Technical Reports

Improving Railroad Technology : A Directory of Research and Development Projects of the Federal Railroad Administration

  • 01
  • Jul
  • 1981
AUTHOR: Federal Railroad Administration
ABSTRACT: The FRA's Research and Development program has as its goals near-term improvements in products and processes which would enhance safety, improvements in the economic viability and efficiency of the Nation's railroad operations, and reduction of adverse environmental effects of railroad operations. The Office of Research and Development has responsibility for three major programs: 1) Track, Equipment and Personnel Safety, 2) Railroad Operational Improvements, and 3) Improved Passenger Systems. The Track, Equipment, and Personnel Safety Program is aimed at reducing the number and severity of railroad-related accidents. In turn, much of the effort of this program has been to conduct research and development to study the causes of accidents and to improve rail tracks, rolling stock, wayside signals, inspection techniques, crew operations and safety, and grade crossing protection systems. The Railroad Operational Improvement Program is aimed at improving freight classification and switching yards, promoting the exchange of technology and information between railroad companies, improving intermodal equipment, facilities and operations, and conserving energy. The Improved Passenger Systems Program is designed to emphasize train technology and subsystem development including equipment reliability improvements and techniques for reducing trip time, together with feasibility studies on adopting the radial axle concept to electrically powered vehicles and on incorporating a tilt body arrangement. The program is also investigating the use of chopper propulsion systems for electric locomotives and is putting a rail bus into revenue service to test the feasibility of this new self-propelled passenger vehicle. A detailed discussion of the three program areas of the Office of Research and Development follows. Included in each discussion is a description of each subprogram, project and its related contracts and publications.
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