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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of December 12, 2019

Title 49Subtitle BChapter IIPart 213 → Subpart G


Title 49: Transportation
PART 213—TRACK SAFETY STANDARDS


Subpart G—Train Operations at Track Classes 6 and Higher


Contents
§213.301   Scope of subpart.
§213.303   Responsibility for compliance.
§213.305   Designation of qualified individuals; general qualifications.
§213.307   Classes of track: operating speed limits.
§213.309   Restoration or renewal of track under traffic conditions.
§213.311   Measuring track not under load.
§213.313   Application of requirements to curved track.
§213.317   Waivers.
§213.319   Drainage.
§213.321   Vegetation.
§213.323   Track gage.
§213.327   Track alinement.
§213.329   Curves; elevation and speed limitations.
§213.331   Track surface.
§213.332   Combined track alinement and surface deviations.
§213.333   Automated vehicle-based inspection systems.
§213.334   Ballast; general.
§213.335   Crossties.
§213.337   Defective rails.
§213.339   Inspection of rail in service.
§213.341   Initial inspection of new rail and welds.
§213.343   Continuous welded rail (CWR).
§213.345   Vehicle/track system qualification.
§213.347   Automotive or railroad crossings at grade.
§213.349   Rail end mismatch.
§213.351   Rail joints.
§213.352   Torch cut rail.
§213.353   Turnouts, crossovers, and lift rail assemblies or other transition devices on moveable bridges.
§213.355   Frog guard rails and guard faces; gage.
§213.357   Derails.
§213.359   Track stiffness.
§213.361   Right of way.
§213.365   Visual inspections.
§213.367   Special inspections.
§213.369   Inspection records.

§213.301   Scope of subpart.

This subpart applies to all track used for the operation of trains at a speed greater than 90 m.p.h. for passenger equipment and greater than 80 m.p.h. for freight equipment.

§213.303   Responsibility for compliance.

(a) Any owner of track to which this subpart applies who knows or has notice that the track does not comply with the requirements of this subpart, shall—

(1) Bring the track into compliance; or

(2) Halt operations over that track.

(b) If an owner of track to which this subpart applies assigns responsibility for the track to another person (by lease or otherwise), notification of the assignment shall be provided to the appropriate FRA Regional Office at least 30 days in advance of the assignment. The notification may be made by any party to that assignment, but shall be in writing and include the following—

(1) The name and address of the track owner;

(2) The name and address of the person to whom responsibility is assigned (assignee);

(3) A statement of the exact relationship between the track owner and the assignee;

(4) A precise identification of the track;

(5) A statement as to the competence and ability of the assignee to carry out the duties of the track owner under this subpart;

(6) A statement signed by the assignee acknowledging the assignment to that person of responsibility for purposes of compliance with this subpart.

(c) The Administrator may hold the track owner or the assignee or both responsible for compliance with this subpart and subject to the penalties under §213.15.

(d) When any person, including a contractor for a railroad or track owner, performs any function required by this part, that person is required to perform that function in accordance with this part.

§213.305   Designation of qualified individuals; general qualifications.

Each track owner to which this subpart applies shall designate qualified individuals responsible for the maintenance and inspection of track in compliance with the safety requirements prescribed in this subpart. Each individual, including a contractor or an employee of a contractor who is not a railroad employee, designated to:

(a) Supervise restorations and renewals of track shall meet the following minimum requirements:

(1) At least;

(i) Five years of responsible supervisory experience in railroad track maintenance in track Class 4 or higher and the successful completion of a course offered by the employer or by a college level engineering program, supplemented by special on the job training emphasizing the techniques to be employed in the supervision, restoration, and renewal of high speed track; or

(ii) A combination of at least one year of responsible supervisory experience in track maintenance in Class 4 or higher and the successful completion of a minimum of 80 hours of specialized training in the maintenance of high speed track provided by the employer or by a college level engineering program, supplemented by special on the job training provided by the employer with emphasis on the maintenance of high speed track; or

(iii) A combination of at least two years of experience in track maintenance in track Class 4 or higher and the successful completion of a minimum of 120 hours of specialized training in the maintenance of high speed track provided by the employer or by a college level engineering program supplemented by special on the job training provided by the employer with emphasis on the maintenance of high speed track.

(2) Demonstrate to the track owner that the individual:

(i) Knows and understands the requirements of this subpart that apply to the restoration and renewal of the track for which he or she is responsible;

(ii) Can detect deviations from those requirements; and

(iii) Can prescribe appropriate remedial action to correct or safely compensate for those deviations; and

(3) Be authorized in writing by the track owner to prescribe remedial actions to correct or safely compensate for deviations from the requirements of this subpart and successful completion of a recorded examination on this subpart as part of the qualification process.

(b) Inspect track for defects shall meet the following minimum qualifications:

(1) At least:

(i) Five years of responsible experience inspecting track in Class 4 or above and the successful completion of a course offered by the employer or by a college level engineering program, supplemented by special on the job training emphasizing the techniques to be employed in the inspection of high speed track; or

(ii) A combination of at least one year of responsible experience in track inspection in Class 4 or above and the successful completion of a minimum of 80 hours of specialized training in the inspection of high speed track provided by the employer or by a college level engineering program, supplemented by special on the job training provided by the employer with emphasis on the inspection of high speed track; or

(iii) A combination of at least two years of experience in track maintenance in Class 4 or above and the successful completion of a minimum of 120 hours of specialized training in the inspection of high speed track provided by the employer or from a college level engineering program, supplemented by special on the job training provided by the employer with emphasis on the inspection of high speed track.

(2) Demonstrate to the track owner that the individual:

(i) Knows and understands the requirements of this subpart that apply to the inspection of the track for which he or she is responsible.

(ii) Can detect deviations from those requirements; and

(iii) Can prescribe appropriate remedial action to correct or safely compensate for those deviations; and

(3) Be authorized in writing by the track owner to prescribe remedial actions to correct or safely compensate for deviations from the requirements in this subpart and successful completion of a recorded examination on this subpart as part of the qualification process.

(c) Individuals designated under paragraphs (a) or (b) of this section that inspect continuous welded rail (CWR) track or supervise the installation, adjustment, and maintenance of CWR in accordance with the written procedures established by the track owner shall have:

(1) Current qualifications under either paragraph (a) or (b) of this section;

(2) Successfully completed a training course of at least eight hours duration specifically developed for the application of written CWR procedures issued by the track owner; and

(3) Demonstrated to the track owner that the individual:

(i) Knows and understands the requirements of those written CWR procedures;

(ii) Can detect deviations from those requirements; and

(iii) Can prescribe appropriate remedial action to correct or safely compensate for those deviations; and

(4) Written authorization from the track owner to prescribe remedial actions to correct or safely compensate for deviations from the requirements in those procedures and successful completion of a recorded examination on those procedures as part of the qualification process. The recorded examination may be written, or it may be a computer file with the results of an interactive training course.

(d) Persons not fully qualified to supervise certain renewals and inspect track as outlined in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of this section, but with at least one year of maintenance of way or signal experience, may pass trains over broken rails and pull aparts provided that—

(1) The track owner determines the person to be qualified and, as part of doing so, trains, examines, and re-examines the person periodically within two years after each prior examination on the following topics as they relate to the safe passage of trains over broken rails or pull aparts: rail defect identification, crosstie condition, track surface and alinement, gage restraint, rail end mismatch, joint bars, and maximum distance between rail ends over which trains may be allowed to pass. The sole purpose of the examination is to ascertain the person's ability to effectively apply these requirements and the examination may not be used to disqualify the person from other duties. A minimum of four hours training is adequate for initial training;

(2) The person deems it safe, and train speeds are limited to a maximum of 10 m.p.h. over the broken rail or pull apart;

(3) The person shall watch all movements over the broken rail or pull apart and be prepared to stop the train if necessary; and

(4) Person(s) fully qualified under §213.305 of this subpart are notified and dispatched to the location as soon as practicable for the purpose of authorizing movements and effectuating temporary or permanent repairs.

(e) With respect to designations under paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d) of this section, each track owner shall maintain written records of:

(1) Each designation in effect;

(2) The basis for each designation, including but not limited to:

(i) The exact nature of any training courses attended and the dates thereof;

(ii) The manner in which the track owner has determined a successful completion of that training course, including test scores or other qualifying results;

(3) Track inspections made by each individual as required by §213.369. These records shall be made available for inspection and copying by the Federal Railroad Administration during regular business hours.

