49 CFR § 213.233 - Visual track inspections.

§ 213.233 Visual track inspections.

(a) All track shall be inspected in accordance with the schedule prescribed in paragraph (c) of this section by a person designated under § 213.7.

(b) Each inspection shall be made on foot or by traversing the track in a vehicle at a speed that allows the person making the inspection to visually inspect the track structure for compliance with this part. However, mechanical, electrical, and other track inspection devices may be used to supplement visual inspection. If a vehicle is used for visual inspection, the speed of the vehicle may not be more than 5 m.p.h. when traversing track crossings and turnouts; otherwise, the inspection vehicle speed shall be at the sole discretion of the inspector, based on track conditions and inspection requirements. When traversing the track in a vehicle, the inspection will be subject to the following conditions -

(1) One inspector in a vehicle may inspect up to two tracks at one time provided that the inspector's visibility remains unobstructed by any cause and that the second track is not centered more than 30 feet from the track the inspector traverses;

(2) Two inspectors in one vehicle may inspect up to four tracks at a time provided that the inspectors' visibility remains unobstructed by any cause and that each track being inspected is centered within 39 feet from the track the inspectors traverse;

(3) Each main track must be traversed by the vehicle or inspected on foot at least once every two weeks, and each siding must be traversed by the vehicle or inspected on foot at least once every month; and

(4) Track inspection records shall indicate which track(s) are traversed by the vehicle or inspected on foot as outlined in paragraph (b)(3) of this section.

(c) Each track inspection shall be made in accordance with the following schedule -

Class of track Type of track Required frequency
Excepted track, and Class 1, 2, and 3 track Main track and sidings Weekly 1 with at least 3 calendar days' interval between inspections, or before use, if the track is used less than once a week, or twice weekly with at least 1 calendar day interval between inspections, if the track carries passenger trains 2 or more than 10 million gross tons of traffic during the preceding calendar year.
Excepted track and Class 1, 2, and 3 track Other than main track and sidings Monthly with at least 20 calendar days interval between inspections.
Class 4 and 5 track Twice weekly with at least 1 calendar day interval between inspections.

1 An inspection week is defined as a seven (7) day period beginning on Sunday and ending on Saturday.

2 “Twice weekly” inspection requirement for track carrying regularly scheduled passenger trains does not apply where passengers train service consists solely of tourist, scenic, historic, or excursion operations as defined in 49 CFR 238.5 and the following conditions are met for an inspection week: (1) No passenger service is operated during the inspection week, or (2) if passenger service is operated during the inspection week: (i) The passenger service is operated only on a weekend or a 3-day extended weekend (weekend plus a contiguous Monday or Friday), and (ii) an inspection is conducted no more than 1 calendar day before a weekend or 3-day extended weekend on which passenger service is to be operated.

(d) If the § 213.7 qualified person making the inspection finds a deviation from the requirements of this part, the inspector shall immediately initiate remedial action. Any subsequent movements to facilitate repairs on track that is out of service must be authorized by a § 213.7 qualified person.

Note to § 213.233:

Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, no part of this section will in any way be construed to limit the inspector's discretion as it involves inspection speed and sight distance.

[63 FR 34029, June 22, 1998, as amended at 85 FR 63389, Oct. 7, 2020]

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