Metro buying rail inspection vehicle
To increase the frequency of its rail inspections, Metro has selected a company to construct a special rail car designed to evaluate the track conditions of the 106-mile Metrorail system.
Ensco, an engineering firm that specializes in rail technologies, will begin work on the $7.8 million custom track geometry vehicle, which will be ready by fall 2012 after testing, agency officials said.
The track geometry vehicle would allow Metro to perform inspections not only at night when the tracks are closed but also during normal day operations, Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said.
"We would be able to do any type of inspection any time we want to," he said. The vehicle would be the first of its kind for Metro and would be "extremely valuable," he added.
The vehicle would help identify which areas need immediate attention because of cracks and other rail flaws.
Currently, Metro uses outside contractors to conduct track geometry testing several times a year. Inspectors also visually inspect rails twice a week, officials said.
-- Nicole Norfleet
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