49 CFR § 236.1021 - Discontinuances, material modifications, and amendments.

§ 236.1021 Discontinuances, material modifications, and amendments.

(a) No changes, as defined by this section, to a PTCIP or PTCDP may be made unless:

(1) The railroad files a request for amendment (RFA) to the applicable PTCIP or PTCDP with the Associate Administrator; and

(2) The Associate Administrator approves the RFA.

(b) After approval of an RFA in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section, the railroad shall immediately adopt and comply with the amendment.

(c) In lieu of a separate filing under part 235 of this chapter, a railroad may request approval of a discontinuance or material modification of a signal or train control system by filing an RFA to its PTCIP or PTCDP with the Associate Administrator.

(d) FRA will not approve an RFA to a PTCIP or PTCDP unless the request includes:

(1) The information listed in § 235.10 of this chapter and the railroad provides FRA upon request any additional information necessary to evaluate the RFA (see § 235.12), including:

(2) The proposed modifications;

(3) The reasons for each modification;

(4) The changes to the PTCIP or PTCDP, as applicable;

(5) Each modification's effect on PTC system safety;

(6) An approximate timetable for filing of the PTCDP, PTCSP, or both, if the amendment pertains to a PTCIP; and

(e) If the RFA includes a request for approval of a discontinuance or material modification of a signal or train control system, FRA will publish a notice in the Federal Register of the application and will invite public comment in accordance with part 211 of this chapter.

(f) When considering the RFA, FRA will review the issue of the discontinuance or material modification and determine whether granting the request is in the public interest and consistent with railroad safety, taking into consideration all changes in the method of operation and system functionalities, both within normal PTC system availability and in the case of a system failed state (unavailable), contemplated in conjunction with installation of the PTC system. The railroad submitting the RFA must, at FRA's request, perform field testing in accordance with § 236.1035 or engage in Verification and Validation in accordance with § 236.1017.

(g) FRA may issue at its discretion a new Type Approval number for a PTC system modified under this section.

(h) Changes requiring filing of an RFA. Except as provided by paragraph (i), an RFA shall be filed to request the following:

(1) Discontinuance of a PTC system, or other similar appliance or device;

(2) Decrease of the PTC system's limits (e.g., exclusion or removal of a PTC system on a track segment);

(3) Modification of a safety critical element of a PTC system; or

(4) Modification of a PTC system that affects the safety critical functionality of any other PTC system with which it interoperates.

(i) Discontinuances not requiring the filing of an RFA. It is not necessary to file an RFA for the following discontinuances:

(1) Removal of a PTC system from track approved for abandonment by formal proceeding;

(2) Removal of PTC devices used to provide protection against unusual contingencies such as landslide, burned bridge, high water, high and wide load, or tunnel protection when the unusual contingency no longer exists;

(3) Removal of the PTC devices that are used on a movable bridge that has been permanently closed by the formal approval of another government agency and is mechanically secured in the closed position for rail traffic; or

(4) Removal of the PTC system from service for a period not to exceed 6 months that is necessitated by catastrophic occurrence such as derailment, flood, fire, or hurricane, or earthquake.

(j) Changes not requiring the filing of an RFA. When the resultant change to the PTC system will comply with an approved PTCSP of this part, it is not necessary to file for approval to decrease the limits of a system when it involves the:

(1) Decrease of the limits of a PTC system when interlocked switches, derails, or movable-point frogs are not involved;

(2) Removal of an electric or mechanical lock, or signal used in lieu thereof, from hand-operated switch in a PTC system where train speed over such switch does not exceed 20 miles per hour, and use of those devices has not been part of the considerations for approval of a PTCSP; or

(3) Removal of an electric or mechanical lock, or signal used in lieu thereof, from a hand-operated switch in a PTC system where trains are not permitted to clear the main track at such switch and use of those devices has not been a part of the considerations for approval of a PTCSP.

(k) Modifications not requiring the filing of an RFA. When the resultant arrangement will comply with an approved PTCSP of this part, it is not necessary to file an application for approval of the following modifications:

(1) A modification that is required to comply with an order of the Federal Railroad Administration or any section of part 236 of this title;

(2) Installation of devices used to provide protection against unusual contingencies such as landslide, burned bridges, high water, high and wide loads, or dragging equipment;

(3) Elimination of existing track other than a second main track;

(4) Extension or shortening of a passing siding; or

(5) The temporary or permanent arrangement of existing systems necessitated by highway-rail grade separation construction. Temporary arrangements shall be removed within six months following completion of construction.

(l) Any RFA to a PTCDP or PTCSP pursuant to this section may be submitted jointly with other host railroads utilizing the same type of PTC system. However, only host railroads with the same PTC System Certification classification under § 236.1015(e) may jointly file an RFA to their PTCSPs. Any joint RFA to multiple host railroads' PTCSPs must include the information required under paragraph (m) of this section. The joint RFA must also include the written confirmation and statement specified under paragraphs (m)(2)(iii) and (iv) of this section from each host railroad jointly filing the RFA.

(m) No changes, as specified under paragraph (h)(3) or (4) of this section, may be made to an FRA-certified PTC system or an FRA-approved PTCSP unless the host railroad first complies with the following process:

(1) The host railroad revises its PTCSP to account for each proposed change to its PTC system and summarizes such changes in a chronological table of revisions at the beginning of its PTCSP;

(2) The host railroad electronically submits the following information in an RFA to the Director of FRA's Office of Railroad Systems and Technology:

(i) A summary of the proposed changes to any safety-critical elements of a PTC system, including a summary of how the changes to the PTC system would affect its safety-critical functionality, how any new hazards have been addressed and mitigated, whether each change is a planned change that was previously included in all required analysis under § 236.1015 or an unplanned change, and the reason for the proposed changes, including whether the changes are necessary to address or resolve an emergency or urgent issue;

(ii) Any associated software release notes;

(iii) A confirmation that the host railroad has notified any applicable tenant railroads of the proposed changes, any associated effect on the tenant railroads' operations, and any actions the tenant railroads must take in accordance with the configuration control measures set forth in the host railroad's PTCSP;

(iv) A statement from a qualified representative of the host railroad, verifying that the modified PTC system would meet all technical requirements under this subpart, provide an equivalent or greater level of safety than the existing PTC system, and not adversely impact interoperability with any tenant railroads; and

(v) Any other information that FRA requests; and

(3) A host railroad shall not make any changes, as specified under paragraph (h)(3) or (4) of this section, to its PTC system until the Director of FRA's Office of Railroad Systems and Technology approves the RFA.

(i) FRA will approve, approve with conditions, or deny the RFA within 45 days of the date on which the RFA was filed under paragraph (m)(2) of this section.

(ii) FRA reserves the right to notify a railroad that changes may proceed prior to the 45-day mark, including in an emergency or under other circumstances necessitating a railroad's immediate implementation of the proposed changes to its PTC system.

(iii) FRA may require a railroad to modify its RFA or its PTC system to the extent necessary to ensure safety or compliance with the requirements of this part.

(iv) Following any FRA denial of an RFA, each applicable railroad is prohibited from making the proposed changes to its PTC system until the railroad both sufficiently addresses FRA's questions, comments, and concerns and obtains FRA's approval. Consistent with paragraph (l) of this section, any host railroads utilizing the same type of PTC system, including the same certification classification under § 236.1015(e), may jointly submit information to address FRA's questions, comments, and concerns following any denial of an RFA under this section.

[75 FR 2699, Jan. 15, 2010, as amended at 86 FR 40180, July 27, 2021]

The following state regulations pages link to this page.