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Rail News: Maintenance Of Way

BNSF tests bridge-structure measurement device


BNSF Railway Co. is testing a device that promises early detection of structural problems in rail bridges — a “first line of defense” that could help prevent an accident, such as last month’s I-35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis, according to the railroad.

Marketed by Reference L.L.C., Sensr is designed to measure and record an object’s tilt, orientation and motion. The battery-operated device can monitor the movement of bridge piers and other bridge-support components. If any increases in movement are detected, structural engineers will conduct other tests to ensure a bridge is sound.

BNSF, which maintains about 14,000 bridges systemwide, has been testing Sensr on several structures the past few months. The railroad uses data generated by the instrument along with information derived from other monitoring tools during a bridge inspection.

BNSF plans to test several more devices designed to gauge a bridge’s structural soundness.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/7/2007