By Jim Melwert

MALVERN, Pa. (CBS) — Septa is one of a just a few transit agencies across the country on pace to meet a federal deadline to have a reliable “Positive Train Control” system up and running by the end of the year.

Today, Septa officials demonstrated that system for area congressmen.

Septa deputy GM Jeff Knueppel gave US senator Bob Casey, and US representatives Chaka Fattah, Pat Meehan, and Ryan Costello a brief explanation of how positive train control works.  For example, he said, they can monitor and enforce speed limits in real time on trains over the entire system.

“Continuously, we enforce the speed — the entire route, up, down,” Knueppel said.  “Whatever the maximum speed is, we enforce it.”

Transportation experts say positive train control could have averted the deadly Amtrak derailment on May 12th in Frankford.

 

(Members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation get a view of positive train control from underneath a train.  Photo by Jim Melwert)

(Members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation get a view of positive train control from underneath a train. Photo by Jim Melwert)

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The lawmakers then climbed on a train and were given a demonstration at Septa’s maintenance facility in Frazer, Pa., showing how positive train control can slow a train if it goes over a speed limit, or even stop a train if an engineer ignores a signal to stop.

“And there it is, it got shut down,” the Septa official pointed out at the end of successful demonstration.