[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 49 (Wednesday, March 13, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 16051-16126]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-04679]



[[Page 16051]]

Vol. 78

Wednesday,

No. 49

March 13, 2013

Part II





Department of Transportation





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Federal Railroad Administration





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49 CFR Parts 213 and 238





Vehicle/Track Interaction Safety Standards; High-Speed and High Cant 
Deficiency Operations; Final Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 78 , No. 49 / Wednesday, March 13, 2013 / 
Rules and Regulations

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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Railroad Administration

49 CFR Parts 213 and 238

[Docket No. FRA-2009-0036, Notice No. 2]
RIN 2130-AC09


Vehicle/Track Interaction Safety Standards; High-Speed and High 
Cant Deficiency Operations

AGENCY: Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: FRA is amending the Track Safety Standards and Passenger 
Equipment Safety Standards to promote the safe interaction of rail 
vehicles with the track over which they operate under a variety of 
conditions at speeds up to 220 m.p.h. The final rule revises standards 
for track geometry and safety limits for vehicle response to track 
conditions, enhances vehicle/track qualification procedures, and adds 
flexibility for permitting high cant deficiency train operations 
through curves at conventional speeds. The rule accounts for a range of 
vehicle types that are currently in operation, as well as vehicle types 
that may likely be used in future high-speed or high cant deficiency 
rail operations, or both. The rule is based on the results of 
simulation studies designed to identify track geometry irregularities 
associated with unsafe wheel/rail forces and accelerations, thorough 
reviews of vehicle qualification and revenue service test data, and 
consideration of international practices.

DATES: This final rule is effective July 11, 2013. The incorporation by 
reference of a certain publication listed in the rule is approved by 
the Director of the Federal Register as of July 11, 2013. Petitions for 
reconsideration must be received on or before May 13, 2013. Comments in 
response to petitions for reconsideration must be received on or before 
June 26, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Petitions for reconsideration and comments on petitions for 
reconsideration: Any petitions for reconsideration or comments on 
petitions for reconsideration related to Docket No. FRA-2009-0036, 
Notice No. 2, may be submitted by any of the following methods:
     Web site: The Federal eRulemaking Portal, 
www.regulations.gov. Follow the Web site's online instructions for 
submitting comments.
     Fax: 202-493-2251.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room W12-140, Washington, 
DC 20590.
     Hand Delivery: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department 
of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room W12-140 on the 
Ground level of the West Building, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday 
through Friday, except Federal holidays.
    Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name and 
docket number or Regulatory Identification Number (RIN) for this 
rulemaking. Note that all petitions and comments received will be 
posted without change to www.regulations.gov, including any personal 
information. Please see the Privacy Act heading in the SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION section of this document for Privacy Act information 
related to any submitted petitions, comments, or materials.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents, 
petitions for reconsideration, or comments received, go to 
www.regulations.gov anytime or visit the Docket Management Facility, 
U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room 
W12-140 on the Ground level of the West Building, between 9 a.m. and 5 
p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John J. Mardente, Engineer, Office of 
Railroad Safety, Mail Stop 25, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 
New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590 (telephone 202-493-1335); 
Ken Rusk, Staff Director, Track Division, Office of Railroad Safety, 
Mail Stop 25, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue 
SE., Washington, DC 20590 (telephone 202-493-6236); Ali Tajaddini, 
Program Manager for Vehicle/Track Interaction, Office of Railroad 
Policy and Development, Mail Stop 20, Federal Railroad Administration, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590 (telephone 202-493-
6438); or Daniel L. Alpert, Supervisory Trial Attorney, Office of Chief 
Counsel, Mail Stop 10, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590 (telephone 202-493-6026).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents for SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION

I. Executive Summary
II. Statutory Background
    A. Track Safety Standards
    B. Passenger Equipment Safety Standards
III. Proceedings to Date
    A. Proceedings to Carry Out the 1992/1994 Track Safety Standards 
Rulemaking Mandates
    B. Proceedings To Carry Out the 1994 Passenger Equipment Safety 
Standards Rulemaking Mandate
    C. Identification of Key Issues for Future Rulemaking
    D. RSAC Overview
    E. Establishment of the Passenger Safety Working Group
    F. Establishment of the Task Force
    G. Development of the NPRM
    H. Development of the Final Rule
IV. Technical Background
    A. Lessons Learned and Operational Experience
    B. Research and Computer Modeling
V. Discussion of Specific Comments and Conclusions
    A. EU and SNCF Comments on Track Geometry Standards
    B. Wheel Unloading Ffrom Wind on Superelevated Curves
VI. Section-by-Section Analysis
VII. Regulatory Impact and Notices
    A. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 and DOT Regulatory Policies 
and Procedures
    B. Regulatory Flexibility Act and Executive Order 13272
    C. Paperwork Reduction Act
    D. Federalism Implications
    E. Environmental Impact
    F. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995
    G. Energy Impact
    H. Trade Impact
    I. Privacy Act

I. Executive Summary

    Having considered the public comments in response to FRA's May 10, 
2010, proposed rule on vehicle/track interaction safety, see 75 FR 
25928, FRA issues this final rule amending the Track Safety Standards, 
49 CFR part 213, and the Passenger Equipment Safety Standards, 49 CFR 
part 238, applicable to high-speed and high cant deficiency train 
operations. (As explained more fully in the preamble, below, train 
operations at cant deficiency involve traveling through curves faster 
than the balance speed; the higher the train speed is above the balance 
speed, the higher the cant deficiency.) Since FRA's high-speed track 
safety standards and passenger equipment safety standards were issued 
in the late 1990s, FRA and interested industry members have identified 
various issues for possible future rulemaking. Some of these issues 
resulted from the gathering of operational experience in applying the 
safety standards to Amtrak's high-speed, Acela Express (Acela) 
trainsets, as well as to higher-speed commuter railroad operations. 
Other issues arose from research conducted, allowing FRA to gather new 
information with which to evaluate the safety of high-speed and high 
cant deficiency rail operations.

[[Page 16053]]

FRA has addressed these issues with the assistance of the Railroad 
Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC), which unanimously recommended the 
requirements contained in this final rule.
    Among the final rule's main accomplishments, the rule:
     Revises performance standards and specifications for track 
geometry for the higher-speed track classes, track Classes 6 through 9 
(speeds greater than 80 miles per hour (m.p.h.) for freight and 90 
m.p.h. for passenger operations). FRA has reviewed the performance 
standards in light of advanced simulations that were developed to 
support the rulemaking effort, as discussed in Section IV, below, and 
is refining those standards to focus on identified safety concerns and 
remove any unnecessary costs.
     Adds flexibility through procedures for safely permitting 
high cant deficiency operations on the lower-speed track classes, track 
Classes 1 through 5, without the need for obtaining a waiver. In order 
to take advantage of high cant deficiency operations and the resultant 
savings in travel time, the equipment must be qualified and the track 
must be maintained to more stringent standards to permit the higher 
speeds through curves.
     Institutes more cost-effective equipment qualification and 
in-service monitoring requirements. Railroads can discontinue annual 
use of instrumented wheelsets for in-service validation as a general 
requirement and avoid some tests that have not provided useful data. 
Further, the final rule makes it easier to qualify vehicles on 
additional segments of track once they are qualified on any track, 
extending territories in which qualified equipment may operate.
     Clarifies that individuals qualified to inspect track need 
only understand the portions of the regulation relevant to the 
inspections they conduct and the work they perform, given, in 
particular, the provisions added for high cant deficiency operations in 
lower-speed track classes.
    In analyzing the economic impacts of the final rule, FRA does not 
find that any existing operation will be adversely affected by these 
changes, nor does FRA find that the changes will induce any net costs.
    FRA expects three types of benefits: Benefits related to equipment 
procurement for passenger trains at speeds exceeding 90 m.p.h., 
benefits from operations at high cant deficiency for passenger trains 
at speeds up to 90 m.p.h, and benefits from streamlined testing 
requirements. Under the rules existing before this final rule, a 
railroad could insist that a carbuilder provide trainsets that could 
meet acceleration requirements on track at the maximum allowable 
deviations. FRA is unaware of any such trainsets that are available 
that would have complied with the former rule under all permitted 
conditions and also meet other requirements for service in the United 
States. This final rule makes it more likely that railroads will 
specify equipment that is currently produced, and thus could reduce the 
costs of procurements, although Amtrak disagrees in its comments (and 
FRA believes that, even without procurement benefits, the costs of the 
rule are still justified by the benefits). Operations at high cant 
deficiency allow trains to operate more rapidly around curves. This can 
dramatically reduce the time required for any given trip. Streamlined 
testing requirements make it much easier to qualify a trainset on 
additional track once it has been qualified on any track, and provide 
more flexibility for monitoring trainset performance in service.
    Nothing in the rule will increase the overall costs of procuring 
equipment or of testing that equipment to validate compliance with the 
rule. In fact, the rule will reduce those costs.
    Although the provisions for high cant deficiency operations on all 
track classes are permissive in nature and create no additional net 
costs, railroads that avail themselves of these provisions will incur 
some costs. The first will be the one-time cost of programming the 
software of automated track inspection vehicles to include the new 
standards required by the rule, and the second will be the cost of 
maintaining the track in curves to tighter geometric standards. FRA 
conservatively estimates that it will cost $292,000 as a one-time 
expense to update track inspection software to reflect the changes in 
this rule. However, FRA is not certain whether overall maintenance 
costs will be higher or lower with high cant deficiency operations, as 
trains otherwise would have more frequently slowed down from the line 
speed before entering curves and then accelerated back to the line 
speed after exiting the curves, adding wear and tear to both equipment 
and track. In any case, the difference in maintenance costs is not 
included as a factor in the analysis.
    The rule creates net benefits and will facilitate the expansion of 
passenger rail service.

II. Statutory Background

A. Track Safety Standards

    The first Federal Track Safety Standards were published on October 
20, 1971, following the enactment of the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 
1970, Public Law 91-458, 84 Stat. 971 (October 16, 1970), in which 
Congress granted to FRA comprehensive authority over ``all areas of 
railroad safety.'' See 36 FR 20336. FRA envisioned the new Standards to 
be an evolving set of safety requirements subject to continuous 
revision allowing the regulations to keep pace with industry 
innovations and agency research and development. The most comprehensive 
revision of the Standards resulted from the Rail Safety Enforcement and 
Review Act of 1992, Public Law 102-365, 106 Stat. 972 (Sept. 3, 1992), 
later amended by the Federal Railroad Safety Authorization Act of 1994, 
Public Law 103-440, 108 Stat. 4615 (November 2, 1994). The amended 
statute is codified at 49 U.S.C. 20142 and required the Secretary of 
Transportation (Secretary) to review and then revise the Track Safety 
Standards, which are contained in 49 CFR part 213. The Secretary has 
delegated such statutory responsibilities to the Administrator of FRA 
(see 49 CFR 1.89), which as discussed below, carried out the review and 
the rulemaking proceedings.

B. Passenger Equipment Safety Standards

    In September 1994, the Secretary convened a meeting of 
representatives from all sectors of the rail industry with the goal of 
enhancing rail safety. As one of the initiatives arising from this Rail 
Safety Summit, the Secretary announced that DOT would develop safety 
standards for rail passenger equipment over a 5-year period. In 
November 1994, Congress adopted the Secretary's schedule for 
implementing rail passenger equipment safety regulations and included 
it in the Federal Railroad Safety Authorization Act of 1994. Congress 
also authorized the Secretary to consult with various organizations 
involved in passenger train operations for purposes of prescribing and 
amending these regulations, as well as issuing orders pursuant to them. 
Section 215 of this Act is codified at 49 U.S.C. 20133.

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III. Proceedings to Date

A. Proceedings To Carry Out the 1992/1994 Track Safety Standards 
Rulemaking Mandates

    To help fulfill the statutory mandates described in Section II.A, 
FRA decided that the proceeding to revise part 213 should advance under 
RSAC, which was established on March 11, 1996. (A fuller discussion of 
RSAC is provided below.) In turn, RSAC formed the Track Working Group, 
comprised of approximately 30 representatives from railroads, rail 
labor organizations, trade associations, State government, track 
equipment manufacturers, and FRA, to develop and draft a proposed rule 
for revising part 213. The Track Working Group identified issues for 
discussion from several sources, in addition to the statutory mandates 
issued by Congress in 1992 and in 1994. Ultimately, the Track Working 
Group recommended a proposed rule to the full RSAC body, which in turn 
formally recommended to the Administrator of FRA that FRA issue the 
proposed rule as it was drafted.
    On July 3, 1997, FRA published an NPRM that included substantially 
the same rule text and preamble as that developed by the Track Working 
Group. The NPRM generated comment, and following consideration of the 
comments received, FRA published a final rule in the Federal Register 
on June 22, 1998, see 63 FR 33992, which, effective September 21, 1998, 
revised the Track Safety Standards in their entirety.
    To address the modern railroad operating environment, the final 
rule included standards specifically applicable to high-speed train 
operations in a new subpart G. Prior to the 1998 final rule, the Track 
Safety Standards had addressed six classes of track, Classes 1 through 
6, that permitted passenger and freight trains to travel at speeds up 
to 110 m.p.h.; passenger trains had been allowed to operate at speeds 
over 110 m.p.h. under conditional waiver granted by FRA. FRA revised 
the requirements for Class 6 track, included them in new subpart G, and 
also added in it three new classes of track, track Classes 7 through 9, 
designating standards for track over which trains may travel at speeds 
up to 200 m.p.h. The new subpart G was intended to function as a set of 
``stand alone'' regulations governing any track identified as belonging 
to one of these high-speed track classes.

B. Proceedings To Carry Out the 1994 Passenger Equipment Safety 
Standards Rulemaking Mandate

    FRA formed the Passenger Equipment Safety Standards Working Group 
to provide FRA with advice in developing the regulations mandated by 
Congress. On June 17, 1996, FRA published an advance notice of proposed 
rulemaking (ANPRM) concerning the establishment of comprehensive safety 
standards for railroad passenger equipment. See 61 FR 30672. The ANPRM 
provided background information on the need for such standards, offered 
preliminary ideas on approaching passenger safety issues, and presented 
questions on various passenger safety topics. Following consideration 
of comments received on the ANPRM and advice from FRA's Passenger 
Equipment Safety Standards Working Group, FRA published an NPRM on 
September 23, 1997, to establish comprehensive safety standards for 
railroad passenger equipment. See 62 FR 49728. In addition to 
requesting written comment on the NPRM, FRA also solicited oral comment 
at a public hearing held on November 21, 1997. FRA considered the 
comments received on the NPRM and prepared a final rule, which was 
published on May 12, 1999. See 64 FR 25540.
    After publication of the final rule, interested parties filed 
petitions seeking FRA's reconsideration of certain requirements 
contained in the rule. These petitions generally related to the 
following subject areas: Structural design; fire safety; training; 
inspection, testing, and maintenance; and movement of defective 
equipment. On July 3, 2000, FRA issued a response to the petitions for 
reconsideration relating to the inspection, testing, and maintenance of 
passenger equipment, the movement of defective passenger equipment, and 
other miscellaneous provisions related to mechanical issues contained 
in the final rule. See 65 FR 41284. On April 23, 2002, FRA responded to 
all remaining issues raised in the petitions for reconsideration, with 
the exception of those relating to fire safety. See 67 FR 19970. 
Finally, on June 25, 2002, FRA completed its response to the petitions 
for reconsideration by publishing a response to those petitions 
concerning the fire safety portion of the rule. See 67 FR 42892. (For 
more detailed information on the petitions for reconsideration and 
FRA's response to them, please see these three rulemaking documents.) 
The product of this rulemaking was codified primarily at 49 CFR part 
238 and secondarily at 49 CFR parts 216, 223, 229, 231, and 232.

C. Identification of Key Issues for Future Rulemaking

    While FRA had completed these rulemakings, FRA and interested 
industry members began identifying various issues for possible future 
rulemaking. Some of these issues resulted from the gathering of 
operational experience in applying the new safety standards to Amtrak's 
Acela trainsets, as well as to higher-speed commuter railroad 
operations. These included concerns raised by railroads and rail 
equipment manufacturers as to the application of the new safety 
standards and the consistency between the requirements contained in 
part 213 and those in part 238. Other issues arose from research 
conducted, allowing FRA to gather new information with which to 
evaluate the safety of high-speed and high cant deficiency rail 
operations. FRA decided to address these issues with the assistance of 
RSAC.
    FRA notes that train operation at cant deficiency involves 
traveling through a curve faster than the balance speed. Balance speed 
for any given curve is the speed at which the lateral component of 
centrifugal force will be exactly compensated (or balanced) by the 
corresponding component of the gravitational force. When operating 
above the balance speed, there is a net lateral force to the outside of 
the curve. Cant deficiency is measured in inches and is the amount of 
superelevation that would need to be added to the existing track to 
balance this centrifugal force with this gravitational force to realize 
no net lateral force measured in the plane of the rails. For every 
curve, there is a balance speed at which the cant deficiency is zero 
based on the actual superelevation built into the track. The higher the 
train speed is above the balance speed, the higher the cant deficiency.

D. RSAC Overview

    As mentioned above, in March 1996, FRA established RSAC as a forum 
for developing consensus recommendations to FRA's Administrator on 
rulemakings and other safety program issues. The Committee includes 
representation from all of the agency's major stakeholders, including 
railroads, labor organizations, suppliers and manufacturers, and other 
interested parties. A list of member groups follows:
     American Association of Private Railroad Car Owners 
(AAPRCO);
     American Association of State Highway and Transportation 
Officials (AASHTO);

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     American Chemistry Council;
     American Petroleum Institute;
     American Public Transportation Association (APTA);
     American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association 
(ASLRRA);
     American Train Dispatchers Association;
     Association of American Railroads (AAR);
     Association of Railway Museums;
     Association of State Rail Safety Managers (ASRSM);
     Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET);
     Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division 
(BMWED);
     Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS);
     Chlorine Institute;
     Federal Transit Administration (FTA); *
     Fertilizer Institute;
     High Speed Ground Transportation Association;
     Institute of Makers of Explosives;
     International Association of Machinists and Aerospace 
Workers;
     International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers;
     Labor Council for Latin American Advancement; *
     League of Railway Industry Women; *
     National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP);
     National Association of Railway Business Women; *
     National Conference of Firemen & Oilers;
     National Railroad Construction and Maintenance 
Association;
     National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak);
     National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB); *
     Railway Supply Institute (RSI);
     Safe Travel America (STA);
     Secretaria de Comunicaciones y Transporte; *
     Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA);
     Tourist Railway Association, Inc.;
     Transport Canada; *
     Transport Workers Union of America (TWU);
     Transportation Communications International Union/BRC 
(TCIU/BRC);
     Transportation Security Administration (TSA); * and
     United Transportation Union (UTU).

    * Indicates associate, non-voting membership.

    When appropriate, FRA assigns a task to RSAC, and after 
consideration and debate, RSAC may accept or reject the task. If the 
task is accepted, RSAC establishes a working group that possesses the 
appropriate expertise and representation of interests to develop 
recommendations to FRA for action on the task. These recommendations 
are developed by consensus. A working group may establish one or more 
task forces to develop facts and options on a particular aspect of a 
given task. The individual task force then provides that information to 
the working group for consideration. When a working group comes to 
unanimous consensus on recommendations for action, the package is 
presented to the full RSAC for a vote. If the proposal is accepted by a 
simple majority of RSAC, the proposal is formally recommended to FRA. 
FRA then determines what action to take on the recommendation. Because 
FRA staff members play an active role at the working group level in 
discussing the issues and options and in drafting the language of the 
consensus proposal, FRA is often favorably inclined toward the RSAC 
recommendation. However, FRA is in no way bound to follow the 
recommendation, and the agency exercises its independent judgment on 
whether the recommended rule achieves the agency's regulatory goal, is 
soundly supported, and is in accordance with policy and legal 
requirements. Often, FRA varies in some respects from the RSAC 
recommendation in developing the actual regulatory proposal or final 
rule. Any such variations would be noted and explained in the 
rulemaking document issued by FRA. However, to the maximum extent 
practicable, FRA utilizes RSAC to provide consensus recommendations 
with respect to both proposed and final agency action. If RSAC is 
unable to reach consensus on a recommendation for action, the task is 
withdrawn and FRA determines the best course of action.

E. Establishment of the Passenger Safety Working Group

    On May 20, 2003, FRA presented, and RSAC accepted, the task of 
reviewing existing passenger equipment safety needs and programs and 
recommending consideration of specific actions that could be useful in 
advancing the safety of rail passenger service. The RSAC established 
the Passenger Safety Working Group (Working Group) to handle this task 
and develop recommendations for the full RSAC to consider. Members of 
the Working Group, in addition to FRA, include the following:
     AAR, including members from BNSF Railway Company (BNSF), 
CSX Transportation, Inc. (CSXT), and Union Pacific Railroad Company;
     AAPRCO;
     AASHTO;
     Amtrak;
     APTA, including members from Bombardier, Inc., Herzog 
Transit Services, Inc., Interfleet Technology, Inc. (Interfleet, 
formerly LDK Engineering, Inc.), Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), Maryland 
Transit Administration (MTA), Metro-North Commuter Railroad Company, 
Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation, Southern 
California Regional Rail Authority, and Southeastern Pennsylvania 
Transportation Authority (SEPTA);
     ASLRRA;
     BLET;
     BRS;
     FTA;
     NARP;
     RSI;
     SMWIA;
     STA;
     TCIU/BRC;
     TSA;
     TWU; and
     UTU.
    Staff from DOT's John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems 
Center (Volpe Center) attended all of the meetings and contributed to 
the technical discussions. Staff from the NTSB also participated in the 
Working Group's meetings. The Working Group has held 14 meetings on the 
following dates and in the following locations:
     September 9-10, 2003, in Washington, DC;
     November 6, 2003, in Philadelphia, PA;
     May 11, 2004, in Schaumburg, IL;
     October 26-27, 2004, in Linthicum/Baltimore, MD;
     March 9-10, 2005, in Ft. Lauderdale, FL;
     September 7, 2005, in Chicago, IL;
     March 21-22, 2006, in Ft. Lauderdale, FL;
     September 12-13, 2006, in Orlando, FL;
     April 17-18, 2007, in Orlando, FL;
     December 11, 2007, in Ft. Lauderdale, FL;
     June 18, 2008, in Baltimore, MD;
     November 13, 2008, in Washington, DC;
     June 8, 2009, in Washington, DC; and
     September 16, 2010, in Chicago, IL.

F. Establishment of the Task Force

    Due to the variety of issues involved, at its November 2003 meeting 
the Working Group established four task forces--smaller groups to 
develop recommendations on specific issues within each group's 
particular area of expertise. Members of the task forces include 
various representatives from the

[[Page 16056]]

respective organizations that are part of the larger Working Group. One 
of these task forces was assigned to identify and develop issues and 
recommendations specifically related to the inspection, testing, and 
operation of passenger equipment as well as concerns related to the 
attachment of safety appliances on passenger equipment. An NPRM on 
these topics was published on December 8, 2005 (see 70 FR 73069), and a 
final rule was published on October 19, 2006 (see 71 FR 61835). Another 
of these task forces was assigned to develop recommendations related to 
window glazing integrity, structural crashworthiness, and the 
protection of occupants during accidents and incidents. The work of 
this task force led to the publication of an NPRM focused on enhancing 
the front end strength of cab cars and multiple-unit (MU) locomotives 
on August 1, 2007 (see 72 FR 42016), and the publication of a final 
rule on January 8, 2010 (see 75 FR 1180). Another task force, the 
Emergency Preparedness Task Force, was established to identify issues 
and develop recommendations related to emergency systems, procedures, 
and equipment. An NPRM on these topics was published on August 24, 2006 
(see 71 FR 50276), and a final rule was published on February 1, 2008 
(see 73 FR 6370).
    The fourth task force, the Track/Vehicle Interaction Task Force 
(also identified as the Vehicle/Track Interaction Task Force, or Task 
Force), was established to identify issues and develop recommendations 
related to the safety of vehicle/track interactions. Initially, the 
Task Force was charged with considering a number of issues, including 
vehicle-centered issues involving wheel flange angle, tread conicity, 
and truck equalization; the necessity for instrumented wheelset tests 
for operations at speeds from 90 to 125 m.p.h.; consolidation of 
vehicle trackworthiness criteria in parts 213 and 238; and revisions of 
the track geometry standards. The Task Force was given the 
responsibility of addressing other vehicle/track interaction safety 
issues and to recommend any research necessary to facilitate their 
resolution. Members of the Task Force, in addition to FRA, include the 
following:
     AAR;
     AASHTO;
     Amtrak;
     APTA, including members from Bombardier, Interfleet, LIRR, 
LTK Engineering Services, Port Authority Trans-Hudson, and STV Inc.;
     BMWED; and
     BRS.
    Staff from the Volpe Center attended all of the meetings and 
contributed to the technical discussions through their comments and 
presentations. In addition, staff from ENSCO, Inc., attended all of the 
meetings and contributed to the technical discussions, as a contractor 
to FRA. Both the Volpe Center and ENSCO, Inc., have supported FRA 
throughout this rulemaking.
    The Task Force has held 32 meetings on the following dates and in 
the following locations:
     April 20-21, 2004, in Washington, DC;
     May 24, 2004, in Springfield, VA (technical subgroup 
only);
     June 24-25, 2004, in Washington, DC;
     July 6, 2004, in Washington, DC (technical subgroup only);
     July 22, 2004, in Washington, DC (technical subgroup 
only);
     August 24-25, 2004, in Washington, DC;
     October 12-14, 2004, in Washington, DC;
     December 9, 2004, in Washington, DC;
     February 10, 2005, in Washington, DC;
     April 7, 2005, in Washington, DC;
     August 24, 2005, in Washington, DC;
     November 3-4, 2005, in Washington, DC;
     January 12-13, 2006, in Washington, DC;
     March 7-8, 2006, in Washington, DC;
     April 25, 2006, in Washington, DC;
     May 23, 2006, in Washington, DC;
     July 25-26, 2006, in Cambridge, MA;
     September 7-8, 2006, in Washington, DC;
     November 14-15, 2006, in Washington, DC;
     January 24-25, 2007, in Washington, DC;
     March 29-30, 2007, in Cambridge, MA;
     April 26, 2007, in Springfield, VA;
     May 17-18, 2007, in Cambridge, MA;
     June 25-26, 2007, in Arlington, VA;
     August 8-9, 2007, in Cambridge, MA;
     October 9-11, 2007 in Washington, DC;
     November 19-20, 2007, in Washington, DC;
     February 27-28, 2008, in Cambridge, MA;
     August 5-6, 2010, in Rockville, MD;
     August 23, 2010, in Washington, DC (via teleconference);
     September 7, 2010, in Washington, DC (via teleconference); 
and
     June 29, 2011, in Washington, DC (via teleconference).

This list includes meetings of a technical subgroup comprised of 
representatives of the larger Task Force. These subgroup meetings were 
often convened the day before the larger Task Force meetings to focus 
on more advanced, technical issues. The results of these meetings were 
then presented at the larger Task Force meetings and, in turn, included 
in the minutes of those Task Force meetings. Minutes of each of these 
meetings have been made part of the public docket in this proceeding 
and are available for inspection.

