BILLINGS – As Montana Rail Link gets ready to invest millions into new technology upgrades and safety modifications in the coming year, a recent federal grant will also help in that mission.
Ross Lane, the railroad’s communications director, said Monday the company was notified in mid-June of a $3.5 million CRISI (Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to supplement the installation of Positive Train Control on Montana Rail Link.
This will be in addition to $95 million Montana Rail Link has already slated to invest in new technology upgrades and safety modifications in the coming year.
“The funds will be used to complete the initial engineering and design phase of the total project,” said Lane.
Lane said MRL is set to install a system called Positive Train Control, which can overpower a train remotely and even stop it automatically before a crash occurs.
“While PTC is not mandated on Class 2 railroads like Montana Rail Link, we are voluntarily installing PTC because we believe it’s the right thing to do for our employees and the communities in which we operate,” said Lane.
When fully implemented, PTC will add yet another layer of safety for rail crews as they operate trains across Montana, according to Lane.
In May, MTN News took an in-depth look at the operations of Montana Rail Link. In addition to learning about positive train control, Lane announced 2019 will be the highest amount of capital invested in the company’s history.
Lane said these technology changes will help ensure Montana Rail Link remain the safest mode of transportation for our employees and communities across the state for many years to come.
-Andrea Lutz reporting for MTN News