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FRA rule will require railroads to conduct more continuous-welded rail inspections


On Dec. 2, U.S. railroads will need to begin inspecting continuous-welded rail (CWR) joint bars more frequently to comply with a new Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) interim rule.

Railroads will be required to conduct visual inspections on a regular basis to inspect the bars for visible or detectable cracks, loose or missing bolts, or other damage. The FRA expects the rule to increase CWR inspections about 11 percent annually.

The National Transportation Safety Board has identified CWR joint bars as the probable cause of train accidents in Minot, N.D., Flora, Miss., and Pico Rivera, Calif., which caused two fatalities and more than 350 injuries.

“These tragic accidents did not have to happen,” said FRA Administrator Joseph Boardman in a prepared statement. “They should be a constant reminder to railroads that they simply must do a better job of inspecting and maintaining their tracks.”

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More News from 11/7/2005