Rail

FRA issues final rule to improve rail inspections

Posted on January 29, 2014

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced new regulations governing rail inspections that will help identify rail flaws and further eliminate the risk of derailments.

The new regulations require performance-based inspections, a process designed to minimize rail defects, which will generally result in an increase in tests performed over a designated area of track.

“Safety is our highest priority, and this new rule will make rail transportation even safer for everything from passengers and rail employees to crude oil and other freight shipments,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

The final rule published in the Federal Register strengthens the existing Federal Track Safety Standards by:

  • Requiring the use of performance-based rail inspection methods that focus on maintaining low rail failure rates per mile of track and generally results in more frequent testing.
  • Providing a four-hour period to verify that certain less serious suspected defects exist in a rail section once track owners learn that the rail contains an indication of those defects.
  • Requiring that rail inspectors are properly qualified to operate rail flaw detection equipment and interpret test results.
  • Establishing an annual maximum allowable rate of rail defects and rail failures between inspections for each designated inspection segment of track.

The Federal Track Safety Standards require railroads to regularly inspect track conditions and conduct separate rail inspections with specially-equipped hi-rail motor vehicles that operate over rail tracks. This equipment employs ultrasonic technology to identify internal rail defects that could potentially lead to an accident. Data is collected in real-time.

The current rail inspection standards include a maximum number of days and tonnage that can be hauled over a stretch of track between tests. The new regulations establish internal rail flaw defect standards for each railroad while the technology used will continue to drive down the number of known rail defects over time.   

“Our goal is to drive continuous safety improvement and further reduce the risk of broken rails and derailments,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo. “While track-caused accidents have declined by 40 percent over the past decade, these new standards will better advance the use of technology and achieve the next generation of safety.”

The final rule implements Section 403(b) of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA). FRA has now completed 30 of the approximately 42 RSIA-mandated final rules, guidance documents, model state laws, studies, and reports. The final rule also builds upon decades of FRA-sponsored research focused on enhancing rail integrity and addresses recommendations by both the National Transportation Safety Board and U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General.

The final rule can be viewed here.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

WSP USA projects recognized with three Calif. transportation awards

The Exposition Line Light Rail in Los Angeles received the California Transportation Foundation's Overall Project of the Year award.

City Council approves transfer of Atlanta Streetcar to MARTA

The $99 million streetcar opened in December 2014 amid sky-high expectations, but ridership failed to meet expectations in its first year and plummeted nearly 60% after the city began charging $1 to ride.

Honolulu officials submit new light rail plan to FTA

The total project cost included in the new plan remains at $8.165 billion for capital costs exclusive of finance charges, with full revenue service scheduled for December 2025.

Alstom to supply traction system in Chengdu, China

The contract is worth approximately $68.3 million. The line is expected to start revenue service by the end of 2019.

Hyperloop One announces 10 winners of 'Global Challenge'

The company will commit meaningful business and engineering resources and work closely with each of the winning teams/routes to determine their commercial viability.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close