G. Development of the NPRM

    The NPRM was developed to address a number of the concerns raised 
and issues discussed during Task Force and Working Group meetings. The 
Task Force recognized that the high-speed track safety standards are 
based on the principle that, to ensure safety, the interaction of the 
vehicles and the tracks over which they operate must be considered 
within a systems approach that provides for specific limits for vehicle 
response to track perturbation(s). From the outset, the Task Force 
strove to develop revisions that would: Serve as practical standards 
with sound physical and mathematical bases; account for a range of 
vehicle types that are currently used and may likely be used on future 
high-speed or high cant deficiency rail operations, or both; and not 
present an undue burden on railroads. The Task Force first identified 
key issues requiring attention based on experience applying the Track 
Safety Standards and Passenger Equipment Safety Standards, and defined 
the following work efforts:

 Revise--
    [cir] Qualification requirements for high-speed and high cant 
deficiency operations;
    [cir] Acceleration and wheel/rail force safety limits;
    [cir] Inspection, monitoring, and maintenance requirements; and
    [cir] Track geometry limits for high-speed operations.
 Establish--
    [cir] Necessary safety limits for wheel profile and truck 
equalization;
    [cir] Consistent requirements for high cant deficiency operations 
covering all track classes; and
    [cir] Additional track geometry requirements for cant deficiencies 
greater than 5 inches.
     Resolve and reconcile inconsistencies between the Track 
Safety Standards and Passenger Equipment Safety Standards, and

[[Page 16057]]

between the lower- and higher-speed Track Safety Standards.

Through the close examination of these issues, the Task Force developed 
proposals intended to result in improved public safety while reducing 
the burden on the railroad industry where possible. The proposals were 
arrived at through the results of computer simulations of vehicle/track 
dynamics, consideration of international practices, and thorough 
reviews of qualification and revenue service test data.
    Nonetheless, in the NPRM published in the Federal Register on May 
10, 2010, see 75 FR 25928, FRA made clear that the Task Force did not 
seek to revise comprehensively the high-speed Track Safety Standards in 
subpart G of part 213, and the NPRM did not propose to do so. For 
example, there was no consensus within the Task Force to consider 
revisions to the requirements for crossties, as members of the Task 
Force believed it was outside of their assigned tasks. Nor was there 
any real discussion about revisions to the requirements for ballast or 
other sections in subpart G that currently do not distinguish 
requirements by class of track. (See Sec.  213.307 in the Section-by-
Section Analysis, below, for further discussion on this point.) FRA 
therefore made clear that by not proposing revisions to these sections 
in the NPRM, FRA did not mean to imply that these other sections may 
not be subject to revision in the future, such as through a separate 
RSAC effort. Further, FRA invited comment on the need and rationale for 
changes to other sections of subpart G not specifically proposed to be 
revised through the NPRM, noting that based upon the comments received 
and their significance to the changes specifically proposed, FRA may 
consider whether revisions to additional requirements in subpart G are 
necessary in this final rule.

H. Development of the Final Rule

    FRA notified the public of its options to submit written comments 
on the NPRM and to request a public, oral hearing on the NPRM as well. 
No request for a public hearing was received. However, a number of 
interested parties did submit written comments to the docket in this 
proceeding, and FRA considered all of these comments in preparing the 
final rule. Specifically, written comments were received from AAR, 
Amtrak, Bombardier, the European Union (EU), Florida Department of 
Transportation (FDOT), New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ Transit), 
North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), SEPTA, 
Soci[eacute]t[eacute] Nationale des Chemins de fer Fran[ccedil]ais 
(French National Railway Company, shortened as SNCF), and a private 
citizen. As discussed below, FRA sought clarification from SNCF on 
SNCF's initial written comments to the docket, and SNCF supplemented 
its comments in response to FRA's request. FRA's request and SNCF's 
response have been made part of the public docket in this proceeding.
    FRA convened the Task Force to discuss the comments received on the 
NPRM and to help achieve consensus on recommendations concerning their 
incorporation into this final rule. After four meetings and subsequent 
electronic communications, the Task Force reached consensus on 
recommendations for the text of the final rule. The recommendations 
were accepted by the Working Group and unanimously approved by the full 
RSAC as the Committee's recommendations to the FRA Administrator. 
Finding that the recommendations help fulfill the agency's regulatory 
goals, are soundly supported, and in accordance with policy and legal 
requirements, FRA has adopted these recommendations in this final rule.
    FRA notes that throughout the preamble discussion of this final 
rule, FRA refers to comments, views, suggestions, or recommendations 
made by members of the Task Force, Working Group, or full RSAC, as they 
are identified or contained in meeting minutes or other materials in 
the public docket. FRA does so to show the origin of certain issues and 
the nature of discussions concerning those issues at the Task Force, 
Working Group, and full RSAC level. FRA believes this serves to 
illuminate factors it has weighed in making its regulatory decisions, 
as well as the rationale for those decisions.

IV. Technical Background

A. Lessons Learned and Operational Experience

    Since the issuance of both the high-speed Track Safety Standards in 
1998 and the Passenger Equipment Safety Standards in 1999, experience 
has been gained in qualifying a number of vehicles for high-speed and 
high cant deficiency operations and in monitoring subsequent 
performance in revenue service operation. These vehicles include 
Amtrak's Acela trainset; MTA's MARC-III multi-level passenger car; and 
NJ Transit's ALP-46 locomotive, Comet V car, PL-42AC locomotive, and 
multi-level passenger car. Considerable data was gathered by testing 
these vehicles at speed over their intended service routes using 
instrumented wheelsets to measure forces directly between the wheel and 
rail and using accelerometers to record vehicle motions. During the 
course of these qualification tests, some uncertainties, 
inconsistencies, and potentially restrictive values were identified in 
the interpretation and application of the vehicle/track interaction 
(VTI) safety limits then specified in Sec.  213.333 and Sec.  213.345 
for excessive vehicle motions based on measured accelerations and in 
the requirements of Sec.  213.57 and Sec.  213.329 for high cant 
deficiency operation. The information and experience in applying these 
requirements helped lay the foundation for a number of the changes made 
in this rulemaking, examples of which are provided below.
Differentiate Between Sustained Oscillatory and Transient Carbody 
Acceleration Events
    During route testing of the MARC-III multi-level car at speeds up 
to 125 m.p.h. and at curving speeds producing up to 5 inches of cant 
deficiency, several short-duration, peak-to-peak carbody lateral 
accelerations were recorded that exceeded regulatory thresholds but did 
not represent unsafe guidance forces simultaneously measured at the 
wheel-to-rail interface. However, repeated (sustained) carbody lateral 
oscillatory accelerations and significant motions were measured on 
occasion at higher speeds in curves even though peak-to-peak amplitudes 
did not exceed the thresholds. A truck component issue was identified 
as a cause of the excessive accelerations and thereafter corrected.
    To recognize and account for wider variations in vehicle design, 
this final rule divides the VTI acceleration limits into separate 
limits for passenger cars from those for other vehicles, such as 
conventional locomotives. In addition, new limits for sustained, 
carbody oscillatory accelerations have been added to differentiate 
between single (transient) events and repeated (sustained) 
oscillations. As a result, the carbody transient acceleration limits 
for single events, previously set conservatively to control for both 
single and repeated oscillations, are now more specific and, as 
appropriate, relaxed. FRA believes that this added specificity in the 
rule will reduce or eliminate altogether the need for railroads to 
provide clarification or perform additional analysis, or both, to 
distinguish between transient and sustained oscillations following a 
qualification test run. Based on the small energy content associated 
with high-frequency acceleration events of

[[Page 16058]]

the carbody, transient acceleration peaks lasting less than 50 
milliseconds are excluded from the carbody acceleration limits. Other 
clarifying changes include the addition of minimum requirements for 
sampling and filtering of the acceleration data. These changes followed 
considerable research into the performance of existing vehicles during 
qualification testing and revenue operation. Overall, it was found that 
the carbody oscillatory acceleration limits need not be as stringent to 
protect against events leading to vehicle or passenger safety issues.
Establish Consistent Requirements for High Cant Deficiency Operations 
for All Track Classes
    Several issues related to operation at higher cant deficiencies 
(higher speeds in curves) have also been addressed, based particularly 
on route testing of the Acela trainsets on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. 
In sharper curves, for which cant deficiency was high but vehicle 
speeds were reflective of a lower track class, it was found that 
stricter track geometry limits were necessary, for the same track 
class, in order to provide an equivalent margin of safety for 
operations at higher cant deficiency. These stricter limits have been 
adopted in this final rule. Second, although the Track Safety Standards 
have prescribed limits on geometry variations existing in isolation, it 
was recognized that a combination of track alinement (also spelled 
``alignment'' and literally meant to indicate ``a line'') and surface 
variations, none of which individually amounts to a deviation from the 
Standards, may nonetheless result in undesirable response as defined by 
the VTI limits. This finding was significant because trains operating 
at high cant deficiency increase the lateral force exerted on track 
during curving and, in many cases, may correspondingly reduce the 
margin of safety associated with vehicle response to combined track 
variations. Sections 213.65 and 213.332 have been added to the rule, as 
a result. Qualification of Amtrak's conventional passenger equipment to 
operate at cant deficiencies up to 5 inches also highlighted the need 
to ensure compatibility between the requirements for low- (Sec.  
213.57) and high-speed (Sec.  213.329) cant deficiency operations; 
these requirements have been modified, accordingly.
Streamline Testing Requirements for Similar Vehicles
    This final rule provides that vehicles with minor variations in 
their physical properties (such as suspension, mass, interior 
arrangements, or dimensions) that do not result in significant changes 
to their dynamic performance (i.e., are dynamically similar) be 
considered of the same vehicle type for vehicle qualification purposes. 
Provided that this similarity can be established to FRA's satisfaction, 
these vehicles are not required to repeat full qualification testing of 
the vehicle type to which they belong, thereby saving the costs 
associated with full testing. In other cases, however, the variations 
between car parameters may warrant partial or full dynamic testing. For 
example, the approval process for NJ Transit's Comet V car to operate 
at speeds up to 100 m.p.h. exemplified the need for clarification of 
whether vehicles similar (but not identical) to vehicles that have 
undergone full qualification testing should be subjected to full 
qualification testing themselves. NJ Transit had sought relief from the 
instrumented wheelset testing required in Sec.  213.345 by stating that 
the Comet V car was similar to the Comet IV car. The Comet V car was 
represented to FRA to have truck and suspension components nearly 
identical to the Comet IV car already in service and operating at 100-
m.p.h. speeds for many years. However, examination by FRA revealed 
enough differences between the vehicles to at least warrant dynamic 
testing using accelerometers on representative routes. Results of the 
testing showed distinct behaviors between the cars and provided 
additional data that was necessary for qualifying the Comet V.
Refine Criteria for Detecting Truck Hunting
    During route testing of Acela trainsets, high-frequency lateral 
acceleration oscillations of the coach truck frame were detected by the 
test instrumentation in a mild curve at high speed. However, the 
onboard sensors, installed per specification on every truck, did not 
respond to these events. Based on these experiences, the truck lateral 
acceleration safety limit, used for the detection of truck hunting, has 
been tightened from 0.4g to 0.3g and provides that the 0.3g value must 
be exceeded for more than 2 seconds for there to be an exceedance. 
Analyses conducted by FRA have shown that this change will better help 
to identify the occurrences of excessive truck hunting, while excluding 
high-frequency, low-amplitude oscillations that do not require 
immediate attention. In addition, to improve the process for analyzing 
data while vehicles are negotiating spiral track segments, the limit 
now requires that the RMSt (root mean squared with linear trend 
removed) value be used rather than the RMSm (root mean squared with 
mean removed) value.
    Finally, placement of the truck frame lateral accelerometer to 
detect truck hunting has been more rigorously specified to be as near 
an axle as is practicable. Analyses conducted by FRA have shown that 
when hunting motion (which is typically a combination of truck lateral 
motion and yaw) has a large truck yaw component, hunting is best 
detected by placing an accelerometer on the truck frame located above 
an axle. FRA has found that an accelerometer placed in the middle of 
the truck frame will not always provide early detection of truck 
hunting when yaw motion of the truck is large.
Revise Periodic Monitoring Requirements for Class 8 and 9 Track
    Based on collected data, and so that the required inspection 
frequency better reflects experienced degradation rates, the periodic 
vehicle/track interaction monitoring frequency contained in Sec.  
213.333 for operations at track Class 8 and 9 speeds has been reduced 
from once per day to four times per week for carbody accelerations, and 
twice within 60 days for truck accelerations. In addition, a clause has 
been added to allow the track owner or railroad operating the vehicle 
type subject to the monitoring to petition FRA, after a specified 
amount of time or mileage, to eliminate the truck accelerometer 
monitoring requirement. Data gathered has shown that these monitoring 
requirements could be adjusted without materially diminishing 
operational safety. In this regard, FRA notes that safety is also 
provided pursuant to Sec.  238.427 in that truck acceleration continues 
to be constantly monitored on each Tier II vehicle under the Passenger 
Equipment Safety Standards in order to determine if hunting 
oscillations of the vehicle are occurring during revenue operation.

B. Research and Computer Modeling

    As a result of advancements made over the last few decades, 
computer models of rail vehicles interacting with track have become 
practical and reliable tools for predicting the behavior and safety of 
these vehicles under a variety of conditions. These models can serve as 
reliable substitutes for performing actual, on-track testing, which 
otherwise may be more difficult--and likely more costly--to perform 
than to model.
    Models for such behavior typically represent the vehicle body, 
wheelsets, truck frames, and other major vehicle components as rigid 
bodies connected

[[Page 16059]]

with elastic and damping elements and include detailed representation 
of the non-linear wheel/rail contact mechanics (i.e., non-linear 
frictional contact forces between the wheels and rails modeled as 
functions of the relative velocities between the wheel and rail 
contacts, i.e., creepages). The primary dynamic input to these models 
is track irregularities, which can be created analytically (such as 
versines, cusps, etc.) or based on actual measurements.
    There are a number of industry codes available with generally 
accepted approaches for solving the equations of motion describing the 
dynamic behavior of rail vehicles. These models require accurate 
knowledge of vehicle parameters, including the inertia properties of 
each of the bodies as well as the characteristics of the main 
suspension components and connections. To obtain reliable predictions, 
the models must also consider the effects of suspension non-linearities 
within the vehicles and in the wheel/rail contact mechanics, as well as 
incorporate detailed characterization of the track as input, including 
the range of parameters and non-linearities encountered in service.
    In order to develop revisions to the track geometry limits in the 
Track Safety Standards, several computer models of rail vehicles have 
been used to assess the response of vehicle designs to a wide range of 
track conditions corresponding to limiting conditions allowed for each 
class of track. Simulation studies have been performed using computer 
models of Amtrak's AEM-7 locomotive, Acela power car, Acela coach car, 
and Amfleet coach equipment. In the time since the 1998 revisions to 
the track geometry limits, which were largely based on models of 
hypothetical, high-speed vehicles, models of the subsequently-
introduced Acela power car and coach car have been developed. In the 
case of the Acela power car, the model has proven capable of 
reproducing a wide range of vehicle responses observed during 
acceptance testing, including examples of potential safety concerns.
    For purposes of this rulemaking, an extensive matrix of simulation 
studies involving all four vehicle types was used to determine the 
amplitude of track geometry alinement anomalies, surface anomalies, and 
combined surface and alinement anomalies that result in undesirable 
response. These simulations were performed using two coefficients of 
friction (0.1 and 0.5), two analytical anomaly shapes (bump and ramp), 
and combinations of speed, curvature, and superelevation to cover a 
range of cant deficiency. The results provided the basis for 
establishing the revisions to the geometry limits adopted in this final 
rule. For illustration purposes, two examples are provided of results 
from simulation studies that were performed for determining safe 
amplitudes of track geometry: One illustrates the effect of combined 
track alinement and profile defects; the other illustrates isolated 
track alinement defects.
    Figure 1 depicts an example summarizing the modeling results of the 
Acela power car at 130 m.p.h. and 9 inches of cant deficiency over 
combined, 62-foot-wavelength defects. The darker-shaded squares 
represent a combination of track alinement and surface perturbations 
where at least one of the VTI safety criteria adopted in this final 
rule is exceeded, and the solid, black-lined polygon represents the 
track geometry limits that have been adopted in the final rule. Similar 
results for other vehicles, speeds and cant deficiencies, and defect 
wavelengths were created and reviewed. The track geometry limits for 
the combined perturbations (solid line) were developed following 
consideration of all of these results. Figure 1 displays how one 
example case compares with these track geometry limits. As shown, the 
combined perturbation limits address the most severe combination 
conditions, though for computational simplicity and implementation 
purposes, they do not attempt to control all possible combinations. The 
figure shows that without the addition of the combined defect limits in 
the upper right and lower left quadrants, which effectively limit track 
geometry in the up-and-in and down-and-out cases, the single-defect 
limits would otherwise permit conditions that could cause the VTI 
safety criteria to be exceeded. For many of these high-speed and high 
cant deficiency conditions, the net axle lateral force safety criterion 
was found to be the limiting safety condition.
    Figure 2 depicts an example summarizing the modeling results of the 
Acela power car on Class 7 track at 130 m.p.h. and 9 inches of cant 
deficiency over isolated track alinement defects having 124-foot 
wavelengths. Each vertical bar represents the amplitude of the largest 
alinement perturbation that will not cause an exceedance of one of the 
VTI safety criteria. Similar results for other vehicles, speeds and 
cant deficiencies, and defect wavelengths were created and reviewed. In 
addition, similar results for this range of analysis parameters 
(vehicles, speeds and cant deficiencies, and defect wavelengths) were 
created and reviewed using isolated, surface geometry defects. These 
example results show that, with two exceptions, the geometry limits in 
the 1998 Track Safety Standards have sufficiently protected against 
such exceedances under the modeled conditions. Specifically, the VTI 
limits for net axle lateral force and peak-to-peak carbody lateral 
acceleration were exceeded on track at the 124-foot, mid-chord offset 
(MCO) limit for alinement. The modeling showed this limit to be set too 
permissively for high cant deficiency operations. Consequently, FRA 
proposed to tighten this alinement limit from 1.25 inches to 1.0 inch 
for Class 7 track operations above 5 inches of cant deficiency to 
prevent unsafe vehicle dynamic response. FRA has adopted this proposal 
in this final rule.
BILLING CODE 4910-06-P

[[Page 16060]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR13MR13.004


[[Page 16061]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR13MR13.005

    As specified in this final rule, simulations using computer models 
are now required during the vehicle qualification process as an 
important tool for the assessment of vehicle performance. These 
simulations are intended not only to augment on-track, instrumented 
performance assessments but also to provide a means for identifying 
vehicle dynamic performance issues prior to service to validate the 
suitability of a vehicle design for operation over its intended route. 
In order to evaluate safety performance as part of the vehicle 
qualification process, simulations are required using both a measured 
track geometry segment representative of the full route, and an 
analytically defined track segment containing geometry perturbations 
representative of minimally compliant track conditions for the 
respective track class--Minimally Compliant Analytical Track (or MCAT). 
MCAT is intended to be used to qualify both new vehicles for operation 
and vehicles previously qualified (on other routes) for operation over 
new routes. MCAT consists of nine sections; each section is designed to 
test a vehicle's performance in response to a specific type of 
perturbation (hunting perturbation, gage narrowing, gage widening, 
repeated and single surface perturbations, repeated and single 
alinement perturbations, short warp, and combined down-and-out 
perturbations). Typical simulation parameters (that vary) include: 
Speed, cant deficiency, gage, and wheel profile. Figure 3 depicts time 
traces of the percent of wheel unloading for the Acela coach in a 
simulated run over MCAT segments for analyzing high cant deficiency 
curving performance at 160 m.p.h. In this example the most severe 
response occurs over the warp segment of track. At 9 inches of cant 
deficiency and a speed of 160 m.p.h., vehicle response exceeds the 
permitted limit for a wheel to unload to less than 15 percent of its 
static vertical wheel load for 5 or more continuous feet, as provided 
in table of VTI safety limits in Sec.  213.333. Please see the Section-
by-Section Analysis for a further discussion of MCAT.

[[Page 16062]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR13MR13.006

V. Discussion of Specific Comments and Conclusions

    As noted above, FRA received written comments in response to the 
NPRM from a number of interested parties. Most of the comments are 
discussed in the Section-by-Section Analysis or in the Regulatory 
Impact and Notices portion of this final rule directly with the 
provisions and statements to which they specifically relate. Other 
comments apply more generally to the final rule as a whole, and FRA is 
discussing them here. Please note that the order in which the comments 
are discussed in this document, whether by issue or by commenter, is 
not intended to reflect the significance of the comment raised or the 
standing of the commenter.

A. EU and SNCF Comments on Track Geometry Standards

    FRA received comments from both the EU and SNCF expressing concerns 
that, in general, the proposed revisions to the Track Safety Standards 
would permit significantly larger track geometry variations than 
equivalent European limits. According to these commenters, such larger 
track geometry variations could compromise the safety of high-speed 
operations or have an impact on the achievable comfort values in high-
speed service, or both.
    FRA's track geometry standards are safety standards and specify 
minimum safety requirements (i.e., maximum allowable track geometry 
variations that do not compromise safety). The standards do not address 
ride comfort, except to the extent that they inherently provide a level 
of ride comfort as well. However, FRA encourages and expects railroads 
to adopt their own internal, stricter track maintenance policies to 
address other concerns such as ride comfort. Thus, FRA expects that a 
high-speed rail system should normally operate well within the maximum 
allowable track geometry safety limits.
    As discussed above, to establish the safety limits proposed in the 
NPRM, FRA conducted a set of engineering and vehicle/track dynamic 
interaction simulation studies, using a range of representative 
vehicles (i.e., not developed for a particular vehicle type) to 
identify specific track geometry limits that would provide for safety 
in the envisioned speed ranges. These studies modeled the effects of 
specific track geometry variations (consisting of a full range of 
wavelengths likely to affect vehicle dynamics) on the safe response of 
the candidate vehicles. In addition, comparisons were made between the 
proposed limits derived from these modeling results and the track 
geometry limits used by SNCF, to assess their validity. These 
comparisons were made for track Classes 6 through 9.
    FRA sought clarification from SNCF on its comments on the NPRM, as 
noted above. FRA prepared a brief presentation outlining the general 
approach it followed in proposing the NPRM's safety limits, using the 
Class 9 limits as a specific example. This presentation was sent to 
SNCF along with three questions related to track geometry and safety 
criteria currently in use in the French high-speed rail network. These 
questions were intended to clarify FRA's understanding of SNCF's 
practices (recognizing that both the track geometry standards used by 
SNCF, as well as the measurements and calculations used to evaluate 
compliance with its standards, are implemented in a manner different 
from FRA's standards) and gather any specific information SNCF has to 
indicate the need for track geometry limits stricter than those 
proposed in the NPRM.
    Having considered the comments and supplemental response, FRA 
continues to believe that the approach taken in this rulemaking sets 
appropriate track geometry limits and safely accounts for vehicle 
behavior in response to track geometry conditions. Based on the 
information available to FRA, FRA does not find that more stringent 
track geometry limits are necessary for the purposes of safety. In this 
regard, SNCF's supplemental response noted inconsistencies with FRA's 
initial understanding of SNCF limits which, when taken into account, 
indicate that FRA's geometry limits actually provide tighter controls 
on alignment variations. Moreover, SNCF stated that it was about to 
start research to integrate vehicle dynamics more fully into its own 
track geometry limits, and expressed interest in SNCF and FRA combining 
their experience to share information and examine issues together. FRA 
welcomes the opportunity for such cooperation and a dialogue with SCNF 
is ongoing.

[[Page 16063]]

B. Wheel Unloading From Wind on Superelevated Curves

    Several comments were raised on FRA's proposal in Sec. Sec.  
213.57(b) and 213.329(b) of the NPRM that all vehicles requiring 
qualification of the vehicle/track system under Sec.  213.345 
demonstrate that when stopped on a curve having a maximum uniform 
elevation of 7 inches, no wheel unloads to a value less than 50 percent 
of its static weight on level track. This proposed modification to the 
1998 Track Safety Standards was intended to address potential vehicle 
rollover and passenger safety issues from side-wind loading should a 
vehicle be stopped or traveling at very low speeds on highly 
superelevated curves, helping to prevent complete unloading of the 
wheels on the high (elevated) rail and incipient rollover.
    In commenting on this proposal, Bombardier raised concern that only 
vehicles seeking qualification under Sec.  213.345 would be subject to 
the proposed requirement, even though the underlying safety issue 
relates to all vehicle types operating at any speed and any cant 
deficiency--not just vehicles seeking qualification under Sec.  
213.345. Bombardier stated that a similar provision then contained in 
Sec. Sec.  213.57 and 213.329 had been proposed to be removed for this 
reason. Bombardier also raised concern as to the effect the proposal 
would have on existing, qualified multi-level passenger equipment. 
Amtrak commented that only high-speed equipment would in effect be 
subject to the proposal, and yet the proposal had not been justified 
for any equipment, be it high-speed, conventional, or freight. NCDOT 
also commented that if rollover from side-wind loading when stopped on 
a superelevated curve is a safety issue, then the proposal should apply 
to either all vehicles, regardless of operating speed or cant 
deficiency, or none. Like Bombardier, NCDOT noted concern that the 
proposal could affect the procurement and qualification of bi-level 
passenger equipment.
    After extensive discussion within the Task Force in response to 
these comments, FRA has decided not to adopt the proposal. The proposal 
would have effectively superseded the requirements in Sec. Sec.  213.57 
and 213.329 for vehicles seeking qualification under Sec.  213.345, in 
that, for a vehicle stopped or traveling at very low speeds on a highly 
superelevated curve, it would have lowered the 60-percent unloading 
limit to 50 percent, since dynamic effects on wheel unloading would not 
be a factor, and would have eliminated the 8.6-degree roll requirement 
for this stationary condition. However, FRA is not aware of passenger 
rail equipment currently in service in the United States that would not 
have met the proposal, and the proposal was therefore principally 
intended to ensure that new passenger rail equipment designs for high-
speed or high cant deficiency operation would continue to address this 
wheel unloading concern. In this regard, FRA had suggested in the Task 
Force to limit the proposal only to new passenger cars--focusing the 
provisions on new passenger cars (or new passenger car types), 
particularly those with higher centers of gravity, to ensure that they 
do not excessively unload from wind when stationary on highly 
superelevated curves. Nevertheless, the Task Force could not reach 
agreement on criteria by which to evaluate such excessive unloading. 
FRA understood from the Task Force that the same criteria may not be 
appropriate for all railroads and would depend on specific operating 
characteristics and the operating environment (e.g, the criteria should 
account for the fact that the risk is higher in high-wind regions). 
Ultimately, the Task Force did not believe it necessary to specify a 
general FRA standard by which to determine whether the equipment poses 
a rollover-risk due to wind loading when stationary on a superelevated 
curve.
    FRA does make clear in this final rule that for all equipment 
operating at cant deficiencies above 3 inches, Sec. Sec.  213.57(d) and 
213.329(d) continue to require that when positioned on track with a 
uniform superelevation equal to the proposed cant deficiency, no wheel 
of the vehicle may unload to a value less than 60 percent of its static 
value on perfectly level track. This 60-percent limit retains an 
allowance for the effects of wind loading on the risk of equipment 
rollover at the proposed cant deficiency. Please see the discussion of 
Sec. Sec.  213.57(d) and 213.329(d) in the Section-by-Section Analysis, 
below. Nonetheless, FRA notes that the underlying safety issue of 
equipment rollover from wind loading when stationary on a superelevated 
curve is not otherwise addressed in the regulations. Consequently, in 
the absence of a specific Federal standard, FRA expects that each 
railroad will identify appropriate safety criteria by which to evaluate 
the risk of equipment rollover from wind loading when stationary on a 
superelevated curve, and then make the determination that the risk has 
been safely addressed using those criteria.

