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FRA issues six grants for trackwork, research


The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has awarded six grants totaling more than $3.5 million to help fund rail infrastructure upgrades and research.

The R.J. Corman Railroad Co. will obtain a $1.4 million grant for two track improvement projects in Kentucky. The projects call for installing cross and switch ties, upgrading grade crossings and resurfaing sections of rail along about 20 miles from Winchester to Lexington, and about 12 miles in and around Russellville.

The Southern Rapid Rail Transit Commission will receive a $667,000 grant to evaluate the feasibility of linking New Orleans and Baton Rouge, La., via passenger rail. The commission will use proceeds to develop detailed ridership and revenue forecasts, a business plan with capital and operating costs, an economic impact analysis, and engineering and environmental assessments.

Meanwhile, University of Nebraska at Lincoln researchers will obtain a $503,000 grant to continue a multi-year research and development project aimed at helping railroads more accurately monitor track conditions in real time from moving rail cars. The university is attempting to develop onboard sensor systems that can monitor track substructure, and enable railroads to assess longitudinal stresses, reduce track maintenance costs and prevent derailments.

The FRA also is awarding a $491,592 grant to the New Jersey Department of Transportation to help pay for track improvements on the Salem Branch Railroad between Swedesboro and Salem Port, N.J.  The department will use proceeds to replace and upgrade about 4.25 miles of track to accommodate heavier axle loads and increase track speeds.

In addition, the FRA is providing a $250,000 grant to the Railroad Research Foundation to support an ongoing research program aimed at assessing the prevalence and underlying casual factors of rail-related suicides.

Finally, Norfolk Southern Railway will receive a $200,000 grant to monitor the performance of electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brake systems. NS will use proceeds to purchase and install a wheel profile measurement system on lines used by ECP-equipped trains and those equipped with traditional air-brake systems.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/29/2008