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9/24/2007



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

FRA provides nine rail infrastructure/research grants totaling more than $8 million



The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently handed out nine grants to railroads, universities, research centers and a port to help fund infrastructure improvements and rail research projects.

The FRA issued a $3.75 million grant to the Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad to upgrade a portion of a 25-mile spur from Creekside to Cloe, Pa. The short line will install eight miles of track to move coal to a power plant. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will provide $937,500 in matching funds.

The FRA also provided a $921,224 grant to the St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad to replace three miles of 50-year-old track between North Stratford and Norton, Vt., to accommodate heavier rail cars. The railroad will provide $230,306 in matching funds.

In addition, the Washington State Department of Transportation obtained a $1.98 million FRA grant to improve rail infrastructure at the Port of Olympia. The department — which will provide $142,357 in matching funds — will construct three sidings to increase rail-car storage capacity at the port, and acquire four flat cars and a more powerful rail-car mover to speed loading and unloading processes.

The FRA also provided the following grants:
• $500,000 to the Association of American Railroads’ Railroad Research Foundation to demonstrate a system based on industry standards that’s designed to allow interoperability of different positive train-control systems as a train travels from one railroad’s network to another;
• $495,000 to the Minnesota Valley Regional Rail Authority to upgrade one mile of track near the town of Hamburg;
• $290,000 to the National Research Council of Canada to continue researching various interactions between locomotive and rail-car wheels and tracks, including wheel/rail profiles, wheel/rail friction management, and wheel/rail inspection equipment and procedures;
• $250,000 to Norfolk Southern Railway to demonstrate the effectiveness of hot/cold wheel detector scanners to identify wheel defects caused by abnormal braking conditions;
• $175,000 to the University of California at San Diego to continue developing a method for higher rail inspection speeds and better defect-detection reliability, and ways to predict and identify rail buckles while a train is moving; and
• $150,000 to Union Pacific Railroad to study ways to reduce locomotive emissions and fuel consumption by using freight car-based rail lubrication systems.


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