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Ride, Find, Fix

Defects in railroad tracks caused by use over time or from impurities in the manufacturing process can be largely invisible until an incident. Issues on the rails incapable of being seen by the human eye can develop over time with wear and tear from use. To find solutions to these issues before they strike, new technologies that use ultrasound and lasers along with wayside detectors that monitor rail tracks are being tested at the Transportation Technology Center and then put into production by private entities. These technologies are becoming widespread and are mounted to HiRail trucks and cars that then ride the rails to find issues or put alongside the tracks to capture images as the rail trains speed by. The Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI), which is a partnership organization between the private railroads’ association along with FRA, helps to test and bring new rail products to market that are proven to work. The success of joint research by TTCI and the industry will continue to improve safety and keep the rail industry moving.

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