It is no secret that CBOSS, the Caltrain PTC signal system, was in deep trouble. The $231 million(!) project was ill-conceived and mismanaged. On late Friday, Caltrain put out a bombshell press release, finally admitting failure:
Caltrain announced today that it has terminated a contract with Parsons Transportation Group (PTG), the firm responsible for designing and implementing a Positive Control System or CBOSS. This contract was designed to implement federally mandated improvements to the train control system that will enhance safety and reliability of the railway.
The unusual action was deemed necessary after continued delays in delivering the project and an utter lack of progress in moving the project forward.
Caltrain is trying to scapegoat PTG for this screwup. However, the ones responsible are Caltrain staff who spec’ed out the project, and the Board who approved this steaming pile of shit.
The timing couldn’t be worse. Caltrain has been trying to salvage an FTA grant for electrification and new trainsets. Much of the CBOSS funding came from a Federal grant, and a skeptical Congress will no doubt inquire as to why Caltrain should be entrusted with more grant funding after the CBOSS fiasco.