After years of Congressional pressure and the occasional serious accident, Amtrak announced last week that it’s completed deployment of Positive Train Control (PTC) on all track sections and locomotives that it owns.
Cascades PTC work was complete in March 2019. The Coast Starlight and Empire Builder don’t use any Amtrak-owned track, though they do use their locomotives.
Amtrak only owns about 623 miles of track, most notably parts of the Northeast Corridor but also bits of Michigan and Southern California. 86% of all Amtrak route miles are now subject to PTC.
In unrelated news, the Amtrak app and website will now tell you, at booking time, how full a train is relative to its (Covid-reduced) seating capacity (see image above). This is intended to help people make their own health decisions, though it would be a useful feature to keep beyond that. This feature is not operational on the Pacific Surfliner or Capitol Corridor, both in California.