FRA Grant Supports New Technology to Increase Reliability of Rail Flaw Detection

WASHINGTON — The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has awarded a grant totaling $231,802 to the University of California at San Diego to refine hardware and software for new technology that uses laser ultrasonic probes to detect certain internal rail defects.

The improvements will permit an on-track vehicle carrying the system to operate at speeds up to 40 mph, increasing the efficiency of track inspections as well as providing higher reliability of rail defect detection than is currently available.

FRA previously provided funding for development of a prototype system which has been built and tested. Grant funds also will be used to conduct a more comprehensive technology demonstration at the FRA Transportation Technology Center test facility in Pueblo, Colo.