(a) A track owner may elect to implement a Gage Restraint Measurement System (GRMS), supplemented by the use of a Portable Track Loading Fixture (PTLF), to determine compliance with the crosstie and fastener requirements specified in §§ 213.109 and 213.127 provided that—
(1) The track owner notifies the appropriate FRA Regional office at least 30 days prior to the designation of any line segment on which GRMS technology will be implemented; and
(2) The track owner notifies the appropriate FRA Regional office at least 10 days prior to the removal of any line segment from GRMS designation.
(b) Initial notification under paragraph (a)(1) of this section shall include—
(1) Identification of the line segment(s) by timetable designation, milepost limits, class of track, or other identifying criteria; and
(2) The most recent record of million gross tons of traffic per year over the identified segment(s).
(c) The track owner shall also provide to FRA sufficient technical data to establish compliance with the minimum design requirements of a GRMS vehicle which specify that—
(1) Gage restraint shall be measured between the heads of rail—
(A) At an interval not exceeding 16 inches;
(B) Under an applied vertical load of no less than 10,000 pounds per rail; and
(C) Under an applied lateral load which provides for a lateral/vertical load ratio between 0.5 and 1.25, and a load severity greater than 3,000 pounds but less than 8,000 pounds.
(d) Load severity is defined by the formula—S=L-cV
S=Load severity, defined as the lateral load applied to the fastener system (pounds).
L=Actual lateral load applied (pounds).
c=Coefficient of friction between rail/tie which is assigned a nominal value of (0.4).
V=Actual vertical load applied (pounds).
(e) The measured gage values shall be converted to a Projected Loaded Gage 24 (PLG 24) as follows—
UTG=Unloaded track gage measured by the GRMS vehicle at a point no less than 10 feet from any lateral or vertical load application.
LTG=Loaded track gage measured by the GRMS vehicle at a point no more than 12 inches from the lateral load application point.
A=The extrapolation factor used to convert the measured loaded gage to expected loaded gage under a 24,000 pound lateral load and a 33,000 pound vertical load.
For all track—
The A factor shall not exceed (3.184) under any valid loading configuration.
L=Actual lateral load applied (pounds).
V=Actual vertical load applied (pounds).
(f) The measured gage value shall be converted to a Gage Widening Ratio (GWR) as follows—
(g) The GRMS vehicle shall be capable of producing output reports that provide a trace, on a constant-distance scale, of all parameters specified in paragraph (l) of this section.
(h) The GRMS vehicle shall be capable of providing an exception report containing a systematic listing of all exceptions, by magnitude and location, to all the parameters specified in paragraph (l) of this section.
(i) The exception reports required by this section shall be provided to the appropriate person designated as fully qualified under § 213.7 prior to the next inspection required under § 213.233.
(j) The track owner shall institute the necessary procedures for maintaining the integrity of the data collected by the GRMS and PTLF systems. At a minimum, the track owner shall—
(1) Maintain and make available to the Federal Railroad Administration documented calibration procedures on each GRMS vehicle which, at a minimum, shall specify a daily instrument verification procedure that will ensure correlation between measurements made on the ground and those recorded by the instrumentation with respect to loaded and unloaded gage parameters; and
(2) Maintain each PTLF used for determining compliance with the requirements of this section such that the 4,000-pound reading is accurate to within five percent of that reading.
(k) The track owner shall provide training in GRMS technology to all persons designated as fully qualified under § 213.7 and whose territories are subject to the requirements of this section. The training program shall be made available to the Federal Railroad Administration upon request. At a minimum, the training program shall address—
(1) Basic GRMS procedures;
(2) Interpretation and handling of exception reports generated by the GRMS vehicle;
(3) Locating and verifying defects in the field;
(4) Remedial action requirements;
(5) Use and calibration of the PTLF; and
(6) Recordkeeping requirements.
(l) The GRMS record of lateral restraint shall identify two exception levels. At a minimum, the track owner shall initiate the required remedial action at each exception level as defined in the following table—
GRMS parameter 1
If measurement value exceeds
Remedial action required
1 Definitions for the GRMS parameters referenced in this table are found in paragraph (p) of this section.
2 This note recognizes that typical good track will increase in total gage by as much as 1/4 inch due to outward rail rotation under GRMS loading conditions. For Class 2 & 3 track, the GRMS LTG values are also increased by 1/4 inch to a maximum of 58 inches. However, for any Class of track, GRMS LTG values in excess of 58 inches are considered First Level exceptions and the appropriate remedial actions must be taken by the track owner. This 1/4-inch increase in allowable gage applies only to GRMS LTG. For gage measured by traditional methods, or with the use of the PTLF, the table in § 213.53(b) will apply.
