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Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

Chicago Rail Link pilot project highlighted at AASHTO committee meeting

OmniTRAX Inc.'s managed affiliate Chicago Rail Link LLC presented a grade-crossing pilot project during the safety session held last week by American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

The session was held as part of the AASHTO Standing Committee on Rail Transportation's annual meeting.

A 72-mile short line on Chicago's south side, Chicago Rail Link maintains a local grade crossing where industrial, weather and drainage conditions no longer support traditional track circuits for its signal system. To remedy the situation, the short line procured a new grade crossing detection system from Next Generation Rail Technologies S.L. (NGRT) that utilizes sound and vibration to detect oncoming trains.

The technology does not rely on traditional track circuits that can be falsely triggered and will be used to count axles and detect flat wheels that may prevent future derailments, according to company officials.

Chicago Rail Link is working with the Federal Railroad Administration to submit an informational filing to operate the system in a shadow mode during the trial with the goal of obtaining product safety plan certification for the system.

"The potential industrywide benefits from a successful pilot of NGRT's detection system are limitless. This technology could enhance worker safety, detect broken rails, count axles and allow railroads to more efficiently spend their capital budgets," said OmniTRAX Vice President of Government Affairs Dave Arganbright, who led the presentation at the AASHTO meeting.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/10/2016