[63 FR 34029, June 22, 1998; 63 FR 45959, Aug. 28, 1998, as amended at 78 FR 16103, Mar. 13, 2013]

§213.307   Classes of track: operating speed limits.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section and as otherwise provided in this subpart G, the following maximum allowable speeds apply:

Over track that meets all of the requirements prescribed in this subpart for—The maximum allowable
operating
speed for
trains is1
Class 6 track110 m.p.h.
Class 7 track125 m.p.h.
Class 8 track160 m.p.h.2
Class 9 track220 m.p.h.2

1Freight may be transported at passenger train speeds if the following conditions are met:

(1) The vehicles utilized to carry such freight are of equal dynamic performance and have been qualified in accordance with §213.329 and §213.345.

(2) The load distribution and securement in the freight vehicle will not adversely affect the dynamic performance of the vehicle. The axle loading pattern is uniform and does not exceed the passenger locomotive axle loadings utilized in passenger service, if any, operating at the same maximum speed.

(3) No carrier may accept or transport a hazardous material, as defined at 49 CFR 171.8, except as provided in Column 9A of the Hazardous Materials Table (49 CFR 172.101) for movement in the same train as a passenger-carrying vehicle or in Column 9B of the Table for movement in a train with no passenger-carrying vehicles.

2Operating speeds in excess of 125 m.p.h. are authorized by this part only in conjunction with FRA regulatory approval addressing other safety issues presented by the railroad system. For operations on a dedicated right-of-way, FRA's regulatory approval may allow for the use of inspection and maintenance criteria and procedures in the alternative to those contained in this subpart, based upon a showing that at least an equivalent level of safety is provided.

(b) If a segment of track does not meet all of the requirements for its intended class, it is to be reclassified to the next lower class of track for which it does meet all of the requirements of this subpart. If a segment does not meet all of the requirements for Class 6, the requirements for Classes 1 through 5 apply.

[63 FR 34029, June 22, 1998, as amended at 78 FR 16104, Mar. 13, 2013]

§213.309   Restoration or renewal of track under traffic conditions.

(a) Restoration or renewal of track under traffic conditions is limited to the replacement of worn, broken, or missing components or fastenings that do not affect the safe passage of trains.

(b) The following activities are expressly prohibited under traffic conditions:

(1) Any work that interrupts rail continuity, e.g., as in joint bar replacement or rail replacement;

(2) Any work that adversely affects the lateral or vertical stability of the track with the exception of spot tamping an isolated condition where not more than 15 lineal feet of track are involved at any one time and the ambient air temperature is not above 95 degrees Fahrenheit; and

(3) Removal and replacement of the rail fastenings on more than one tie at a time within 15 feet.

§213.311   Measuring track not under load.

When unloaded track is measured to determine compliance with requirements of this subpart, evidence of rail movement, if any, that occurs while the track is loaded shall be added to the measurements of the unloaded track.

§213.313   Application of requirements to curved track.

Unless otherwise provided in this part, requirements specified for curved track apply only to track having a curvature greater than 0.25 degree.

[78 FR 16104, Mar. 13, 2013]

§213.317   Waivers.

(a) Any owner of track to which this subpart applies may petition the Federal Railroad Administrator for a waiver from any or all requirements prescribed in this subpart.

(b) Each petition for a waiver under this section shall be filed in the manner and contain the information required by §§211.7 and 211.9 of this chapter.

(c) If the Administrator finds that a waiver is in the public interest and is consistent with railroad safety, the Administrator may grant the waiver subject to any conditions the Administrator deems necessary. Where a waiver is granted, the Administrator publishes a notice containing the reasons for granting the waiver.

§213.319   Drainage.

Each drainage or other water carrying facility under or immediately adjacent to the roadbed shall be maintained and kept free of obstruction, to accommodate expected water flow for the area concerned.

§213.321   Vegetation.

Vegetation on railroad property which is on or immediately adjacent to roadbed shall be controlled so that it does not—

(a) Become a fire hazard to track-carrying structures;

(b) Obstruct visibility of railroad signs and signals:

(1) Along the right of way, and

(2) At highway-rail crossings;

(c) Interfere with railroad employees performing normal trackside duties;

(d) Prevent proper functioning of signal and communication lines; or

(e) Prevent railroad employees from visually inspecting moving equipment from their normal duty stations.

§213.323   Track gage.

(a) Gage is measured between the heads of the rails at right-angles to the rails in a plane five-eighths of an inch below the top of the rail head.

(b) Gage shall be within the limits prescribed in the following table:

Class of trackThe gage must be at least—But not more than—The change of gage within 31 feet must not be greater than—
Class 6 track484914 34
Class 7 track484914 12
Class 8 track484914 12
Class 9 track4814 4914 12

[63 FR 34029, June 22, 1998, as amended at 78 FR 16104, Mar. 13, 2013]

§213.327   Track alinement.

(a) Uniformity at any point along the track is established by averaging the measured mid-chord offset values for nine consecutive points that are centered around that point and spaced according to the following table:

Chord lengthSpacing
3179
62156
124310

(b) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, a single alinement deviation from uniformity may not be more than the amount prescribed in the following table:

Class of trackTangent/
Curved track
The deviation from uniformity of the mid-chord offset for a 31-foot chord may not be more than—(inches)The deviation from uniformity of the mid-chord offset for a 62-foot chord may not be more than—(inches)The deviation from uniformity of the mid-chord offset for a 124-foot chord may not be more than—(inches)
Class 6 trackTangent 12 34 112
   Curved 12 58 112
Class 7 trackTangent 12 34 114
   Curved 12 12 114
Class 8 trackTangent 12 34 1
   Curved 12 12 34
Class 9 trackTangent 12 12 34
   Curved 12 12 34

(c) For operations at a qualified cant deficiency, Eu, of more than 5 inches, a single alinement deviation from uniformity of the outside rail of the curve may not be more than the amount prescribed in the following table:

Class of trackTrack typeThe deviation from uniformity of the mid-chord offset for a 31-foot chord may not be more than—(inches)The deviation from uniformity of the mid-chord offset for a 62-foot chord may not be more than—(inches)The deviation from uniformity of the mid-chord offset for a 124-foot chord may not be more than—(inches)
Class 6 trackCurved 12 58 114
Class 7 trackCurved 12 12 1
Class 8 trackCurved 12 12 34
Class 9 trackCurved 12 12 34

(d) For three or more non-overlapping deviations from uniformity in track alinement occurring within a distance equal to five times the specified chord length, each of which exceeds the limits in the following table, each track owner shall maintain the alinement of the track within the limits prescribed for each deviation:

Class of trackThe deviation from uniformity of the mid-chord offset for a
31-foot chord may not be more than—(inches)
The deviation from uniformity of the mid-chord offset for a 62-foot chord may not be more than—(inches)The deviation from uniformity of the mid-chord offset for a 124-foot chord may not be more than— (inches)
Class 6 track 38 12 1
Class 7 track 38 38 78
Class 8 track 38 38 12
Class 9 track 38 38 12

(e) For purposes of complying with this section, the ends of the chord shall be at points on the gage side of the rail, five-eighths of an inch below the top of the railhead. On tangent track, either rail may be used as the line rail; however, the same rail shall be used for the full length of that tangential segment of the track. On curved track, the line rail is the outside rail of the curve.

[78 FR 16104, Mar. 13, 2013]

§213.329   Curves; elevation and speed limitations.

(a) The maximum elevation of the outside rail of a curve may not be more than 7 inches. The outside rail of a curve may not be lower than the inside rail by design, except when engineered to address specific track or operating conditions; the limits in §213.331 apply in all cases.

(b) The maximum allowable posted timetable operating speed for each curve is determined by the following formula:

eCFR graphic er13mr13.012.gif

View or download PDF

Where—

Vmax = Maximum allowable posted timetable operating speed (m.p.h.).

Ea = Actual elevation of the outside rail (inches).6

6Actual elevation, Ea, for each 155-foot track segment in the body of the curve is determined by averaging the elevation for 11 points through the segment at 15.5-foot spacing. If the curve length is less than 155 feet, the points are averaged through the full length of the body of the curve.

Eu = Qualified cant deficiency7 (inches) of the vehicle type.

7If the actual elevation, Ea, and degree of curvature, D, change as a result of track degradation, then the actual cant deficiency for the maximum allowable posted timetable operating speed, Vmax, may be greater than the qualified cant deficiency, Eu. This actual cant deficiency for each curve may not exceed the qualified cant deficiency, Eu, plus one-half inch.

D = Degree of curvature (degrees).8

8Degree of curvature, D, is determined by averaging the degree of curvature over the same track segment as the elevation.

(c) All vehicles are considered qualified for operating on track with a cant deficiency, Eu, not exceeding 3 inches. Table 1 of appendix A to this part is a table of speeds computed in accordance with the formula in paragraph (b) of this section, when Eu equals 3 inches, for various elevations and degrees of curvature.

