Broken rails are the most common cause of severe freight-train derailments on American railroads. Reducing the occurrence of broken-rail-caused derailments is an important safety objective for the railroad industry. The current practice is to periodically inspect rails using non-destructive technologies such as ultrasonic inspection. Determining the optimal rail defect inspection frequency is a critical decision in railway infrastructure management. There is a seasonal variation in the occurrence of broken rails that result in train derailments. This paper quantifies the effect of this seasonal variation on the risk-based optimization of rail inspection frequency. This research can be incorporated into a larger framework of broken rail risk management to improve railroad transportation safety.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.