Industry Railroad Track Safety Inspection 

ARC has 35 years of railroad track safety inspections, new track installations, maintenance and repair experience. 

ARC has since 1979 contacted tens of thousands of Midwestern industries, grain companies, plastic companies, scrap and new steel companies, paper makers, bread bakers, auto builders and many more who have one thing in common, they all own, and/or operate and must maintain a section of railroad track. ARC has contacted the same companies every year to see  how well their track holds up under usage. Not only has ARC contracted these companies, ARC  has visited and inspected  thousands of these companies railroad track.

IM001281.JPG (471782 bytes)Industries who own, operate and maintain their own section of railroad, are diversified and sometimes as different as night and day, each having very different railroad  needs. 

Below you will find a Q&A section answering the most frequently asked questions out of over 40,000 inquires in the last fourteen years (results on file.) Questions like, Is a railroad track safety inspection mandatory on industry owned railroads? Is there a penalty for non compliance with the FRA? Will the FRA want a copy of the Track Safety Reports?  The answers are supported by the Department of Transportation, FRA Track Safety Standards {Section 49 Part 213}. 

Isn't it our company's serving railroadís responsibility to perform a Railroad Track Safety Inspection on our industries privately owned railroads spur?
No, the FRA states that the responsibility for a railroad track safety inspection lies solely on the owner of the track as in 213.5 of the FRA standards. For obvious liability reasons the railroad company's actually discourage their track safety inspectors from doing track safety inspections on industry owned railroad. Generally, it's the train crew that reports unsafe track conditions, but not until those conditions are intolerable. Usually at that point, the railroads track safety inspector becomes involved to officially shut down the company's railroad spur.   

Is a railroad track safety inspection mandatory on industry owned railroads.switchstand10.JPG (865703 bytes)
As in 213.231 of   the  FRA  railroad safety standards, the FRA, mandates that all railroad tracks in the general operating system must have a regular track safety inspection. Whether your company has 500 feet of track or 500 miles with few exceptions, (213.3) your company operates railroad in the general transportation system.
 
Is there a penalty for non compliance with the FRA? Will the FRA want a copy of the Track Safety Reports?
Fines that may be imposed could reach $11,000 per incident. (see 213.15) The FRA may never ask for the Track Safety Inspection Report, unless a incident  occurs. 
 
Who is qualified to perform a railroad track safety inspection? Why canít I perform the inspection myself?
As in 213.7 of  the  FRA  railroad safety standards, the FRA requires a minimal amount of qualification for one to be a qualified railroad track safety inspector. For the safety inspection report to be legitimate the inspector who performs the inspection must meet FRA requirements. ARCís 35 years experiences, as well as formal training, well exceeds the minimal requirements.
 
If our company has a railroad track safety inspected and that tracks fails, will we loses service to that track?
As in 213.4 of  the FRA  railroad safety standards, the FRA offers a minimum standard for safe operations. If a track fails a safety inspection, that track will fail your company's needs. The FRA allows 30 days in most cases for remedial action to take place. These are usually very small inexpensive repairs taking less than a day to perform.
 
Does the completed track safety inspection go to the FRA?  What about our company's privacy?
The FRA only requires that the inspection report be kept on file for a period of one year at the location responsible for the track. (see 213.241) ARC never shares information with anyone on the condition of any railroad track that was inspected. The inspection reports are kept strictly confidential between ARC and the clients.  ARC is under no obligation to report the findings to the FRA or others.
What will the Railroad Track Safety Inspection Report tell us about our track safety conditions?
ARC is required by the FRA to specify what track was inspected, date of inspection, location and nature of all defects and remedial action taken, as in: 213.241(B) of the FRA safety standard.
With budget restraints as they are, how will we justify the small cost of a Railroad Track Safety Inspection?
ARC’s track safety inspections start at a minimum of $300.00 a year for a 1,000 foot or less railroad siding and are pro-rated for longer tracks. Standard switches, bridge decks and public street crossings are an additional $30.00 each. Most of our inspections range between $300.00 and $700.00 a year and includes the "TRACKWATCH" Track Risk Management system. In many cases your company's insurance carrier will pay for part, if not all, of the cost for the inspection.
Will there be costly repairs required as a result of the inspection?
A Railroad Track Safety Inspection will not create repairs that are not needed. The FRA requires minimal guide lines for a railroad track to meet its safety standards. The FRA rules apply to specific track conditions existing in isolation. Therefore, a combination of track conditions, none of which individually amounts to a deviation from the requirements, may require remedial action to provide for safe operation over your company track. If  ARC finds any required repairs they normally can wait to be budgeted, or be done in less than one day 
Our company has a regular railroad contractor who offers FREE estimates, why should we pay ARC for a Railroad Track Safety Inspection?
Several reasons, first a FREE estimate already assumes that repairs are going to be done, a Railroad Track Safety Inspection does not.  ARC works very hard to avoid unneeded repairs and still stay within FRA safety limits. Any repairs that ARC may find, are needed to comply with FRA safety rules.   ARC also prepares an estimate for repairs, at no additional cost to the inspection service. Second, this is one time when your company can save money going by the book. The FRA track inspection standards recognize 6 classes of   track safety standards 213.9 based on operation speed. Industrial track like your company's with speeds under 10 mph. are classified as class 1, the most minimal of safety requirements. There is a significant difference in up-keep cost between class 6 and class 1 track. If the contractor who now inspects your companies track is inspecting on standards anywhere higher than a class 1, your company is paying too much for up–keep cost. The FRA requires that a Track Safety Inspection Report be kept on file for a period of two years (213.241(C). NOT a repair estimate.
 
Sounds like a good deal, how do we get started?
Complete the ARC Response Form and return it to ARC.  Or call, write, fax or e-mail us. We will take care of all the details. No one from your company will be required to be with ARC while the inspection is taking place. We look forward to hearing from you in the near future.
The most neglected system in company operations is the railroad spur. Allen Railroad Consulting has been making company owned railroad tracks safer for 25 years. ARC performs Railroad track safety inspections, track repairs, supplies track materials and performs other railroad related consulting services. To receive a ARC Customer Connection number, fill out the questionnaire HERE and return it to ARC.

 

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