(d) Each vehicle type must be approved by FRA to operate on track with a qualified cant deficiency, Eu, greater than 3 inches. Each vehicle type must demonstrate, in a ready-for-service load condition, compliance with the requirements of either paragraph (d)(1) or (2) of this section.

(1) When positioned on a track with a uniform superelevation equal to the proposed cant deficiency:

(i) No wheel of the vehicle type unloads to a value less than 60 percent of its static value on perfectly level track; and

(ii) For passenger cars, the roll angle between the floor of the equipment and the horizontal does not exceed 8.6 degrees; or

(2) When operating through a constant radius curve at a constant speed corresponding to the proposed cant deficiency, and a test plan is submitted and approved by FRA in accordance with §213.345(e) and (f):

(i) The steady-state (average) load on any wheel, throughout the body of the curve, is not less than 60 percent of its static value on perfectly level track; and

(ii) For passenger cars, the steady-state (average) lateral acceleration measured on the floor of the carbody does not exceed 0.15g.

(e) The track owner or railroad shall transmit the results of the testing specified in paragraph (d) of this section to FRA's Associate Administrator for Railroad Safety/Chief Safety Officer (FRA) requesting approval for the vehicle type to operate at the desired curving speeds allowed under the formula in paragraph (b) of this section. The request shall be made in writing and contain, at a minimum, the following information—

(1) A description of the vehicle type involved, including schematic diagrams of the suspension system(s) and the estimated location of the center of gravity above top of rail;

(2) The test procedure,9 including the load condition under which the testing was performed, and description of the instrumentation used to qualify the vehicle type, as well as the maximum values for wheel unloading and roll angles or accelerations that were observed during testing; and

9The test procedure may be conducted whereby all the wheels on one side (right or left) of the vehicle are raised to the proposed cant deficiency, the vertical wheel loads under each wheel are measured, and a level is used to record the angle through which the floor of the vehicle has been rotated.

(3) For vehicle types not subject to part 238 or part 229 of this chapter, procedures or standards in effect that relate to the maintenance of all safety-critical components of the suspension system(s) for the particular vehicle type. Safety-critical components of the suspension system are those that impact or have significant influence on the roll of the carbody and the distribution of weight on the wheels.

(f) In approving the request made pursuant to paragraph (e) of this section, FRA may impose conditions necessary for safely operating at the higher curving speeds. Upon FRA approval of the request, the track owner or railroad shall notify FRA in writing no less than 30 calendar days prior to the proposed implementation of the approved higher curving speeds allowed under the formula in paragraph (b) of this section. The notification shall contain, at a minimum, identification of the track segment(s) on which the higher curving speeds are to be implemented.

(g) The documents required by this section must be provided to FRA by:

(1) The track owner; or

(2) A railroad that provides service with the same vehicle type over trackage of one or more track owner(s), with the written consent of each affected track owner.

(h) (1) Vehicle types permitted by FRA to operate at cant deficiencies, Eu, greater than 3 inches but not more than 5 inches shall be considered qualified under this section to operate at those permitted cant deficiencies for any Class 6 track segment. The track owner or railroad shall notify FRA in writing no less than 30 calendar days prior to the proposed implementation of such curving speeds in accordance with paragraph (f) of this section.

(2) Vehicle types permitted by FRA to operate at cant deficiencies, Eu, greater than 5 inches on Class 6 track, or greater than 3 inches on Class 7 through 9 track, shall be considered qualified under this section to operate at those permitted cant deficiencies only for the previously operated or identified track segments(s). Operation of these vehicle types at such cant deficiencies and track class on any other track segment is permitted only in accordance with the qualification requirements in this subpart.

(i) As used in this section and in §§213.333 and 213.345—

(1) Vehicle means a locomotive, as defined in §229.5 of this chapter; a freight car, as defined in §215.5 of this chapter; a passenger car, as defined in §238.5 of this chapter; and any rail rolling equipment used in a train with either a freight car or a passenger car.

(2) Vehicle type means like vehicles with variations in their physical properties, such as suspension, mass, interior arrangements, and dimensions that do not result in significant changes to their dynamic characteristics.

[78 FR 16105, Mar. 13, 2013]

§213.331   Track surface.

(a) For a single deviation in track surface, each track owner shall maintain the surface of its track within the limits prescribed in the following table:

Track surface (inches)Class of track
6789
The deviation from uniform1 profile on either rail at the mid-ordinate of a 31-foot chord may not be more than11 34 12
The deviation from uniform profile on either rail at the mid-ordinate of a 62-foot chord may not be more than111 34
Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, the deviation from uniform profile on either rail at the mid-ordinate of a 124-foot chord may not be more than134 112 114 1
The deviation from zero crosslevel at any point on tangent track may not be more than21111
Reverse elevation on curves may not be more than 12 12 12 12
The difference in crosslevel between any two points less than 62 feet apart may not be more than3112 112 114 1
On curved track, the difference in crosslevel between any two points less than 10 feet apart (short warp) may not be more than114 118 1 34

1Uniformity for profile is established by placing the midpoint of the specified chord at the point of maximum measurement.

2If physical conditions do not permit a spiral long enough to accommodate the minimum length of runoff, part of the runoff may be on tangent track.

3However, to control harmonics on jointed track with staggered joints, the crosslevel differences shall not exceed 1 inch in all of six consecutive pairs of joints, as created by seven low joints. Track with joints staggered less than 10 feet apart shall not be considered as having staggered joints. Joints within the seven low joints outside of the regular joint spacing shall not be considered as joints for purposes of this footnote.

(b) For operations at a qualified cant deficiency, Eu, of more than 5 inches, a single deviation in track surface shall be within the limits prescribed in the following table:

Track surface (inches)Class of track
6789
The difference in crosslevel between any two points less than 10 feet apart (short warp) may not be more than114 111 34
The deviation from uniform profile on either rail at the mid-ordinate of a 124-foot chord may not be more than112 114 114 1

1For curves with a qualified cant deficiency, Eu, of more than 7 inches, the difference in crosslevel between any two points less than 10 feet apart (short warp) may not be more than three-quarters of an inch.

(c) For three or more non-overlapping deviations in track surface occurring within a distance equal to five times the specified chord length, each of which exceeds the limits in the following table, each track owner shall maintain the surface of the track within the limits prescribed for each deviation:

Track surface (inches)Class of track
6789
The deviation from uniform profile on either rail at the mid-ordinate of a 31-foot chord may not be more than 34 34 12 38
The deviation from uniform profile on either rail at the mid-ordinate of a 62-foot chord may not be more than 34 34 34 12
The deviation from uniform profile on either rail at the mid-ordinate of a 124-foot chord may not be more than114 1 78 58

[78 FR 16106, Mar. 13, 2013]

§213.332   Combined track alinement and surface deviations.

(a) This section applies to any curved track where operations are conducted at a qualified cant deficiency, Eu, greater than 5 inches, and to all Class 9 track, either curved or tangent.

(b) For the conditions defined in paragraph (a) of this section, the combination of alinement and surface deviations for the same chord length on the outside rail in a curve and on any of the two rails of a tangent section, as measured by a TGMS, shall comply with the following formula:

eCFR graphic er13mr13.013.gif

View or download PDF

Where—

Am = measured alinement deviation from uniformity (outward is positive, inward is negative).

AL = allowable alinement limit as per §213.327(c) (always positive) for the class of track.

Sm = measured profile deviation from uniformity (down is positive, up is negative).

SL = allowable profile limit as per §213.331(a) and §213.331(b) (always positive) for the class of track.

eCFR graphic er13mr13.014.gif

View or download PDF

[78 FR 16107, Mar. 13, 2013]

§213.333   Automated vehicle-based inspection systems.

(a) A qualifying Track Geometry Measurement System (TGMS) shall be operated at the following frequency:

(1) For operations at a qualified cant deficiency, Eu, of more than 5 inches on track Classes 1 through 5, at least twice per calendar year with not less than 120 days between inspections.

(2) For track Class 6, at least once per calendar year with not less than 170 days between inspections. For operations at a qualified cant deficiency, Eu, of more than 5 inches on track Class 6, at least twice per calendar year with not less than 120 days between inspections.

(3) For track Class 7, at least twice within any 120-day period with not less than 25 days between inspections.

(4) For track Classes 8 and 9, at least twice within any 60-day period with not less than 12 days between inspections.

