RTD commuter rail lines have safety feature that could’ve prevented deadly Amtrak crash

DENVER -- RTD’s commuter rail lines, such as the A Line, are equipped with the congress-mandated safety technology that possibly could have prevented the deadly train crash in Washington state this week.

RTD was one of the first companies in the country to put positive train control (PTC) in their commuter rail lines. They were in the process of building the A and B lines when congress first mandated the technology about 10 years ago.

Only RTD's A and B commuter rail lines have the feature.

Now there are renewed calls of support for the technology after the passenger train derailed Monday after careening around a curve at almost three times the speed limit, hurling passenger cars off an overpass onto rush hour traffic below.

Three people were killed and about 100 injured when the train was flung off the tracks in DuPont, Washington.

PTC is essentially a GPS - it's a warning system that can control the speed of a train and even stop it completely.

The system can send a signal to an approaching train, indicating for the operator to slow down or stop. And if that train doesn't slow down in the next few seconds, the system will stop the train itself

Although RTD's commuter rail lines are equipped with it, most of the railroad systems in the United States aren’t using it yet.

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, as of the end of 2016, the technology was activated on just 24 percent of tracks for passenger railroads.

PTC is something congress mandated for all rail companies to install by the end of 2015 but that deadline was extended to the end of 2018.