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9/2/2008



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

FRA issues four grants for rail research, infrastructure upgrades


The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently awarded four grants totaling more than $3.2 million to help fund research and infrastructure improvement projects.

The agency has issued a $1.4 million grant to the Railroad Research Foundation to continue developing and testing wireless communications devices and systems for Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) technology. A form of positive train control (PTC), CBTC is designed to automatically control train speed and movements to ensure safety if a locomotive engineer fails to take appropriate actions.

The foundation also will use proceeds to continue developing a portable remote operation device ground workers can use to authorize a PTC-equipped train to enter a work zone with speed restrictions; designing and building a universal onboard platform that will allow a locomotive to switch between different PTC operating systems; and developing a higher performance data radio to ensure wireless communications are reliably transmitted and received.

The FRA also issued a $924,510 grant to the St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad to supplement an ongoing project under which the short line is upgrading about 18 miles of track between North Stratford and Norton, Vt. The railroad will use proceeds to install about three miles of continuous-welded rail.

In addition, the FRA provided an $882,000 grant to the Washington Department of Transportation to improve rail at the Big Pasco Industrial Center in southeastern Washington. The department will use proceeds to construct a new track junction with BNSF Railway Co., establish a grade crossing and build 1.5 miles of track for rail-car switching operations. The upgrades are part of a larger intermodal project at the facility.

Finally, the FRA issued a $100,000 grant to the Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad Inc. to replace 1,625 crossties along a 25-mile track segment between Cloe and Creekside, Pa. The railroad is rehabilitating the line to enable trains to increase speed when delivering coal to the Edison Mission Homer City Power Plant.


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