First Level Exception
(1) Immediately protect the exception location with a 10 mph speed restriction; then verify location; and(2) Restore lateral restraint and maintain in compliance with PTLF criteria as described in paragraph (m) of this section; and(3) Maintain compliance with § 213.53(b) of this part as measured with the PTLF.
Second Level Exception
573/4 inches on Class 4 and 5 track 2
2 Limit operating speed to no more than the maximum allowable under § 213.9 for Class 3 track; then verify location; and(1) Maintain in compliance with PTLF criteria as described in paragraph (m) of this section; and(2) Maintain compliance with § 213.53(b) of this part as measured with the PTLF.
(m) Between GRMS inspections, the PTLF may be used as an additional analytical tool to assist fully qualified § 213.7 individuals in determining compliance with the crosstie and fastener requirements of §§ 213.109 and 213.127. When the PTLF is used, whether as an additional analytical tool or to fulfill the requirements of paragraph (l), it shall be used subject to the following criteria—
(1) At any location along the track that the PTLF is applied, that location will be deemed in compliance with the crosstie and fastener requirements specified in §§ 213.109 and 213.127 provided that—
(i) The total gage widening at that location does not exceed 5/8 inch when increasing the applied force from 0 to 4,000 pounds; and
(ii) The gage of the track under 4,000 pounds of applied force does not exceed the allowable gage prescribed in § 213.53(b) for the class of track.
(2) Gage widening in excess of 5/8 inch shall constitute a deviation from Class 1 standards.
(3) A person designated as fully qualified under § 213.7 retains the discretionary authority to prescribe additional remedial actions for those locations which comply with the requirements of paragraph (m)(1)(i) and (ii) of this section.
(4) When a functional PTLF is not available to a fully qualified person designated under § 213.7, the criteria for determining crosstie and fastener compliance shall be based solely on the requirements specified in §§ 213.109 and 213.127.
(5) If the PTLF becomes non-functional or is missing, the track owner will replace or repair it before the next inspection required under § 213.233.
(6) Where vertical loading of the track is necessary for contact with the lateral rail restraint components, a PTLF test will not be considered valid until contact with these components is restored under static loading conditions.
(n) The track owner shall maintain a record of the two most recent GRMS inspections at locations which meet the requirements specified in § 213.241(b). At a minimum, records shall indicate the following—
(1) Location and nature of each First Level exception; and
(2) Nature and date of remedial action, if any, for each exception identified in paragraph (n)(1) of this section.
(o) The inspection interval for designated GRMS line segments shall be such that—
(1) On line segments where the annual tonnage exceeds two million gross tons, or where the maximum operating speeds for passenger trains exceeds 30 mph, GRMS inspections must be performed annually at an interval not to exceed 14 months; or
(2) On line segments where the annual tonnage is two million gross tons or less and the maximum operating speed for passenger trains does not exceed 30 mph, the interval between GRMS inspections must not exceed 24 months.
(p) As used in this section—
(1)Gage Restraint Measurement System (GRMS) means a track loading vehicle meeting the minimum design requirements specified in this section.
(2)Gage Widening Ratio (GWR) means the measured difference between loaded and unloaded gage measurements, linearly normalized to 16,000 pounds of applied lateral load.
(3)L/V ratio means the numerical ratio of lateral load applied at a point on the rail to the vertical load applied at that same point. GRMS design requirements specify an L/V ratio of between 0.5 and 1.25. GRMS vehicles using load combinations developing L/V ratios which exceed 0.8 must be operated with caution to protect against the risk of wheel climb by the test wheelset.
(4)Load severity means the amount of lateral load applied to the fastener system after friction between rail and tie is overcome by any applied gage-widening lateral load.
(5)Loaded Track Gage (LTG) means the gage measured by the GRMS vehicle at a point no more than 12 inches from the lateral load application point.
(6)Portable Track Loading Fixture (PTLF) means a portable track loading device capable of applying an increasing lateral force from 0 to 4,000 pounds on the web/base fillet of each rail simultaneously.
(7)Projected Loaded Gage (PLG) means an extrapolated value for loaded gage calculated from actual measured loads and deflections. PLG 24 means the extrapolated value for loaded gage under a 24,000 pound lateral load and a 33,000 pound vertical load.
(8)Unloaded Track Gage (UTG) means the gage measured by the GRMS vehicle at a point no less than 10 feet from any lateral or vertical load.