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Software can help shine light on small roads' 286k concerns

Regionals and short lines now have high-tech assistance available to better determine their lines' 286,000-pound car readiness and calculate related heavy axle load (HAL) track upgrade costs, according to American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA).
Zeta-Tech Associates Inc. in spring developed the HAL Impact Computer Model, PC-based computer software designed to enable small roads to determine the impact of introducing 286k cars into their traffic mixes.
The software contains "what-if" scenarios, enabling regional and short-line officials to answer questions, such as: What will be the cost impact on my railroad (in terms of required capital upgrades and increased maintenance) if 25 percent of my traffic switches to 286k cars? Or, what if 50 percent switches?
Federal Railroad Administration agreed to fund half the software's development costs.
ASLRRA last year partnered with consultant Zeta-Tech to provide members with more information on the impact of heavy axle loads. The Cherry Hills, N.J.-based company in May 2000 released a study that estimated small roads' would need to spend $7 billion to upgrade their track for 286k cars.
ASLRRA plans to provide a copy of HAL Impact Computer Model to every member; any member that hasn't yet received a copy should contact ASLRRA's Washington office at 202-585-3443.

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More News from 6/25/2001