THE US Federal Railroad Administration has revised its track safety regulations to incorporate the latest data on dynamic performance of vehicle and track systems. Major changes include new standards for installation and maintenance of continuous welded rail, with related staff training.

More frequent inspection of track for internal flaws will see inspection intervals based on a combination of tonnage and time since the last inspection. In addition, the requirement will now apply to Class 3 tracks carrying freight at 42 to 64 km/h as well as passenger trains at 50 to 96 km/h.

There is a stricter standard for low density marginal routes which are exempt from minimum requirements for roadbed, and track geometry. In an effort to reduce the number of derailments, excepted track will now have to meet a minimum gauge requirement, and periodic inspection of pointwork will be mandatory. o