(b) A qualifying TGMS shall meet or exceed minimum design requirements which specify that—

(1) Track geometry measurements shall be taken no more than 3 feet away from the contact point of wheels carrying a vertical load of no less than 10 kips per wheel, unless otherwise approved by FRA;

(2) Track geometry measurements shall be taken and recorded on a distance-based sampling interval preferably at 1 foot not exceeding 2 feet; and

(3) Calibration procedures and parameters are assigned to the system which assure that measured and recorded values accurately represent track conditions. Track geometry measurements recorded by the system shall not differ on repeated runs at the same site at the same speed more than 18 inch.

(c) A qualifying TGMS shall be capable of measuring and processing the necessary track geometry parameters to determine compliance with—

(1) For operations at a qualified cant deficiency, Eu, of more than 5 inches on track Classes 1 through 5: §213.53, Track gage; §213.55(b), Track alinement; §213.57, Curves; elevation and speed limitations; §213.63, Track surface; and §213.65, Combined track alinement and surface deviations.

(2) For track Classes 6 through 9: §213.323, Track gage; §213.327, Track alinement; §213.329, Curves; elevation and speed limitations; §213.331, Track surface; and for operations at a cant deficiency of more than 5 inches §213.332, Combined track alinement and surface deviations.

(d) A qualifying TGMS shall be capable of producing, within 24 hours of the inspection, output reports that—

(1) Provide a continuous plot, on a constant-distance axis, of all measured track geometry parameters required in paragraph (c) of this section;

(2) Provide an exception report containing a systematic listing of all track geometry conditions which constitute an exception to the class of track over the segment surveyed.

(e) The output reports required under paragraph (c) of this section shall contain sufficient location identification information which enable field forces to easily locate indicated exceptions.

(f) Following a track inspection performed by a qualifying TGMS, the track owner shall, within two days after the inspection, field verify and institute remedial action for all exceptions to the class of track.

(g) The track owner or railroad shall maintain for a period of one year following an inspection performed by a qualifying TGMS, a copy of the plot and the exception report for the track segment involved, and additional records which:

(1) Specify the date the inspection was made and the track segment involved; and

(2) Specify the location, remedial action taken, and the date thereof, for all listed exceptions to the class.

(h) For track Classes 8 and 9, a qualifying Gage Restraint Measurement System (GRMS) shall be operated at least once per calendar year with at least 170 days between inspections. The lateral capacity of the track structure shall not permit a Gage Widening Projection (GWP) greater than 0.5 inch.

(i) A GRMS shall meet or exceed minimum design requirements specifying that—

(1) Gage restraint shall be measured between the heads of the rail:

(i) At an interval not exceeding 16 inches;

(ii) Under an applied vertical load of no less than 10 kips per rail; and

(iii) Under an applied lateral load that provides a lateral/vertical load ratio of between 0.5 and 1.25,10 and a load severity greater than 3 kips but less than 8 kips per rail. Load severity is defined by the formula:

10GRMS equipment using load combinations developing L/V ratios that exceed 0.8 shall be operated with caution to protect against the risk of wheel climb by the test wheelset.

S = L−cV

Where—

S = Load severity, defined as the lateral load applied to the fastener system (kips).

L = Actual lateral load applied (kips).

c = Coefficient of friction between rail/tie, which is assigned a nominal value of 0.4.

V = Actual vertical load applied (kips), or static vertical wheel load if vertical load is not measured.

(2) The measured gage and load values shall be converted to a GWP as follows:

eCFR graphic er13mr13.015.gif

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Where—

UTG = Unloaded track gage measured by the GRMS vehicle at a point no less than 10 feet from any lateral or vertical load application.

LTG = Loaded track gage measured by the GRMS vehicle at a point no more than 12 inches from the lateral load application.

L = Actual lateral load applied (kips).

V = Actual vertical load applied (kips), or static vertical wheel load if vertical load is not measured.

GWP = Gage Widening Projection, which means the measured gage widening, which is the difference between loaded and unloaded gage, at the applied loads, projected to reference loads of 16 kips of lateral force and 33 kips of vertical force.

(j) As further specified for the combination of track class, cant deficiencies, and vehicles subject to paragraphs (j)(1) through (3) of this section, a vehicle having dynamic response characteristics that are representative of other vehicles assigned to the service shall be operated over the route at the revenue speed profile. The vehicle shall either be instrumented or equipped with a portable device that monitors onboard instrumentation on trains. Track personnel shall be notified when onboard accelerometers indicate a possible track-related problem. Testing shall be conducted at the frequencies specified in paragraphs (j)(1) through (3) of this section, unless otherwise determined by FRA after reviewing the test data required by this subpart.

(1) For operations at a qualified cant deficiency, Eu, of more than 5 inches on track Classes 1 through 6, carbody acceleration shall be monitored at least once each calendar quarter with not less than 25 days between inspections on at least one passenger car of each type that is assigned to the service; and

(2) For operations at track Class 7 speeds, carbody and truck accelerations shall be monitored at least twice within any 60-day period with not less than 12 days between inspections on at least one passenger car of each type that is assigned to the service; and

(3) For operations at track Class 8 or 9 speeds, carbody acceleration shall be monitored at least four times within any 7-day period with not more than 3 days between inspections on at least one non-passenger and one passenger carrying vehicle of each type that is assigned to the service, as appropriate. Truck acceleration shall be monitored at least twice within any 60-day period with not less than 12 days between inspections on at least one passenger carrying vehicle of each type that is assigned to the service, as appropriate.

(k)(1) The instrumented vehicle or the portable device, as required in paragraph (j) of this section, shall monitor lateral and vertical accelerations of the carbody. The accelerometers shall be attached to the carbody on or under the floor of the vehicle, as near the center of a truck as practicable.

(2) In addition, a device for measuring lateral accelerations shall be mounted on a truck frame at a longitudinal location as close as practicable to an axle's centerline (either outside axle for trucks containing more than 2 axles), or, if approved by FRA, at an alternate location. After monitoring this data for 2 years, or 1 million miles, whichever occurs first, the track owner or railroad may petition FRA for exemption from this requirement.

(3) If any of the carbody lateral, carbody vertical, or truck frame lateral acceleration safety limits in this section's table of vehicle/track interaction safety limits is exceeded, corrective action shall be taken as necessary. Track personnel shall be notified when the accelerometers indicate a possible track-related problem.

(l) For track Classes 8 and 9, the track owner or railroad shall submit a report to FRA, once each calendar year, which provides an analysis of the monitoring data collected in accordance with paragraphs (j) and (k) of this section. Based on a review of the report, FRA may require that an instrumented vehicle having dynamic response characteristics that are representative of other vehicles assigned to the service be operated over the track at the revenue speed profile. The instrumented vehicle shall be equipped to measure wheel/rail forces. If any of the wheel/rail force limits in this section's table of vehicle/track interaction safety limits is exceeded, appropriate speed restrictions shall be applied until corrective action is taken.

(m) The track owner or railroad shall maintain a copy of the most recent exception records for the inspections required under paragraphs (j), (k), and (l) of this section, as appropriate.

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[63 FR 34029, June 22, 1998; 63 FR 46102, Aug. 28, 1998, as amended at 78 FR 16107, Mar. 13, 2013]

§213.334   Ballast; general.

Unless it is otherwise structurally supported, all track shall be supported by material which will—

(a) Transmit and distribute the load of the track and railroad rolling equipment to the subgrade;

(b) Restrain the track laterally, longitudinally, and vertically under dynamic loads imposed by railroad rolling equipment and thermal stress exerted by the rails;

(c) Provide adequate drainage for the track; and

(d) Maintain proper track crosslevel, surface, and alinement.

§213.335   Crossties.

(a) Crossties shall be made of a material to which rail can be securely fastened.

(b) Each 39 foot segment of track shall have—

(1) A sufficient number of crossties which in combination provide effective support that will—

(i) Hold gage within the limits prescribed in §213.323(b);

(ii) Maintain surface within the limits prescribed in §213.331; and

(iii) Maintain alinement within the limits prescribed in §213.327.

(2) The minimum number and type of crossties specified in paragraph (c) of this section effectively distributed to support the entire segment; and

(3) Crossties of the type specified in paragraph (c) of this section that are(is) located at a joint location as specified in paragraph (e) of this section.

(c) For non-concrete tie construction, each 39 foot segment of Class 6 track shall have fourteen crossties; Classes 7, 8 and 9 shall have 18 crossties which are not—

(1) Broken through;

(2) Split or otherwise impaired to the extent the crossties will allow the ballast to work through, or will not hold spikes or rail fasteners;

(3) So deteriorated that the tie plate or base of rail can move laterally 38 inch relative to the crossties;

(4) Cut by the tie plate through more than 40 percent of a crosstie's thickness;

(5) Configured with less than 2 rail holding spikes or fasteners per tie plate; or

(6) So unable, due to insufficient fastener toeload, to maintain longitudinal restraint and maintain rail hold down and gage.

