213.240 Continuous rail testing.§ 213.240 Continuous rail testing.
(a) Track owners may elect to use continuous rail testing to satisfy the requirements for conducting internal rail inspections under § 213.237 or § 213.339. When a track owner utilizes the continuous rail test inspection process under the requirements of this section, the track owner is exempt from the requirements of § 213.113(b); all other requirements of § 213.113 apply.
(b) Track owners shall adopt the necessary procedures for conducting continuous testing. At a minimum, the procedures must conform to the requirements of this section and ensure the following:
(1) Test data is timely and accurately transmitted and analyzed;
(2) Suspect locations are accurately identified for field verification;
(3) Suspect locations are categorized and prioritized according to their potential severity;
(4) Suspect locations are accurately field-verified; and
(5) Suspect locations will be designated following field verification.
(c) The track owner must designate and record the type of rail test (continuous or stop-and-verify) to be conducted prior to commencing the test over a track segment and make those records available to FRA upon request during regular business hours following reasonable notice. If the type of rail test changes following commencement of the test, the change must be documented and include the time the test was started and when it was changed, and the milepost where the test started and where it was changed. If the track owner intends to conduct a continuous test, the track owner must designate and record whether the test is being conducted to satisfy the requirements for an internal rail inspection under § 213.237 or § 213.339. This documentation must be provided to FRA upon request during regular business hours following reasonable notice.
(d)(1) Continuous rail test inspection vehicle operators must be qualified under § 213.238, with the exception of § 213.238(b)(3).
(2) Internal rail inspection data collected during continuous rail tests must be reviewed and interpreted by a person qualified to interpret the equipment responses. Each employer of a person qualified to interpret equipment responses shall maintain written or electronic records of each qualification in effect, including the name of the employee, the equipment to which the qualification applies, the date of qualification, and the date of the most recent reevaluation of the qualification, if any. Records concerning these qualifications, including copies of training programs, training materials, and recorded examinations shall be kept at a location designated by the employer and available for inspection and copying by FRA during regular business hours, following reasonable notice.
(3) All suspect locations must be field-verified by a person qualified under § 213.238.
(e) At a minimum, the continuous rail test process must produce a report containing a systematic listing of all suspected locations that may contain any of the defects listed in the table in § 213.113(c), identified so that a person qualified under § 213.238 can accurately locate and field-verify each suspected defect.
(1) Except as provided in paragraph (e)(6) of this section, and subject to the requirements of paragraphs (e)(2) and (3) of this section, if the continuous rail test inspection vehicle indicates a suspect location, field verification must be conducted within 84 hours of the indication of the suspect location.
(2) Except as provided in paragraph (e)(6) of this section, and subject to the requirements of paragraph (e)(3) of this section, if the continuous rail test inspection vehicle indicates a suspect location containing a suspected defect that, if verified, requires remedial action A, A2, or B identified in the table contained in § 213.113(c), the track owner must field-verify the suspect location no more than 36 hours from indication of the suspect location.
(3) If the continuous rail test inspection vehicle indicates a broken rail with rail separation, the track owner must have procedures to ensure that adequate protection is immediately implemented.
(4) A suspect location is not considered a defect under § 213.113(c) until it has been field-verified by a person qualified under § 213.238. After the suspect location is field-verified and determined to be a defect, the track owner must immediately perform all required remedial actions prescribed in § 213.113(a).
(5) Any suspected location not field-verified within the time required under paragraphs (e)(1) and (2) of this section must be protected by applying the most restrictive remedial action under § 213.113(c) for the suspected type and size of the suspected defect. The remedial action must be applied over a sufficient segment of track to assure coverage of the suspected defect location until field-verified.
(6) A continuous rail test that is not conducted to satisfy the requirements for an internal rail inspection under § 213.237 or § 213.339, and has been properly designated and recorded by the track owner under paragraph (c) of this section, is exempt from the requirements of paragraphs (e)(1), (2), and (5) of this section.
(f) Each suspect location must be recorded with repeatable accuracy that allows for the location to be accurately located for subsequent verification and, as necessary, remedial action.
(g) Within 45 days following the end of each calendar year, each track owner utilizing continuous rail testing must provide the FRA Associate Administrator for Railroad Safety/Chief Safety Officer with an annual report, in a reasonably usable format, or its native electronic format, containing at least the following information for each track segment requiring internal rail inspection under § 213.237 or § 213.339:
(1) The track owner's name;
(2) The railroad division and subdivision;
(3) The segment identifier, milepost limits, and length of each segment;
(4) The track number;
(5) The class of track;
(6) The annual million gross tons over the track;
(7) The total number of stop-and-verify rail tests and the total number of continuous rail tests over each track segment;
(8) The total number of defects identified over each track segment; and
(9) The total number of service failures on each track segment.[85 FR 63389, Oct. 7, 2020]