Technical Reports

Illinois High-Speed Rail Four-Quadrant Gate Reliability Assessment

  • 01
  • Oct
  • 2009
AUTHOR: Federal Railroad Administration
OFFICE: RPD
SUBOFFICE: RPD-30
REPORT NUMBER: DOT/FRA/ORD-09/19
SUBJECT: High-Speed Passenger Rail
KEYWORDS: Four Quadrant Gate; highway-rail intersection; accident reduction; alternative safety measures; safety; reliability assessment; high speed rail; signaling/control technologies; vehicle detection; inductive loops
ABSTRACT: The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) tasked the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center) to conduct a reliability analysis of the four-quadrant gate/vehicle detection equipment installed on the future high-speed rail (HSR) corridor between Chicago and St Louis. A total of 69 highway-rail grade crossings on a 121-mile (195 km) segment of the 280-mile corridor were equipped with four-quadrant gates and inductive loop vehicle detection technology. This segment, between Mazonia and Springfield Illinois, will eventually carry passenger trains at speeds up to 110 mph (177 km/h) at many of the highway-rail grade crossings. The analysis was based on maintenance records obtained from the Union Pacific Railroad, the owner and operator of the highway-rail grade crossings. The results were used to assess the impact of the equipment reliability on the proposed HSR timetable. The Volpe Center study showed that the total average delay to the five scheduled daily high-speed passenger round-trips was an estimated 38.5 minutes, or approximately 4 minutes per train. Overall, extensive analysis of the trouble ticket data showed that the four-quadrant gate and vehicle detection equipment had a minimal direct impact on the frequency and duration of grade crossing malfunctions.
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