Spring planting may seem quite far off, but farmers are already looking ahead with a wary eye on something that may derail all their plans—a nationwide railroad shutdown. Unable to comply with the looming Dec. 31 deadline for implementing positive train control, railroads are warning customers that they might stop rolling altogether—and soon, unless Congress gives them more time.
Positive train control is a GPS-based train control system designed to prevent collisions and over-speed derailments. Under the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, railroads are required to implement PTC systems by the end of this year on mainline tracks that carry “toxic by inhalation” materials like anhydrous ammonia—a key fertilizer ingredient—as well as passenger traffic.
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