posting and training as needed. unisys did it go unicef has achieved ten of the 23 that will update on the network that icludes all passenger railroads where they run as well as
several short line railroads and last month we began running the trains with the union pacific the largest part or in the first clasp on freight railroad with which we have achieved interoperability. unisys will be able to fully test the interoperability of one of thonthe completion of our efs with the remaining class one railroads. this is a time and labor intensive process involving leaks and in some cases months of preparation and testing with each railroad. the interoperability relies heavily on the flow of accurate information and the amount of data that will ultimately be transmitted between railroads and the various components that comprise the system is significant. we are working closely to ensure upcoming software releases will accommodate the amount of data required for full nationwide interoperability and testing to prove that it will be ongoing. the industry has made tremendous progress on implementation that there are still significant
works to do in the coming months. a highly reliable system is important not only for the safety benefits to developers but also essential to efficiently maintain the transportation needs of the customers. unisys will continue to work with all stakeholders to meet the goal of implementing an interoperable system as congress envisioned. thank you for the opportunity to be here today and i would be happy to answer any questions that you might have. >> thank you, sir. >> afternoon, chairman, ranking member, members of the committee and especially senator from illinois. i'm the ceo and executive director chicago as the senator pointed out and i'm also on the board of directors and inut the commuter rail subcommittee and the chairman of the newly formed commuter rail coalition which was formed to bring a voice of commuter rail to advocate its unique needs to the legislators and regulators and i'm pleased to have the opportunity to speak about positive control and implementatioimplementation ands for both this esteemed body.
i'd like to provide a little bit of background on the commuter rail industry and the system. deliver over 500 million passenger trips annually and mprovides assistance to the safest form of transportation. the regions that we serve our services to support economic development, textbased growth, reduced congestion and compared to traveling on the highway we get back valuable time to the customers, tim which they can be as productive as they want or they can catch up on rest, both activities not possible behind the wheels on an automobile. it also offers customers the ability to access more affordable housing. as they still will be able to come downtown to work and be there safe and on time. commuter railroads are in existence for two reasons. the freight railroads in the 1980s, and beyond, were unable to sustain operations without losses. cities and states identified the necessity for the commuter and began funding the subsidies.
these railroads areta now knowns legacy systems. second of the new systems or the new starts which the cities and states identified the need for the commute in the region and country in a state heavily in the commuter for the benefits provided to cities. the commuter raild routes based nature funding challenges. the industry has been working diligently to install, but the federal safety mandate has put a great strain on the limited dollars for the state of disrepair and capitagoodrepair . further, the legacy systems face unique c. just as we work to maintain and upgrade our aging infrastructure. since its creation in the 1984, it's going to be the largest commuter railroad in the country based on the truck miles and fourth largest base of the ridership. there's a letter in separate flights with 42 stations and trains operate over our own infrastructure as well as infrastructure owned by discreet partners and we are both the host and independent in chicago. the primary goal is to update nearly 700 trains that run daily throughout thera system developr
is, intermingled with approximately 700 additional freight and passenger trains. the implementation will further enhance the safety of the network simultaneously we will work to sustain the legacy system that includes capital, component dating back well into the 18 hundreds. approximately half of all trips made from suburban chicago to downtown or on our network. despite the complexity we are pleased to report since the inception we havee been able to maintain 93% on-time performance or better. this realit reality in mind they provide an update to the committee on the implementation status in the challenges they face and the potential next steps for both congress and industry. in 2018 when it al 2018 we met y requirements for the extension. interoperability )-right-paren was one of our biggest challenges. not only premature but the entire network in chicago. ptc must work for any train on
any track in the different railroads have different pt systems, different operating rules. in chicago at number 14 railroads working together. while implementing, we also have run into unforeseen challenges including setbacks with hardware and software and it forced us to modify the implementation schedule and limited supply network including technical support has further exacerbated these issues fromt the true. this acquires web we share these resources with a majority of the railroads in the united states. since the conversion of the dispatching system last year, we are onat our 31st software upgre in one year. despite the setbacks, we will meet the deadline of the alternative schedule implementation. we must have increased timely support from our supplier network. this will help us to g go back o the schedule of lost contingencies that we originally built into the schedule lost because of the setbacks. but there also must be enough