VI. Section-by-Section Analysis

Proposed Amendments to 49 CFR Part 213, Track Safety Standards

Subpart A--General
Section 213.1 Scope of Part
    This section was amended in the 1998 Track Safety Standards final 
rule to distinguish the applicability of subpart G from that of 
subparts A through F, as a result of subpart G's addition to this part 
by that final rule. Subpart G applies to track over which trains 
operate at speeds exceeding those permitted for Class 5 track, which 
supports maximum speeds of 80 m.p.h. for freight trains and 90 m.p.h. 
for passenger trains. Subpart G was intended to be comprehensive, so 
that a railroad operating at speeds above Class 5 maximum speeds may 
refer to subpart G for all of the substantive track safety requirements 
for high-speed rail and need refer to the sections of the Track Safety 
Standards applicable to lower-speed operations only for general 
provisions, i.e., Sec.  213.1 (Scope), Sec.  213.3 (Application), and 
Sec.  213.15 (Penalties). At the same time, railroads that do not 
operate at speeds in excess of the maximum Class 5 speeds need not 
directly refer to subpart G at all.
    FRA is maintaining this general structure of part 213 for ease of 
use, and the requirements of subpart G continue not to apply directly 
to operations at Class 1 through 5 track speeds. However, in adding new 
requirements governing high cant deficiency operations for track 
Classes 1 through 5, certain sections of subparts C and D refer 
railroads operating at those high cant deficiencies to specific 
sections of subpart G. In such circumstances, only the specifically-
referenced section(s) of subpart G apply, and only as provided. As 
discussed in this Section-by-Section Analysis, below, the addition of 
requirements for high cant deficiency operations over lower-speed track 
classes in this final rule permits railroads to operate at higher cant 
deficiencies over these track classes without requiring a waiver. Prior 
to this change in the regulation, railroads had to petition FRA for 
approval by waiver to operate at the higher cant deficiencies over the 
lower-speed track classes.
    FRA believes that the approach in this rulemaking minimizes the 
addition of detailed requirements for high cant deficiency operations 
in subparts C and D. Moreover, with one exception noted below, FRA has 
not found it necessary to amend this section on the scope of this part, 
because only certain requirements of subpart G apply to lower-speed 
track classes and only indirectly for high cant deficiency

[[Page 16064]]

operations by cross-referencing the requirements. FRA believes that 
this approach is consistent with the organization of this part; for 
example, the 1998 Track Safety Standards final rule revised Sec.  
213.57 to reference subpart G for when a track owner or railroad 
operating above Class 5 track speeds requests approval to operate at 
greater than 4 inches of cant deficiency on curves in Class 1 through 5 
track contiguous to the high-speed track. See 63 FR 33992, 34033.
    In the NPRM, FRA invited both comment on the proposal and 
suggestions for any alternative approach for maintaining the ease of 
use of this part, including whether the subpart headings should be 
modified to make their application clearer to the rail operations they 
address, and, if so, in what way(s). FRA did receive a comment from the 
AAR suggesting that the phrase ``Except as provided in section 
213.65,'' be added at the beginning of the second sentence in paragraph 
(a) of this section. The AAR noted that the second sentence in 
paragraph (a) provided that the requirements in part 213 apply to 
specific track conditions ``in isolation,'' while this rulemaking is 
adding new Sec.  213.65 to address ``combined'' track alinement and 
surface deviations. Therefore, the AAR recommended adding the 
introductory text to make Sec.  213.1 consistent with new Sec.  213.65.
    This final rule adopts the AAR's recommendation to make this 
section consistent with the changes to this part. Yet, in this regard, 
more than Sec.  213.65 is being added that addresses conditions 
existing in combination. For example, Sec.  213.332 is also being added 
in subpart G to address combined track alinement and surface deviations 
for the higher-speed track classes, and the MCAT qualification 
requirements in new Appendix D address ``combined perturbation.'' As a 
result, the final rule modifies paragraph (a) by adding the 
introductory words ``In general'' at the beginning of the second 
sentence. While the requirements in this part do apply, in general, to 
track conditions existing in isolation, the provisions discussed above 
are not focused exclusively on track conditions in isolation, and this 
modification preserves flexibility for encompassing these and other 
similar provisions without specifically enumerating them. The Task 
Force, including the AAR, concurred with this modification to the final 
rule.
    As a separate matter, FRA noted that it was not proposing to revise 
and re-issue the Track Safety Standards in full, as was done in the 
1998 final rule. Instead, FRA is amending only certain portions of the 
Track Safety Standards. Therefore, FRA explained in the NPRM that this 
final rule needs to ensure that both the new and revised sections 
appropriately integrate with those sections of this part that are not 
amended, and that appropriate time is provided to phase-in the new and 
amended sections. FRA noted that, in general, the Task Force 
recommended that both new and revised sections become applicable one 
year after the date the final rule is published, to allow the track 
owner or operating railroad, or both, sufficient time to prepare for 
and adjust to meeting the new requirements. Examples of such 
adjustments may include changes to operating, inspection, or 
maintenance practices, such as for compliance with Sec. Sec.  213.57, 
213.329, 213.332, 213.333 and 213.345, as amended.
    FRA also explained that it was considering providing the track 
owner or operating railroad the option of electing to comply sooner 
with the new and amended requirements, upon written notification to 
FRA. FRA noted that such a request for earlier application of the new 
and amended requirements would indicate the track owner's or railroad's 
readiness and ability to comply with all of the new and amended 
requirements--not just certain of those requirements. Because of the 
interrelationship of the amendments, FRA believes that virtually all of 
them need to apply simultaneously to maintain their integrity. FRA 
invited comment on formalizing this approach for this final rule; 
however, no specific comment was received.
    In preparing the final rule, FRA decided that the more appropriate 
way to implement the rule's requirements is to make the rule effective 
120 days after its publication, rather than generally make the 
revisions applicable one year after publication. While FRA did note in 
the NPRM that it intended the final rule to become effective 60 days 
after its publication, FRA also explained that since there cannot be 
two different sections of the same CFR unit in effect under the same 
section heading, a temporary appendix was being considered to separate 
revised sections from their former provisions to allow for continued 
compliance with those former sections for a track owner or railroad not 
electing to comply sooner with all of the revised sections of part 213. 
By lengthening the effective date of the final rule so that all of the 
changes go into effect simultaneously but at a later time, the rule is 
clearer and provides additional time in which to make preparations for 
complying with the new requirements. FRA has further considered the 
preparations that may be necessary, including changes to operating, 
inspection, and maintenance practices, and believes that they can be 
completed (and implemented) within this period. In particular, FRA 
believes that it should take no more than a month of labor hours to 
prepare all of a railroad's automated, vehicle-based inspection systems 
and software to measure and process the necessary parameters to 
determine compliance with this rule, based on the relatively limited 
changes to the existing safety limits and the number of new parameters 
that must be calculated. FRA also notes that the 1998 Track Safety 
Standards final rule took effect 90 days after its publication, see 63 
FR 33991-33992, although certain provisions were made applicable at a 
later date.
Section 213.7 Designation of Qualified Persons to Supervise Certain 
Renewals and Inspect Track
    This section recognizes that work on or about a track structure 
supporting heavy freight trains or passenger operations, or both, 
demands the highest awareness of employees of the need to perform their 
work properly. At the same time, the wording of this section has 
literally required that each individual designated to perform such work 
know and understand the requirements of this part, detect deviations 
from those requirements, and prescribe appropriate remedial action to 
correct or safely compensate for those deviations, regardless whether 
that knowledge, understanding, and ability with respect to all of this 
part were necessary for that individual to perform his or her duties. 
While qualified persons designated under this section have not been 
directly required to know, understand, or apply requirements applicable 
only to higher-speed track classes in subpart G (pursuant to Sec.  
213.1(b)), the addition of vehicle qualification and testing 
requirements for high cant deficiency operations in lower-speed track 
classes, in particular, adds a level of complexity that may be outside 
the purview of track foremen and inspectors in fulfilling their duties.
    As a result, the Task Force recommended and FRA agrees that this 
rule add text clarifying that the requirements for a person to be 
qualified under this section concern those portions of this part 
necessary for the performance of that person's duties. This section 
continues to require that a person designated under it possess the 
knowledge, understanding, and ability necessary to supervise the 
restoration and renewal of track, or to perform

[[Page 16065]]

inspections of track, or both, for which he or she is responsible. Yet, 
adding the text makes clear that the person is not required to know or 
understand specific requirements of this part not necessary to the 
fulfillment of that person's duties. In this regard, the AAR commented 
that these changes are particularly needed in light of the adoption of 
high cant deficiency requirements in this final rule. FRA does not 
believe that safety will be in any way diminished by these changes, and 
they were supported by the Task Force.
Section 213.14 Application of Requirements to Curved Track
    This is a new section that is being added to help define the 
application of requirements for curved track, following publication of 
and comment on the NPRM. Rather than define what is meant by curved 
track in each section where requirements for curved track appear, FRA 
believes it more appropriate to provide the definition here for all of 
part 213. This new section states that, unless otherwise provided in 
this part, requirements specified for curved track apply only to track 
having a curvature greater than 0.25 degree. This definition is 
intended to apply in all sections where limits for curved track are 
specified, unless otherwise provided.
    As further explanation, in its comments on the NPRM Bombardier 
observed that the track geometry alinement limits proposed in Sec.  
213.55(b) were those recommended by the Task Force, except for what was 
proposed as footnote 5--i.e., that curved track limits be applied only 
when track curvature is greater than 0.25 degree. See 75 FR 25957. 
Bombardier stated that this proposed footnote was not included in the 
rule text recommended by the Task Force and that FRA did not provide a 
technical justification for its inclusion in the proposed rule. 
Bombardier believed that this proposed footnote would only be 
applicable at very high speeds and would therefore be irrelevant. 
Consequently, Bombardier recommended the proposed footnote's deletion 
in Sec.  213.55(b), as well as in the following sections regarding 
application of curved track limits: Sec. Sec.  213.63(b), 213.327(b) 
and (c), and 213.331(a) and (b).
    In discussing the proposed footnote with the Task Force, the Task 
Force recognized that the primary intent was to provide a definitive 
demarcation of curved track from tangent track so that track inspectors 
and automated track geometry measurement systems can properly apply the 
more stringent track geometry limits required for high cant deficiency 
operation in track Classes 1 through 5. Continuing with the example of 
Sec.  213.55, should track curvature be no greater than 0.25 degree, 
the limits in Sec.  213.55(a) for tangent track apply. For practical 
consideration in the way curvature is determined, and based on dynamic 
simulations of VTI performance by and experience with Acela trainsets 
on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, a 0.25-degree (15-minute) curvature was 
chosen as this demarcation. This same reasoning applies to the 
inclusion of this provision for the proper application of track 
geometry limits not only in Sec.  213.55, but also in Sec. Sec.  
213.63, 213.327 and 213.331, as specifically cited by Bombardier. 
Therefore, the Task Force recommended applying this provision to each 
of these sections.
    Additionally, in preparing the final rule FRA noted that since 
curved track limits apply elsewhere in this part, whether or not high 
cant deficiency operations are conducted over the track, this provision 
for determining when to apply curved track limits could apply to those 
sections as well. FRA examined all of part 213 and found it appropriate 
to apply this provision generally throughout the entirety of the part, 
unless otherwise specified. The Task Force concurred with this 
addition, but nevertheless recommended that FRA restate this section in 
subpart G to make clear that it applies together with the other 
provisions governing the high-speed track classes. FRA has therefore 
added an identical provision in subpart G; please see the discussion of 
Sec.  213.313. FRA believes that these new sections will help to ensure 
that curved track limits are applied in a uniform and proper manner.
Subpart C--Track Geometry
Section 213.55--Track Alinement
    This section specifies the maximum alinement deviations allowed for 
tangent and curved track in Classes 1 through 5. Alinement is the 
localized variation in curvature of each rail. On tangent track, the 
intended curvature is zero, and thus the alinement is measured as the 
variation or deviation from zero. In a curve, the alinement is measured 
as the variation or deviation from the ``uniform'' alinement over a 
specified distance. As proposed, the section heading has been modified 
so that it reads ``Track alinement,'' instead of ``Alinement,'' for 
clarity.
    The former track alinement limits in this section have been 
redesignated as paragraph (a) and remain unchanged. Paragraph (b) has 
been added as a new provision containing tighter, single-deviation 
geometry limits for operations above 5 inches of cant deficiency on 
curved track, and includes both 31-foot and 62-foot MCO limits. These 
limits are based on the results of simulation studies to determine the 
safe amplitudes of track geometry alinement variations. See Technical 
Background, Section IV.B, above. FRA believes that adding the track 
geometry limits in paragraph (b) is necessary to provide an equivalent 
margin of safety for operations at higher cant deficiency. FRA also 
notes that, as proposed, the requirements for track Classes 1 and 2 in 
paragraph (b) reference footnote 2 of paragraph (b), which provides 
that restraining rails or other systems may be required for derailment 
prevention.
    As provided in Sec.  213.14, limits for curved track in paragraph 
(b) apply only to track having a curvature greater than 0.25 degree. 
Consequently, it is unnecessary to add proposed footnote 5, which would 
have contained the same instruction. Please see Sec.  213.14 for a full 
discussion of the application of curved track limits.
Section 213.57 Curves; Elevation and Speed Limitations
    This final rule makes substantial changes to this section, which 
specifies the requirements for safe curving speeds in track Classes 1 
through 5. Notably, changes have been made to the qualification 
requirements and approval procedures for vehicles intended to operate 
at more than 3 inches of cant deficiency. For consistency with the 
higher speed standards in subpart G, cant deficiency is no longer 
limited to a maximum of 4 inches in track Classes 1 through 5. Prior to 
this change, this section specified qualification requirements for 
vehicles intended to operate only up to 4 inches of cant deficiency on 
track Classes 1 through 5 unless the track was contiguous to a higher-
speed track. Consequently, vehicles intended to operate at more than 4 
inches of cant deficiency on routes not contiguous to a higher-speed 
track were only permitted to operate under a waiver in accordance with 
part 211 of this chapter. This section now includes procedures for such 
vehicles to operate safely at higher cant deficiencies without the 
necessity of obtaining a waiver.
    Both portions of paragraph (a) are revised; the first portion is 
revised as proposed without any comment. The maximum elevation of the 
outside rail of a curve may not be more than 8 inches on track Classes 
1 and 2, and 7 inches on track Classes 3 through 5. Formerly, the 
provision had been stated in terms of the maximum crosslevel of

[[Page 16066]]

the outside rail, with the same limits. As crosslevel is a function of 
elevation differences between two rails, and is specifically addressed 
by other provisions of this rule, specifically Sec.  213.63, this 
clarification is intended to focus the provision on the maximum 
allowable elevation of a single rail.
    Numerous comments were received on FRA's proposal concerning the 
second portion of paragraph (a), however, to restrict configuring track 
so that the outside rail of a curve is designed to be lower than the 
inside rail while allowing for a deviation up to the limits provided in 
Sec.  213.63. In issuing the NPRM, FRA noted that the Task Force had 
recommended removing this portion of paragraph (a), which formerly 
stated that ``[e]xcept as provided in Sec.  213.63, the outside rail of 
a curve may not be lower than the inside rail.'' Concern had been 
raised in the Task Force that this statement potentially conflicted 
with the limits in Sec.  213.63 for ``the deviation from * * * reverse 
crosslevel elevation on curves.'' Nonetheless, FRA had believed that 
these provisions complemented each other--rather than conflict--
addressing both the designed layout of a curve and deviations from that 
layout through actual use. In the NPRM, FRA stated that the requirement 
in paragraph (a) was intended to be a design restriction against 
configuring track so that the outside rail of a curve is lower than the 
inside rail, while the limits at issue in Sec.  213.63 were to govern 
local deviations from uniform elevation--i.e., from the designed 
elevation--that occur as a result of changes in conditions. However, as 
discussed below, FRA recognizes that its proposal should have been more 
complete, and FRA is modifying the final rule based on the comments 
received.
    In commenting on the NPRM, SEPTA noted that there are at least two 
situations when it is desirable to incorporate minimal reverse 
elevation by design: (1) In grade crossings in which the roadway 
profile is opposed to the desired track elevation; and (2) in special 
trackwork where a turnout may be located in a slight curve which is 
opposite the turnout curve. SEPTA stated that in these situations 
incorporating reverse elevation may be desired to minimize the 
potential highway hazard in a grade crossing and properly accommodate 
connections to sidings and other facilities. Accordingly, SEPTA 
believed that criteria should be developed to permit a minimal amount 
of reverse superelevation by design.
    NJ Transit also commented that the proposal would impact a 
significant number of switches in its system where reverse elevation 
has been designed into curves. Specifically, NJ Transit cited switches 
in interlockings at several junctions such as its Roseville Avenue 
Interlocking, potentially impacting 65 daily trains destined to and 
from the Montclair Line; Amtrak's Hunter Interlocking, potentially 
impacting 53 daily NJ Transit trains destined to and from the Raritan 
Valley Line; its Far Hills Interlocking, potentially impacting 49 daily 
NJ Transit Gladstone Line trains; and other possible locations at 
junctions on the Northeast Corridor that would be potentially impacted. 
NJ Transit believed that future interlocking reconfigurations could 
also be affected if the physical characteristics preclude even the 
temporary location of a turnout in a curve that might involve reverse 
elevation, and therefore requested that the proposal not be adopted.
    Likewise, Amtrak objected to the proposal, believing that it would 
represent a fundamental restructuring of basic track design and 
geometry tenets and that implementation of the proposed language would 
have enormous consequences for rail service (both passenger and 
freight) on the Northeast Corridor. Amtrak noted that there are more 
than 77 locations on the Northeast Corridor between Washington, Boston, 
and Harrisburg where reverse elevation exists in track by design. 
According to Amtrak, in the majority of these locations, the design has 
been in service for more than 100 years without causing any safety 
issues. Amtrak raised concern that compliance with the rule as proposed 
would engender myriad problems, such as forcing it to take large 
sections of the Northeast Corridor out of service that contain curves 
with reverse elevation by design. Amtrak cited the example of the River 
Interlocking north of Baltimore that would need to be taken out of 
service, inhibiting the Norfolk Southern Railway Company's access to 
the Port of Baltimore. Amtrak stated that reconstructing some or all of 
the existing reverse-elevated curves would be a massive, time-consuming 
and prohibitively expensive undertaking that would take years to 
implement and cost in excess of $200 million.
    The AAR also objected to the proposal, believing that it resulted 
from a misunderstanding as to when it is appropriate for the outside 
rail to be lower than the inside rail (for track Classes 5 and below). 
The AAR noted that there are times when, by design, the outside rail 
must be lower than the inside rail. For example, the AAR cited that at 
thousands of mainline locations the outside rail is lower than the 
inside rail where turnouts come off the outsides of superelevated 
curves. According to the AAR, there is no realistic alternative to such 
designs, and they have been used for over a century. The AAR also cited 
the use of reverse superelevation on industrial or other tracks where 
there is a hard pull around sharp curves and reverse elevation is used 
to prevent ``stringlining'' derailments. The AAR maintained that FRA 
incorrectly asserted in the NPRM that Sec.  213.63 is intended to 
address only those changes that occur ``through actual use,'' stating 
that Sec.  213.63 clearly is intended to address situations, as 
discussed above, that occur at the design stage as well. Nor did the 
AAR believe there to be a conflict between Sec. Sec.  213.57(a) and 
213.63. The AAR stated that Sec.  213.57(a) addresses the general rule 
that the outside of the rail may not be lower than the inside of the 
rail, while Sec.  213.63 addresses situations where the general rule 
does not apply. Noting that the proposed change was not part of the 
Task Force's consensus on the proposed rule, the AAR recommended that 
FRA either delete the second sentence in paragraph (a) or retain the 
original wording in the regulation.
    After considering the comments on the proposal and discussing them 
with the Task Force, FRA is modifying the rule to state that the 
outside rail of a curve may not be lower than the inside rail by 
design, except when engineered to address specific track or operating 
conditions, and that the limits in Sec.  213.63 apply in all cases. FRA 
continues to believe that the former rule text could give the mistaken 
impression that it is appropriate to design reverse elevation into 
curves as the nominal condition for all curves. Nonetheless, FRA 
appreciates the comments raised, noting that reverse elevation is 
designed into certain curves both out of necessity and for safety 
reasons. FRA did not intend its proposal to nullify such engineering 
design. As modified, the rule text addresses both the concerns raised 
by FRA and those raised by the commenters, and the Task Force concurred 
with the revision.
    As explained in the discussion of specific comments and conclusions 
section of the preamble, above, what was proposed as paragraph (b) is 
not included in this final rule. Please see Wheel Unloading from Wind 
on Superelevated Curves, Section V.B., for an explanation of FRA's 
treatment of that proposal, as well as of paragraph (d), below. 
Instead, what was proposed as paragraph (c) is designated as paragraph 
(b) in this final rule.
    As proposed, the Vmax formula in paragraph (b) 
determines the maximum

[[Page 16067]]

allowable posted timetable operating speed for curved track based on 
the qualified cant deficiency (inches of unbalance), Eu, for 
the vehicle type. This final rule also amends paragraph (b) to 
reference a new footnote 2 to permit the vehicle type to operate at the 
cant deficiency for which it is approved, Eu, plus 1 inch, 
if the actual elevation of the outside rail, Ea, and the 
degree of track curvature, D, change as a result of track degradation. 
As modified, this paragraph is intended to provide a tolerance to 
account for the effects of local crosslevel or curvature conditions on 
Vmax that may result in the actual cant deficiency exceeding 
the cant deficiency approved for the equipment, i.e., the actual 
operating speed may exceed the maximum allowable posted timetable 
operating speed. Without this tolerance, these track conditions could 
generate a limiting speed exception, and some railroads have adopted 
the approach of reducing the cant deficiency of the vehicle in order to 
avoid these exceptions. FRA believes that this 1-inch tolerance is 
supported by operational experience and complemented by related 
standards acting to mitigate safety concerns. For instance, the 
Vmax formula is not intended to replace FRA's track geometry 
limits, which more clearly focus on individual track irregularities 
with shorter wavelengths. These track geometry limits apply 
independently and act independently to limit the maximum allowable 
speed for a track segment based on the condition of the track.
    FRA noted in the NPRM that it was the consensus of the Task Force 
to clarify footnote 1 to state, in part, that actual elevation, 
Ea, for each 155-foot track segment in the body of a curve 
is determined by averaging the elevation for 11 points through the 
segment at 15.5-foot spacing--instead of for 10 points, as was stated 
in the original footnote. FRA explained that the Track Safety Standards 
Compliance Manual (Compliance Manual) provides that the ``actual 
elevation and curvature to be used in the [Vmax] formula are 
determined by averaging the elevation and curvature for 10 points, 
including the point of concern for a total of 11, through the segment 
at 15.5-[foot] station spacing.'' See the guidance on Sec.  213.57 
provided in Chapter 5 of the Manual, which is available on FRA's Web 
site (www.fra.dot.gov). FRA therefore believes that this clarification 
to footnote 1 makes the footnote more consistent with the manner in 
which the rule is intended to be applied.
    In its comments on the NPRM, the AAR believed that FRA departed 
from the RSAC consensus in proposing to change the way elevation is 
calculated. Further, the AAR did not find persuasive FRA's reliance on 
the Compliance Manual as a justification for changing the requirement, 
stating that the Compliance Manual is inconsistent with the rule text. 
In discussing these comments with the Task Force, the Task Force agreed 
that the proposed footnote be adopted in the final rule. While FRA 
stated in the NPRM that it was the consensus of the Task Force to 
clarify footnote 1, FRA recognizes that there was no such explicit 
consensus, as the AAR noted. Nevertheless, FRA believes that this 
clarification to footnote 1 does make the footnote more consistent with 
the manner in which the rule is intended to be applied, and it is not 
intended to add any requirement. In calculating elevation, 10 
measurements are taken from the point of concern--5 on each side--so 
that 11 points are actually averaged, given that the point of concern 
is included in the calculated average. The AAR did not oppose adoption 
of this clarification after the Task Force discussion.
    Former footnote 2 has been redesignated as footnote 3 without 
substantive change.
    Paragraph (c), proposed as paragraph (d) in the NPRM, provides that 
all vehicle types are considered qualified for up to 3 inches of cant 
deficiency, as allowed by the former rule.
    Paragraph (d), proposed as paragraph (e) in the NPRM, is being 
modified to specify the requirements for vehicle qualification over 
track with more than 3 inches of cant deficiency. Prior to this 
modification, ``static lean'' qualification requirements were specified 
for vehicles intended to operate up to an allowable 4 inches of cant 
deficiency on track Classes 1 through 5. These requirements limited the 
carbody roll to 5.7 degrees with respect to the horizontal when the 
vehicle was standing on track with 4 inches of superelevation, and 
limited the vertical wheel load remaining on the raised wheels to no 
less than 60 percent of their static level values and carbody roll to 
no more than 8.6 degrees with respect to the horizontal when the 
vehicle was standing (stationary) on track with 6 inches of 
superelevation. In the final rule, cant deficiency is no longer limited 
to a maximum of 4 inches in track Classes 1 through 5. The revised 
requirements, consistent with the higher-speed standards in Sec.  
213.329, limit the vertical wheel load remaining on the raised wheels 
to no less than 60 percent of their static level values and limit 
carbody roll for passenger cars to no more than 8.6 degrees with 
respect to the horizontal when the vehicle is standing (stationary) on 
track with a uniform superelevation equal to the proposed cant 
deficiency. Consequently, the rule no longer imposes a 6-inch 
superelevation static lean requirement generally; rather, the amount of 
superelevation is dependent on the proposed cant deficiency. For 
example, if the proposed cant deficiency is 5 inches, the 
superelevation used for demonstrating compliance with this paragraph is 
also 5 inches.
    The requirements in paragraph (d) may be met by either static or 
dynamic testing. In either case, the vehicle type must be tested in a 
ready-for-service condition. In consultation with the Task Force, FRA 
is clarifying that the vehicle type be tested in a ready-for-service 
condition, i.e., in the same vehicle/track performance condition in 
which it would be in passenger service. At the same time, FRA is 
clarifying paragraph (e), below, so that the load condition under which 
testing is performed is included in the description of the test 
procedure. For example, the vehicle type may or may not be loaded to 
simulate passengers on board, and this information would be necessary 
for a complete evaluation of the vehicle's performance.
    As noted, the static lean test limits the vertical wheel load 
remaining on the raised wheels to no less than 60 percent of their 
static level values and limits the roll of a passenger carbody to 8.6 
degrees with respect to the horizontal, when the vehicle is standing on 
track with superelevation equal to the proposed cant deficiency. The 
dynamic test limits the steady-state vertical wheel load remaining on 
the low rail wheels to no less than 60 percent of their static level 
values and limits the lateral acceleration in a passenger car to 0.15g 
steady-state, when the vehicle operates through a curve at the proposed 
cant deficiency. (Please note that steady-state, carbody lateral 
acceleration, i.e., the tangential force pulling passengers to one side 
of the carbody when traveling through a curve at higher than the 
balance speed, should not be confused with sustained, carbody lateral 
oscillatory accelerations, i.e., continuous side-to-side oscillations 
of the carbody in response to track conditions, whether on curved or 
tangent track.) This 0.15g steady-state lateral acceleration limit in 
the dynamic test is intended to provide consistency with the 8.6-degree 
roll limit in the static lean test, in that it corresponds to the 
lateral acceleration a passenger would experience in a standing vehicle 
whose carbody is at a roll angle of 8.6 degrees with respect to the 
horizontal. The former 5.7-degree roll limit, which

