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FRA issues two research grants to colleges, bridge inspection handbook to railroads

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently awarded two research grants totaling more than $775,000.

The agency awarded a $225,932 grant to the University of California at San Diego to continue studying thermal-induced stress in continuous-welded rail (CWR) that can cause rail buckling in hot weather.

The college will use proceeds to develop a model that reliably measures and predicts the response of CWR as stress is applied. The university later will perform laboratory tests and develop prototype automated detection equipment for full-scale field testing.

The FRA also awarded a $549,132 grant to the University of Illinois at Chicago to develop a computer software simulation tool to evaluate track performance and vehicle dynamics under high-speed operations.

Through modeling and three-dimensional simulation, the tool will demonstrate the interaction between train wheels and track under diverse conditions. The college will study derailment scenarios and how various types of rail vehicles safely navigate track with different physical characteristics.

Meanwhile, the FRA, American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association and American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association (AREMA) have collaborated to distribute AREMA's first bridge inspection handbook.

Developed by AREMA's Technical Committees, the publication provides vital information for bridge inspectors, maintenance-of-way managers and others involved in railroad bridge safety and management. The handbook offers directions and advice based on recognized engineering practices.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/25/2008