resources readily available not just for metro but the entire industry. positive train control both increase the safety of the system for nearly 290,000 passengers that we give trips to veeryday and get them to work on time. however, the limitation and it's expected to cost to maintain the additional stresses on the limited capital good repair budget. for the federal formula funding. original estimates were based on what was done at the time and as you can see, we didn't know enough. an estimate of 15 to $20 million a$20 millionas of our operatinge each e year. and each commuter railroad will have to bear its perpetual operating costs whil while we ae grateful to the congress for recognizing the burden of theos ptc, we ask the congress to increase the federal formula funding and the grant program
of the severity in other parts of the country. >> but it was an after? >> my personal opinion, i think that they should have doneui better and brought about the standardization. >> okay. >> well, she says there are a number of things congress will to do topportunity address the need of the computer railroads consider creating a dedicated funding stream in and number of items listed on page four of the testimony. other members of the panel, would you like to respond to
these suggestions? >> responding to the amounts it wouldn't be appropriate for me e despitto cite the money amountsr se. one thing that i would say, and it was mentioned in senator's remarks, and i said this time and time again throughout my career it'sdu not about how much you spend it's how wisely you spend it. and this is a classic example on how wisely they spend their money. >> a lot of it has to do with the leadership in the corner office. it's kind of a poster child insofar as spending its money wisely that's not to say that the others don't but i think
that they do an extremely good job. i think that there should be additional perspective to veto funding. some of the challenges that have led us to the schedule at this point but notwithstanding there will be an investment for ongoing maintenance of the system once we achieve the 2020 deadline there will be an ongoing need for operational and for the maintenance and therefore i'm fully behind. after the next 18 months expires. >> i think we are at a crossroads. i'm cautiously optimistic. i think we've heard from the panel there's been a lot of
progress. folks are taking this very seriously, but that being said, we only have four that have crossed the finish line. we have 11 better still in the early stages, and we have some pretty complex hurdles to get through whether it's a limited number of vendors come to software issues, the system they have different issues, the locomotive capacity. i think he was one of the big hurdle of interoperability, trying to work through that particularly in certain parts of the country, so i think that we are at a crossroads. i think a lo a lot before this happened but if there continues to be more issues, if there's still vendor issues, there's a lot on their plate and some of the safety plans are a thousand pages and we are trying to create a template to have some standardization but that isn't going to work with every system
so, you know, how is that all going to play out. so i think we are at a critical juncture. i do think six months from now we will be able to take a closer look at where things are. >> sounds like we may have some disappointments in 2020. >> i hope not. >> we are doing everythingg to keep that from happening. >> senator cantwell. >> thank you mr. chairman. i sent a letter after the findings and lessons learned from the derailment in the state of washington. the response to my letter states that comic book, the fra investigation of the accident found training for the crew members didn't comply with federal regulation and was a contributing factor into the cause of the accident and the enforcement action is ongoing. i don't want to talk about the
ongoing investigation, but can you explain how a deficient crewmember training standard was able to combine with existing regulations and what are you doing to improve those regulations? >> as far as what transpired this morning and what i learned about it, from my career experience i think that there would be training with an engineer regardless of what level of training to allow that to happen. on top of that, there was a conductor trying to get qualified on the territories and i have somebody that isn't familiar with the territory, an
engineer is communicating back and forth in the early hours of the morning and when i saw the video and the audio, i shook my head in dismay and said that shouldn't have happened. it was like the perfect storm. it's not representative of this railroad industry but unfortunately there was that incident. >> your job is the oversight of that culture so how did this happen and what do we need to do to address it. >> it wasn't enforcing the characteristics in that particular instance properly. we do spot checks and audits and engineer programs to make sure that the carriers are compliant but as i said, what transpired this morning is something that shouldn't have happened. >> what should we do to update the rules if you o are saying wt do we do to make sure that they create that culture?
>> you can write rules but it takes people to enforce them and the people that were responsible for enforcinge them either were not cognizant of what they were supposed to enforce or if they were cognizant they were lacking in fulfilling their duties. >> so what should they do about that if you think because obviously we will keep going and now we have a discussion which may or may not get done.o what do we need to do to make sure that they address the issue. t >> there is a lesson learned. they realized they had an issue and they've done a lot as far as improving the organization structure and the culture that there insofar as adding additional, getting the
engineers they are supposed to and doing more training both in the field as well as simulator . they've done a good job in addressing that. >> i feel very comfortable with everything that they have done as a result of that lesson learned. >> so you think that there is adequatell safety now. >> safety never sleeps and never ends. we've got to keep on top of it constantly. it doesn't matter who is in the helm.