(d) For concrete tie construction, each 39 foot segment of Class 6 track shall have fourteen crossties, Classes 7, 8 and 9 shall have 16 crossties which are not—

(1) So deteriorated that the prestress strands are ineffective or withdrawn into the tie at one end and the tie exhibits structural cracks in the rail seat or in the gage of track;

(2) Configured with less than 2 fasteners on the same rail;

(3) So deteriorated in the vicinity of the rail fastener such that the fastener assembly may pull out or move laterally more than 38 inch relative to the crosstie;

(4) So deteriorated that the fastener base plate or base of rail can move laterally more than 38 inch relative to the crossties;

(5) So deteriorated that rail seat abrasion is sufficiently deep so as to cause loss of rail fastener toeload;

(6) Completely broken through; or

(7) So unable, due to insufficient fastener toeload, to maintain longitudinal restraint and maintain rail hold down and gage.

(e) Class 6 track shall have one non-defective crosstie whose centerline is within 18 inches of the rail joint location or two crossties whose center lines are within 24 inches either side of the rail joint location. Class 7, 8, and 9 track shall have two non-defective ties within 24 inches each side of the rail joint.

(f) For track constructed without crossties, such as slab track and track connected directly to bridge structural components, the track structure shall meet the requirements of paragraphs (b)(1)(i), (ii), and (iii) of this section.

(g) In Classes 7, 8 and 9 there shall be at least three non-defective ties each side of a defective tie.

(h) Where timber crossties are in use there shall be tie plates under the running rails on at least nine of 10 consecutive ties.

(i) No metal object which causes a concentrated load by solely supporting a rail shall be allowed between the base of the rail and the bearing surface of the tie plate.

§213.337   Defective rails.

(a) When an owner of track to which this part applies learns, through inspection or otherwise, that a rail in that track contains any of the defects listed in the following table, a person designated under §213.305 shall determine whether or not the track may continue in use. If the person determines that the track may continue in use, operation over the defective rail is not permitted until—

(1) The rail is replaced; or

(2) The remedial action prescribed in the table is initiated—

eCFR graphic en28se98.059.gif

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Notes: A. Assign person designated under §213.305 to visually supervise each operation over defective rail.

A2. Assign person designated under §213.305 to make visual inspection. That person may authorize operation to continue without visual supervision at a maximum of 10 m.p.h. for up to 24 hours prior to another such visual inspection or replacement or repair of the rail.

B. Limit operating speed over defective rail to that as authorized by a person designated under §213.305(a)(1)(i) or (ii). The operating speed cannot be over 30 m.p.h.

C. Apply joint bars bolted only through the outermost holes to defect within 20 days after it is determined to continue the track in use. Limit operating speed over defective rail to 30 m.p.h. until joint bars are applied; thereafter, limit speed to 50 m.p.h. When a search for internal rail defects is conducted under §213.339 and defects are discovered which require remedial action C, the operating speed shall be limited to 50 m.p.h., for a period not to exceed 4 days. If the defective rail has not been removed from the track or a permanent repair made within 4 days of the discovery, limit operating speed over the defective rail to 30 m.p.h. until joint bars are applied; thereafter, limit speed to 50 m.p.h.

D. Apply joint bars bolted only through the outermost holes to defect within 10 days after it is determined to continue the track in use. Limit operating speed over the defective rail to 30 m.p.h. or less as authorized by a person designated under §213.305(a)(1)(i) or (ii) until joint bars are applied; thereafter, limit speed to 50 m.p.h.

E. Apply joint bars to defect and bolt in accordance with §213.351(d) and (e).

F. Inspect rail 90 days after it is determined to continue the track in use.

G. Inspect rail 30 days after it is determined to continue the track in use.

H. Limit operating speed over defective rail to 50 m.p.h.

I. Limit operating speed over defective rail to 30 m.p.h.

(b) As used in this section—

(1) Transverse fissure means a progressive crosswise fracture starting from a crystalline center or nucleus inside the head from which it spreads outward as a smooth, bright, or dark, round or oval surface substantially at a right angle to the length of the rail. The distinguishing features of a transverse fissure from other types of fractures or defects are the crystalline center or nucleus and the nearly smooth surface of the development which surrounds it.

(2) Compound fissure means a progressive fracture originating in a horizontal split head which turns up or down in the head of the rail as a smooth, bright, or dark surface progressing until substantially at a right angle to the length of the rail. Compound fissures require examination of both faces of the fracture to locate the horizontal split head from which they originate.

(3) Horizontal split head means a horizontal progressive defect originating inside of the rail head, usually one-quarter inch or more below the running surface and progressing horizontally in all directions, and generally accompanied by a flat spot on the running surface. The defect appears as a crack lengthwise of the rail when it reaches the side of the rail head.

(4) Vertical split head means a vertical split through or near the middle of the head, and extending into or through it. A crack or rust streak may show under the head close to the web or pieces may be split off the side of the head.

(5) Split web means a lengthwise crack along the side of the web and extending into or through it.

(6) Piped rail means a vertical split in a rail, usually in the web, due to failure of the shrinkage cavity in the ingot to unite in rolling.

(7) Broken base means any break in the base of the rail.

(8) Detail fracture means a progressive fracture originating at or near the surface of the rail head. These fractures should not be confused with transverse fissures, compound fissures, or other defects which have internal origins. Detail fractures may arise from shelly spots, head checks, or flaking.

(9) Engine burn fracture means a progressive fracture originating in spots where driving wheels have slipped on top of the rail head. In developing downward they frequently resemble the compound or even transverse fissures with which they should not be confused or classified.

(10) Ordinary break means a partial or complete break in which there is no sign of a fissure, and in which none of the other defects described in this paragraph (b) are found.

(11) Damaged rail means any rail broken or injured by wrecks, broken, flat, or unbalanced wheels, slipping, or similar causes.

(12) Flattened rail means a short length of rail, not a joint, which has flattened out across the width of the rail head to a depth of 38 inch or more below the rest of the rail. Flattened rail occurrences have no repetitive regularity and thus do not include corrugations, and have no apparent localized cause such as a weld or engine burn. Their individual length is relatively short, as compared to a condition such as head flow on the low rail of curves.

(13) Bolt hole crack means a crack across the web, originating from a bolt hole, and progressing on a path either inclined upward toward the rail head or inclined downward toward the base. Fully developed bolt hole cracks may continue horizontally along the head/web or base/web fillet, or they may progress into and through the head or base to separate a piece of the rail end from the rail. Multiple cracks occurring in one rail end are considered to be a single defect. However, bolt hole cracks occurring in adjacent rail ends within the same joint shall be reported as separate defects.

(14) Defective weld means a field or plant weld containing any discontinuities or pockets, exceeding 5 percent of the rail head area individually or 10 percent in the aggregate, oriented in or near the transverse plane, due to incomplete penetration of the weld metal between the rail ends, lack of fusion between weld and rail end metal, entrainment of slag or sand, under-bead or other shrinkage cracking, or fatigue cracking. Weld defects may originate in the rail head, web, or base, and in some cases, cracks may progress from the defect into either or both adjoining rail ends.

(15) Head and web separation means a progressive fracture, longitudinally separating the head from the web of the rail at the head fillet area.

[63 FR 34029, June 22, 1998; 63 FR 51638, Sept. 28, 1998]

§213.339   Inspection of rail in service.

(a) A continuous search for internal defects shall be made of all rail in track at least twice annually with not less than 120 days between inspections.

(b) Inspection equipment shall be capable of detecting defects between joint bars, in the area enclosed by joint bars.

(c) Each defective rail shall be marked with a highly visible marking on both sides of the web and base.

(d) If the person assigned to operate the rail defect detection equipment being used determines that, due to rail surface conditions, a valid search for internal defects could not be made over a particular length of track, the test on that particular length of track cannot be considered as a search for internal defects under §213.337(a).

(e) If a valid search for internal defects cannot be conducted for reasons described in paragraph (d) of this section, the track owner shall, before the expiration of time limits—

(1) Conduct a valid search for internal defects;

(2) Reduce operating speed to a maximum of 25 miles per hour until such time as a valid search for internal defects can be made; or

(3) Remove the rail from service.

§213.341   Initial inspection of new rail and welds.

