The Friends of the 261 to raise funds for the installation of the Positive Train Control (PTC) safety system on Milwaukee Road steam locomotive No. 261. The federal government has mandated PTC be installed on locomotives by December 2018.
Positive Train Control, often referred to as PTC, is a GPS-based rail safety technology that enhances safety of passengers, rail employees and the general public by preventing collisions between trains, damage to equipment, over-speed accidents and injuries or death of roadway workers. If an operating condition exists that requires reduction of speed or a stop to be made, PTC will apply the brakes if the operator of the train fails to take appropriate action to slow or stop the movement within the allowed parameters. PTC technology requires many different conditions to be considered such as train weight, speed, gradient of the track, locomotive horsepower and other variables that affect the slowing or stopping distance of each particular train. It must be able to function, calculate and act on any train from a two car commuter train to a 15,000 foot long fully loaded freight train
The Friends of the 261 estimates it will cost between $100,000 and $150,000 to equip the steam locomotive with PTC. Without funding to purchase, install and train crews for PTC use on No. 261, mainline excursions may never run again with the locomotive.