i get that the cultures are hard to legislate. you have to create the safety standards and make sure that they are implemented. so, from this perspective i just want to know whether you think that everything that they have done to date there've been everything you can to make sure that that is implemented. >> i think that the railroads first are the responsible parties and the men and women. there is a total of 68 last year
we had one and that was in north carolina. we will continue to look at the implementation of the recommendations. i can't afford your staff to get more information both as more -- >> first i want to applaud the efforts of the commuter rail operators to prioritized the testing and interoperability. as we discussed on several occasions they are still working
to implement so far sufficiently demonstrated continued progress towards the w december 2020 deadline. you will continue to keep us in on any progress, correct? >> yes. if the testimony suggests, the tough choice to make early investment and i saw that when i came out to visit. but even after it's fully implemented, there is anfu estimated 15 to $20 million. can you scratch below the surface on some of the ideas that you highlighted in the testimony to provide operators relief from the tremendous ptz investments that you have occurred? >> i think that with support from the congress on the program, an extension of the program and diagrams that are available they are, the discretionary grants are kind of hard idiots we have been asking
congress to consider a commuter rail funding source in the future as they look at the reauthorization. anytime we can get the funding it certainly will help in the planning that's always been one of our things with the event flow anything we can do to get sustainable continuous funding we could actually probably take and look at the next wave of the safety initiatives that they can undertake. >> would you want the funding to be more of a multi-year type of fund them is that what you are asking for instead of a single year time frame? >> the better for the industry that helps us with the planning. >> thank you. i'm troubled to hear other software glitches in the supply chain. can you paint a picture about how this can impact the timeline for the operators a pretender is a glitch what exactly happense o
you? >> what is happening a happenina test everything in the la the ls answered and are able to be smoked out i wouldda say. once we start operating with the other trains we start finding sometimes operational glitches. we are held handcuffed the people that write the software and they then work on writing software updates and then they have to be tested and redeployed out in the field. and in a network like chicago, where we have 1400 trains that eventually will work within that tight little area, we are continually always finding new challenges that just didn't exist in other areas in the country. >> so then how do those glitches to shared with other networks into their system systems are yn contact with others or other software people ca people, how t happen? >> the committee actually has
the ability to have only the latest revision of software available to everybody, so as they come out with the latest revision j it's not just fixing problems may be on our network. it might be fixing problems in seattle, los angeles and new york depending where the operators are outcomes of the total controlled by that committee said there is only one individual version of software that's out there. >> that if you ask finding a glitch that is problematic and it doesn't fix it keeps building, do you vent on the radio function do you reach out to los angeles and say are you seeing before seeing this problem, what are you doing into that sort of thing that you are not out there trying to troubleshoot with your software company? >> we have a great network of people separated out through the aar and we are constantly in communication with our peers and we are also in chicago because of the complexity of the chicago deployment group into his constant conversations and
attacks themselves hold meetings so that we can always be chatting about the latest and greatest thing happening and what lessons have been learned elsewhere. >> i would like to hear from -- i've heard from a number of operators with concerns of the software updates. can you describe the challenges of web tech and interfacing with software updates and how this might affect testing and interoperability? >> yes, senator. so, the magnitude of the issue in chicago is significantly greater than elsewhere. we have had challenges in chicago. i believe that we have turned a corner several of the subdivisions are now in revenues for this demonstration and are performing well. we've had our share of challenges but based on the interoperability testing than elsewhere in the country,de i he confidence that we have overcome the most significant problems. certainly the lesson learned is
there can't be enough testing. it also requires a lot of collaboration with the itc committees that were mentioned, as well as the other railroad customers to make sure that we stay in front of the problems before they cause in operational impact. >> thank you. i'm over time. i will yield back. ... >> this will be critical to ensure those can overcome the challenges particularly with interoperability achievement as we approached the 2020 deadline. aside from the subject of the
mandate i am interested to hear more about the progress of the short line railroads implementing due to contracts with host railroad short line provides a critical service in south dakota connecting grain elevators to the mainlines so i wonder if you can provide an update on the status of tpc implementation to speak those challenges with those full interoperability with those host railroads. >> when we could get a list and be consolidated from that redundancy we came up with 76 railroads of which 41 were independent of those
conglomerates. and today we have not yet learned of any short line railroads that is thrown its hands up to say we can't get this done. and with those challenges when you realize the cost is $100,000 peruc locomotive so this is a hard pill to swallow. and that mark of insurance they have to take on now as a result of underwriters i reviewing operation and requirements to have tpc.
