Title 49

SECTION 213.343

213.343 Continuous welded rail (CWR).

§ 213.343 Continuous welded rail (CWR).

Each track owner with track constructed of CWR shall have in effect and comply with written procedures which address the installation, adjustment, maintenance and inspection of CWR, and a training program for the application of those procedures, which shall be submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration by March 21, 1999. FRA reviews each plan for compliance with the following -

(a) Procedures for the installation and adjustment of CWR which include -

(1) Designation of a desired rail installation temperature range for the geographic area in which the CWR is located; and

(2) De-stressing procedures/methods which address proper attainment of the desired rail installation temperature range when adjusting CWR.

(b) Rail anchoring or fastening requirements that will provide sufficient restraint to limit longitudinal rail and crosstie movement to the extent practical, and specifically addressing CWR rail anchoring or fastening patterns on bridges, bridge approaches, and at other locations where possible longitudinal rail and crosstie movement associated with normally expected train-induced forces, is restricted.

(c) Procedures which specifically address maintaining a desired rail installation temperature range when cutting CWR including rail repairs, in-track welding, and in conjunction with adjustments made in the area of tight track, a track buckle, or a pull-apart. Rail repair practices shall take into consideration existing rail temperature so that -

(1) When rail is removed, the length installed shall be determined by taking into consideration the existing rail temperature and the desired rail installation temperature range; and

(2) Under no circumstances should rail be added when the rail temperature is below that designated by paragraph (a)(1) of this section, without provisions for later adjustment.

(d) Procedures which address the monitoring of CWR in curved track for inward shifts of alinement toward the center of the curve as a result of disturbed track.

(e) Procedures which control train speed on CWR track when -

(1) Maintenance work, track rehabilitation, track construction, or any other event occurs which disturbs the roadbed or ballast section and reduces the lateral and/or longitudinal resistance of the track; and

(2) In formulating the procedures under this paragraph (e), the track owner shall -

(i) Determine the speed required, and the duration and subsequent removal of any speed restriction based on the restoration of the ballast, along with sufficient ballast re-consolidation to stabilize the track to a level that can accommodate expected train-induced forces. Ballast re-consolidation can be achieved through either the passage of train tonnage or mechanical stabilization procedures, or both; and

(ii) Take into consideration the type of crossties used.

(f) Procedures which prescribe when physical track inspections are to be performed to detect buckling prone conditions in CWR track. At a minimum, these procedures shall address inspecting track to identify -

(1) Locations where tight or kinky rail conditions are likely to occur;

(2) Locations where track work of the nature described in paragraph (e)(1) of this section have recently been performed; and

(3) In formulating the procedures under this paragraph (f), the track owner shall -

(i) Specify the timing of the inspection; and

(ii) Specify the appropriate remedial actions to be taken when buckling prone conditions are found.

(g) The track owner shall have in effect a comprehensive training program for the application of these written CWR procedures, with provisions for periodic re-training, for those individuals designated under § 213.305(c) of this part as qualified to supervise the installation, adjustment, and maintenance of CWR track and to perform inspections of CWR track.

(h) The track owner shall prescribe recordkeeping requirements necessary to provide an adequate history of track constructed with CWR. At a minimum, these records shall include:

(1) Rail temperature, location and date of CWR installations. This record shall be retained for at least one year; and

(2) A record of any CWR installation or maintenance work that does not conform with the written procedures. Such record shall include the location of the rail and be maintained until the CWR is brought into conformance with such procedures.

(i) As used in this section -

(1) Adjusting/de-stressing means the procedure by which a rail's temperature is re-adjusted to the desired value. It typically consists of cutting the rail and removing rail anchoring devices, which provides for the necessary expansion and contraction, and then re-assembling the track.

(2) Buckling incident means the formation of a lateral mis-alinement sufficient in magnitude to constitute a deviation of 5 inches measured with a 62-foot chord. These normally occur when rail temperatures are relatively high and are caused by high longitudinal compressive forces.

(3) Continuous welded rail (CWR) means rail that has been welded together into lengths exceeding 400 feet.

(4) Desired rail installation temperature range means the rail temperature range, within a specific geographical area, at which forces in CWR should not cause a buckling incident in extreme heat, or a pull-apart during extreme cold weather.

(5) Disturbed track means the disturbance of the roadbed or ballast section, as a result of track maintenance or any other event, which reduces the lateral or longitudinal resistance of the track, or both.

(6) Mechanical stabilization means a type of procedure used to restore track resistance to disturbed track following certain maintenance operations. This procedure may incorporate dynamic track stabilizers or ballast consolidators, which are units of work equipment that are used as a substitute for the stabilization action provided by the passage of tonnage trains.

(7) Rail anchors means those devices which are attached to the rail and bear against the side of the crosstie to control longitudinal rail movement. Certain types of rail fasteners also act as rail anchors and control longitudinal rail movement by exerting a downward clamping force on the upper surface of the rail base.

(8) Rail temperature means the temperature of the rail, measured with a rail thermometer.

(9) Tight/kinky rail means CWR which exhibits minute alinement irregularities which indicate that the rail is in a considerable amount of compression.

(10) Train-induced forces means the vertical, longitudinal, and lateral dynamic forces which are generated during train movement and which can contribute to the buckling potential.

(11) Track lateral resistance means the resistance provided to the rail/crosstie structure against lateral displacement.

(12) Track longitudinal resistance means the resistance provided by the rail anchors/rail fasteners and the ballast section to the rail/crosstie structure against longitudinal displacement.

(j) Track owners shall revise their CWR plans to include provisions for the inspection of joint bars in accordance with §§ 213.119(g) and (i)(3).

[63 FR 34029, June 22, 1998; 63 FR 45959, Aug. 28, 1998, as amended at 70 FR 66298, Nov. 2, 2005]