The track owner shall provide for the initial inspection of newly manufactured rail, and for initial inspection of new welds made in either new or used rail. A track owner may demonstrate compliance with this section by providing for:

(a) In-service inspection. A scheduled periodic inspection of rail and welds that have been placed in service, if conducted in accordance with the provisions of §213.339, and if conducted not later than 90 days after installation, shall constitute compliance with paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section;

(b) Mill inspection. A continuous inspection at the rail manufacturer's mill shall constitute compliance with the requirement for initial inspection of new rail, provided that the inspection equipment meets the applicable requirements specified in §213.339. The track owner shall obtain a copy of the manufacturer's report of inspection and retain it as a record until the rail receives its first scheduled inspection under §213.339;

(c) Welding plant inspection. A continuous inspection at a welding plant, if conducted in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (b) of this section, and accompanied by a plant operator's report of inspection which is retained as a record by the track owner, shall constitute compliance with the requirements for initial inspection of new rail and plant welds, or of new plant welds made in used rail; and

(d) Inspection of field welds. An initial inspection of field welds, either those joining the ends of CWR strings or those made for isolated repairs, shall be conducted not less than one day and not more than 30 days after the welds have been made. The initial inspection may be conducted by means of portable test equipment. The track owner shall retain a record of such inspections until the welds receive their first scheduled inspection under §213.339.

(e) Each defective rail found during inspections conducted under paragraph (a) or (d) of this section shall be marked with highly visible markings on both sides of the web and base and the remedial action as appropriate under §213.337 will apply.

§213.343   Continuous welded rail (CWR).

Each track owner with track constructed of CWR shall have in effect and comply with written procedures which address the installation, adjustment, maintenance and inspection of CWR, and a training program for the application of those procedures, which shall be submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration by March 21, 1999. FRA reviews each plan for compliance with the following—

(a) Procedures for the installation and adjustment of CWR which include—

(1) Designation of a desired rail installation temperature range for the geographic area in which the CWR is located; and

(2) De-stressing procedures/methods which address proper attainment of the desired rail installation temperature range when adjusting CWR.

(b) Rail anchoring or fastening requirements that will provide sufficient restraint to limit longitudinal rail and crosstie movement to the extent practical, and specifically addressing CWR rail anchoring or fastening patterns on bridges, bridge approaches, and at other locations where possible longitudinal rail and crosstie movement associated with normally expected train-induced forces, is restricted.

(c) Procedures which specifically address maintaining a desired rail installation temperature range when cutting CWR including rail repairs, in-track welding, and in conjunction with adjustments made in the area of tight track, a track buckle, or a pull-apart. Rail repair practices shall take into consideration existing rail temperature so that—

(1) When rail is removed, the length installed shall be determined by taking into consideration the existing rail temperature and the desired rail installation temperature range; and

(2) Under no circumstances should rail be added when the rail temperature is below that designated by paragraph (a)(1) of this section, without provisions for later adjustment.

(d) Procedures which address the monitoring of CWR in curved track for inward shifts of alinement toward the center of the curve as a result of disturbed track.

(e) Procedures which control train speed on CWR track when—

(1) Maintenance work, track rehabilitation, track construction, or any other event occurs which disturbs the roadbed or ballast section and reduces the lateral and/or longitudinal resistance of the track; and

(2) In formulating the procedures under this paragraph (e), the track owner shall—

(i) Determine the speed required, and the duration and subsequent removal of any speed restriction based on the restoration of the ballast, along with sufficient ballast re-consolidation to stabilize the track to a level that can accommodate expected train-induced forces. Ballast re-consolidation can be achieved through either the passage of train tonnage or mechanical stabilization procedures, or both; and

(ii) Take into consideration the type of crossties used.

(f) Procedures which prescribe when physical track inspections are to be performed to detect buckling prone conditions in CWR track. At a minimum, these procedures shall address inspecting track to identify—

(1) Locations where tight or kinky rail conditions are likely to occur;

(2) Locations where track work of the nature described in paragraph (e)(1) of this section have recently been performed; and

(3) In formulating the procedures under this paragraph (f), the track owner shall—

(i) Specify the timing of the inspection; and

(ii) Specify the appropriate remedial actions to be taken when buckling prone conditions are found.

(g) The track owner shall have in effect a comprehensive training program for the application of these written CWR procedures, with provisions for periodic re-training, for those individuals designated under §213.305(c) of this part as qualified to supervise the installation, adjustment, and maintenance of CWR track and to perform inspections of CWR track.

(h) The track owner shall prescribe recordkeeping requirements necessary to provide an adequate history of track constructed with CWR. At a minimum, these records shall include:

(1) Rail temperature, location and date of CWR installations. This record shall be retained for at least one year; and

(2) A record of any CWR installation or maintenance work that does not conform with the written procedures. Such record shall include the location of the rail and be maintained until the CWR is brought into conformance with such procedures.

(i) As used in this section—

(1) Adjusting/de-stressing means the procedure by which a rail's temperature is re-adjusted to the desired value. It typically consists of cutting the rail and removing rail anchoring devices, which provides for the necessary expansion and contraction, and then re-assembling the track.

(2) Buckling incident means the formation of a lateral mis-alinement sufficient in magnitude to constitute a deviation of 5 inches measured with a 62-foot chord. These normally occur when rail temperatures are relatively high and are caused by high longitudinal compressive forces.

(3) Continuous welded rail (CWR) means rail that has been welded together into lengths exceeding 400 feet.

(4) Desired rail installation temperature range means the rail temperature range, within a specific geographical area, at which forces in CWR should not cause a buckling incident in extreme heat, or a pull-apart during extreme cold weather.

(5) Disturbed track means the disturbance of the roadbed or ballast section, as a result of track maintenance or any other event, which reduces the lateral or longitudinal resistance of the track, or both.

(6) Mechanical stabilization means a type of procedure used to restore track resistance to disturbed track following certain maintenance operations. This procedure may incorporate dynamic track stabilizers or ballast consolidators, which are units of work equipment that are used as a substitute for the stabilization action provided by the passage of tonnage trains.

(7) Rail anchors means those devices which are attached to the rail and bear against the side of the crosstie to control longitudinal rail movement. Certain types of rail fasteners also act as rail anchors and control longitudinal rail movement by exerting a downward clamping force on the upper surface of the rail base.

(8) Rail temperature means the temperature of the rail, measured with a rail thermometer.

(9) Tight/kinky rail means CWR which exhibits minute alinement irregularities which indicate that the rail is in a considerable amount of compression.

(10) Train-induced forces means the vertical, longitudinal, and lateral dynamic forces which are generated during train movement and which can contribute to the buckling potential.

(11) Track lateral resistance means the resistance provided to the rail/crosstie structure against lateral displacement.

(12) Track longitudinal resistance means the resistance provided by the rail anchors/rail fasteners and the ballast section to the rail/crosstie structure against longitudinal displacement.

(j) Track owners shall revise their CWR plans to include provisions for the inspection of joint bars in accordance with §§213.119(g) and (i)(3).

[63 FR 34029, June 22, 1998; 63 FR 45959, Aug. 28, 1998, as amended at 70 FR 66298, Nov. 2, 2005]

§213.345   Vehicle/track system qualification.

(a) General. All vehicle types intended to operate at track Class 6 speeds or above, or at any curving speed producing more than 5 inches of cant deficiency, shall be qualified for operation for their intended track classes in accordance with this subpart. A qualification program shall be used to demonstrate that the vehicle/track system will not exceed the wheel/rail force safety limits and the carbody and truck acceleration criteria specified in §213.333—

(1) At any speed up to and including 5 m.p.h. above the proposed maximum operating speed; and

(2) On track meeting the requirements for the class of track associated with the proposed maximum operating speed. For purposes of qualification testing, speeds may exceed the maximum allowable operating speed for the class of track in accordance with the test plan approved by FRA.

(b) Existing vehicle type qualification. Vehicle types previously qualified or permitted to operate at track Class 6 speeds or above or at any curving speeds producing more than 5 inches of cant deficiency prior to March 13, 2013, shall be considered as being successfully qualified under the requirements of this section for operation at the previously operated speeds and cant deficiencies over the previously operated track segment(s).

(c) New vehicle type qualification. Vehicle types not previously qualified under this subpart shall be qualified in accordance with the requirements of this paragraph (c).

(1) Simulations or measurement of wheel/rail forces. For vehicle types intended to operate at track Class 6 speeds, simulations or measurement of wheel/rail forces during qualification testing shall demonstrate that the vehicle type will not exceed the wheel/rail force safety limits specified in §213.333. Simulations, if conducted, shall be in accordance with paragraph (c)(2) of this section. Measurement of wheel/rail forces, if conducted, shall be performed over a representative segment of the full route on which the vehicle type is intended to operate.

(2) Simulations. For vehicle types intended to operate at track Class 7 speeds or above, or at any curving speed producing more than 6 inches of cant deficiency, analysis of vehicle/track performance (computer simulations) shall be conducted using an industry recognized methodology on:

(i) An analytically defined track segment representative of minimally compliant track conditions (MCAT—Minimally Compliant Analytical Track) for the respective track class(es) as specified in appendix D to this part; and

(ii) A track segment representative of the full route on which the vehicle type is intended to operate. Both simulations and physical examinations of the route's track geometry shall be used to determine a track segment representative of the route.