[[Page 16068]]

limited steady-state, carbody lateral acceleration to 0.1g, has been 
removed.
    Measurements and supplemental research have indicated that a 
steady-state, carbody lateral acceleration limit of 0.15g is considered 
to be the maximum, steady-state lateral acceleration above which jolts 
from vehicle dynamic response to track deviations can present a hazard 
to passenger safety. While other FRA vehicle/track interaction safety 
criteria principally address external safety hazards that may cause a 
derailment, such as damage to track structure and other conditions at 
the wheel/rail interface, the steady-state, carbody lateral 
acceleration limit specifically addresses the safety of the interior 
occupant environment. For comparison purposes, it is notable that the 
International Union of Railways (UIC) Code 518, Testing and Approval of 
Railway Vehicles from the Point of View of Their Dynamic Behaviour--
Safety--Track Fatigue--Ride Quality, Ed. 4 (2009), has adopted a 
steady-state, carbody lateral acceleration limit of 0.15g. FRA does 
recognize that making a comparison with such a specific limit in 
another body of standards needs to take into account what related 
limits are provided in the compared standards and what the nature of 
the operating environment is to which the compared standards apply. FRA 
therefore invited comment whether such a comparison is appropriate 
here--whether, for example, there are enhanced or additional vehicle/
track safety limits that apply to European operations, either through 
industry practice or governing standards, or both.
    In their comments on the NPRM, SNCF responded that, concerning 
curves and cant deficiency design, the limit of 0.15g for steady-state, 
carbody lateral acceleration is justified. SNCF stated that this value 
is usually considered a comfort limit for curve design and is the limit 
value accepted for passenger cars. SNCF further noted that for freight 
cars the accepted limit is 0.13g, and that, in European rules, the 
0.15g value corresponds to an exceptional value of cant deficiency, 
while the recommended value is about 0.14g.
    FRA notes that increasing the steady-state, carbody lateral 
acceleration limit from 0.1g to 0.15g allows for operations at higher 
cant deficiency on the basis of acceleration before tilt compensation 
is necessary. This increase in cant deficiency without requiring tilt 
compensation is larger for a vehicle design whose carbody is less 
disposed to roll on its suspension when subjected to an unbalance 
force, since carbody roll on curved track has a direct effect on 
steady-state, carbody lateral acceleration. For example, a vehicle 
having a completely rigid suspension system (S = 0) would have no 
carbody roll and could operate without a tilt system at a cant 
deficiency as high as 9 inches, at which point the steady-state, 
carbody lateral acceleration would be 0.15g, which would correlate to 
an 8.6-degree roll angle between the floor and the horizontal when the 
vehicle is standing on track with 9 inches of superelevation. The 
suspension coefficient ``S'' is the ratio of the roll angle of the 
carbody on its suspension (measured relative to the inclination of the 
track) to the cant angle of the track (measured relative to the 
horizontal) for a stationary vehicle standing on a track with 
superelevation. A suspension coefficient of 0 is theoretical but 
neither practical nor desirable, because of the need for flexibility in 
the suspension system to handle track conditions and provide for 
occupant comfort and safety. Assuming that a car has some flexibility 
in its suspension system, say S = 0.3, the car could operate without a 
tilt system at a cant deficiency as high as approximately 7 inches, at 
which point the steady-state, carbody lateral acceleration would be 
0.15g, which would correlate to an 8.6-degree roll angle between the 
floor and the horizontal when the vehicle is standing on track with 7 
inches of superelevation. To operate at higher cant deficiencies and 
not exceed the limits, the vehicle would need to be equipped with a 
tilt system so that the floor actively tilts to compensate for the 
forces that would otherwise cause the limits to be exceeded.
    Under the former FRA requirements, using the above examples, a 
vehicle having a completely rigid suspension system (S = 0) could 
operate without a tilt system at a cant deficiency no higher than 6 
inches, at which point the steady-state, carbody lateral acceleration 
would be 0.1g, which would correlate to a 5.7-degree roll angle between 
the floor and the horizontal when the vehicle is standing on track with 
6 inches of superelevation. Assuming that a vehicle has some 
flexibility in its suspension system, again say S = 0.3, the vehicle 
could operate without a tilt system at a cant deficiency no higher than 
approximately 4.7 inches, at which point the steady-state, carbody 
lateral acceleration would be 0.1g, which would correlate to a 5.7-
degree roll angle between the floor and the horizontal when the vehicle 
is standing on track with 4.7 inches of superelevation.
    FRA notes that the less stringent steady-state, carbody lateral 
acceleration limit and carbody roll angle limit adopted in this final 
rule will minimize both the need to equip vehicles with tilt systems at 
higher cant deficiencies and the costs associated with such features, 
as well. Moreover, by facilitating higher cant deficiency operations, 
savings may also result from shortened trip times. These savings may be 
particularly beneficial to passenger operations in emerging high-speed 
rail corridors, enabling faster operations through curves.
    Of course, any such savings should not come at the expense of 
safety, and FRA has adopted additional track geometry requirements for 
operations above 5 inches of cant deficiency, whether or not the 
vehicles are equipped with tilt systems. These additional track 
geometry requirements were developed to control for undesirable vehicle 
response to track conditions that could pose derailment concerns. 
Nonetheless, the VTI limits on transient accelerations may need to be 
stricter when combined with higher steady-state lateral acceleration, 
to address passenger ride safety concerns. Additional research 
regarding passenger response to vibration is needed to establish this 
relationship and model this effect. While the tighter geometry limits 
at high cant deficiency that have been added in this final rule were 
not specifically developed to address such concerns, they may help to 
control transient, carbody acceleration events that could pose ride 
safety concerns for passengers subjected to higher steady-state lateral 
accelerations. These additional track geometry requirements apply only 
to operations above 5 inches of cant deficiency, where steady-state, 
carbody lateral acceleration may approach 0.15g for typical vehicle 
designs. In this regard, during Task Force discussions, Amtrak stated 
that Amfleet equipment has been operating at up to 5 inches of cant 
deficiency (with approximately 0.13g steady-state, carbody lateral 
acceleration levels) without resulting in passenger ride safety issues. 
FRA is also not aware of any general safety issue involving passengers 
losing their balance and falling due specifically to excessive steady-
state, carbody lateral acceleration levels in current operations.
    Nonetheless, a transient carbody acceleration event that poses no 
derailment safety concern could very well cause a standing passenger to 
lose his or her balance and fall. Although FRA is not aware of much 
published data on the effect that transient, carbody acceleration 
events have on passenger

[[Page 16069]]

ride safety, it is recognized that the presence of steady-state, 
carbody lateral acceleration will generally reduce the margin of safety 
for standing passengers to withstand transient, lateral acceleration 
events and not lose their balance. If such passenger ride safety issues 
were more clearly identified, additional track geometry or other limits 
could potentially be proposed to address them. However, based on the 
information available to the Task Force, the Task Force did not 
recommend additional limits to address potential passenger ride safety 
concerns that may result from transient, carbody acceleration events 
either alone or when combined with steady-state, carbody lateral 
acceleration. The Task Force also took into account that, as one of 
several modes of transportation offered to the general public, rail 
travel need provide a level of passenger comfort to both attract and 
retain riders. As a result, the riding characteristics of passenger 
rail vehicles should by railroad practice be subject to acceptable 
criteria for passenger ride comfort, and such criteria for passenger 
ride comfort should be more stringent than those for passenger ride 
safety. Nonetheless, to fully inform FRA's decisions in preparing the 
final rule, FRA specifically invited public comment on this discussion 
in the NPRM and the proposal to set the steady-state, carbody lateral 
acceleration limit at 0.15g. FRA requested specific comment on whether 
the proposed rule appropriately provided for passenger ride safety, and 
if not, requested that the commenters state what additional 
requirement(s) should be imposed, if any.
    As noted above, in commenting on the NPRM, SNCF agreed that the 
limit of 0.15g for steady-state, carbody lateral acceleration is 
justified in that this value is usually considered a comfort limit for 
curve design and is the limit value accepted for passenger cars. SNCF 
specifically commented that, in European rules, the 0.15g value 
corresponds to an exceptional value of cant deficiency, while the 
recommended value is about 0.14g. FRA sees no conflict with these 
comments; measurements and supplemental research have indicated that a 
steady-state, carbody lateral acceleration limit of 0.15g is considered 
to be the maximum, steady-state lateral acceleration above which jolts 
from vehicle dynamic response to track deviations can present a hazard 
to passenger safety. For the foregoing reasons, FRA has therefore 
adopted the proposal in the final rule.
    The changes to this section also separate and clarify the submittal 
requirements to FRA to obtain approval for the qualifying cant 
deficiency of a vehicle type (paragraph (e)) and to notify FRA prior to 
the implementation of the approved higher curving speeds (paragraph 
(f)). As discussed above, FRA is clarifying paragraph (e) so that the 
load condition under which the testing is performed is included in the 
description of the test procedure. Additional clarification in 
paragraph (e) has been included for submitting suspension system 
maintenance information. The requirement for submitting suspension 
system maintenance information applies to vehicle types not subject to 
parts 238 or 229 of this chapter, such as a freight car operated in a 
freight train, and then only to safety-critical components. Paragraph 
(f) also clarifies that in approving the request made pursuant to 
paragraph (e), FRA may impose conditions necessary for safely operating 
at the higher curving speeds.
    Former footnote 3 is being redesignated as footnote 4 and modified 
in conformance with the changes in this final rule. Former footnote 3 
reflected that this section previously allowed a maximum of 4 inches of 
cant deficiency; hence, the static lean test requirement to raise and 
lower the car on one side by 4 inches. Former footnote 3 also specified 
a cant excess requirement to raise and lower the car on one side by 6 
inches. As proposed, FRA is removing the 4-inch limit on cant 
deficiency, and the cant-excess requirement has been addressed, as 
explained above. Thus, this footnote, now footnote 4, refers to ``the 
proposed cant deficiency'' instead of 4 inches of cant deficiency. FRA 
also notes that, as proposed, it has removed the statement in the 
former footnote that the ``test procedure may be conducted in a test 
facility.'' Testing may of course be conducted in a test facility, but 
the statement could cause confusion that testing may be conducted only 
in a test facility. No such limitation is intended. Separately, FRA has 
slightly modified the footnote from that proposed in the NPRM based on 
a concern raised during the Task Force's consideration of the draft 
final rule. The test procedure's testing sequence could be wrongly 
construed to indicate that the roll angle is measured after the wheels 
are lowered; FRA agrees and has corrected this ambiguity.
    Former paragraph (e) is being moved to new paragraph (g), which was 
proposed as paragraph (h) in the NPRM. As revised, this paragraph (g) 
is identical to two other provisions in this final rule: Sec.  
213.329(g)--the subpart G counterpart to this section--and Sec.  
213.345(i). Please see the discussion of Sec.  213.345(i), below. The 
Task Force agreed that the purpose of these provisions is the same and 
therefore recommended that the same text be included. FRA agrees and 
has modified the rule accordingly.
    Paragraph (h) was proposed as paragraph (j) in the NPRM to clarify 
that vehicle types that have been permitted by FRA to operate at cant 
deficiencies, Eu, greater than 3 inches prior to the date of 
publication of the final rule in the Federal Register would be 
considered qualified under this section to operate at those permitted 
cant deficiencies over the previously operated track segments(s). 
Consequently, before the vehicle type could operate over another track 
segment at such cant deficiencies, FRA proposed that the vehicle be 
qualified as provided in this section. FRA made a similar proposal in 
Sec.  213.329(i) (now Sec.  213.329(h)).
    In commenting on the NPRM, Amtrak stated the tests proposed in this 
section and in Sec.  213.329 for the higher-speed track classes would 
be wasteful to repeat because, unlike the tests proposed for Sec.  
213.345, the tests proposed here would not have been conducted under 
``local'' conditions but rather in a static testing facility having no 
connection to the location of the proposed service. Amtrak therefore 
wondered what types of conditions FRA believed would be uncovered 
during this testing process before permitting the vehicle types to 
operate at the same cant deficiencies on other track segments. Amtrak 
believed that it would be simply repeating the exact same test on the 
exact same car at the exact same test facility, and therefore found it 
difficult to find any justification for the proposed limitation.
    FRA discussed the proposal and the comments received with the Task 
Force. The Task Force recommended that vehicle types that have been 
permitted by FRA to operate at cant deficiencies, Eu, 
greater than 3 inches but not exceeding 5 inches be considered 
qualified under this section to operate at those permitted cant 
deficiencies over all track segments--not only over previously operated 
segments. FRA agrees that extending the nature of the qualification in 
this way is appropriate given that the requirements of this section are 
static or steady-state and do not directly reflect the ``local'' 
interaction of the vehicle and the track. Paragraph (h)(1) adopts this 
recommendation, and FRA makes clear that it applies not only to 
previous permission by FRA to operate at these cant deficiencies, but 
also prospectively to vehicle types when they are approved

[[Page 16070]]

by FRA to operate at these cant deficiencies. Nonetheless, a 
requirement has been included in paragraph (h)(1) that written notice 
be provided to FRA no less than 30 calendar days prior to the proposed 
implementation of such curving speeds on another track segment in 
accordance with paragraph (f) of this section. This notice is intended 
to identify the new track segment(s) so that FRA is aware of the 
proposed operation, can ensure that appropriate permission has been 
provided for it, and otherwise administer the requirements of this 
rule.
    FRA notes that pursuant to paragraph (i) of this section and Sec.  
213.345, Vehicle/track system qualification, dynamic testing is 
required when moving a vehicle type to a new track segment for 
operation at cant deficiencies exceeding 5 inches. Accordingly, 
paragraph (h)(2) makes clear that vehicle types that have been 
permitted by FRA to operate at cant deficiencies, Eu, 
greater than 5 inches shall be considered qualified under this section 
to operate at those permitted cant deficiencies only for the previously 
operated or identified track segments(s). Please also see the 
discussion regarding Sec.  213.329(h).
    As proposed, paragraph (i) is being added to reference pertinent 
sections of subpart G--namely, Sec. Sec.  213.333 and 213.345--that 
contain requirements related to operations above 5 inches of cant 
deficiency. These sections include requirements for periodic track 
geometry measurements, monitoring of carbody acceleration, and vehicle/
track system qualification. Specifically, in Sec.  213.333(c)(1), FRA 
has added periodic inspection requirements using a Track Geometry 
Measurement System (TGMS) to determine compliance with Sec.  213.53, 
Track gage; Sec.  213.55(b), Track alinement; Sec.  213.57, Curves; 
elevation and speed limitations; Sec.  213.63, Track surface; and Sec.  
213.65, Combined track alinement and surface deviations. In sharper 
curves, for which cant deficiency was high but vehicle speeds were 
reflective of a lower track class, it was found that stricter track 
geometry limits were necessary, for the same track class, in order to 
provide an equivalent margin of safety for operations at higher cant 
deficiency. As proposed in the NPRM, FRA has also added periodic 
monitoring requirements for cardbody accelerations, to determine 
compliance with the VTI safety limits in Sec.  213.333. Moreover, the 
vehicle/track system qualification requirements in Sec.  213.345 apply 
to vehicle types intended to operate at any curving speed producing 
more than 5 inches of cant deficiency, and include, as appropriate, a 
combination of computer simulations, carbody acceleration testing, 
truck acceleration testing, and wheel/rail force measurements. FRA 
believes that these requirements are necessary to apply to operations 
at high cant deficiency on lower-speed track classes. Section 
213.369(f) is also referenced, to make clear that inspection records be 
kept in accordance with the requirements of Sec.  213.333, as 
appropriate.
    Paragraph (j), which was proposed as paragraph (k) in the NPRM, is 
being added as a new paragraph to define ``vehicle'' and ``vehicle 
type,'' as used in this section. As the term ``vehicle'' is used 
elsewhere in this part and has a different meaning than the term 
``vehicle type,'' both terms are defined here for the purposes of this 
section so that this section's requirements may be properly understood 
and applied.
Section 213.59 Elevation of Curved Track; Runoff
    This final rule makes a conforming change to this section's 
reference to Sec.  213.57(b), to reflect the changes adopted in that 
section. The need for this conforming change had been overlooked in the 
proposed rule. However, the AAR notified FRA and other Task Force 
members of the omission and suggested change during RSAC consideration 
of the final rule, and no objection was raised. FRA agrees that the 
language should conform so as to avoid confusion, and has modified 
paragraph (a) of this section accordingly. No other change is intended.
Section 213.63 Track Surface
    Track surface is the evenness or uniformity of track in short 
distances measured along the running surface of the rails. Under load, 
the track structure gradually deteriorates due to dynamic and 
mechanical wear effects of passing trains. Improper drainage, unstable 
roadbed, inadequate tamping, and deferred maintenance can create 
surface irregularities, which can lead to serious consequences if 
ignored.
    As proposed in the NPRM, this section is divided into two 
paragraphs. What was formerly the entirety of this section (the 
introductory text, table, and footnotes) is re-designated as paragraph 
(a). Paragraph (a) generally mirrors the former section but substitutes 
the date ``June 22, 1998'' for the words ``prior to the promulgation of 
this rule'' in the asterisked portion of the table concerning the 
variation in crosslevel on spirals due to physical restrictions on 
spiral length and operating practices and experience as determined by 
prior engineering decisions. The asterisk was included in the 1998 
final rule and refers to that final rule, which was promulgated on June 
22, 1998, to address the practice on some railroads to design a greater 
runoff of elevation in spirals due to physical restrictions on the 
length of spirals. Spiral runoff in construction after the promulgation 
of that final rule must be designed and maintained within the 
generally-applicable limits identified in the table for the difference 
in crosslevel. Consequently, FRA has clarified this section so that the 
asterisked text effectively continues to refer to the 1998 final rule--
not this very final rule.
    The primary substantive change to this section is the addition of 
new paragraph (b), which contains tighter, single-deviation geometry 
limits for operations above 5 inches of cant deficiency on curved 
track. These limits include both 31-foot and 62-foot MCO limits and a 
new limit for the difference in crosslevel between any two points less 
than 10 feet apart. FRA believes that adding these track geometry 
limits is necessary to provide an equivalent margin of safety for 
operations at higher cant deficiency. These limits are based on the 
results of simulation studies to determine the safe amplitudes of track 
geometry surface variations. See Technical Background, Section IV.B, 
above.
    FRA did not receive any comment on this section, other than the 
comment raised by Bombardier and discussed in Sec.  213.14 as to the 
inclusion of proposed footnote 4 specifying that curved track surface 
limits apply only when track curvature is greater than 0.25 degree. As 
noted in the discussion of Sec.  213.14, the text of the proposed 
footnote has been adopted as Sec.  213.14 primarily to distinguish 
curved track from tangent track so that track inspectors and automated 
track geometry measurement systems can properly apply the more 
stringent track geometry limits required for high cant deficiency 
operation in track Classes 1 through 5. Should track curvature be less 
than 0.25 degree, the limits in paragraph (a) apply. Consequently, all 
of the proposals in this section have effectively been adopted in this 
final rule without substantive change.
Section 213.65 Combined Track Alinement and Surface Deviations
    As proposed in the NPRM, FRA is adding this new section containing 
limits addressing combined track alinement and surface deviations for 
operations above 5 inches of cant deficiency on curved track. (In 
preparing the final rule, FRA added

[[Page 16071]]

``track'' to the section heading for consistency with the section 
headings for Sec.  213.55, Track alinement, and Sec.  213.63, Track 
surface.) An equation-based safety limit is provided for track 
alinement and surface deviations occurring in combination within a 
single chord length of each other. The limits in this section are 
intended to be used only with a TGMS, and applied on the outside rail 
in curves.
    Although the Track Safety Standards have prescribed limits on 
geometry variations existing in isolation, FRA has recognized that a 
combination of track alinement and surface variations, none of which 
individually amounts to a deviation from the requirements in this part, 
may nevertheless result in undesirable vehicle response. Moreover, 
trains operating at high cant deficiencies increase the lateral wheel 
force exerted on track during curving, thereby decreasing the margin of 
safety associated with the VTI safety limits in Sec.  213.333. To 
address these concerns, simulation studies were performed to determine 
the safe amplitudes of combined track geometry variations. See 
Technical Background, Section IV.B, above. Results of this research 
showed that the addition of this equation-based safety limit is 
necessary to provide a margin of safety for vehicle operations at 
higher cant deficiencies.
    One comment was raised on this section following publication of the 
NPRM. Bombardier commented that the references in the proposed equation 
identifying variables AL and SL should be 
clarified if the intent is to use the alinement and surface limits in 
Sec. Sec.  213.55(a) and 213.63(a), respectively, when operating at 
cant deficiencies greater than 5 inches in curves not exceeding 0.25 
degree. Bombardier noted that, alternatively, if its recommendation to 
remove the footnote concerning the application of curved track limits 
in Sec. Sec.  213.55(b) and 213.63(b) were accepted, this concern would 
be resolved.
    In response to this comment and as a result of Task Force 
discussions following publication of the NPRM, FRA has added Sec.  
213.14 to make clear that limits specified for curved track apply only 
to track having a curvature greater than 0.25 degree. As discussed in 
Sec.  213.14, by defining curved track as track having a curvature 
greater than 0.25 degree, the rule makes clear when the requirements 
for curved track apply. This section is therefore adopted as proposed 
without substantive change.
Section 213.110 Gage Restraint Measurement Systems
    This section specifies procedures for using a Gage Restraint 
Measurement System (GRMS) to assess the ability of track to maintain 
proper gage. As proposed, FRA has amended this section to make it 
consistent with the changes to the GRMS requirements in Sec.  213.333, 
the counterpart to this section in subpart G. Specifically, FRA has 
replaced the former Gage Widening Ratio (GWR) with the Gage Widening 
Projection (GWP), which is intended to compensate for the weight of the 
testing vehicle. FRA believes that use of the GWP provides at least the 
same level of safety, and its inclusion is supported by research 
results documented in the report titled ``Development of Gage Widening 
Projection Parameter for the Deployable Gage Restraint Measurement 
System'' (DOT/FRA/ORD-06/13, October 2006), which is available on FRA's 
Web site. Moreover, by making the criteria consistent with the changes 
to the GRMS requirements in Sec.  213.333, a track owner or railroad 
does not need to modify a GRMS survey to calculate the GWR for track 
Classes 1 through 5, and then separately calculate the GWP for track 
Classes 6 through 9. The same GWP formula applies, regardless of the 
class of track.
    In substituting GWP for GWR, FRA has also made a number of 
conforming changes to this section, principally to ensure that the 
terminology and references are consistent. These changes are generally 
more technical than substantive, and they are neither intended to 
diminish nor add to the requirements of this section. In this regard, 
as proposed in the NPRM, FRA has corrected the table in paragraph (l) 
to renumber the remedial action specified for a second level exception. 
The remedial action should have been designated as (1), (2), and (3) in 
the ``Remedial action required'' column, consistent with the manner in 
which remedial action is specified for a first level exception--not 
designated as footnote 2, (1), and (2). In addition, in preparing the 
final rule, FRA has reformatted the table to distinguish more clearly 
between first level and second level exceptions.
    FRA has also added footnote 5 to this section, as proposed in the 
NPRM, stating that ``GRMS equipment using load combinations developing 
L/V ratios that exceed 0.8 shall be operated with caution to protect 
against the risk of wheel climb by the test wheelset.'' This footnote 
is identical in substance to what is now designated as footnote 10 
(formerly footnote 7), which applies to Sec.  213.333, Automated 
vehicle-based inspection systems, thereby promoting conformity between 
this section and its subpart G counterpart.
    Paragraph (e) has been modified from the proposal in the NPRM. In 
its comments on the NPRM, Bombardier stated that in proposed paragraph 
(e), it appeared that the formula for the extrapolation factor ``A'' 
may have been incorrect since the lateral load ``L'' and the vertical 
load ``V'' were expressed in kips--not pounds. In this regard, 
Bombardier also suggested changing the proposed text describing the 
24,000-pound lateral load and 33,000-pound vertical load to express the 
loads in kips, for consistency. The Task Force concurred with 
Bombardier's comments and recommended revising the text and the 
equation accordingly. FRA agrees and is adopting the recommended 
changes in the final rule text. FRA is also making a conforming change 
to this section by modifying the text defining GWP in paragraph (p). 
Likewise, in Sec.  213.333(i)(2), FRA is modifying the rule so that the 
units are correspondingly stated in kips.
Subpart G--Train Operations at Track Classes 6 and Higher
Section 213.305 Designation of Qualified Individuals; General 
Qualifications
    This section recognizes that work on or about a track structure 
supporting high-speed train operations demands the highest awareness of 
employees of the need to perform their work properly. At the same time, 
the wording of this section has literally required that each individual 
designated to perform such work know and understand the requirements of 
this subpart, detect deviations from those requirements, and prescribe 
appropriate remedial action to correct or safely compensate for those 
deviations, regardless whether that knowledge, understanding, and 
ability with regard to all of subpart G were necessary for that 
individual to perform his or her duties. For example, knowledge and 
understanding of specific vehicle qualification and testing 
requirements may be unnecessary for the performance of a track 
inspector's duties.
    As a result, the Task Force recommended and FRA agrees that this 
rule clarify that the requirements for a person to be qualified under 
subpart G concern those portions of this subpart necessary for the 
performance of that person's duties. This section continues to require 
that a person designated under it has the knowledge, understanding, and 
ability necessary to

