Bridge Inspection Handbook Given to All U.S. Railroads

The Federal Railroad Administration, the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, and the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association (AREMA) have collaborated to develop and distribute AREMA's first-ever "Bridge Inspection Handbook" to every U.S. railroad. FRA bought and distributed enough copies to give one to each of the nearly 700 railroads now in operation.

The handbook contains vital information for use by bridge inspectors, maintenance of way managers, and others involved in decisions related to railroad bridge safety and management. Its advice is based on recognized engineering practices to help railroads meet their bridge inspection duties. Additional copies are available through AREMA at http://www.arema.org/eseries/scriptcontent/custom/e_arema/pubs/Bridge_Inspec_Hndbk_Order_061908.pdf.

Separately, FRA recently awarded a $225,932 research grant to the University of California at San Diego to continue studying thermal-induced stress in continuous welded rail (CWR) that can lead to rail buckling in hot weather. Being able to understand and detect when rail buckling is likely to occur will improve safety and the operation of freight and passenger trains, according to FRA. The contract work involves developing a model that can reliably measure and predict the response of CWR as stress is applied to it. Future work will involve laboratory testing of the model and development of prototype automated detection equipment for full-scale field testing.

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