(3) Carbody acceleration. For vehicle types intended to operate at track Class 6 speeds or above, or at any curving speed producing more than 5 inches of cant deficiency, qualification testing conducted over a representative segment of the route shall demonstrate that the vehicle type will not exceed the carbody lateral and vertical acceleration safety limits specified in §213.333.

(4) Truck lateral acceleration. For vehicle types intended to operate at track Class 6 speeds or above, qualification testing conducted over a representative segment of the route shall demonstrate that the vehicle type will not exceed the truck lateral acceleration safety limit specified in §213.333.

(5) Measurement of wheel/rail forces. For vehicle types intended to operate at track Class 7 speeds or above, or at any curving speed producing more than 6 inches of cant deficiency, qualification testing conducted over a representative segment of the route shall demonstrate that the vehicle type will not exceed the wheel/rail force safety limits specified in §213.333.

(d) Previously qualified vehicle types. Vehicle types previously qualified under this subpart for a track class and cant deficiency on one route may be qualified for operation at the same class and cant deficiency on another route through analysis or testing, or both, to demonstrate compliance with paragraph (a) of this section in accordance with the following:

(1) Simulations or measurement of wheel/rail forces. For vehicle types intended to operate at any curving speed producing more than 6 inches of cant deficiency, or at curving speeds that both correspond to track Class 7 speeds or above and produce more than 5 inches of cant deficiency, simulations or measurement of wheel/rail forces during qualification testing shall demonstrate that the vehicle type will not exceed the wheel/rail force safety limits specified in §213.333. Simulations, if conducted, shall be in accordance with paragraph (c)(2) of this section. Measurement of wheel/rail forces, if conducted, shall be performed over a representative segment of the new route.

(2) Carbody acceleration. For vehicle types intended to operate at any curving speed producing more than 5 inches of cant deficiency, or at track Class 7 speeds and above, qualification testing conducted over a representative segment of the new route shall demonstrate that the vehicle type will not exceed the carbody lateral and vertical acceleration safety limits specified in §213.333.

(3) Truck lateral acceleration. For vehicle types intended to operate at track Class 7 speeds or above, measurement of truck lateral acceleration during qualification testing shall demonstrate that the vehicle type will not exceed the truck lateral acceleration safety limits specified in §213.333. Measurement of truck lateral acceleration, if conducted, shall be performed over a representative segment of the new route.

(e) Qualification testing plan. To obtain the data required to support the qualification program outlined in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section, the track owner or railroad shall submit a qualification testing plan to FRA's Associate Administrator for Railroad Safety/Chief Safety Officer (FRA) at least 60 days prior to testing, requesting approval to conduct the testing at the desired speeds and cant deficiencies. This test plan shall provide for a test program sufficient to evaluate the operating limits of the track and vehicle type and shall include:

(1) Identification of the representative segment of the route for qualification testing;

(2) Consideration of the operating environment during qualification testing, including operating practices and conditions, the signal system, highway-rail grade crossings, and trains on adjacent tracks;

(3) The maximum angle found on the gage face of the designed (newly-profiled) wheel flange referenced with respect to the axis of the wheelset that will be used for the determination of the Single Wheel L/V Ratio safety limit specified in §213.333;

(4) A target maximum testing speed in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section and the maximum testing cant deficiency;

(5) An analysis and description of the signal system and operating practices to govern operations in track Classes 7 through 9, which shall include a statement of sufficiency in these areas for the class of operation; and

(6) The results of vehicle/track performance simulations that are required by this section.

(f) Qualification testing. Upon FRA approval of the qualification testing plan, qualification testing shall be conducted in two sequential stages as required in this subpart.

(1) Stage-one testing shall include demonstration of acceptable vehicle dynamic response of the subject vehicle as speeds are incrementally increased—

(i) On a segment of tangent track, from acceptable track Class 5 speeds to the target maximum test speed (when the target speed corresponds to track Class 6 and above operations); and

(ii) On a segment of curved track, from the speeds corresponding to 3 inches of cant deficiency to the maximum testing cant deficiency.

(2) When stage-one testing has successfully demonstrated a maximum safe operating speed and cant deficiency, stage-two testing shall commence with the subject equipment over a representative segment of the route as identified in paragraph (e)(1) of this section.

(i) A test run shall be conducted over the route segment at the speed the railroad will request FRA to approve for such service.

(ii) An additional test run shall be conducted at 5 m.p.h. above this speed.

(3) When conducting stage-one and stage-two testing, if any of the monitored safety limits is exceeded on any segment of track intended for operation at track Class 6 speeds or greater, or on any segment of track intended for operation at more than 5 inches of cant deficiency, testing may continue provided that the track location(s) where any of the limits is exceeded be identified and test speeds be limited at the track location(s) until corrective action is taken. Corrective action may include making an adjustment in the track, in the vehicle, or both of these system components. Measurements taken on track segments intended for operations below track Class 6 speeds and at 5 inches of cant deficiency, or less, are not required to be reported.

(4) Prior to the start of the qualification testing program, a qualifying TGMS specified in §213.333 shall be operated over the intended route within 30 calendar days prior to the start of the qualification testing program.

(g) Qualification testing results. The track owner or railroad shall submit a report to FRA detailing all the results of the qualification program. When simulations are required as part of vehicle qualification, this report shall include a comparison of simulation predictions to the actual wheel/rail force or acceleration data, or both, recorded during full-scale testing. The report shall be submitted at least 60 days prior to the intended operation of the equipment in revenue service over the route.

(h) Based on the test results and all other required submissions, FRA will approve a maximum train speed and value of cant deficiency for revenue service, normally within 45 days of receipt of all the required information. FRA may impose conditions necessary for safely operating at the maximum approved train speed and cant deficiency.

(i) The documents required by this section must be provided to FRA by:

(1) The track owner; or

(2) A railroad that provides service with the same vehicle type over trackage of one or more track owner(s), with the written consent of each affected track owner.

[78 FR 16111, Mar. 13, 2013]

§213.347   Automotive or railroad crossings at grade.

(a) There shall be no at-grade (level) highway crossings, public or private, or rail-to-rail crossings at-grade on Class 8 and 9 track.

(b) If train operation is projected at Class 7 speed for a track segment that will include rail-highway grade crossings, the track owner shall submit for FRA's approval a complete description of the proposed warning/barrier system to address the protection of highway traffic and high speed trains. Trains shall not operate at Class 7 speeds over any track segment having highway-rail grade crossings unless:

(1) An FRA-approved warning/barrier system exists on that track segment; and

(2) All elements of that warning/barrier system are functioning.

§213.349   Rail end mismatch.

Any mismatch of rails at joints may not be more than that prescribed by the following table—

Class of trackAny mismatch of rails at joints may not be more than the following—
On the tread of the rail ends (inch)On the gage side of the rail ends (inch)
Class 6, 7, 8 and 9 18 18

§213.351   Rail joints.

(a) Each rail joint, insulated joint, and compromise joint shall be of a structurally sound design and dimensions for the rail on which it is applied.

(b) If a joint bar is cracked, broken, or because of wear allows excessive vertical movement of either rail when all bolts are tight, it shall be replaced.

(c) If a joint bar is cracked or broken between the middle two bolt holes it shall be replaced.

(d) Each rail shall be bolted with at least two bolts at each joint.

(e) Each joint bar shall be held in position by track bolts tightened to allow the joint bar to firmly support the abutting rail ends and to allow longitudinal movement of the rail in the joint to accommodate expansion and contraction due to temperature variations. When no-slip, joint-to-rail contact exists by design, the requirements of this section do not apply. Those locations, when over 400 feet long, are considered to be continuous welded rail track and shall meet all the requirements for continuous welded rail track prescribed in this subpart.

(f) No rail shall have a bolt hole which is torch cut or burned.

(g) No joint bar shall be reconfigured by torch cutting.

§213.352   Torch cut rail.

(a) Except as a temporary repair in emergency situations no rail having a torch cut end shall be used. When a rail end with a torch cut is used in emergency situations, train speed over that rail shall not exceed the maximum allowable for Class 2 track. All torch cut rail ends in Class 6 shall be removed within six months of September 21, 1998.

(b) Following the expiration of the time limits specified in paragraph (a) of this section, any torch cut rail end not removed shall be removed within 30 days of discovery. Train speed over that rail shall not exceed the maximum allowable for Class 2 track until removed.

§213.353   Turnouts, crossovers, and lift rail assemblies or other transition devices on moveable bridges.

