Framework for short-line railroad track asset management and condition reporting

Grussing, M.N. and D.R. Uzarski. 2008. Framework for short-line railroad track asset management and condition reporting. In: Infrastructure Reporting and Asset Management: Best Practices and Opportunities. American Society of Civil Engineers, pp. 172-177. doi:10.1061/9780784409589.ch24.


Many military, short line and low-volume industrial railroad networks require a unique infrastructure management approach that differs from commercial Class I and most regional railroads due to their size and operational characteristics. However, this does not eliminate the need for condition assessment, maintenance and repair, and capital planning.  An Engineered  Management System, RAILER® EMS, has been  developed by the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (ERDC-CERL) as a decision  support toolbox for managing these rail assets and reporting infrastructure  condition  and readiness.  This approach includes 1) categorizing the rail assets and attribute inventory information; 2) providing a standardized inspection process for identifying defects; 3) reporting operating restrictions; and 4) objectively quantifying track condition. The results of this process are then used to develop recommended short- and long-term corrective repair and capital renewal strategies.  This paper discusses the RAILER® EMS process and framework for real-time objective condition and readiness reporting for military, short line, and industrial rail infrastructure, citing an implementation case study at a military installation.