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FRA awards grants to railroad, port and university


The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently provided safety and research grants to the Alaska Railroad Corp. (ARRC), Port of Portland and University of Nebraska.

ARRC obtained a $12 million grant to improve rail safety at the U.S. Army’s Fort Wainwright near Fairbanks. The railroad will use the funds to eliminate grade crossings; reduce rail-related traffic congestion, noise and interference with base operations; upgrade security and force protection; and improve rail service for a proposed loading facility.

The railroad also obtained a $4 million grant to complete environmental and preliminary engineering work for a proposed 80-mile track extension from Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks to the Delta Junction area.

Meanwhile, the FRA awarded a $2.9 million grant to the Port of Portland, Ore., to engineer, design and begin building six tracks at the Ramsey Rail Yard, which is served by BNSF Railway Co. and Union Pacific Railroad. The new tracks will reduce congestion and delays for many warehousing, distribution and manufacturing businesses, according to the FRA.

Finally, the administration awarded an $849,933 grant to the University of Nebraska to continue a multi-year research and development project designed to help railroads more accurately monitor track conditions from moving rail cars in real time. Comprised of an onboard sensor with high-speed wireless data transmission capabilities, the system under development is expected to help railroads more accurately assess stress exerted by a train on rail, reduce track maintenance costs and prevent derailments.