[[Page 16072]]

supervise the restoration and renewal of subpart G track, or to perform 
inspections of subpart G track, or both, for which he or she is 
responsible. At the same time, adding the text makes clear that such a 
designated person is not required to know or understand specific 
requirements of this subpart not necessary to the fulfillment of that 
person's duties. FRA does not believe that safety is in any way 
diminished by these changes, and they were supported by the Task Force. 
FRA believes that these changes reflect what was intended when this 
section was established in the 1998 final rule.
Section 213.307 Classes of Track: Operating Speed Limits
    The 1998 final rule added subpart G to provide for the operation of 
trains at progressively higher speeds up to 200 m.p.h. over four 
separate classes of track--Classes 6 through 9. Standards for the 
highest-speed track, Class 9 track, for speeds above 160 m.p.h. up to 
200 m.p.h., were established looking ahead to the possibility that 
certain operations would achieve those speeds. In addition, a maximum 
limit of 160 m.p.h. was established for Class 8 track because trainsets 
had operated in this country safely up to that speed for periods of 
several months under waivers for testing and evaluation. See 63 FR 
34015.
    In developing the NPRM, the Task Force recommended that standards 
for Class 9 track be removed from this subpart and that the maximum 
allowable speed for Class 8 track be lowered from 160 m.p.h. to 150 
m.p.h. Although it was viewed in the 1998 final rule that standards for 
Class 9 track were useful benchmarks for future planning with respect 
to vehicle/track interaction, track structure, and inspection 
requirements, the Task Force noted that operations at speeds in excess 
of 150 m.p.h. were authorized by FRA only in conjunction with a rule of 
particular applicability (RPA) addressing the overall safety of the 
operation as a system, per former footnote 2 of this section. It was 
thought that the vehicle/track interaction, track structure, and 
inspection requirements in an RPA would likely be specific to both the 
operation and the system components used, and track geometry 
measurement systems, safety criteria, and safety limits might be quite 
different than currently defined. The Task Force therefore recommended 
that the safety of operations above 150 m.p.h. be addressed using a 
system safety approach and regulated through an RPA specific to the 
intended operation, and that the safety parameters in this subpart for 
general application to operations above 150 m.p.h. be removed.
    Nonetheless, in the NPRM, FRA explained that it had identified the 
continued need for benchmark standards addressing the highest speeds 
likely to be achieved by the most forward-looking, high-speed rail 
projects. And, as a result, FRA and the Volpe Center had conducted 
additional research and vehicle/track interaction simulations at higher 
speeds and concluded that Class 9 vehicle/track safety standards can be 
safely extended to include the highest speeds proposed to date--speeds 
of up to 220 m.p.h. FRA therefore included these standards in the NPRM. 
FRA did note its intent to continue its discussions with the Task Force 
as any comments were addressed following the publication of the NPRM. 
FRA also noted that the Task Force did not consider a comprehensive 
revision of all of Subpart G, including those requirements that are not 
distinguished by class of track. In addition, FRA stated that the Class 
9 standards would remain only as benchmark standards with the 
understanding that the final suitability of track safety standards for 
operations above 150 m.p.h. would be determined by FRA only after 
examination of the entire operating system, including the subject 
equipment, track structure, and other system attributes. FRA explained 
that direct FRA approval is required for any such high-speed rail 
operation, whether through an RPA or another regulatory proceeding.
    As a separate matter, FRA noted that the rule would require the 
testing and evaluation of equipment for qualification purposes at a 
speed of 5 m.p.h. above the maximum intended operating speed, in 
accordance with Sec.  213.345, and that, for example, this would 
require equipment intended to operate at Class 8 track's maximum speed 
of 160 m.p.h. to be tested at 165 m.p.h. Therefore, FRA made clear that 
operating at speeds up to 165 m.p.h. for vehicle qualification purposes 
under this subpart would necessarily be permitted to continue on Class 
8 track, subject to the requirements for the planning and safe conduct 
of such test operations. These test operations are distinct from 
service operations on Class 8 track that would be limited to a maximum 
speed of 160 m.p.h.
    Finally, FRA proposed to slightly modify the section heading so 
that it reads ``Classes of track: operating speed limits,'' using the 
plural form of ``class.'' This change is intended to make the section 
heading consistent with the heading for Sec.  213.9, the counterpart to 
this section for lower-speed track classes.
    In its comments on the NPRM, Bombardier raised concern that FRA had 
not adopted the recommendation of the Task Force to remove standards 
for Class 9 track and reduce the maximum operating speed for Class 8 
track to 150 m.p.h. In particular, Bombardier raised concern that FRA 
conducted research without the involvement of the Task Force, and that 
one of the principles used by the Task Force for evaluating any changes 
to the track geometry standards at high speed or high cant deficiency 
was to use representative vehicles that had actually been designed and 
qualified for such operations. Bombardier believed that the use of the 
Acela power car to determine track geometry standards for Class 9 
track, by conducting simulations at 220 m.p.h. and 9 inches of cant 
deficiency, was inappropriate since the equipment was designed and 
qualified for operation at 150 m.p.h. Bombardier added that appropriate 
track geometry safety limits for speeds up to 220 m.p.h. can only be 
developed with a vehicle model that has been validated up to that 
speed, and that track standards developed based on an invalidated 
vehicle model could deter the implementation of some high-speed rail 
systems and provide a false sense of security.
    Bombardier also noted that it was unsure what the term ``benchmark 
standard'' entails in a regulation and requested that FRA clarify this 
issue. Bombardier also asked for clarification as to FRA's statement 
that direct FRA approval is required for any such high-speed operation, 
whether through an RPA or another regulatory proceeding. Bombardier 
asked what other regulatory proceeding can be used, and noted that 
former footnote 2 indicated only an RPA proceeding. Bombardier 
reiterated the Task Force recommendation to eliminate track Class 9 
requirements in all sections and to limit track Class 8 speeds to 150 
m.p.h. Bombardier stated that safety standards for speeds above 150 
m.p.h. should be contained in an RPA and be based on the maximum 
operating speed and specific equipment and track characteristics for 
the proposed high-speed rail system.
    FDOT also commented on this section, and referenced the high-speed 
rail project then-planned for top speeds of 168 m.p.h. between Tampa 
and Orlando, and 186 m.p.h. between Orlando and Miami, Florida. FDOT 
understood that because the maximum operating speed would be above 150 
m.p.h., the system would be regulated through an RPA that would be 
specific to the particular operation and

[[Page 16073]]

technology selected for this application. In this light, based on FRA's 
discussion in the NPRM and the need for FRA to ascertain the 
suitability of Class 9 standards for each proposed high-speed rail 
operation, it wasn't clear to FDOT whether the benchmark standards 
would prove beneficial or a deterrent to implementing high-speed rail 
in the United States. Noting FRA's intent to continue discussion with 
the Task Force, FDOT encouraged FRA and the Task Force to resolve any 
differences on this issue and to assure that the final rule will be 
compatible with the proven high-speed rail technologies and systems 
that will be contemplated for the high-speed rail systems planned in 
Florida and elsewhere in the United States. FDOT added that a final 
rule governing the operation of a high-speed rail system must be based 
on a systems approach that includes the characteristics of both the 
infrastructure and rolling stock. Consequently, to ensure compatibility 
of the various aspects of the system, the governing regulation should 
include requirements for such components as ballast and crossties, 
according to FDOT, and either be addressed in the Track Safety 
Standards or included in the governing RPA. FDOT expected that these 
requirements would be based on experience with proven high-speed rail 
systems around the world and with rolling stock compatible with ``Tier 
V'' operations, as defined in FRA's High-Speed Passenger Rail Safety 
Strategy.
    Referencing FRA's mention in the NPRM of ``flying ballast'' as a 
potential issue for high-speed rail operations, FDOT also commented 
that slab track (ballastless track) is a modern form of track 
construction that has been used successfully throughout the world on 
various high-speed rail lines and would be considered as an option for 
the system then-planned in Florida. FDOT stated that this construction 
method not only addresses the flying ballast safety concern raised by 
FRA, it also brings several construction advantages and long-term 
performance benefits. Consequently, FDOT believed that any regulation 
governing high-speed rail operation should address the use of slab 
track. However, FDOT noted that it was not clear how this would be 
addressed by the NPRM, in that it appeared that the track geometry 
measurement systems, safety criteria, and inspection requirements 
contained in the NPRM were based on significant experience and 
simulations using ballasted track (and FRA-compliant Tier I and Tier II 
passenger equipment, in accordance with 49 CFR part 238). FDOT stated 
that it is well known that allowable track geometry defects determined 
by simulation are highly dependent on both vehicle suspension and track 
stiffness characteristics and that, as such, the suitability of the 
safety geometry limits contained in the NPRM for high-speed equipment 
operating over slab track is very questionable, adding that the 
inspection and maintenance requirements for slab track are very 
different from those that are required for ballasted track. FDOT 
encouraged FRA to address this issue in the final rule or to clarify 
that the final rule only governs ballasted track. And, should the 
latter be the case, there would be a further need to regulate all 
vehicle/track interaction issues where slab track is used through an 
RPA.
    The issues of the maximum speed limit for Class 8 track and 
standards for Class 9 track were the subject of much discussion within 
the Task Force. Ultimately, the Task Force concurred with FRA's 
proposal in the NPRM to maintain Class 8 track's maximum speed at 160 
m.p.h., retain Class 9 track standards, and increase Class 9 track's 
maximum speed to 220 m.p.h. At the same time, the Task Force also 
concurred with revising footnote 2 of this section. As revised, 
footnote 2 provides that operating speeds in excess of 125 m.p.h. are 
authorized by this part only in conjunction with FRA regulatory 
approval addressing other safety issues presented by the railroad 
system. In addition, footnote 2 also provides that for operations on a 
dedicated right-of-way, FRA's regulatory approval may allow for the use 
of inspection and maintenance criteria and procedures in the 
alternative to those contained in this subpart, based upon a showing 
that at least an equivalent level of safety is provided.
    The underlying purpose of footnote 2 is to indicate that compliance 
alone with the Track Safety Standards does not authorize operations at 
high speeds; other safety issues must be addressed in their own right 
for each high-speed rail system as elements of a comprehensive, system-
safety-based regulatory approval and compliance program. While the 
reference in former footnote 2 to an RPA for regulating high-speed 
operations was appropriate when the Track Safety Standards were amended 
in 1998, based on subsequent developments, footnote 2 should more 
appropriately state that high-speed operations are subject to FRA 
regulatory approval. It is no longer necessary to specify that FRA 
regulatory approval be provided through an RPA. Likewise, this footnote 
should refer to high-speed rail operations as operations conducted at 
speeds above 125 m.p.h.--not 150 m.p.h. Footnote 2 of this section was 
added together with the rest of subpart G to the Track Safety Standards 
in 1998--the year following FRA's issuance of a proposed RPA to 
establish safety standards for the Florida Overland eXpress (FOX) high-
speed rail system. See 62 FR 65478, December 12, 1997. (The FOX 
rulemaking was terminated after the State of Florida withdrew financial 
support for the project, see 65 FR 50952, August 22, 2000.) Moreover, 
subpart G preceded the issuance of the Passenger Equipment Safety 
Standards in 1999, which require FRA regulatory approval for the 
operation of Tier II passenger equipment, i.e., passenger equipment 
operating at speeds above 125 m.p.h. and not exceeding 150 m.p.h. See, 
generally, 49 CFR 238.111(b) and 238.501, et seq. Amtrak's Acela 
operates at these Tier II speeds, and it has done so for over a decade 
through FRA approval. In this regard, FRA makes clear that the 
revisions to this footnote neither impose any new requirement on Acela, 
nor alter any aspect of FRA's regulatory approval of Acela.
    Further, this very rulemaking on vehicle/track interaction was 
initiated before a more recent effort by FRA to consider and develop 
standards for the safe operation of another tier of high-speed rail 
service. That work is being carried out through the Engineering Task 
Force of the same RSAC Passenger Safety Working Group that has overseen 
the Vehicle/Track Interaction Task Force. FRA requested that the 
Engineering Task Force develop safety recommendations for the operation 
of passenger rail equipment at speeds up to 220 m.p.h., focusing on a 
new tier of passenger equipment safety standards in part 238: Tier III, 
which is predicated on passenger equipment operating in an exclusive 
right-of-way at speeds over 125 m.p.h., and in a shared right-of-way 
only at speeds not exceeding 125 m.p.h. This new tier of safety 
standards is intended to facilitate the nationwide deployment of a 
high-speed rail network, both maximizing the benefits inherent in 
dedicated high-speed rail operation while minimizing the costs involved 
by allowing for the sharing of infrastructure. These standards will 
expand FRA's overall regulatory framework for high-speed passenger rail 
safety, complementing FRA's existing standards for Tier II high-speed 
rail operations on shared rights-of-way. FRA has also been examining, 
with the assistance of RSAC, requirements for passenger railroad system 
safety planning that would further address safety issues in a 
comprehensive way,

[[Page 16074]]

and has issued a proposed rule to require commuter and intercity 
passenger railroads to develop and implement system safety programs 
(see 77 FR 55371; Sept. 7, 2012).
    As noted, the Task Force concurred with the NPRM proposal to 
maintain Class 8 track's maximum speed at 160 m.p.h., retain Class 9 
track standards, and increase Class 9 track's maximum speed to 220 
m.p.h. Each of FRA's track classes is essentially based on the same 
foundation, with a set of progressively stricter safety limits as 
operating speeds increase. While standards for Class 9 track are the 
strictest, they follow the same fundamental approach as for the lowest-
speed class of track, which is essential to support the operation of 
different types of rail service on the same track. Class 8 track speeds 
up to 160 m.p.h. have been validated not only through computer 
modeling, but also through actual testing and experience. FRA believes 
that retaining the 160-m.p.h. maximum speed is safe for supporting rail 
operations at that speed, given the requirements associated with Class 
8 track speeds. Although FRA's passenger equipment safety standards in 
part 238 currently do not provide standards for operations above 150 
m.p.h., FRA has been engaged in developing new Tier III high-speed 
safety standards for operations up to 220 m.p.h., as discussed above. 
FRA is also reexamining the current Tier II maximum speed of 150 
m.p.h., which was established in 1999, with a view to safely extending 
that speed to permit higher-speed Tier II operations.
    In retaining Class 9 track standards and extending the maximum 
speed to 220 m.p.h., footnote 2 now provides that for operations above 
125 m.p.h. on a dedicated right-of-way, FRA's regulatory approval may 
allow for the use of inspection and maintenance criteria and procedures 
in the alternative to those contained in this subpart, based upon a 
showing that at least an equivalent level of safety is provided. This 
addition helps to place in clearer perspective what FRA intended by 
describing Class 9 track standards as ``benchmark'' standards in the 
NPRM, acknowledging the unique system attributes inherent in a 
dedicated right-of-way. Indeed, for this reason, the provision applies 
to Class 8 track in a dedicated right-of-way as well, allowing for FRA 
approval of alternative criteria and procedures that are appropriate 
and safe in such a defined operating environment. Moreover, together 
with the development of Tier III standards in Part 238, this provision 
is intended to harmonize the regulation of high-speed rail operations 
on dedicated rights-of-way--facilitating innovation and efficiency, 
while protecting safety.
    In addition, FRA intends to examine, with the assistance of RSAC 
members, those requirements of subpart G that it has not addressed in 
this rulemaking on vehicle/track interaction safety. FRA recognizes 
that while this rulemaking makes substantial revisions to the high-
speed track standards in subpart G, it was not intended to result in a 
comprehensive revision of these standards. In this regard, FRA has 
noted that requirements in subpart G that are not distinguished by 
class of track, such as ballast, merit examination, which was amplified 
by FDOT in its comments concerning ballastless track. FRA is therefore 
interested in undertaking a future effort with the assistance of RSAC 
to consider revisions to subpart G not addressed in this rulemaking.
    As a final matter, at the recommendation of the AAR, footnote 1 is 
being modified. Footnote 1 provides conditions under which freight may 
be transported at passenger train speeds. The second clause of footnote 
1 references passenger locomotive axle loadings utilized in passenger 
service along with the freight. This clause is modified by adding the 
words ``if any'' after the reference to passenger service, to make 
clear that there need not be any passenger service on the same line 
with the freight service.
Section 213.313 Application of Requirements to Curved Track
    This is a new section that is being added to help define the 
application of requirements for curved track, following publication of 
and comment on the NPRM. Please see the discussion of Sec.  213.14, 
which is identical to this section. At the recommendation of Task Force 
members, FRA is restating this section in subpart G to make clear that 
it applies together with the other provisions in this subpart. Subpart 
G is intended to function as its own set of regulations governing any 
track identified as belonging to one of its (higher) track classes, and 
this section's addition is consistent with the comprehensiveness of 
this subpart.
Section 213.323 Track Gage
    This section contains the minimum and maximum limits for gage, 
including limits for the change in gage within any 31-foot distance. As 
proposed in the NPRM, for Class 6 track FRA is modifying the limit for 
the change in gage within any 31-foot distance from \1/2\ inch to \3/4\ 
inch. During Task Force discussions in developing the NPRM, Amtrak had 
raised concern that for track constructed with wooden ties and cut 
spikes, the \1/2\-inch variation in gage limit was difficult to 
maintain. Tolerance values for the rail base, tie plate shoulders, and 
spikes can result in a \1/2\-inch gage variation in track constructed 
with wooden ties, particularly due to daily temperature fluctuations of 
rail and associated heat-induced stresses. In response to Amtrak's 
concern, FRA conducted modeling of track with variations in gage up to 
\3/4\ inch in 31-foot distances and found no safety concerns for the 
equipment modeled. Modeling was also conducted using 20 miles of actual 
measured track geometry with these variations in gage for speeds up to 
115 m.p.h. without showing safety concerns for the equipment modeled. 
As a result, FRA believes that modifying this limit for the change of 
gage for Class 6 track, which has a maximum permitted speed of 110 
m.p.h., will not diminish safety and reduces the burden on the track 
owner or railroad to maintain safe gage.
    FRA notes that during Task Force consideration of the draft final 
rule, concern was raised by the AAR and Amtrak as to the application of 
the \1/2\-inch limit for the change in gage within any 31-foot distance 
in Class 7 through 9 track. They suggested that clarification be 
provided to exclude up to a \1/4\-inch, designed widening of the gage 
at switch point locations to enable the stock rail and the switch point 
to fit smoothly together. FRA believes that such an exclusion could 
have safety implications in these high-speed track classes, especially 
should the switch point geometry be poorly maintained, and that the 
need for such an exclusion would potentially arise only in very limited 
circumstances in these track classes, as perhaps when an emergency 
repair is made in a switch using wooden ties in place of concrete ties. 
Nonetheless, FRA agrees that an appropriate safety determination could 
be made upon inspection of the rail head profile at the local points of 
concern, and in applying the requirements will give consideration to 
design modifications that are made for the purpose of ensuring the 
proper functioning of switches where adjacent gage change occurs within 
31 feet of the switch point. FRA will include such guidance in its 
Track Safety Standards Compliance Manual, which is available on FRA's 
Web site, as part of its overall revision of the Manual to reflect the 
changes made in this final rule.
    No other issue was raised on this section, other than the general 
comment from Bombardier on the propriety of retaining Class 9 track 
standards. FRA has addressed Bombardier's comment in the general 
discussion of Class 9 track

[[Page 16075]]

standards in Sec.  213.307. Consequently, FRA is adopting the rule text 
as proposed.
Section 213.327 Track Alinement
    This section is the subpart G counterpart to Sec.  213.55 and is 
intended for higher-speed track classes--Classes 6 through 9. As 
proposed, the section heading is being modified so that it reads 
``Track alinement,'' instead of ``Alinement,'' for clarity.
    Paragraph (a) remains substantively unchanged, as proposed in the 
NPRM.
    FRA is revising the single-deviation, track alinement limits in 
paragraph (b) so as to distinguish between limits for tangent and 
curved track. Specifically, the 62-foot MCO limit for Class 6 curved 
track has been narrowed to \5/8\ inch, while the tangent track limit 
remains at the value of \3/4\ inch. This change is intended to provide 
consistency between the track alinement limits for track Classes 5 and 
6, as the Class 5 limit for curved track in Sec.  213.55 is \5/8\ inch. 
The 62-foot MCO limits for Class 7 and Class 8 tangent track have been 
increased to \3/4\ inch, while the curved track limits remain at the 
value of \1/2\ inch. Further, the 124-foot MCO limit for Class 8 
tangent track has been increased to 1 inch, while the curved track 
limit remains at the value of \3/4\ inch. These changes are also based 
on the results of the simulation studies for determining safe 
amplitudes of track geometry alinement variations. See Technical 
Background, Section IV.B, above.
    FRA is reformatting the table in paragraph (b) from that proposed 
in the NPRM. The AAR commented that the table in proposed paragraph (b) 
was missing a number of deviation limits for curved track that had been 
recommended by the Task Force. FRA believes that these limits were not 
clearly identified in the NPRM, and therefore appeared to have been 
omitted, due to the way the table was formatted for publication in the 
Federal Register. Consequently, the table is being revised to ensure 
that these values are properly displayed.
    The former text of paragraph (c) has been moved to a new paragraph 
(d). In revised paragraph (c) FRA has added tighter, single-deviation 
geometry limits for operations above 5 inches of cant deficiency. These 
additions include 31-foot, 62-foot, and 124-foot MCO limits. The track 
geometry limits in revised paragraph (c) are based on the results of 
simulation studies to determine the safe amplitudes of track geometry 
alinement variations, discussed in Section IV.B above, which describes 
in particular the 124-foot MCO limit for Class 7 track. FRA believes 
that adding these track geometry limits is necessary to provide an 
equivalent margin of safety for operations at higher cant deficiency.
    FRA notes that Bombardier raised the same comment on this section 
as for other sections concerning the inclusion of proposed footnote 1 
in paragraphs (b) and (c), specifying that curved track alinement 
limits apply only when track curvature is greater than 0.25 degree. In 
response to this comment and as a result of Task Force discussions 
following publication of the NPRM, FRA has added Sec.  213.313 to make 
clear that limits specified for curved track apply only to track having 
a curvature greater than 0.25 degree, in lieu of adopting proposed 
footnote 1. By defining curved track as track having a curvature 
greater than 0.25 degree, the rule makes clear when the requirements 
for curved track apply.
    As noted, the text of former paragraph (c) has been moved to new 
paragraph (d) and remains substantively unchanged.
    FRA is adding new paragraph (e) to this section, as proposed. 
Paragraph (e) is an adaptation of footnotes 1 and 2 from Sec.  213.55, 
and describes the ends of the chord and the line rail for purposes of 
complying with this section. Paragraph (e) applies to all of the 
requirements in this section and is consistent with current practice.
    No other comment was received on this section, other than the 
general comment from Bombardier on the propriety of retaining Class 9 
track standards. FRA has addressed Bombardier's comment in the general 
discussion of Class 9 track standards in Sec.  213.307. Consequently, 
FRA adopts this section as proposed, with paragraph (b) reformatted and 
curved track defined in new Sec.  213.313.
Section 213.329 Curves; Elevation and Speed Limitations
    Determining the maximum speed that a vehicle may safely operate 
around a curve is based on the degree of track curvature, actual 
elevation, and amount of unbalanced elevation, where the actual 
elevation and curvature are derived by a moving average technique. This 
approach, as codified in this section, is as valid in the high-speed 
regime as it is in the lower-speed track classes, and Sec.  213.57 is 
the counterpart to this section for track Classes 1 through 5. As in 
Sec.  213.57, FRA has substantially revised this section, including 
both modifying and clarifying the qualification requirements and 
approval process for vehicles intended to operate at more than 3 inches 
of cant deficiency.
    Paragraph (a) formerly provided that the maximum crosslevel on the 
outside rail of a curve may not be more than 7 inches. As proposed, 
this provision is being restated to provide that the maximum elevation 
of the outside rail of a curve may not be more than 7 inches. 
Crosslevel is a function of elevation differences between two rails, 
and is the focus of other provisions of this final rule, specifically 
Sec.  213.331, Track surface. The clarification here is intended to 
limit the elevation of a single rail.
    FRA is also revising the second requirement of paragraph (a), 
consistent with the revision to Sec.  213.57(a). In the NPRM, FRA noted 
that the Task Force recommended moving to Sec.  213.331 the second 
requirement of paragraph (a), which formerly provided that ``[t]he 
outside rail of a curve may not be more than \1/2\ inch lower than the 
inside rail.'' Instead, FRA proposed that this requirement be re-
written more clearly to restrict configuring track so that the outside 
rail of a curve is designed to be lower than the inside rail, while 
allowing for a deviation of up to \1/2\ inch as provided in Sec.  
213.331, which also included a proposed limit for reverse crosslevel 
deviation. FRA explained in the NPRM that this requirement in paragraph 
(a) was intended to restrict configuring track so that the outside rail 
of a curve is lower than the inside rail, while the limits at issue in 
Sec.  213.331 govern local deviations from uniform elevation--from the 
designed elevation--that occur as a result of changes in conditions. 
Rather than conflict, FRA stated these provisions complement each 
other, addressing both the designed layout of a curve and the 
deviations from that layout that result from actual use and wear.
    The AAR commented on FRA's proposal to revise the second 
requirement of paragraph (a), stating that such a sweeping prohibition 
against the outside rail being lower than the inside rail is 
inappropriate. The AAR explained that turnouts off of gradual curves 
can have small reverse superelevation by design, even for track where 
speeds over 90 m.p.h. are permitted. The AAR also noted that the Task 
Force had recommended eliminating this requirement from paragraph (a), 
and that, if FRA were unwilling to adopt that recommendation, then the 
original language should be retained.
    FRA has modified this provision to state that the outside rail of a 
curve may not be lower than the inside rail by design, except when 
engineered to address specific track or operating conditions, and that 
the limits in

[[Page 16076]]

Sec.  213.331 apply in all cases. FRA continues to believe that the 
former rule text could give the mistaken impression that it is 
appropriate to design reverse elevation into curves as the nominal 
condition for all curves. Nonetheless, FRA appreciates from the 
comments raised that reverse elevation is designed into certain curves 
both out of necessity and for safety reasons. FRA did not intend its 
proposal to nullify such engineering design--engineering design of 
which the track owner and railroad are aware in carrying out railroad 
operations and responsibilities safely. As modified, the rule text 
addresses both the concerns raised by FRA and those raised in the 
comments, and the Task Force concurred with this revision.
    As explained in the discussion of specific comments and conclusions 
section of the preamble, above, what was proposed as paragraph (b) is 
not included in this final rule. Please see Wheel Unloading from Wind 
on Superelevated Curves, Section V.B., for a full explanation of FRA's 
treatment of that proposal. Rather, what was proposed as paragraph (c) 
is designated as paragraph (b).
    As proposed, in paragraph (b) the Vmax formula 
determines the maximum allowable posted timetable operating speed for 
curved track based on the qualified cant deficiency (inches of 
unbalance), Eu, for the vehicle type. This paragraph also 
references a new footnote 7 to permit the vehicle type to operate at 
the qualified cant deficiency for which it is approved, Eu, 
plus \1/2\ inch, if actual elevation of the outside rail, 
Ea, and degree of track curvature, D, change as a result of 
track degradation. This paragraph is intended to provide a tolerance to 
account for the effects of local crosslevel or curvature conditions on 
Vmax that may result in the operating cant deficiency 
exceeding that approved for the equipment, i.e, the actual operating 
speed may exceed the maximum allowable posted timetable operating 
speed. Without this tolerance, these track conditions could generate a 
limiting speed exception, and some railroads have adopted the approach 
of reducing the operating cant deficiency of the vehicle in order to 
avoid these exceptions. FRA believes that this \1/2\ inch tolerance is 
supported by operational experience and complemented by related 
standards acting to mitigate safety concerns. For instance, the 
Vmax formula is not intended to replace FRA's track geometry 
limits, which more clearly focus on individual track irregularities 
with shorter wavelengths. These track geometry limits apply 
independently and act independently to limit the maximum allowable 
speed for a track segment based on the condition of the track.
    In addition, as proposed, former footnote 4 is being redesignated 
as footnote 6, and a statement within the former footnote is being 
removed regarding the application of the Vmax equation to 
the spirals on both ends of the curve if Eu exceeds 4 
inches. The Vmax equation is intended to be applied in the 
body of the curve where the cant deficiency is the greatest, and the 
actual elevation and degree of curvature are determined according to 
the moving average techniques defined in footnote 6, as well as in 
footnote 8, discussed below. Within spirals, where the degree of 
curvature and elevation are changing continuously, local deviations 
from uniform elevation and degree of curvature are governed by the 
limits in Sec.  213.327 and Sec.  213.331.
    Former footnote 5 is being redesignated as footnote 8 without 
substantive change.
    Paragraph (c), which was proposed as paragraph (d) in the NPRM, 
provides that all vehicle types are considered to be qualified for up 
to 3 inches of cant deficiency, as allowed since the 1998 Track Safety 
Standards final rule.
    Paragraph (d), which was proposed as paragraph (e) in the NPRM, is 
being modified to specify the requirements for vehicle qualification 
over track with more than 3 inches of cant deficiency in track Classes 
6 through 9. This paragraph formerly specified two sets of static lean 
test requirements for vehicle qualification for more than 3 inches of 
cant deficiency. The first set of requirements limited both the 
vertical wheel load remaining on the raised wheels to no less than 60 
percent of their static level values and the roll of a passenger 
carbody to 5.7 degrees with respect to the horizontal, for a vehicle 
standing on superelevation equal to the proposed cant deficiency. The 
second set of requirements addressed potential roll-over and passenger 
safety issues should a vehicle be stopped or traveling at very low 
speed on a curve with 7 inches of superelevation, by limiting both the 
vertical wheel load remaining on the raised wheels to no less than 60 
percent of their static level values and the roll of a passenger 
carbody to 8.6 degrees with respect to the horizontal. In the final 
rule, the revised requirements, consistent with the revised standards 
in Sec.  213.57 (for lower-speed track classes), limit both the 
vertical wheel load remaining on the raised wheels to no less than 60 
percent of their static level values and carbody roll for passenger 
cars to no more than 8.6 degrees with respect to the horizontal when 
the vehicle is standing (stationary) on track with a uniform 
superelevation equal to the proposed cant deficiency. Consequently, the 
rule no longer imposes a 7-inch superelevation static lean requirement 
generally; rather, the amount of superelevation is dependent on the 
proposed cant deficiency. For example, if the proposed cant deficiency 
is 6 inches, the superelevation used for demonstrating compliance with 
this paragraph is also 6 inches.
    The requirements in paragraph (d) may be met by either static or 
dynamic testing, and are consistent with the requirements in Sec.  
213.57. As in Sec.  213.57, the vehicle type must be tested in a ready-
for service condition. In consultation with the Task Force, FRA is 
clarifying that the vehicle type be tested in a ready-for-service 
condition, i.e., in the same vehicle/track performance condition in 
which it would be in passenger service. At the same time, FRA is 
clarifying paragraph (e), below, so that the load condition under which 
testing is performed is included in the description of the test 
procedure. For example, the vehicle type may or may not be loaded to 
simulate passengers on board, and this information would be necessary 
for a complete evaluation of the vehicle's performance.
    As noted, the static lean test limits the vertical wheel load 
remaining on the raised wheels to no less than 60 percent of their 
static level values and limits the roll of a passenger carbody to 8.6 
degrees with respect to the horizontal, when the vehicle is standing on 
track with superelevation equal to the proposed cant deficiency. The 
dynamic test limits the steady-state vertical wheel load remaining on 
the low rail wheels to no less than 60 percent of their static level 
values and limits the lateral acceleration in a passenger car to 0.15g 
steady-state, when the vehicle operates through a curve at the proposed 
cant deficiency. This 0.15g steady-state lateral acceleration limit in 
the dynamic test is consistent with the 8.6-degree roll limit in the 
static lean test, in that it corresponds to the lateral acceleration a 
passenger would experience in a standing (stationary) vehicle whose 
carbody is at a roll angle of 8.6 degrees with respect to the 
horizontal. The former 5.7-degree roll limit, which limited steady-
state, carbody lateral acceleration to 0.1g, has been removed.
    FRA notes that the less stringent steady-state, carbody lateral 
acceleration limit and carbody roll angle limit adopted in this final 
rule will minimize both the need to equip vehicles with tilt

