WASHINGTON, D.C. – August 28, 2020 – Today, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced a final rule that facilitates widespread deployment of continuous rail inspection technology across the 140,000-mile freight rail network. For years, railroads have operated continuous rail inspection technology under longstanding waivers and demonstrated this innovation’s promise to advance safety and efficiency along the nation’s rail network. The new rule codifies those waivers and makes other important regulatory reforms.

“Continuous rail inspection is a proven, tested solution to efficiently and effectively monitor and maintain track health,” said AAR President and CEO Ian Jefferies. “FRA’s common sense, data-driven decision will empower railroads to more broadly adopt this technology and increase the mileage of track inspected across the network. Freight railroads are grateful for this important regulatory modernization that will help drive further innovation and safety advancements in the industry.”

Traditional stop-and-verify rail inspection required an operator in the test vehicle stop to verify each potential rail defect. With the new rule, rail inspection equipment will instead be able to collect and transmit inspection data nonstop to remote locations for analysis. Should potentially serious defects be detected, inspectors will still stop immediately to confirm and address the issue. Otherwise, detected defects will then be categorized based upon potential risk, confirmed in-person and repaired.


For more information contact: AAR Media Relations at [email protected] or 202-639-2345.

About AAR: The Association of American Railroads is the world’s leading railroad policy, research and technology organization focusing on the safety and productivity of rail carriers. AAR members include the major freight railroads of the U.S., Canada and Mexico, as well as Amtrak.