• Federal Govt. Railroad Inspections?

  • Discussion related to railroad radio frequencies, railroad communication practices, equipment, and more.
Discussion related to railroad radio frequencies, railroad communication practices, equipment, and more.

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by deadhead350
First i would like to know if there is a federal govt. agency that sets standards, etc. of all railroads nationwide and if there is would there be agents of sorts that actually go and conduct say - physical inspections of RR infastructure in the field or is it more of just a office thing?

If there is said agency does anyone have info on what radio channels they operate on? Is it standard federal gov range frequencies? Or would they just use standard railroad frequencies of the corresponding railway they would be operating on?

  by litz
You're looking for the imaginatively named Federal Railroad Administration.

They do operate inspection trips on many of the major railroads (and even some of the minor ones).

These are piloted trips (the railroad provides engineer pilots, and often the locomotives too), and as such all communications are on the railroad's own frequencies.
  by deadhead350
Oh ok - I figured as much thank you :-D
I got curious because recently i saw what looked to be just a single train car with "Engineering Inspection Vehicle" marked on it make a pass thru my local railroad and it didnt look like it was property of the railroad company so i figured it was either some private company or possibly something to do with the federal govt...
  by Aa3rt
The FRA is an agency of the Department of Transportation. You can find their website here: https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0001
  by litz
Many of the large class one RR's maintain their own inspection cars.

Amtrak and FRA also have inspection cars.

Many smaller railroads hire off the latter if they don't have their own.
  by Backshophoss
While Sperry Rail does rail testing,most of the major RR systems have their own equipment to check
track Geometry,there are some "Outside Contractors" that are used for track inspection "2nd opinion"
before a major trackwork project.
The FRA has an automated track inspection car that roams the entire US,mostly on Amtrak trains,that
will upload results via satcomm back to FRA's DC HQ.
The car looks like any Heritage car,but has FRA lettering.
Amtrak has leased "Corridor Clipper" on a regular basis to MBTA for yearly track inspection.