Other Reports

A Review of ATIP

  • 01
  • Sep
  • 1981
AUTHOR: Federal Railroad Administration
SUBJECT: Remote Control Locomotive Operations, Track
KEYWORDS: Automated Track Inspection Program, Track Geometry, Nondestructive Inspections
ABSTRACT: [From the Executive Summary] The unacceptable rail accident rate in the early 1970's prompted the FRA to.establish Federal Safety requirements for track and to implement an enforcement program. This program consists of inspections by Federal or state field personnel and is supplemented by rail operated vehicles capable of measuring and recording certain track or rail conditions and perturbations. The operation of these vehicles is the Automated Track Inspection Program (ATIP). Presently this program consists of operating on selected rail lines, three high-speed, heavy-axle-load equipment sets and one low-speed, hi-rail, vehicle. The heavy axle load permits track geometry data to be collected under loaded conditions not possible by the individual inspector. Combined, this equipment is operated over more than 70,000 miles of track annually. During operation of the ATIP vehicles, both Federal and state inspectors together with responsible railroad personnel are located in a position in the vehicles which permits the general, observation of track condition in conduction with real-time produced oscillographs. These data detail specific defects and indicate a loss of track integrity reflecting possible subgrade failures, inadequate drainage, ineffective cross ties, etc. The monitoring action of ATIP of selected lines each year (less than 1 percent of the annual inspections by the railroads) results in-greater industry awareness-of actual track geometry conditions permitting appropriate remedial action to insure safe train operation. ATIP inspections performed in 1978 and 1979 have shown that there is a direct correlation between track-caused accidents and track geometry condition (approximately 40% of all railroad accidents are caused by track problems and over 45% of these are caused by geometry defects). More significantly, less than 56% of the track miles surveyed in 1978 and 1979 met the railroads' posted track class.
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