those that handle ten or 15 cars per day with a major investment of $100,000 then to find out insurance is going up and the premiums go up as well it is hard and something that needs to be addressed and fra is not a position to address it then to the short line association and its membership the railroad industry as a whole has to recognize this because we are integratedhi exchanging traffic among all the railroads. >> so as a follow-up bnsf with implementation can you speak briefly what you are doing to achieve interoperability
quick. >> we take a targeted approach with the tenants that we work with so there are several hundred short lines that operate on the system and we have worked with them to understand every movement and with restricted speed so we have taken the large list of short team short months but those that are interoperable and to help them with training or back-office hosting with those leasing locomotives. >> canan you speak to those challenges particularly with high traffic volumes to what
they said with those resource issues and how you implement. >> with regard to interoperability we do have a recent challenge with regard to capacity in the onboard system and then to highlight the importance and then we have implemented and then to have that change we do have that our partners have agreed that will address it and with respect to resources there is knowledge goes into supporting
thepp system i personally believe that the ongoing maintenance will be a challenge to be sure that we keep that pipeline with the application and have the technical skills that those are very important. >> thank you senator. as you may know tpc is an abiding issue for me that our nation must fulfill since the day we put a man on the moon it has been 50 years if we cannot implement tpc it is due to lack of will not technological knowledge or resources because we have the
are usually with this issue quick. >> yes sir i am. do you know whether that delay will threaten metro-north will threaten with the 2020 deadline quick. >> at this juncture there is an opportunity to recover that loss time with quality control issues. that i am not here to say we will make the deadline. especially the northeast core door. and i know what the state of
new york is done personally it is an alternative that others can look at but with full concentration looking at what we can do to make the system implement by the deadline. >> i will not ask for definitive answers but can you get back to me at some point in the next week with an estimate on whether or not metro-north will make that. >> i meet with leadership monday of next week when i return i will reach out to your office. >> now the northeast corridor or what is your level of confidence they will meet the deadline quick. >> in respect to the time that we have.
>> get back to me. >> but basically we have those on the northeast corridor where. if anyone doesn't have a functional system it is a domino effect with the service impact. and the host railroad will not allow them to be out there because they are both subject to violations andon fines. so july 12th we brought that leadership together. and is strictly the leadership but then the most technical people need that leadership and that's why we see what we can accomplish over the next 17 months. >> and the entire northeast corridor could be crippled transportation why. >> it has the potential
especially new york polyp - - metropolitan area in connecticut but does have a domino effect. and then you want everybody equipped. >> i appreciate you coming back to me as soon as possible to give me an update but the northeast corridor is not just about any single state or that region but about the whole country in the economic effect to beco catastrophic and disastrous. and then to discipline the vendors that is a limited number of them and the fact to
bar or disqualify one sounds easier than it is in terms of the effect on these deadlines. >> yes. and everything was software andd interoperability and at this point and then to move to that next critical stage but at the same time they have that expertise and it is critical that everyone does their part to make the 2020 deadline.
>> and there needs to be an aggressive and proactive intervention by federal authorities with the market power or the monopoly power of these companies at their unfair mercy affecting consumers in the entire country. with that wireless communication you have boundaries you have to work through. and then a significant challenge so the northeast corridor that in the trickiest part of the country for different reasons. >> thank you.
and thank you for h your leadership on this issue over many years we've had many conversations and providing a lot of good leadership. >> i just have one remark? and in that northeast core door if you look at those igconfigurations required to tsupport two different types of systems on the northeast corridor there's 40 different options among a different railroads involving seven different vendors. and some of these commuter railroads did not initiate engagement through 2015 and the law was passed in 21 - - 2008 i'm not defending that industry but there's playmobil sides of the equation.
and how to get this fixed is sooner rather than later but we are behind the eight ball 37 percent as a whole. if you go to chicago it is basically one system is not to say it will be easy but as i tell people in chicago after serving for different corporate flags that can be the worst lizard in the snowstorm if they don't get tpc right i want to avoid any unfairness and i apologize for going over but the apollo project involved 400,000 people across the united states and thousands of different companies making spacesuits and the craft that carried the astronauts and somehow they put it all together. so america can do it and other countries have done it.
i understand the complexity and the a challenges but i have been a long time of advocate of avoiding any further delay and at this point i am not willing to hear excuses and it is easy for me to say but i hope you all will do your best. >> i does have one quick question but we talk about this vendors supply constraint on implementation schedules and i would direct this to you ms. fleming but have issues with supply constraints improved or got worse quick. >> i think they are about the
same. i think the difference is everybody is trying to work through. it's gotten our attention but there is a limited pool and everybody is working toward the same deadline and and everyone is looking for the plans and at the same time on the locomotive memory to get it right. but unfortunately we are at a critical juncture we really need the vendors and their a game and to cross the finish line and get it right.
>>ll we have now embarked on a series of votes on the floor of the senate which were unexpected. thank you for being with us. on a very important topic. we remain hopeful that we look forward to your suggestions. we will remain open for two weeks to submit questions for the record and then to submit the written answers to the committee. >> thank you very much thank you with hearings of the members.