(a) In turnouts and track crossings, the fastenings must be intact and maintained so as to keep the components securely in place. Also, each switch, frog, and guard rail shall be kept free of obstructions that may interfere with the passage of wheels. Use of rigid rail crossings at grade is limited per §213.347.

(b) Track shall be equipped with rail anchoring through and on each side of track crossings and turnouts, to restrain rail movement affecting the position of switch points and frogs. Elastic fasteners designed to restrict longitudinal rail movement are considered rail anchoring.

(c) Each flangeway at turnouts and track crossings shall be at least 112 inches wide.

(d) For all turnouts and crossovers, and lift rail assemblies or other transition devices on moveable bridges, the track owner shall prepare an inspection and maintenance Guidebook for use by railroad employees which shall be submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration. The Guidebook shall contain at a minimum—

(1) Inspection frequency and methodology including limiting measurement values for all components subject to wear or requiring adjustment.

(2) Maintenance techniques.

(e) Each hand operated switch shall be equipped with a redundant operating mechanism for maintaining the security of switch point position.

§213.355   Frog guard rails and guard faces; gage.

The guard check and guard face gages in frogs shall be within the limits prescribed in the following table—

Class of trackGuard check gageGuard face gage
The distance between the gage line of a frog to the guard line1 of its guard rail or guarding face, measured across the track at right angles to the gage line,2 may not be less than—The distance between guard lines,1 measured across the track at right angles to the gage line,2 may not be more than—
Class 6, 7, 8 and 9 track4612 45

1A line along that side of the flangeway which is nearer to the center of the track and at the same elevation as the gage line.

2A line five-eighths of an inch below the top of the center line of the head of the running rail, or corresponding location of the tread portion of the track structure.

[78 FR 16112, Mar. 13, 2013]

§213.357   Derails.

(a) Each track, other than a main track, which connects with a Class 7, 8 or 9 main track shall be equipped with a functioning derail of the correct size and type, unless railroad equipment on the track, because of grade characteristics cannot move to foul the main track.

(b) For the purposes of this section, a derail is a device which will physically stop or divert movement of railroad rolling stock or other railroad on-track equipment past the location of the device.

(c) Each derail shall be clearly visible. When in a locked position, a derail shall be free of any lost motion which would prevent it from performing its intended function.

(d) Each derail shall be maintained to function as intended.

(e) Each derail shall be properly installed for the rail to which it is applied.

(f) If a track protected by a derail is occupied by standing railroad rolling stock, the derail shall be in derailing position.

(g) Each derail on a track which is connected to a Class 7, 8 or 9 main track shall be interconnected with the signal system.

§213.359   Track stiffness.

(a) Track shall have a sufficient vertical strength to withstand the maximum vehicle loads generated at maximum permissible train speeds, cant deficiencies and surface defects. For purposes of this section, vertical track strength is defined as the track capacity to constrain vertical deformations so that the track shall return following maximum load to a configuration in compliance with the vehicle/track interaction safety limits and geometry requirements of this subpart.

(b) Track shall have sufficient lateral strength to withstand the maximum thermal and vehicle loads generated at maximum permissible train speeds, cant deficiencies and lateral alinement defects. For purposes of this section lateral track strength is defined as the track capacity to constrain lateral deformations so that track shall return following maximum load to a configuration in compliance with the vehicle/track interaction safety limits and geometry requirements of this subpart.

§213.361   Right of way.

The track owner in Class 8 and 9 shall submit a barrier plan, termed a “right-of-way plan,” to the Federal Railroad Administration for approval. At a minimum, the plan will contain provisions in areas of demonstrated need for the prevention of—

(a) Vandalism;

(b) Launching of objects from overhead bridges or structures into the path of trains; and

(c) Intrusion of vehicles from adjacent rights of way.

§213.365   Visual inspections.

(a) All track shall be visually inspected in accordance with the schedule prescribed in paragraph (c) of this section by a person designated under §213.305.

(b) Each inspection shall be made on foot or by riding over the track in a vehicle at a speed that allows the person making the inspection to visually inspect the track structure for compliance with this part. However, mechanical, electrical, and other track inspection devices may be used to supplement visual inspection. If a vehicle is used for visual inspection, the speed of the vehicle may not be more than 5 miles per hour when passing over track crossings and turnouts, otherwise, the inspection vehicle speed shall be at the sole discretion of the inspector, based on track conditions and inspection requirements. When riding over the track in a vehicle, the inspection will be subject to the following conditions—

(1) One inspector in a vehicle may inspect up to two tracks at one time provided that the inspector's visibility remains unobstructed by any cause and that the second track is not centered more than 30 feet from the track upon which the inspector is riding;

(2) Two inspectors in one vehicle may inspect up to four tracks at a time provided that the inspector's visibility remains unobstructed by any cause and that each track being inspected is centered within 39 feet from the track upon which the inspectors are riding;

(3) Each main track is actually traversed by the vehicle or inspected on foot at least once every two weeks, and each siding is actually traversed by the vehicle or inspected on foot at least once every month. On high density commuter railroad lines where track time does not permit an on track vehicle inspection, and where track centers are 15 foot or less, the requirements of this paragraph (b)(3) will not apply; and

(4) Track inspection records shall indicate which track(s) are traversed by the vehicle or inspected on foot as outlined in paragraph (b)(3) of this section.

(c) Each track inspection shall be made in accordance with the following schedule—

Class of trackRequired frequency
6, 7, and 8Twice weekly with at least 2 calendar-day's interval between inspections.
9Three times per week.

(d) If the person making the inspection finds a deviation from the requirements of this part, the person shall immediately initiate remedial action.

(e) Each switch, turnout, track crossing, and lift rail assemblies on moveable bridges shall be inspected on foot at least weekly. The inspection shall be accomplished in accordance with the Guidebook required under §213.353.

(f) In track Classes 8 and 9, if no train traffic operates for a period of eight hours, a train shall be operated at a speed not to exceed 100 miles per hour over the track before the resumption of operations at the maximum authorized speed.

[63 FR 34029, June 22, 1998; 63 FR 45959, Aug. 28, 1998]

§213.367   Special inspections.

In the event of fire, flood, severe storm, temperature extremes or other occurrence which might have damaged track structure, a special inspection shall be made of the track involved as soon as possible after the occurrence and, if possible, before the operation of any train over that track.

§213.369   Inspection records.

(a) Each owner of track to which this part applies shall keep a record of each inspection required to be performed on that track under this subpart.

(b) Except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, each record of an inspection under §213.365 shall be prepared on the day the inspection is made and signed by the person making the inspection. Records shall specify the track inspected, date of inspection, location and nature of any deviation from the requirements of this part, and the remedial action taken by the person making the inspection. The owner shall designate the location(s) where each original record shall be maintained for at least one year after the inspection covered by the record. The owner shall also designate one location, within 100 miles of each state in which they conduct operations, where copies of record which apply to those operations are either maintained or can be viewed following 10 days notice by the Federal Railroad Administration.

(c) Rail inspection records shall specify the date of inspection, the location and nature of any internal defects found, the remedial action taken and the date thereof, and the location of any intervals of track not tested per §213.339(d). The owner shall retain a rail inspection record for at least two years after the inspection and for one year after remedial action is taken.

(d) Each owner required to keep inspection records under this section shall make those records available for inspection and copying by the Federal Railroad Administrator.

(e) For purposes of compliance with the requirements of this section, an owner of track may maintain and transfer records through electronic transmission, storage, and retrieval provided that—

(1) The electronic system be designed such that the integrity of each record maintained through appropriate levels of security such as recognition of an electronic signature, or other means, which uniquely identify the initiating person as the author of that record. No two persons shall have the same electronic identity;

(2) The electronic storage of each record shall be initiated by the person making the inspection within 24 hours following the completion of that inspection;

(3) The electronic system shall ensure that each record cannot be modified in any way, or replaced, once the record is transmitted and stored;

(4) Any amendment to a record shall be electronically stored apart from the record which it amends. Each amendment to a record shall be uniquely identified as to the person making the amendment;

(5) The electronic system shall provide for the maintenance of inspection records as originally submitted without corruption or loss of data; and

(6) Paper copies of electronic records and amendments to those records, that may be necessary to document compliance with this part, shall be made available for inspection and copying by the FRA and track inspectors responsible under §213.305. Such paper copies shall be made available to the track inspectors and at the locations specified in paragraph (b) of this section.

(7) Track inspection records shall be kept available to persons who performed the inspection and to persons performing subsequent inspections.

(f) Each vehicle/track interaction safety record required under §213.333 (g), and (m) shall be made available for inspection and copying by the FRA at the locations specified in paragraph (b) of this section.

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