FRA Sending More Than $1.2 Million for Two Alaska Rail Projects

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is sending more than $1.2 million in grant funding for a pair of Alaska rail projects.

The money is part of more than $6.9 million in Special Transportation Circumstances (STC) Grants available through the Consolidated Appropriations Acts of 2019 and 2020.

“This $1.2 million federal investment will upgrade rail infrastructure and enhance rail safety in communities across Alaska,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said in a news release.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is receiving up to $761,918 for the Alaska Railroad Anderson Wheel Impact Load Detector.

The proposed rural rail project will procure and install a wheel impact load detector on the northern portion of the Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC) rail system near Anderson, Alaska. The wheel impact load detector system continuously monitors rail vehicle wheel health by measuring vertical wheel forces via rail-mounted strain gauges, and then alerts maintenance personnel to high-impact forces caused by damaged wheels.

These forces can further damage vehicles, cargo, and rail infrastructure. ARRC currently has this wheel performance management system in its southern region at milepost 121.3. This installment will allow ARRC to monitor and collect data on trains that travel in the northern portion of the rail line.

Meanwhile, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is also receiving up to $480,082 for the Alaska Railroad Wasila Control Point.

The proposed rural rail project will upgrade an existing intermediate control signal to a complete control point at ARRC milepost 158.9 in Wasilla, Alaska, to halve a 13-mile gap in control points.

Having a control point at this location will allow ARRC dispatch more operational options to keep passenger and freight trains moving while allowing maintenance-of-way work to continue with fewer disruptions since potential stoppages will impact a shorter section of track, officials said.

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