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7/28/2008



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

FRA provides grants for crossing safety, rail-flaw detection R&D


The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently issued two grants to help support technology research and grade-crossing safety.

The agency granted $5.6 million for five federally designated high-speed rail corridors in California, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin to help fund upgrades to 25 crossings.  The states will use proceeds to install crossing warning lights and gates, close crossings, and make other improvements along high-speed lines.

Jointly managed by the FRA and Federal Highway Administration, the grants help fund projects aimed at improving the safety of intercity passenger- and freight-rail corridors.

The FRA also granted $231,802 to the University of California at San Diego to refine hardware and software for a system using laser ultrasonic probes to detect certain internal rail defects. An on-track vehicle carrying the system would operate at speeds up to 40 mph, increasing the efficiency of track inspections and providing more reliable rail defect detection, the FRA said.

The agency previously provided funding for the development of a prototype system, which was completed and tested. Grant proceeds also will help fund a more comprehensive technology demonstration at the Transportation Technology Center Inc. test facility in Pueblo, Colo.


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