[[Page 16077]]

systems at higher cant deficiencies and the costs associated with such 
features, as well. Moreover, by facilitating higher cant deficiency 
operations, savings may also result from shortened trip times. These 
savings may be particularly beneficial to passenger operations in 
emerging high-speed rail corridors, enabling faster operations through 
curves.
    Of course, any such savings should not come at the expense of 
safety, and FRA is adopting additional track geometry requirements for 
operations above 5 inches of cant deficiency, whether or not the 
vehicles are equipped with tilt systems. These additional track 
geometry requirements were developed to control for undesirable vehicle 
response to track conditions that could pose derailment concerns. 
Nonetheless, the VTI limits on transient accelerations may need to be 
stricter when combined with higher steady-state lateral acceleration, 
to address passenger ride safety concerns. Additional research on 
passenger response to vibration is necessary to establish this 
relationship and model this effect. While the tighter geometry limits 
at high cant deficiency that have been added in this final rule were 
not specifically developed to address such concerns, they may help to 
control transient, carbody acceleration events that could pose ride 
safety concerns for passengers subjected to higher steady-state lateral 
accelerations. These additional track geometry requirements apply only 
to operations above 5 inches of cant deficiency, where steady-state, 
carbody lateral acceleration may approach 0.15g for typical vehicle 
designs. FRA does note that higher cant deficiencies are necessary to 
support high-speed operations on curved track, and, as a result, the 
additional track geometry requirements contained in this final rule for 
such high cant deficiency operations are likely to be implicated. 
Moreover, FRA is not aware of any general safety issue involving 
passengers losing their balance and falling due to excessive steady-
state, carbody lateral accelerations in current operations.
    Yet, as explained in the discussion of Sec.  213.57(d), FRA is 
concerned in particular about the effect transient, carbody lateral 
acceleration events that pose no derailment safety concerns may 
nonetheless have on passenger ride safety when combined with increased 
steady-state, carbody lateral acceleration forces. Consequently, to 
fully inform FRA's decisions in preparing this final rule, FRA 
specifically invited public comment on the proposal to set the steady-
state, carbody lateral acceleration limit at 0.15g. FRA requested 
specific comment on whether the proposed rule would appropriately 
provide for passenger ride safety, and if not, requested that the 
commenters state what additional requirement(s) should be imposed, if 
any.
    As noted above, in commenting on the NPRM, SNCF agreed that the 
limit of 0.15g for steady-state, carbody lateral acceleration is 
justified in that this value is usually considered a comfort limit for 
curve design and is the limit value accepted for passenger cars. SNCF 
specifically commented that, in European rules, the 0.15g value 
corresponds to an exceptional value of cant deficiency, while the 
recommended value is about 0.14g. FRA sees no conflict with these 
comments; measurements and supplemental research have indicated that a 
steady-state, carbody lateral acceleration limit of 0.15g is considered 
to be the maximum, steady-state lateral acceleration above which jolts 
from vehicle dynamic response to track deviations can present a hazard 
to passenger safety. FRA has therefore adopted the proposal in the 
final rule.
    The changes to this section also separate and clarify the submittal 
requirements to FRA to obtain approval for the qualifying cant 
deficiency of a vehicle type (paragraph (e)), and to notify FRA prior 
to the implementation of the approved higher curving speeds (paragraph 
(f)). As discussed above, FRA is clarifying paragraph (e) so that the 
load condition under which the testing was performed is included in the 
description of the test procedure. Additional clarification in 
paragraph (e) has been included for submitting suspension system 
maintenance information. This requirement for submitting suspension 
system maintenance information applies to vehicle types not subject to 
parts 238 or 229 of this chapter, such as a freight car operated in a 
freight train, and then only to safety-critical components. Paragraph 
(f) also clarifies that in approving the request made pursuant to 
paragraph (e), FRA may impose conditions necessary for safely operating 
at the higher curving speeds.
    FRA notes that former footnote 6 is being redesignated as footnote 
9 and modified in conformance with the changes in this final rule. The 
former footnote offered an example test procedure providing 
measurements for up to 6 inches of cant deficiency and 7 inches of cant 
excess. This footnote has been modified to reference testing at ``the 
proposed cant deficiency,'' rather than a specific condition, 
consistent with the requirements of this section. The cant-excess 
requirement has also been addressed, as explained above. In addition, 
FRA notes that it has removed the statement in the former footnote that 
the ``test procedure may be conducted in a test facility.'' Testing may 
of course be conducted in a test facility, but the statement could 
cause confusion that testing may be conducted only in a test facility. 
No such limitation is intended.
    Former paragraph (f) is being moved to new paragraph (g), which was 
proposed as paragraph (h) in the NPRM. As noted, paragraph (g) is 
identical to two other provisions in this final rule: Sec.  213.57(g)--
the counterpart to this section for lower-speed track classes--and 
Sec.  213.345(i). The Task Force agreed that the purpose of these 
paragraphs is the same and recommended that the same text be included. 
FRA agreed and has modified the rule accordingly. Please see the 
discussion of Sec.  213.345(i), below.
    As discussed in Sec.  213.57(h), paragraph (h) was proposed to be 
added as paragraph (i) to clarify that vehicle types that have been 
permitted by FRA to operate at cant deficiencies, Eu, 
greater than 3 inches prior to the publication of this final rule in 
the Federal Register would be considered qualified under this section 
to operate at those permitted cant deficiencies over the previously-
operated track segments(s). Consequently, before the vehicle type could 
operate over another track segment at such cant deficiencies, FRA 
proposed that the vehicle type be qualified as provided in this 
section.
    In commenting on the NPRM, Amtrak stated that this proposal 
implicated issues associated with vehicle qualification, and Amtrak 
referenced its comments concerning proposed Sec.  213.345(b) and (d). 
Moreover, Amtrak stated that the tests proposed in this section, as in 
Sec.  213.57 for lower-speed track classes, would be even more wasteful 
because, unlike the tests proposed for Sec.  213.345, the tests 
proposed here would not have been conducted under ``local'' conditions 
but rather in a static testing facility having no connection to the 
location of the proposed service. Amtrak therefore wondered what types 
of conditions FRA believed would be uncovered during this testing 
process before permitting the vehicle types to operate at the same cant 
deficiencies on other track segments. Amtrak believed that it would be 
simply repeating the exact same test on the exact same car at the exact 
same test facility, and therefore found it difficult to find any 
justification for the proposed limitation.
    As noted, FRA discussed the proposal and the comments received with 
the

[[Page 16078]]

Task Force. The Task Force recommended that vehicle types that have 
been permitted by FRA to operate at cant deficiencies, Eu, 
greater than 3 inches but not exceeding 5 inches be considered 
qualified under this section to operate at those permitted cant 
deficiencies over all track segments--not only over previously operated 
segments. As adopted in paragraph (h)(1), FRA agrees that extending the 
nature of the qualification in this way is appropriate for operations 
on Class 6 track given that the requirements of this paragraph are 
static or steady-state and do not directly reflect the ``local'' 
interaction of the vehicle and the track. Further, FRA makes clear that 
the provision applies not only to previous permission by FRA to operate 
at these cant deficiencies, but also prospectively to vehicle types 
when they are approved by FRA to operate at these cant deficiencies. 
Nonetheless, a requirement has been included in paragraph (h)(1) that 
written notice be provided to FRA no less than 30 calendar days prior 
to the proposed implementation of such curving speeds on another track 
segment in accordance with paragraph (f) of this section. This notice 
is intended to identify the new track segment(s) so that FRA is aware 
of the proposed operation, can ensure that appropriate permission has 
been provided for it, and otherwise administer the requirements of this 
rule.
    However, FRA does note that pursuant to Sec.  213.345, Vehicle/
track system qualification, dynamic testing is required when moving a 
vehicle type to a new track segment for operation at cant deficiencies 
greater than 5 inches on Class 6 track, or greater than 3 inches on 
Class 7 through 9 track, to reflect the ``local'' interaction of the 
vehicle and the track over which it operates as a system. Accordingly, 
paragraph (h)(2) makes clear that vehicle types that have been 
permitted by FRA to operate at cant deficiencies, Eu, 
greater than 5 inches on Class 6 track, or greater than 3 inches on 
Class 7 through 9 track, shall be considered qualified under this 
section to operate at those permitted cant deficiencies only for the 
previously operated or identified track segments(s). Operation of these 
vehicle types at such cant deficiencies and track class on any other 
track segment is permitted only in accordance with the qualification 
requirements in this subpart.
    Paragraph (i), proposed as paragraph (j), is a new paragraph for 
defining the terms ``vehicle'' and ``vehicle type,'' as used in this 
section and in Sec. Sec.  213.333 and 213.345. As the term ``vehicle'' 
is used elsewhere in this subpart and has a different meaning than the 
term ``vehicle type,'' both terms are defined here for the purposes of 
these sections so that these sections' requirements may be properly 
understood and applied. These terms have the same meaning as in Sec.  
213.57(j).
Section 213.331 Track Surface
    This section is the subpart G counterpart to Sec.  213.63 and is 
intended for higher-speed track classes.
    As proposed in the NPRM, FRA is making three changes to the single-
deviation, track surface limits in paragraph (a). Specifically, the 
124-foot MCO limit for Class 9 track has been reduced to 1 inch, based 
on a review of simulation results of Acela equipment performance. 
Further, the limit for the difference in crosslevel between any two 
points less than 62 feet apart has been reduced to 1[frac14] inches for 
Class 8 track, and 1 inch for Class 9 track. These two changes are 
intended to provide more consistent safety limits and are based on 
simulation studies conducted for short warp conditions.
    In addition, three new limits are being added to the single-
deviation, track surface limits in paragraph (a). Two of these limits 
(deviation from zero crosslevel on tangent track, and reverse elevation 
for curved track), although not explicitly stated in the table in 
former paragraph (a), have effectively been applicable to track Classes 
6 through 9 because these higher-speed track classes must at least meet 
the minimum geometry requirements for the lower-speed track classes. 
Specifically, the 1-inch limit for deviation from zero crosslevel on 
tangent Class 5 track, as specified in Sec.  213.63, is being added as 
a limit for track Classes 6 through 9. Second, the [frac12]-inch 
reverse elevation limit for curved track, as formerly specified in 
Sec.  213.329(a), is being moved to this paragraph (a). The third 
limit, a new limit for the difference in crosslevel between any two 
points less than 10 feet apart (short warp), is being added to 
paragraph (a) as well. FRA noted in the NPRM that the Task Force 
proposed that the existing 1-inch runoff limit for Class 5 track, as 
specified in Sec.  213.63, be added for higher track classes. However, 
FRA believes that appropriate surface requirements have already been 
established in Sec.  213.331 that address this runoff condition, and 
thus FRA believes it would be duplicative to include this 1-inch runoff 
limit separately in the text of this paragraph.
    In its comments on this section, the AAR raised concern with the 
proposed addition in paragraph (a) of a new restriction on the 
deviation from zero crosslevel on tangent track. The AAR noted that the 
proposed requirement parallels an existing entry in the corresponding 
table in Sec.  213.63 for the lower-speed track classes but that there 
is a proviso contained in Sec.  213.59(b) that makes allowances for 
elevation runoff in curves. Specifically, the proviso in Sec.  
213.59(b) states: ``If physical conditions do not permit a spiral long 
enough to accommodate the minimum length of runoff, part of the runoff 
may be on tangent track.'' The AAR believed that the proposed 
restriction on the deviation from zero crosslevel on tangent track 
needed a similar proviso, and recommended including the same text in 
this paragraph. Amtrak likewise raised this concern and made the same 
suggestion. The Task Force concurred with these commenters, recognizing 
that the additional text applies to the comparable provision for the 
lower-speed classes of track. FRA agrees and has included the text as 
footnote 2 to this section. Footnote numbering has been modified 
appropriately to reflect the addition of this new footnote 2.
    As proposed, FRA is also adding tighter geometry limits for 
operations above 5 inches of cant deficiency in revised paragraph (b). 
These include 124-foot MCO limits and a new limit for the difference in 
crosslevel between any two points less than 10 feet apart (short warp). 
The text of former paragraph (b) is being moved to new paragraph (c). 
FRA believes that adding these track geometry limits is necessary to 
provide an equivalent margin of safety for operations at higher cant 
deficiency. These limits are based on the results of simulation studies 
to determine the safe amplitudes of track geometry surface variations. 
See Technical Background, Section IV.B, above.
    As noted in Sec.  213.313, FRA received comment on the inclusion of 
proposed footnote 3, specifying that curved track surface limits apply 
only when track curvature is greater than 0.25 degree. In response to 
this comment and as a result of Task Force discussions following 
publication of the NPRM, FRA is adding Sec.  213.313 to make clear that 
limits specified for curved track apply only to track having a 
curvature greater than 0.25 degree. By defining curved track as track 
having a curvature greater than 0.25 degree, the rule clarifies when 
the requirements for curved track apply and makes the adoption of 
proposed footnote 3 unnecessary.
    The remaining comment on this section was raised by Bombardier 
concerning the propriety of retaining Class 9 track standards. FRA has 
addressed Bombardier's comment in the general discussion of Class 9 
track standards in Sec.  213.307.

[[Page 16079]]

Section 213.332 Combined Track Alinement and Surface Deviations
    As proposed in the NPRM, FRA is adding a new section containing 
limits addressing combined track alinement and surface deviations. 
These limits apply to high-speed operations on curved track above 5 
inches of cant deficiency, as well as to any operation at Class 9 
speeds. (In preparing the final rule, FRA added ``track'' to the 
section heading to be consistent with the section headings for Sec.  
213.327, Track alinement, and Sec.  213.331, Track surface.) An 
equation-based safety limit is provided for track alinement and surface 
deviations occurring in combination within a single chord length of 
each other. The limits in this section are intended to be used only 
with a TGMS. These limits are applicable on the outside rail in curves, 
as well as to any of the two rails of a tangent section in Class 9 
track. Please see the discussion of Sec.  213.65, which is the 
companion provision to this section for lower-speed classes of track. 
Please also note that in accordance with Sec.  213.313, the limits 
specified for curved track apply only to track having a curvature 
greater than 0.25 degree.
    The only comment on this section was raised by Bombardier 
concerning the inclusion of standards for Class 9 track. Specifically, 
Bombardier stated that the inclusion of combined alinement and surface 
deviations on all Class 9 track, both on curves and on tangent track, 
was not reviewed by the Task Force. FRA believes that the standards are 
appropriate for Class 9 track; please see the general discussion of 
Class 9 track standards in Sec.  213.307. Consequently, this section is 
being adopted as proposed without substantive change.
Section 213.333 Automated Vehicle-Based Inspection Systems
    FRA is making a number of significant changes to this section, 
which contains requirements for automated vehicle-based measurement 
systems--i.e., track geometry measurement systems, gage restraint 
measurement systems, and the systems necessary to monitor vehicle/track 
interaction (acceleration and wheel/rail forces). For clarity, FRA is 
revising the original section heading ``Automated vehicle inspection 
systems'' to reflect more clearly that the inspection systems are 
vehicle-based--not necessarily vehicles themselves--and are for 
inspecting track conditions and monitoring vehicle/track interactions.
    In paragraph (a)(1), FRA is adding TGMS inspection requirements for 
low-speed, high cant deficiency operations, which apply as required by 
Sec.  213.57(i). FRA believes that these requirements are appropriate 
and necessary for operations at high cant deficiency on lower-speed 
track classes.
    In paragraph (a)(2), FRA is also adding TGMS inspection 
requirements for Class 6 track, with two different inspection 
frequencies depending on the amount of cant deficiency. For operations 
at a qualified cant deficiency, Eu, not exceeding 5 inches, 
at least one inspection must be conducted each calendar year with not 
less than 170 days between inspections. If the qualified cant 
deficiency is more than 5 inches, then at least two inspections must be 
conducted each calendar year, with not less than 120 days between 
inspections.
    In its comments on the NPRM, however, the AAR stated that the focus 
of the proposal was on operations with cant deficiency greater than 5 
inches, and that there was no support in the record for TGMS inspection 
requirements on Class 6 track having less cant deficiency. 
Consequently, the AAR maintained that FRA should not adopt TGMS 
inspection requirements for Class 6 track where the cant deficiency is 
not greater than 5 inches.
    FRA believes that TGMS inspection of Class 6 track is required for 
safety regardless of the operating cant deficiency. Nonetheless, the 
rule does take into account that for track with lower amounts of cant 
deficiency, the inspection need not be as frequent--only once per 
calendar year. Further, discussion within the Task Force in response to 
this comment revealed that, with the exception of a limited amount of 
Class 6 track in the state of New York owned by CSXT over which Amtrak 
operated, all other Class 6 track was inspected by Amtrak with a 
qualifying TGMS meeting the requirements of this final rule. FRA makes 
clear that an operating railroad may fulfill the requirements of this 
paragraph, even where it is not the track owner. In this regard, given 
that Amtrak currently operates over all Class 6 track, it may conduct 
TGMS inspections as the operating railroad on behalf of any owner of 
Class 6 track, and FRA does not foresee any change that would impact 
such an arrangement between a track owner and Amtrak or another high-
speed passenger railroad operation. Moreover, as discussed below, FRA 
is modifying the requirements in the final rule to address issues 
raised by the AAR concerning a host freight railroad performing TGMS 
inspections of its track in its own right as the track owner.
    Paragraph (a)(3) concerns TGMS inspections for Class 7 track. The 
former Class 7 track inspection frequency of twice within 120 calendar 
days with not less than 30 days between inspections is being reduced to 
not less than 25 days between inspections in this 120-day period. This 
change is intended to provide additional operational flexibility to 
fulfill the requirements and allow for more frequent inspections to be 
performed regularly, for example, on a monthly basis, with additional 
days in which to complete inspections that may be interrupted or not 
started as planned.
    For Class 8 and 9 track in paragraph (a)(4), the former TGMS 
inspection frequency of twice within 60 calendar days with not less 
than 15 days between inspections is also being reduced to not less than 
12 days between inspections in this 120-day period. This change is also 
intended to provide additional operational flexibility to fulfill the 
requirements and allow for more frequent inspections to be performed 
regularly, for example, on a bi-weekly basis, with additional days in 
which to complete inspections that may be interrupted or not started as 
planned.
    In paragraph (b)(1), FRA proposed to retain the requirement that 
track geometry measurements be taken no more than 3 feet away from the 
contact point of wheels carrying a vertical load of no less than 10,000 
pounds per wheel. In response, the AAR commented that this provision 
would exclude the use of current test platforms (including hi-rail 
geometry equipment) that do not meet this axle load, as well as the 
development and exploration of test platforms that do not meet this 
axle load. The AAR believed that, lacking justification for this 
requirement, it should be deleted. FRA also notes that Amtrak commented 
on proposed paragraphs (b) and (h) as together creating an internal 
inconsistency that would make compliance difficult. According to 
Amtrak, it uses a GRMS as its TGMS to take geometry measurements of 
record for its Class 8 track. Amtrak stated that proposed paragraph 
(b)(1) would require that the measurement be made within 3 feet of the 
10,000-pound loaded axle and that this distance requirement is not 
attainable on vehicles using a contact geometry system such as a GRMS. 
Further, Amtrak stated that while it would be possible for an entity to 
comply with the requirements of both proposed paragraphs (b) and (h), 
Amtrak could not without incurring the time and expense of running two 
type of TGMS tests, where it now runs only one. Amtrak therefore 
suggested that a railroad be deemed in compliance with

[[Page 16080]]

paragraph (b)(1) when the railroad performs otherwise qualifying TGMS 
tests with a GRMS. Amtrak did add that while CSXT was the only freight 
railroad with track affected by paragraph (b), if high-speed operations 
do proliferate, freight railroads may find themselves unable to comply 
with the regulations, as proposed, because they would no longer be able 
to rely on their hi-rail-mounted TGMS equipment.
    FRA notes that the actual text of paragraph (b)(1) as proposed in 
the NPRM was unchanged from the 1998 Track Safety Standards final rule. 
What was different was the proposal to expand the application of TGMS 
inspection requirements to more than track Classes 7 through 9, 
discussed above. As explained by the AAR in Task Force meetings, this 
change would make the TGMS requirements applicable to equipment used by 
CSXT for the inspection of Class 6 track. To address this concern, the 
text is being revised to allow for FRA approval to measure track 
geometry other than as specified in this paragraph. Further, the text 
is being revised to express the 10,000-pound wheel load in kips, for 
consistency with related provisions, as suggested by Bombardier in its 
comments on the NPRM. Consequently, as revised, paragraph (b)(1) states 
that track geometry measurements shall be taken no more than 3 feet 
away from the contact point of wheels carrying a vertical load of no 
less than 10 kips per wheel, unless otherwise approved by FRA. FRA 
believes that this modification also addresses Amtrak's concern by 
providing added flexibility for the use of different equipment that 
measures track geometry. FRA did not intend for a railroad to duplicate 
measurements to comply with both paragraphs (b) and (h). A railroad may 
use GRMS equipment to perform otherwise qualifying TGMS tests. In the 
circumstance raised by Amtrak in its comments on the NPRM, Amtrak does 
not need to repeat the testing performed using GRMS equipment with one 
of its TGMS vehicles as well.
    In paragraph (b)(2), FRA proposed to amend the TGMS sampling 
interval so that the interval would not exceed 1 foot. FRA believed 
this proposal to be in line with current practice for providing 
sufficient data to identify track geometry perturbations. In commenting 
on the NPRM, however, the AAR stated that there is equipment in use 
that takes measurements at a 2-foot sampling rate, and that there is no 
showing that this equipment should be prohibited from taking 
measurements in this way. The AAR stated that in developing the NPRM 
the Task Force made no recommendation to prohibit the use of a 2-foot 
sampling rate, and that FRA should not adopt this change. In addition, 
Amtrak stated that the 1-foot interval in proposed paragraphs (b)(2) 
and (c), as discussed below, would conflict with the requirement in 
paragraph (h)(1)(i) for GRMS equipment to take measurements within a 
16-inch interval. Consequently, Amtrak stated that it could not meet 
the requirements of proposed paragraph (b) with its current GRMS 
equipment and operating practices.
    FRA discussed this comment with the Task Force, and the Task Force 
concurred with modifying the provision to state that track geometry 
measurements shall be taken and recorded on a distance-based sampling 
interval at a nominal distance of 1 foot, not exceeding 2 feet. FRA 
agrees with the Task Force's recommendation, and in the final rule has 
expressed the 1-foot sampling interval as the preferable distance, all 
else being equal. Nonetheless, FRA recognizes that an allowance can be 
made for sampling at up to a 2-foot interval depending on the 
circumstances involved, and therefore railroads may continue to use 
equipment that samples within such a 2-foot interval. FRA has modified 
a related provision in paragraph (c), as discussed below. Further, the 
AAR requested that in this final rule, FRA make clear that the use of 
existing equipment that takes measurement samples on a time-based 
interval is permitted as long as the equipment produces a measurement 
within the specified distance-based sampling interval. Accordingly, FRA 
makes clear that equipment that takes measurement samples on a time-
based interval at a rate that corresponds to the distance-based 
interval specified in this section indeed complies with this provision.
    In paragraph (c), as proposed, FRA is specifying the application of 
the added TGMS inspection requirements for high cant deficiency 
operations on lower-speed track classes. These requirements in subpart 
G apply to vehicle types intended to operate at any curving speed 
producing more than 5 inches of cant deficiency, as provided in Sec.  
213.57(i). Requirements for track Classes 6 through 9 have been amended 
to reference Sec.  213.332, the new section for combined track 
alinement and surface deviations. In addition, consistent with the 
modification of paragraph (b)(2), as discussed above, FRA is removing 
the proposed reference in paragraph (c) to measuring and processing 
track geometry parameters at an interval of no more than every 1 foot. 
While former paragraph (c) referenced a 2-foot interval, FRA is 
removing the distance reference altogether in paragraph (c), as it is 
adequately addressed in paragraph (b).
    Paragraphs (d) through (f) remain unchanged.
    During Task Force consideration of the draft final rule, it was 
noted that former paragraph (g) required the track owner to maintain 
for a period of one year following an inspection performed by a 
qualifying TGMS, a copy of the plot and the exception ``printout'' for 
the track segment involved. Given the proliferation of electronic 
information since the 1998 Track Safety Standards were issued, FRA's 
support for appropriate usage of electronic information to comply with 
FRA's requirements, and FRA's recognition that reports of exceptions do 
not necessarily need to be printed out, FRA has clarified the paragraph 
by replacing ``exception printout'' with ``exception report.'' FRA has 
also modified the paragraph to apply the requirements expressly to 
railroads, as well as to track owners, consistent with the others 
changes in this rule to provide clearly for railroads to carry out the 
regulatory requirements, and not only track owners. The Task Force 
concurred with these revisions, which clarify FRA's intent.
    As noted in the discussion of Sec.  213.110, above, FRA is making 
changes to the GRMS testing requirements in paragraphs (h) and (i), to 
reflect recommendations made in the FRA report titled ``Development of 
Gage Widening Projection Parameter for the Deployable Gage Restraint 
Measurement System.'' These changes include replacing the GWR equation 
(and all references to GWR) with a GWP equation, which is intended to 
compensate for the weight of the testing vehicle. This correction is 
also intended to result in more uniform strength measurements across 
the variety of testing vehicles that are in operation. FRA has also 
modified the Class 8 and 9 track inspection frequency of once per year 
with not less than 180 days between inspections to require at least one 
inspection per calendar year with not less than 170 days between 
inspections. This change is intended to provide additional operational 
flexibility in scheduling inspections.
    In Bombardier's comments on the NPRM, in addition to its general 
concerns on the inclusion of track Class 9 standards, Bombardier raised 
specific concern that there was no justification for requiring GRMS to 
be operated over Class 9 track. Bombardier stated that if the track 
standards for Class 9 track were contained in an RPA, it would be

