VTS: Precision Scheduled Railroading and Positive Train Control


The IEEE Vehicular Technology Society
National Capital Chapter
Invites you to our monthly lunch meeting
Tuesday, December 17, 2019
Winner of the IEEE Northern Virginia Chapter of the Year 2017

Join us at our monthly lunch meeting. A buffet meal is available for $15 for IEEE members and $20 for non-members, cash at the door. Students with ID eat free. Please indicate if you want a meal when you make your reservation. Send reservation requests to vts.ltc.dc@gmail.com by December 13.

Officer elections were held at the November 12 meeting. The slate was elected by acclamation. Officers are:

  • Chair: David Johnson
  • Vice-Chair: Reg Mitchell
  • Treasurer: Steve Bezner
  • Secretary: Karl Berger
  • Cashier: Ken Briers
  • Program Chair: Heather Roman

  Date and Time




  • 1300 I Street, NW
  • Washington, District of Columbia
  • United States 20005
  • Building: American Public Transportation Association
  • Room Number: Suite 1200 East
  • Send your reservation with your name and if you want food to vts.ltc.dc@gmail.com. Please make your reservations by noon Friday, December 13.


Steven Ditmeyer

Steven Ditmeyer of Transportation Technology and Economics


Precision Scheduled Railroading and Positive Train Control

Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR), an operating concept adopted by most of the major railroads, is popular with investors (because of significant reductions in Operating Ratios) but not popular with customers, employees, suppliers, communities, and regulators (because of its focus on cost-cutting by less frequent service to customers, laying off of employees, tearing up of tracks, yards, and terminals, eliminating of service to some markets, mothballing of locomotives and cars, and running fewer, longer trains). Customers say that PSR is neither "precision" nor "scheduled" and that some have actually started shipping by trucks which, even though they are more expensive, provide much better, reliable service.

The presentation will address how the railroad industry's large investment in Positive Train Control (PTC) technology can provide continuous real-time information on train location and speed that can enable them to operate scheduled service with precision, which, in turn, can provide better service to customers (helping the railroads to retain and increase their freight traffic), improve the lives of their train crew members, and, if done right, increase the industry's profitability.


Steven Ditmeyer received a BS degree in Industrial Management from MIT and an MA degree in Economics and The Certificate in Transportation from Yale University. He has had an extensive career in railroading. In the private sector, he worked for six railroads and a railroad equipment manufacturer. In the public sector, he served as an Army Transportation Corps officer, a federal civil servant, and an international civil servant. His career has cut across multiple disciplines, including freight and passenger transportation, engineering, economics, research and development, policy, marketing, management, operations, information technology, systems analysis, and education. Ditmeyer was involved in the creation of Amtrak, the establishment of the Transportation Technology Center, overseeing the preliminary engineering studies for the Northeast Corridor Project, the sale of the Alaska Railroad by the Federal Government to the State of Alaska, the deregulation of the freight railroad industry, the development and testing of the first PTC system (ARES), the development and testing of the first natural gas locomotives, and the development of the curriculum for MSU’s Certificate Course in Railway Management. He was involved in the development of network-centric systems (digital communications, positioning systems, computers, and sensors) on railroads to enhance their safety, security, capacity, efficiency, and profitability.

Address:Washington, District of Columbia, United States


  • 11:30 am - lunch and conversation
  • 12:00 pm - presentation & discussion
  • 01:00 pm - adjourn



Red Line 

Metro Center Station
Exit station through 13TH ST NW & G ST NW entrance.
Walk approx. 2 blocks North on 13th St NW.

Orange/Blue/Silver Lines 

McPherson Square Station
Exit station through 14TH & I ST NW - FRANKLIN SQUARE entrance.
Walk approximately 1 block East on I St NW.

Parking: Advance discounted reservations available at www.spothero.com

Future Meetings:

  • January 14, 2020
  • February 11
  • March 10
  • April 14
  • May 12