You’ve probably heard a lot in the news lately about America’s crumbling infrastructure, but worry not. Maintaining and improving our nation’s rail network is a top priority – one the freight rail industry spends billions of dollars on a year. And with over 100,000 rail bridges, inspection and maintenance is quite an important task. Here you’ll see how we keep our nation’s rail bridges up to date so they can continue to deliver for customers.
Lasers, microprocessors and ultrasounds — these high tech innovations don’t often come to mind when someone mentions railroads. However, modern railroads are employing these cutting edge technologies to make America’s freight rail network safer than ever before.
Today, flaws within tracks can be nearly impossible to detect with the human eye. Instead, high-tech inspection cars utilize laser and ultrasound technology to detect track wear and tear before an accident occurs. At the same time, wayside detectors positioned all across the country monitor the axles, suspensions and bearings of freight car and locomotive wheels to ensure that they are operating safely and efficiently to support freight trains weighing an average of 3,500-tons each.
Thanks to innovations like these, the train accident rate has dropped to historic lows. Explore in the infographic below how railroads are employing even more cutting edge technology to improve rail safety in the slideshow below.
Many of the industry’s technological advancements are being developed, refined and tested at the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI) — the world’s leading rail research facility. In the facilities’ laboratories and on 48 miles of test track, TTCI engineers develop state-of-the-art technologies and test locomotive, rail car and track components to ensure that America’s freight railroads remain the safest and most efficient in the world.