[[Page 16081]]

expected that the requirements specific to the operation, such as for 
ballast and the maximum number of allowable defective crossties, would 
result in a superior track structure than currently required. A GRMS 
requirement on this structure would result in a significant cost with 
no safety benefit, according to Bombardier.
    FRA notes that the requirement to conduct GRMS testing on Class 9 
track was established in the 1998 Track Safety Standards final rule and 
is not a new requirement. Nonetheless, FRA recognizes that the 
underlying issue raised by Bombardier relates to track inspection and 
maintenance standards for a high-speed operation on a dedicated right-
of-way. This concern has been addressed in the revision to Sec.  
213.307, as discussed above. FRA's regulatory approval may allow for 
the use of inspection and maintenance criteria and procedures in the 
alternative to those contained in this subpart, including the GRMS 
inspection requirements in this paragraph, based upon a showing that at 
least an equivalent level of safety is provided.
    FRA is making one change to paragraph (i) from that proposed in the 
NPRM by stating the GWP load in kips and not pounds, as suggested by 
Bombardier in its comments on the NPRM. The Task Force concurred that 
the units should be stated in kips for consistency among measurement 
units.
    As proposed, FRA is revising the wording and requirements in 
paragraphs (j) and (k), which concern the monitoring of carbody and 
truck accelerations. Changes include adding the option to use a 
portable device when performing the acceleration monitoring, and 
clarifying the requirements for locating the carbody and truck 
accelerometers. In paragraph (j)(1), monitoring requirements have been 
added for operations above 5 inches of cant deficiency on track Classes 
1 through 6. These requirements for monitoring high cant deficiency 
operations apply to vehicle types qualified to operate at any curving 
speed producing more than 5 inches of cant deficiency, as provided in 
Sec.  213.57(i) and Sec.  213.345(a), as appropriate. Indeed, these 
monitoring and qualification requirements for carbody accelerations are 
intended to be complementary, in the same way as the monitoring 
requirements for track Classes 7 through 9 are likewise intended to 
continue to apply to vehicles that have been qualified to operate under 
Sec.  213.345.
    Paragraph (j)(2) applies to operations at track Class 7 speeds, and 
requires that carbody and truck accelerations be monitored at least 
twice within any 60-day period with not less than 12 days between 
inspections on at least one passenger car of each type that is assigned 
to the service. This paragraph essentially restates requirements 
applicable to operations on Class 7 track in former paragraph (k), 
reducing the minimum period between inspections in the 60-day period to 
not less than 12 days--from not less than 15 days in the former 
paragraph.
    As discussed in Section IV.A, above, FRA is revising the 
requirement in former paragraph (j) to monitor carbody and truck 
accelerations each day on at least one vehicle in one train operating 
at track Class 8 and 9 speeds. Based on data collected to date and to 
reduce unnecessary burden on the track owner or railroad operating the 
vehicle type, this monitoring frequency has been reduced from a minimum 
of once per day to four times within any 7-day period for carbody 
accelerations, and twice within 60 days for truck accelerations. These 
requirements are now found in paragraph (j)(3).
    In its comments on proposed paragraph (j), the AAR stated that it 
opposed the monitoring of carbody acceleration for any track class. The 
AAR stated that these accelerations are often caused by train handling 
and other normal events unrelated to the condition of the track. 
Requiring railroads to monitor carbody acceleration and address 
accelerometer measurements would divert resources from more productive 
safety endeavors, according to the AAR. Further, the AAR believed that, 
leaving aside the issue of whether there should be any monitoring of 
carbody accelerations, proposed paragraph (j) contained contradictory 
statements regarding the vehicle to be used for monitoring: the first 
sentence proposed the use of a vehicle having dynamic response 
characteristics that are representative of other vehicles assigned to 
the service, while paragraph (j)(1) proposed to require the use of at 
least one passenger car of each type that is assigned to the service. 
The AAR added that freight railroads do not possess passenger cars.
    As a result of the AAR's comments and discussions within the Task 
Force, the text of paragraph (j) is being revised to make clear that 
the requirements apply as specified for the combination of track class, 
cant deficiencies, and vehicles subject to paragraphs (j)(1) through 
(3). Consequently, the acceleration monitoring requirements in 
paragraphs (j)(1) and (2) for speeds up to 125 m.p.h. do not apply to 
equipment operated in a freight train. In fact, the requirements of 
this section apply to equipment operating in a freight train only at 
speeds above 125 m.p.h., per paragraph (j)(3), and only as appropriate; 
specifically, if no passenger carrying vehicles are assigned to the 
service, there are no passenger carrying vehicles to monitor. FRA also 
makes clear that, in the case of Amtrak's Acela service at track Class 
8 speeds, the carbody acceleration monitoring requirements of paragraph 
(j)(3) require only one power car (locomotive), i.e., non-passenger 
carrying vehicle, and one trailer car (passenger coach) to be 
monitored. FRA recognizes that only one type of passenger carrying 
vehicle is currently assigned to this Acela service--the caf[eacute] 
cars, first class cars, and business class cars are all passenger 
carrying vehicles of the same dynamic response type.
    In commenting on the NPRM, Amtrak stated that the proposal to 
revise paragraph (k)(1) to require accelerometers on the floor of a 
vehicle, as near to the center of a truck as practicable, would be a 
substantive change from the requirement to place them near the end of 
the vehicle at the floor level. Amtrak noted that accelerometers have 
been mounted under the floors of its vehicles in the machine bay on the 
centerline next to the trucks. Amtrak believed that placing the units 
on the floor would not be an option and would result in the creation of 
a tripping hazard in the center of the passenger aisle. Nor did Amtrak 
believe that there was a readily-available space to locate the 
accelerometers near the centerline within coach cars. Moreover, Amtrak 
was concerned with locating accelerometers where they could be subject 
to being kicked and influenced by dropped luggage, which could falsely 
indicate unsafe readings when there are none. Amtrak therefore 
requested that FRA retain the original language in paragraph (k) 
relating to placement of accelerometers.
    FRA is revising this final rule in response to Amtrak's comment so 
that paragraph (k)(1) requires the accelerometers to be attached to the 
carbody on or under the floor of the vehicle, as near the center of a 
truck as practicable. FRA did not intend for the proposed text to 
create the concerns raised by Amtrak. FRA's intent in revising the text 
has been focused on placing the accelerometers near the center of a 
truck--not simply near the end of a vehicle. FRA did not intend in any 
way to remove the needed flexibility for a railroad to locate the 
accelerators on or under the floor. FRA has revised the rule text 
accordingly, and the Task Force concurred with this revision.

[[Page 16082]]

    Paragraph (k)(2) is based on former paragraph (k) and provides that 
a device for measuring lateral accelerations shall be mounted on a 
truck frame at a longitudinal location as close as practicable to an 
axle's centerline (either outside axle for trucks containing more than 
2 axles), or, if approved by FRA, at an alternate location. As 
proposed, a provision has been added to allow the track owner or 
operating railroad to petition FRA for an exemption from the periodic 
monitoring requirements in paragraph (j) for truck acceleration, after 
2 years, or 1 million miles, whichever occurs first. FRA does note 
that, pursuant to Sec.  238.427, truck acceleration is continuously 
monitored on each Tier II passenger vehicle in order to determine if 
hunting oscillations of the vehicle are occurring during revenue 
operation.
    Paragraph (k)(3) is based on provisions in former paragraphs (j) 
and (k). Paragraph (j) formerly provided that each track owner have in 
effect written procedures for the notification of track personnel when 
on-board accelerometers on trains in Classes 8 and 9 indicate a 
possible track-related problem, and paragraph (k) formerly provided 
that for the periodic testing of equipment in track Classes 7 through 
9, speeds would be reduced if the vehicle/track interaction safety 
limits were exceeded. In the NPRM, FRA sought to combine the two 
provisions, proposing that if any of the carbody lateral, carbody 
vertical, or truck frame lateral acceleration safety limits in this 
section's table of vehicle/track interaction safety limits is exceeded, 
appropriate speed restrictions be applied until corrective action is 
taken.
    In its comments on the NPRM, Amtrak stated that the proposal in 
paragraph (k)(3) would have required Amtrak to issue a mandatory slow 
order when an accelerometer recorded an anomaly. Amtrak believed that 
the proposal was completely impractical and did not take into account 
the reality of accelerometer testing or railroad operations. Amtrak 
related the example of an Acela coach with a bad lateral damper that 
had recorded 57 separate ``hits,'' asserting that under the proposal 
Amtrak would have been required to have placed slow orders on a large 
portion of the NEC, impacting all intercity and commuter rail 
operations. Amtrak stated that the original provision required Amtrak 
only to have a plan in place to handle accelerometer data issues, that 
the requirement had served Amtrak well, and that there was no evidence 
that mandatory slow orders would do anything but result in slower 
trains.
    FRA is revising paragraph (k)(3) in consultation with the Task 
Force. Paragraph (k)(3) provides that if any of the carbody lateral, 
carbody vertical, or truck frame lateral acceleration safety limits in 
this section's table of vehicle/track interaction safety limits is 
exceeded, corrective action shall be taken as necessary. Paragraph 
(k)(3) also provides that track personnel shall be notified when the 
accelerometers indicate a possible track-related problem. FRA did not 
intend that a railroad issue a slow order merely because an 
accelerometer registers a ``hit.'' FRA intended that corrective action 
be taken only as necessary for safety, and has modified the paragraph 
to make that clearer. Likewise, the requirement to provide notification 
to track personnel does not, in itself, require that a slow order must 
be issued. Overall, FRA believes that this paragraph reflects the 
intent of the former paragraphs and provides the necessary direction 
and flexibility to the track owner or railroad, or both, to respond 
appropriately when the accelerometers record that the safety limits in 
the VTI table have been exceeded.
    FRA is modifying the requirement in paragraph (l) for conducting 
instrumented wheelset (IWS) testing on Class 8 and 9 track. IWS testing 
is no longer a general requirement applicable for all Class 8 and 9 
track. Instead, the specific need to perform IWS testing shall be 
determined by FRA on a case-by-case basis, after reviewing a report 
submitted annually by the track owner or railroad detailing the 
accelerometer monitoring data collected in accordance with paragraphs 
(j) and (k) of this section. A thorough review of the Acela trainset 
IWS data, as well as consideration of the economics associated with the 
testing, revealed that there were significant cost and little apparent 
safety benefit to justify IWS testing as a general requirement on an 
annual basis. FRA believes that the testing and monitoring requirements 
in this section, as a whole, together with FRA's oversight and ability 
to impose IWS testing requirements as needed, are sufficient to 
maintain safety at a lower cost.
    FRA is making conforming changes to paragraph (m), which, because 
of the revisions to this section, now requires that the track owner or 
railroad maintain a copy of the most recent exception records for the 
inspections required under paragraphs (j) and (k) of this section, and, 
as appropriate, paragraph (l) should IWS testing be required. FRA noted 
in publishing the NPRM that the Task Force did not specifically propose 
to retain paragraph (m), seemingly because of the proposed addition in 
paragraph (l) of an annual requirement to provide an analysis of the 
monitoring data gathered for operations on track Classes 8 and 9. 
However, while the reporting requirement in paragraph (l) is new, it is 
intended to support the change to the IWS testing requirements so that 
IWS testing is no longer generally required for Class 8 and 9 
operations, as discussed above. Moreover, the reporting requirement is 
only an annual one and, by virtue of applying only to Class 8 and 9 
operations, does not address lower-speed operations.
    At the recommendation of the Task Force, paragraph (m) is also 
being modified to make clear that exception data shall be maintained as 
a record, but not necessarily a printed record. Each railroad or track 
owner is in the best position to determine the most efficient and 
effective method for keeping this information, and FRA makes clear that 
the information may be maintained electronically. In this regard, Sec.  
213.369(f) requires that each vehicle/track interaction safety record 
required under Sec.  213.333(g) and (m) be made available for 
inspection and copying by FRA, and Sec.  213.369(e) sets forth 
conditions for maintaining records in an electronic system.
    As proposed, substantial changes are being made to the content of 
the VTI safety limits table. In general, most of the limits have been 
clarified or updated. Specifically, the single wheel vertical load 
ratio limit has been tightened from 0.10 to 0.15 to ensure an adequate 
safety margin for wheel unloading.
    The net axle lateral L/V ratio limit is being modified from 0.5, to 
0.4 + 5.0/Va, so as to take into account the effect of axle 
load and more appropriately reflect the cumulative, detrimental effect 
of track panel shift from heavier vehicles. This net axle lateral load 
limit is intended to control excessive lateral track shift and is 
sensitive to a number of track parameters. The well-established, 
European Prud'homme limit is a function of the axle load and this 
sensitivity is desired to differentiate between coach car and heavier 
locomotive loads. The Volpe Center's TREDA (Track Residual Deflection 
Analysis) simulation work, testing at the Transportation Technology 
Center, Inc. (TTCI), and comparison to the Prud'homme limit all have 
indicated the dependence on axle load and the importance of initial, 
small lateral deflections. Representatives of the Task Force 
independently reviewed the Volpe Center analysis and concurred

[[Page 16083]]

with this change. The limiting condition allows for a small initial 
deformation and assumes a stable configuration with the accumulation of 
additional traffic.
    Due to variations in vehicle design requirements and passenger ride 
safety, the carbody acceleration limits have been divided into separate 
limits for ``Passenger Cars'' and those for ``Other Vehicles'' (such as 
conventional locomotives). In addition, the carbody transient 
acceleration limits have been modified from 0.5g lateral and 0.6g 
vertical to the following: in the lateral direction, 0.65g for 
passenger cars and 0.75g for other vehicles; and, in the vertical 
direction, 1.0g for both passenger cars and other vehicles. These 
changes were developed after considerable research into the performance 
of existing vehicles during qualification testing and revenue 
operations. Overall, it was found that the carbody transient 
acceleration limits need not be as stringent to protect against events 
leading to vehicle or passenger safety issues.
    Based on the small energy content associated with high-frequency 
acceleration events of the carbody, FRA is adding text to exclude any 
transient acceleration peaks lasting less than 50 milliseconds. Other 
changes include the addition of new limits for sustained carbody 
lateral and vertical oscillatory accelerations, as well as the addition 
of minimum requirements for sampling and filtering of the acceleration 
data. The sustained carbody oscillatory acceleration limits have been 
developed in response to a review of data that was obtained during 
qualification testing for the MARC-III multi-level passenger car, as 
discussed in Section IV.A. of the preamble. The sustained carbody 
oscillatory acceleration limits are 0.10g RMSt (root mean 
squared with linear trend removed) for passenger cars and 0.12g 
RMSt for other vehicles in the lateral direction, and 0.25g 
RMSt for both passenger cars and other vehicles in the 
vertical direction. These new limits require that the RMSt 
value be used in order to attenuate the effects of the linear variation 
in oscillatory accelerations resulting from negotiation of track 
segments with changes in curvature or grade by design, such as spirals. 
Root mean squared values shall be determined over a sliding 4-second 
window with linear trend removed and be sustained for more than 4 
seconds. Acceleration measurements shall be processed through a low 
pass filter with a minimum cut-off frequency of 10 Hz, and the sample 
rate for oscillatory acceleration data need be at least 100 samples per 
second.
    FRA is modifying the proposed requirement that peak-to-peak carbody 
vertical (transient) accelerations, measured as the algebraic 
difference between the two extreme values of measured acceleration in 
any 1-second time period, excluding any peak lasting less than 50 
milliseconds, not exceed 1.0g for both ``Passenger Cars'' and ``Other 
Vehicles.'' While the final rule retains the limit for ``Passenger 
Cars'' of 1.0g, the limit for ``Other Vehicles'' is changed to 1.25g.
    In commenting on the NPRM, Bombardier stated that this limit had 
been an open issue with the Task Force prior to publication of the NPRM 
and that it should be discussed by the Task Force prior to promulgating 
this final rule. Further, in commenting on the proposed VTI safety 
limits, SNCF noted that it did not consider vertical car body 
acceleration as a safety limit. This issue was discussed with the Task 
Force, and FRA reevaluated relevant test data, including wheel/rail 
loads at the time of peak-to-peak acceleration. FRA does not believe 
that safety will be compromised by changing this limit to 1.25g.
    The last set of changes to the VTI table concerns the truck lateral 
acceleration limit used for the detection of truck hunting. This limit 
is being tightened from 0.4g to 0.3g and specifies that the value must 
exceed that limit for more than 2 seconds. Analyses conducted by FRA 
have shown that this change will help to better identify the 
occurrences of excessive truck hunting, while excluding high-frequency, 
low-amplitude oscillations that do not require immediate attention. In 
addition, this revised limit requires that the RMSt value be 
used rather than the RMSm (root mean squared with mean 
removed) value. FRA believes that this revision will improve the 
process for analyzing data while the vehicle is negotiating spiral 
track segments. Separately, FRA notes that it has retained the entry in 
the ``Parameter'' column as ``Truck Lateral''--rather than change it to 
``Truck Lateral Acceleration'' as proposed in the NPRM. The original 
entry is stated appropriately and needs no modification.
Section 213.345 Vehicle/Track System Qualification
    As part of the 1998 Track Safety Standards final rule, all 
(passenger and freight) rolling stock was required to be qualified for 
operation for its intended track class. Qualification testing was 
intended to demonstrate that the equipment not exceed the VTI limits 
specified in Sec.  213.333 at any speed less than 10 m.p.h. above the 
proposed maximum operating speed. An exception was provided for 
equipment that had already operated in specified track classes. Rolling 
stock operating in Class 6 track within one year prior to the 
promulgation of the 1998 final rule was considered qualified. Further, 
vehicles operating at Class 7 track speeds under conditional waivers 
prior to the promulgation of the 1998 final rule were qualified for 
Class 7 track, including equipment that was then-operating on the 
Northeast Corridor at Class 7 track speeds.
    FRA is making a number of significant changes to this section, 
whose heading is modified from ``Vehicle qualification testing'' to 
``Vehicle/track system qualification,'' to reflect more appropriately 
the interaction of the vehicle and the track over which it operates as 
a system. These changes include modifying and clarifying this section's 
substantive requirements, reorganizing the structure and layout of the 
rule text, and revising the qualification procedures. Among the 
specific changes, high cant deficiency operations on lower-speed track 
classes are subject to the requirements of this section in accordance 
with Sec.  213.57(i).
    FRA proposed that paragraph (a) require all vehicle types intended 
to operate at Class 6 speeds or above, or at any curving speed 
producing more than 5 inches of cant deficiency, to be qualified for 
operation for their intended track classes in accordance with this 
subpart. FRA also proposed that, for qualification purposes, the former 
over-speed testing requirement be reduced from 10 m.p.h. to 5 m.p.h. 
above the maximum proposed operating speed. FRA noted in the NPRM that 
it agreed with the Task Force's view that the former 10 m.p.h. over-
speed testing requirement, which was established as part of the 1998 
final rule, had become overly conservative based on improved speed 
control and display technology deployed in current operations.
    In commenting on the proposal, the AAR stated that FRA insert 
language providing that where the maximum operating speed is 150 
m.p.h., qualification testing may take place at speeds up to 155 m.p.h. 
without requiring an RPA for operating at speeds in excess of 150 
m.p.h., per former footnote 2 to Sec.  213.307(a). Specifically, the 
AAR suggested that FRA add a sentence to paragraph (a)(2), stating that 
speeds up to 155 m.p.h. are permitted for the purpose of qualification 
testing without an RPA, where the maximum allowable operating speed is 
150 m.p.h.
    As explained in the discussion of Sec.  213.307, above, FRA is 
modifying the rule to make clear that an RPA is not

[[Page 16084]]

specifically needed to authorize high-speed rail operations. Paragraph 
(a) concerns qualification testing to operate rail service at such high 
speeds. No process or procedure as formal as an RPA is necessary to 
allow such qualification testing above the maximum speeds proposed for 
the operation. Rather, FRA's very approval of the qualification test 
plan will provide the necessary oversight to allow for the safe conduct 
of testing at such speeds, and testing conducted in accordance with 
this FRA approval shall be deemed in compliance with this part 213. 
Accordingly, paragraph (a)(2) clarifies that for purposes of 
qualification testing, speeds may exceed the maximum allowable 
operating speeds for the class of track in accordance with the test 
plan approved by FRA.
    In its comments on the NPRM, Bombardier stated that paragraph (a) 
did not contain a Task Force proposal that qualification testing take 
place not only at any speed up to and including 5 m.p.h. above the 
proposed maximum operating speed, but also at a speed that produces a 
cant deficiency greater than 3 inches above the proposed maximum cant 
deficiency, whichever is less. Bombardier stated that not including 
this proposal seems appropriate on the higher track classes, since a 5 
m.p.h. increase in speed through any curve will not result in cant 
deficiency greater than 3 inches over the proposed cant deficiency. 
However, Bombardier believed that this may not be the case when 
conducting such tests on lower-speed track classes at cant deficiencies 
exceeding 5 inches. Therefore, Bombardier suggested retaining the 
proposed language developed by the Task Force, and stated that this 
comment affected proposed paragraph (f)(2)(ii) in this section as well.
    The final rule does not include an alternative requirement that 
qualification testing take place at a speed that produces a cant 
deficiency greater than 3 inches above the proposed maximum cant 
deficiency, if this speed is less than 5 m.p.h. above the proposed 
maximum operating speed. FRA believes that the 5 m.p.h. over-speed 
testing requirement is appropriate, especially for the lower-speed 
track classes, because the requirements of this section apply only to 
those operations on Class 1 through 5 track at curving speeds producing 
more than 5 inches of cant deficiency. For example, a speed that 
produces a cant deficiency greater than 3 inches above this already 
high level of cant deficiency on Class 2 or 3 track would be 
unrealistic for testing. Moreover, since that speed would surely exceed 
5 m.p.h. above the proposed maximum operating speed, the lesser speed 
of 5 m.p.h. over the proposed maximum operating speed would apply. FRA 
has therefore not adopted the suggestion of the commenter.
    Paragraph (b) addresses the qualification of existing vehicle types 
and provides that such vehicle types previously qualified or permitted 
to operate at track Class 6 speeds or above or at any curving speeds 
producing more than 5 inches of cant deficiency are considered as being 
successfully qualified under the requirements of this section for 
operation at the previously operated speeds and cant deficiencies over 
the previously operated track segment(s). FRA makes clear that this 
qualification applies for operation over the previously-operated track 
segment(s) only. To qualify such vehicle types to operate over new 
routes (even at the same track speeds), the qualification requirements 
contained in other paragraphs of this section must be met.
    Paragraph (c) contains the requirements for qualifying new vehicle 
types. The additional (and tighter) carbody acceleration limits in 
former paragraph (b) for new vehicle qualification have been removed. 
In their place, this section now references Sec.  213.333 for the 
applicable VTI limits for accelerations and wheel/rail forces. This 
change resulted from considerable research into the performance of 
existing vehicles during qualification testing and revenue operations. 
Overall, it was found that the acceleration limits in former paragraph 
(b) need not be as stringent to protect against events leading to 
vehicle or passenger safety issues. As further specified in this 
paragraph, vehicle types intended to operate at track Class 6 speeds or 
above, or at any curving speed producing more than 5 inches of cant 
deficiency, may be subject to a combination of computer simulations, 
carbody acceleration testing, truck acceleration testing, and wheel/
rail force measurements.
    In commenting on proposed paragraph (c), Bombardier stated that for 
new vehicles intended to operate at track Class 6 speeds, the rule 
should allow an option for vehicles to be qualified either through 
simulations or wheel/rail force measurements, to be consistent with 
what has been allowed for vehicle qualification testing. In addition, 
NCDOT raised concern that the proposal would have eliminated the use of 
instrumented wheelsets for the measurement of wheel/rail forces during 
vehicle qualification testing on track Class 6, noting that computer 
simulations over a representative segment of the actual route using 
MCAT were proposed in lieu of IWS tests for speeds up to 110 m.p.h. and 
up to 6 inches of cant deficiency. NCDOT stated that, while this may be 
a safe and less expensive method, NCDOT believed it not entirely clear 
whether the vehicle/track model validation requirements in the NPRM 
could be achieved and approved by FRA in a reasonable timeframe and at 
a lower cost than conducting IWS tests. NCDOT stated that, since the 
concept of using simulations as a qualification tool is relatively new, 
it suggested an option be allowed to use simulations or instrumented 
wheelsets for qualification on track Class 6. NCDOT cited that this 
concept was proposed in the NPRM for qualifying equipment for use on 
another corridor at the same speed and cant deficiency, and believed it 
logical to allow this option for new vehicle qualification in this 
lower speed range. NCDOT suggested that FRA employ this option as an 
interim measure until the implications of the simulation requirements 
have been fully verified and justified using a detailed cost-benefit 
analysis. In addition, NCDOT noted that this option would allow the use 
of existing instrumentation if it is compatible with the new vehicle 
type seeking qualification.
    FRA agrees with the commenters that instrumented wheelsets are 
currently used for qualifying vehicle types intended to operate at 
track Class 6 speeds and that their use for such qualification purposes 
should be permitted to continue. As recommended by the Task Force, 
paragraph (c) is being revised by adding a new paragraph (c)(1) to 
allow for vehicle types intended to operate at track Class 6 speeds to 
be qualified either through simulations or the use of instrumented 
wheelsets to demonstrate compliance with the wheel/rail force limits 
specified in Sec.  213.333.
    Consequently, what was proposed as paragraph (c)(1) for computer 
simulations is being designated as paragraph (c)(2) and modified to 
state that it applies to new vehicle types intended to operate at track 
Class 7 speeds or above--not Class 6 speeds or above--as well at any 
curving speed producing more than 6 inches of cant deficiency, as 
proposed in the NPRM. FRA notes that, although in accordance with Sec.  
213.57(i), vehicle types intended to operate at cant deficiencies 
greater than 5 inches on the lower-speed track classes are subject to 
the requirements of this section, the requirements of paragraph (c)(2) 
apply to the lower-speed track classes only for operations at cant 
deficiencies greater than 6

[[Page 16085]]

inches. This paragraph requires computer simulations to be conducted on 
both an analytically defined track segment representative of minimally 
compliant track conditions (MCAT) for the respective track classes as 
specified in appendix D to this part and on a track segment 
representative of the full route on which the vehicle type is intended 
to operate. (See the discussion of MCAT in appendix D, below.)
    No comment was specifically raised on the remaining provisions of 
proposed paragraph (c), and they have been adopted as proposed, newly 
designated as paragraphs (c)(3) through (c)(5).
    Paragraph (c)(3) requires carbody acceleration testing for all 
operations at track Class 6 speeds or above, or for any operation above 
5 inches of cant deficiency. FRA notes that, in accordance with Sec.  
213.57(i), vehicle types intended to operate at cant deficiencies 
greater than 5 inches on the lower-speed track classes are subject to 
the requirements of this section.
    Paragraph (c)(4) requires truck acceleration testing for all 
operations at track Class 6 speeds or above.
    Paragraph (c)(5) provides that measurement of wheel/rail forces, 
through the use of instrumented wheelsets (or equivalent devices), are 
required for all operations at track Class 7 speeds or above, or for 
any operation above 6 inches of cant deficiency. Again, FRA notes that, 
although in accordance with Sec.  213.57(i), vehicle types intended to 
operate at cant deficiencies greater than 5 inches on the lower-speed 
track classes are subject to the requirements of this section, the 
requirements of paragraph (c)(5) apply to the lower-speed track classes 
only for operations at cant deficiencies greater than 6 inches.
    In paragraph (d), FRA proposed to separate and explicitly define 
the qualification requirements for previously qualified vehicle types 
intended to operate on new track segments. Former paragraph (d) 
provided for test runs to be made over the entire route intended for 
revenue service, and for previously qualified equipment, the paragraph 
applied if a new route were proposed at a later date.
    In commenting on the NPRM, Bombardier suggested that for vehicles 
previously qualified under this subpart for a track class and cant 
deficiency using both wheel/rail force measurements and simulations, 
the vehicles should be qualified at the same class and cant deficiency 
on another route without requiring additional simulations or track 
testing. Bombardier stated that as the vehicle model would have been 
fully validated with the extensive process required by the rule, 
including the worst-case MCAT conditions, there would be high cost with 
no safety benefit to conducting simulations and testing on other 
routes.
    In addition, Amtrak commented extensively on proposed changes to 
this section concerning the ``portability'' of a vehicle type's 
qualification. Amtrak commented that it could see no increased safety 
benefit from the regulatory scheme proposed by FRA. According to 
Amtrak, the proposed changes would not be an efficient use of railroad 
resources in that there would be a potentially never-ending series of 
qualifications and re-qualifications required. Amtrak cited as an 
example the safe use of Amfleet equipment for decades on the Northeast 
Corridor. Amtrak believed that if it sought to use that same Amfleet 
equipment in the Midwest at the same speeds on track maintained to the 
same track class standards as the Northeast Corridor, then under the 
proposed regulation Amtrak would have been required to qualify the 
equipment to the new standards. Moreover, Amtrak raised concern that 
FRA would have required qualification every time it sought to operate a 
type of equipment over a new portion of the same route. Amtrak stated 
that track maintained to a particular FRA class standard in one part of 
the country is, by definition, identical to any other piece of track 
maintained to that same standard. Amtrak commented that once equipment 
is qualified to operate at a particular speed on a class of track, that 
qualification should suffice to ``certify'' that that equipment can 
operate at the speed in question over that class of track anywhere in 
the country. At the same time, Amtrak noted that it did not question 
the need for local testing of operational and safety issues; all new 
and expanded service must be thoroughly vetted to make sure that all 
safety issues are discovered and addressed.
    Amtrak added that FRA's proposal was counter to the Task Force 
recommendation that once a vehicle is qualified for a particular speed 
and cant deficiency, it would not have to be retested and qualified 
each time it moved to operate at that same cant deficiency on a new 
track segment. Amtrak offered another example to illustrate its 
concern: Amtrak performs testing on a particular piece of equipment to 
demonstrate that it can operate safely at a particular cant deficiency. 
This new service is to be run over the territory of a freight railroad 
host. The equipment is placed in service by Amtrak and operates safely. 
One year later, a State decides to increase service and builds a new 
station 5 miles away from the existing terminus of Amtrak service, on 
the same host railroad's line. Amtrak believed that, under FRA's 
proposal, Amtrak would have to re-qualify this equipment to operate 
safely over this ``new'' stretch of railroad, even though the equipment 
is operated by the same railroad, and the rail line itself is 
maintained by the same railroad to the same standards as the existing 
line. Amtrak stated that FRA cannot justify the need for this new 
qualification as responsive to ``local'' conditions. There are no 
``local'' variations to track class standards, according to Amtrak; the 
track is either maintained to the FRA standards, or it is not. Amtrak 
also pointed out that portability of equipment qualification could 
simplify the design and procurement process for future high-speed and 
commuter equipment. Knowing a particular design already meets FRA 
safety standards for known track conditions makes it easier to procure 
equipment, Amtrak stated.
    Based on the comments received, the Task Force re-addressed the 
portability requirements in paragraph (d) for previously qualified 
vehicle types. The Task Force considered that, although the vehicle 
type would be unchanged, the vehicle/track system should be 
appropriately examined for deficiencies prior to its service operation 
on a new route where performance-based standards are relied upon at 
track Class 7 speeds or above and at cant deficiencies exceeding 5 
inches. Past experience was cited with the high-speed and high cant 
deficiency qualification of the Acela trainset where testing at a well-
maintained track Class 8 test facility did not uncover performance 
issues that were later identified during the local vehicle/track system 
testing on the Northeast Corridor, where it was intended to operate. In 
this regard, the Task Force considered the adequacy to which the new 
vehicle/track system need be examined during qualification testing to 
demonstrate system safety.
    At the same time, the Task Force took into account that all of the 
requirements of revised paragraph (c) in this final rule--i.e., wheel/
rail force, carbody acceleration and truck lateral acceleration 
testing, as well as simulations using MCAT and a representative track 
segment--apply to new vehicle qualification for track Class 7 speeds or 
above, or at any curving speed producing more than 6 inches of cant 
deficiency. The MCAT simulations are independent of the route, and once 
conducted, will have examined the vehicle/track system performance 
under the majority of worst-case conditions

[[Page 16086]]

that might be found on any route. However, MCAT cannot account for all 
wavelengths and combinations of track deviations that may locally exist 
on a given route.
    For consistency within this final rule, the Task Force agreed that 
the static lean requirements of Sec.  213.57(d) and Sec.  213.329(d), 
once met, are independent of the route and noted that no further 
analysis or testing with respect to these requirements is necessary for 
previously qualified vehicle types. In addition, vehicle types that 
have been permitted to operate at cant deficiencies greater than 3 
inches but not exceeding 5 inches are considered to be qualified under 
the new rule for all operations at track Class 6 speeds and below. In 
the final rule, no testing or simulations are required for previously 
qualified vehicle types intending to operate on new routes at track 
Class 1 through Class 6 speeds and at cant deficiencies not exceeding 5 
inches.
    As provided in paragraph (d)(1), for all operations at track Class 
7 speeds or above and cant deficiencies exceeding 5 inches, or for any 
operation above 6 inches of cant deficiency, simulations or measurement 
of wheel/rail forces is required to demonstrate safe, local vehicle/
track system performance on a new route. For performance-based 
standards that address the vehicle/track system, simulations are 
especially useful for demonstrating that when qualified vehicles are 
intended to operate on a new route, the new vehicle/track system is 
adequately examined for deficiencies prior to revenue service 
operation. The Task Force did recognize that, once run for the MCAT 
deviations, a fully-validated vehicle model required for qualifying new 
vehicle types under this final rule need not be repeated. Only a 
simulation for a representative track segment from the new route is 
required, as the results of the MCAT simulations will be kept on file 
and be available for reference.
    As noted, for previously qualified vehicle types intended to 
operate on new routes at track Class 1 through Class 6 speeds and at 
cant deficiencies not exceeding 5 inches, the requirements of this 
paragraph (d) do not apply. Should the proposed cant deficiency exceed 
5 inches but not exceed 6 inches for operations at track Class 1 
through 6 speeds, carbody acceleration testing under paragraph (d)(2) 
is required to demonstrate safe, local vehicle/track system performance 
on a new route; however, no other qualification testing is required by 
this paragraph (d).
    As provided in paragraphs (d)(2) and (3), for previously qualified 
vehicle types intended to operate on new routes at track Class 7 speeds 
or above, carbody and truck acceleration testing is required to 
demonstrate safe, local vehicle/track system performance. The carbody 
acceleration testing requirements in paragraph (d)(2) also apply to 
previously qualified vehicle types intended to operate on new routes at 
cant deficiencies exceeding 5 inches.
    Paragraph (e) clarifies the requirements in former paragraph (c) 
for the content of the qualification testing plan and adds a 
requirement for the plan to be submitted to FRA at least 60 days prior 
to conducting the testing.
    In response to a comment from Bombardier, FRA is consolidating 
proposed paragraph (e)(1), for including in the testing plan the 
results of required vehicle/track performance simulations, with 
proposed paragraph (e)(7), for including in the testing plan an 
analysis of simulation results, when simulations are required as part 
of vehicle qualification. Together, both paragraphs were potentially 
duplicative and are now addressed in paragraph (e)(6), which provides 
that the testing plan shall include the results of vehicle/track 
performance simulations that are required by this section. As a 
consequence, the remaining paragraphs, proposed as paragraphs (e)(2) 
through (6), are designated as paragraphs (e)(1) through (5) in this 
final rule.
    FRA notes that paragraph (e)(3) is being modified from the proposal 
in paragraph (e)(4) to provide that the test plan identify the maximum 
angle found on the gage face of the designed (newly profiled) wheel 
flange referenced with respect to the axis of the wheelset that will be 
used for the determination of the Single Wheel L/V Ratio safety limit 
specified in Sec.  213.333. This modification is consistent with the 
proposal in the NPRM and clarifies that the designed wheel flange is of 
a wheel newly profiled to that which is intended for service.
    In addition, paragraph (e)(4) is being modified from the proposal 
in paragraph (e)(5), to provide that the test plan identify the target 
maximum testing speed in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section 
and the maximum testing cant deficiency. During Task Force 
consideration of the draft final rule, Interfleet noted that the 
reference to paragraph (a) concerns the maximum testing speed but that, 
as proposed, the reference appeared after the mention of the target 
maximum cant deficiency. Specifically, paragraph (a)(2) provides that 
for purposes of qualification testing, speeds may exceed the maximum 
allowable operating speed for the class of track in accordance with the 
test plan approved by FRA. Therefore, this reordering from the NPRM 
more clearly associates together the provisions that concern testing 
speed. At the same time, FRA has clarified what was meant by the 
``target'' maximum cant deficiency in proposed paragraph (e)(5). The 
final rule makes clear that this cant deficiency is the ``maximum 
testing cant deficiency,'' i.e., the maximum cant deficiency intended 
(targeted) during qualification testing. In addition, FRA recognizes 
that not every curve tested in a track segment need or will require the 
same level of cant deficiency, and therefore, FRA does not expect all 
test operations to be conducted at the maximum cant deficiency 
specified in a track segment for each curve within that segment. FRA 
intends that issues specific to individual qualification tests, such as 
the targeted cant deficiency for each curve, be addressed in the 
qualification testing plan, program, and approval process.
    Paragraph (f) contains the requirements for conducting 
qualification testing upon FRA approval of the test plan, expanding on 
the original requirements in this section. For instance, this paragraph 
expressly requires that TGMS equipment be operated over the intended 
test route within 30 days prior to the start of the testing, to help 
ensure the integrity of the test results. This paragraph also makes 
clear that exceptions to the safety limits that occur on track or at 
speeds that are not part of the test do not need to be reported. 
Specifically, any exception to the safety limits that occurs at speeds 
below track Class 6 speeds when the cant deficiency is at or below 5 
inches does not need to be reported.
    During Task Force consideration of the draft final rule, Interfleet 
recommended that FRA set a timeframe for FRA approval of testing plans 
so that the track owner or railroad can schedule testing and plan 
related activities that are resource- or time-critical, or both. FRA 
notes that for this reason, and as proposed, paragraph (e) specifies 
that a qualification testing plan be submitted to FRA at least 60 days 
prior to conducting the testing. This 60-day period is for the benefit 
of FRA primarily to allow sufficient time to review and approve the 
plan, and to seek clarification from the submitter as necessary. In 
some cases, the review and approval may be able to be accomplished in 
less than 60 days; in other cases, the process may take longer, 
especially if the plan is incomplete or if questions are raised. FRA is 
mindful of the concern that FRA not unduly delay testing, and at the 
same time recognizes that safety is better and more efficiently

[[Page 16087]]

served by identifying potential safety issues early in the 
qualification process. FRA therefore encourages those planning to 
conduct qualification testing to approach FRA prior to the submission 
of their test plans should they have any questions or concerns about 
the testing and approval process.
    Paragraph (g) contains the requirements for reporting to FRA the 
results of the qualification testing program. Bombardier commented that 
the Task Force did not discuss the proposal that when simulations are 
required as part of vehicle qualification this report include a 
comparison of simulation predictions to the actual wheel/rail force or 
acceleration data, or both, recorded during full-scale testing. 
Bombardier stated that it understands the intent of the requirement but 
expressed concern that if not applied in a practical manner, it could 
significantly delay equipment approvals. Bombardier suggested that this 
issue be further reviewed and discussed by the Task Force prior to 
promulgation of the final rule. Bombardier believed that one way of 
addressing this issue would be to include a section in the Track Safety 
Standards Compliance Manual that would provide guidance on the means 
and expectations for correlating simulations with vehicle qualification 
test results. A good example would be the correlation that was 
conducted by the Volpe Center on the vehicle models used to develop the 
regulation, according to Bombardier.
    FRA appreciates Bombardier's comment on this proposal. Indeed, FRA 
has sponsored research at TTCI to establish a set of procedures for 
validating models used in simulating vehicle/track dynamic interaction. 
FRA intends to publish this research before the final rule takes effect 
and appropriately incorporate it into FRA's formal guidance on 
compliance with the Track Safety Standards. FRA also encourages parties 
to approach FRA early in the vehicle/track system qualification process 
should they have any questions or concerns about correlating simulation 
predictions with actual wheel/rail force or acceleration test data.
    Pursuant to paragraph (h), FRA approves a maximum train speed and 
value of cant deficiency for revenue service, based on the test results 
and all other required submissions. FRA intends to provide an approval 
decision normally within 45 days of receipt of all the required 
information, and has expressed its intent here at the suggestion of the 
Task Force. A decision may be made earlier or later, depending on the 
circumstance of each request. Paragraph (h) also makes clear that FRA 
may impose conditions necessary for safely operating at the maximum 
train speed and value of cant deficiency approved for revenue service.
    Paragraph (i) is being added to this section. In commenting on the 
NPRM, Amtrak stated that a significant paragraph approved by the Task 
Force has been omitted. The paragraph proposed that documents required 
by this section must be submitted to FRA by either the tracker owner or 
an operating entity that provides service with the vehicle type over 
trackage of one or more track owners with the written consent of all 
affected track owners. According to Amtrak, the second clause is an 
important tenet in the operating world when an entity like Amtrak wants 
to operate a high-speed train over trackage owned by one or more 
freight railroads. Without this paragraph, Amtrak believed that each of 
the host railroads would be required to submit the paperwork and 
perform the tests required.
    The AAR likewise noted the Task Force's concurrence that this 
section would contain a requirement that all documents be submitted to 
FRA by either the track owner or by the operating entity with the 
written consents of all affected track owners. The AAR stated that FRA 
removed this provision without any explanation. According to the AAR, 
FRA should not approve any application for permission to operate 
vehicles at Class 6 speeds or at cant deficiencies without the 
concurrence of the track owner(s), which the AAR believed was the 
underlying intent behind the proposal that the necessary documents 
should be submitted either by a track owner or with the approval of the 
track owner(s).
    FRA did not intend such a result. Paragraph (i) is therefore being 
added to this section to make clear that the documents required by this 
section must be provided to FRA by either (1) the track owner, or (2) a 
railroad that provides service with the same vehicle type over trackage 
of one or more track owner(s), with the written consent of each 
affected track owner. The Task Force concurred with this addition, 
making clearer and more concise what was earlier discussed prior to the 
publication of the NPRM. In this regard, FRA makes clear that a 
``railroad'' includes what was previously identified as an ``operator 
of a passenger or commuter service'' in former Sec.  213.57(e) and 
Sec.  213.329(f). For example, Amtrak is a railroad that provides 
passenger service over trackage often owned by other entities, usually 
freight railroads. Amtrak is also a track owner over whose trackage 
numerous passenger railroads operate, such as SEPTA and NJ Transit, 
which commented on the NPRM.
Section 213.355 Frog Guard Rails and Guard Faces; Gage
    This section currently sets limits for guard check gage and guard 
face gage for track Classes 6 through 9. As proposed, FRA is making 
minor changes to the way in which the requirements of this section are 
formatted. However, no substantive change is intended.
Appendix A to Part 213--Maximum Allowable Curving Speeds
    This appendix formerly contained only two charts showing maximum 
allowable operating speeds in curves, by degree of curvature and inches 
of unbalance (cant deficiency): table 1, which applies to curves with 3 
inches of unbalance; and table 2, which applies to curves with 4 inches 
of unbalance. Because this final rule facilitates the use of higher 
cant deficiencies, this appendix has been expanded to include two 
additional tables: tables 3 and 4, which apply, respectively, to curves 
with 5 and 6 inches of unbalance. While this rule does provide for 
operations at higher levels of unbalance, for convenience, FRA has set 
out only those tables that it believes are more likely to be commonly 
used.
    FRA notes that in response to comments by Bombardier on the NPRM, 
FRA is revising the formatting of the tables from that proposed in the 
NPRM. Bombardier suggested lowering the ``Degree of curvature'' text by 
one row and inscribing a box around ``Elevation of outer rail 
(inches)'' for placement over columns 0 through 6, as well as 
inscribing a box around the ``Maximum allowable operating speed 
(m.p.h.)'' text for placement over columns 0 though 6. For clarify, 
each of the tables has been formatted accordingly.
Appendix B to Part 213--Schedule of Civil Penalties
    Appendix B to part 213 contains a schedule of civil penalties for 
use in connection with this part. Because such penalty schedules are 
statements of agency policy, notice and comment are not required prior 
to their issuance. See 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(A). Nevertheless, FRA invited 
commenters to submit suggestions to FRA describing the types of actions 
or omissions for each proposed regulatory section, either added or 
revised, that would subject a person to the assessment of a civil 
penalty. Commenters were also invited to recommend what penalties may 
be appropriate, based upon the relative

[[Page 16088]]

seriousness of each type of violation. No comment was received.
    FRA is amending the penalty schedule to reflect the changes made to 
part 213. Specifically, FRA is adding entries for new sections 
Sec. Sec.  213.65 and 213.332, Combined track alinement and surface 
deviations. FRA is also adding an entry for Sec.  213.110, Gage 
restraint measurement systems, which is being revised. Although Sec.  
213.110 is not a new section, no entry for this section had previously 
been included. For each of these entries, FRA has specified guideline 
penalty amounts that are consistent with those for similar entries in 
this appendix. FRA is also revising the entries for Sec. Sec.  213.55, 
213.307, 213.327, 213.329, 213.333, and 213.345 so that the entries 
conform to their respective sections that are being revised in this 
final rule; however, no change to the guideline penalty amounts is 
being made.
    In addition, in preparing the final rule, FRA identified other 
items in this appendix in need of revision. First, FRA is revising the 
headings for subparts D and G so that they conform to the subpart 
headings in the rule itself. Second, FRA is modifying this appendix so 
that it conforms to the changes made by the Concrete Crossties final 
rule, which was published without revisions to the appendix. See 76 FR 
18073, April 1, 2011; 76 FR 55819, Sept. 9, 2011. Specifically, FRA is 
adding an entry for Sec.  213.234, Automated inspection of track 
constructed with concrete crossties. In addition, FRA is revising the 
entry for Sec.  213.109, Crossties, to conform to the changes made to 
that section and is also revising the entry for Sec.  213.127, Rail 
fastening systems, so that it conforms to the section heading, as 
revised by that rule.
Appendix D to Part 213--Minimally Compliant Analytical Track (MCAT) 
Simulations Used for Qualifying Vehicles To Operate at High Speeds and 
at High Cant Deficiencies
    Appendix D is a new appendix containing the requirements for the 
use of computer simulations to demonstrate compliance with the vehicle/
track system qualification testing requirements specified in subpart G 
of this part. Computational models have become practical and reliable 
tools for understanding the dynamic interaction of vehicles and track, 
as a result of advancements made over the last few decades. Such models 
are capable of assessing the response of vehicle designs to a wide 
range of track conditions corresponding to the limiting conditions 
allowed for each class of track. Consequently, portions of the 
qualification requirements in subpart G can be met by simulating 
vehicle testing using a suitably-validated vehicle model instead of 
testing an actual vehicle over a representative track segment.
    As explained in paragraph 1, the simulations described in this 
appendix are required to be performed using a track model containing 
defined geometry perturbations for different track segments at the 
limits that are permitted for a specific class of track and level of 
cant deficiency. This track model is referred to as MCAT. These 
simulations shall be used to identify vehicle dynamic performance 
issues prior to service or, as appropriate, a change in service, and 
demonstrate that a vehicle type is suitable for operation on the track 
over which it is intended to operate. FRA notes that the lengths of the 
MCAT segments identified in this appendix are the same as the segment 
lengths that were used in the modeling of several representative high-
speed vehicles. See the discussion of research and computer modeling in 
the Technical Background section of this final rule, Section IV.B, for 
additional background.
    In order to validate a computer model using MCAT, the predicted 
results must be compared to actual data from on-track, instrumented 
vehicle performance testing using accelerometers, or other 
instrumentation, or both. Validation must also demonstrate that the 
model is sufficiently robust to capture fundamental responses observed 
during field testing. Disagreements between predictions and test data 
may be indicative of inaccurate vehicle parameters, such as for 
stiffness and damping, or track input. Once validated, the computer 
model can be used for assessing a range of operating conditions or even 
to examine modifications to current designs.
    In addition, FRA notes that computer modeling using MCAT has the 
potential to be applied by railroads and by car manufacturers for 
safety planning purposes beyond the scope of what is required by this 
rule. The Engineering Task Force of RSAC's Passenger Safety Working 
Group is considering the use of MCAT in evaluating the operation of 
high-speed vehicles over lower-speed classes of track, regardless of 
the cant deficiency. Current FRA standards for Class 1 through 5 track 
may be unsuitable for suspensions designed for operations at the 
highest speeds. Consequently, by developing a set of MCAT parameters 
that reflect the safety standards for Class 1 through 5 track, and 
conducting simulations using existing high-speed vehicle dynamics 
models on this lower-speed track, track conditions could be identified 
that would cause the VTI safety criteria to be exceeded and potentially 
lead to a derailment. Such MCAT modeling for lower-speed track could 
also be a useful development tool for foreign car rail manufacturers 
considering the introduction of vehicles that would be equipped with 
suspension systems having wheel profiles designed for U.S. standard 
gage track.
    FRA received a number of comments relating to this appendix and is 
addressing them in the order in which they arise.
    Paragraph 2 is being modified from that proposed in the NPRM. 
Paragraph 2 concerns the application of MCAT for vehicle/track system 
qualification in Sec.  213.345 and is consequently being modified in 
accordance with the changes made to Sec.  213.345. Please see the 
discussion of Sec.  213.345.
    FRA is removing proposed paragraph 3 from this appendix. Paragraph 
3 proposed that, for a comprehensive safety evaluation, the track owner 
or railroad identify any non-redundant suspension system element or 
component that may present a single point of failure. The paragraph 
further proposed that additional MCAT simulations be included that 
reflect the fully-degraded mode of the vehicle type's performance due 
to such a failure. Bombardier objected to proposed paragraph 3, stating 
that the proposal was not taken into consideration by the Task Force in 
any of the simulations conducted to develop the proposed track geometry 
limits. According to Bombardier, should such a requirement be 
contemplated, it would be necessary to reassess completely the 
allowable track geometry limits proposed, and neither simulations nor 
testing had been performed on any existing vehicles that reflect these 
conditions. Bombardier added that the purpose of MCAT is to evaluate 
vehicle response to fully-degraded track conditions that represent 
single-point failures, or near-failures, of the track and in some cases 
combined track anomalies. If the intent of this paragraph is for the 
vehicle to meet the vehicle/track interaction safety limits, with the 
track containing failures(s) and the vehicle suspension containing a 
single-point failure, Bombardier stated that this would amount to a 
combined failure which, while theoretically possible, has not been 
identified as a real issue. Bombardier further stated that most 
suspension system components, by nature, cannot have redundant elements 
and that this is true on all ground-based transportation systems. 
Bombardier believed that other

[[Page 16089]]

provisions, both then-existing and proposed, relating to suspension 
system maintenance adequately address the concerns raised by the 
proposal with respect to the vehicle. Bombardier maintained that to 
require further tightening of track geometry standards to address 
combined track and vehicle suspension failures is unnecessary and 
impractical. Bombardier also stated that many vehicles have been 
qualified in accordance with Sec.  213.345 since its promulgation in 
1998, and FRA had not indicated why this provision was added as related 
to past experience or unsafe conditions. Bombardier therefore requested 
that the provision be removed and that FRA clarify that it was not 
FRA's intent to include such a requirement.
    FRA is not including proposed paragraph 3 as a requirement of this 
final rule's appendix. FRA intends that for purposes of vehicle/track 
system safety planning, a comprehensive safety evaluation include the 
identification of non-redundant suspension system elements or 
components that may present a single point of failure. Conducting MCAT 
simulations reflecting the vehicle type's performance in such a fully-
degraded mode can then be used to inform safety decisions more fully. 
However, FRA did not intend to impose a requirement that the MCAT 
safety performance criteria be met under such circumstances. 
Nonetheless, should the simulations identify potential safety concerns, 
the information could be considered for equipment inspection, testing, 
and maintenance purposes, for example, to help develop appropriate 
inspection, testing, and maintenance criteria and procedures for the 
equipment.
    Paragraph (a) addresses the validation of the vehicle model used 
for simulations. Bombardier sought clarification of FRA's proposal, in 
particular raising concern with the possible misapplication of the 
proposal for fully validating the vehicle model. Bombardier stated that 
discrepancies or a lack of correlation between vehicle simulations and 
actual qualification test data can often be due to errors in the track 
model or track geometry measurements, wheel and rail profiles, or 
friction levels, or other causes. Bombardier therefore recommended that 
validation requirements be reviewed and discussed prior to promulgation 
of the final rule, and cited related comments on proposed Sec.  
213.345(g).
    As discussed in Sec.  213.345(g), FRA has sponsored research at 
TTCI to establish a set of procedures for validating models used in 
simulating vehicle/track dynamic interaction. FRA intends to publish 
this research, when complete, and make it part of FRA's formal guidance 
on compliance with the Track Safety Standards. Again, in the interim, 
FRA encourages parties to approach FRA early in the qualification 
process should they have any questions or concerns about correlating 
simulation predictions with measured track geometry data.
    FRA is making one change to paragraph (a) from that proposed in the 
NPRM. Paragraph (a) now references Sec.  213.345(c)(2)(ii), consistent 
with the changes to Sec.  213.345(c), discussed above.
    Paragraph (b) specifies the layout of the MCAT segments. Bombardier 
submitted a number of comments on proposed paragraph (b), first taking 
issue with the last sentence in proposed (b)(1)(i) that the hunting 
perturbation segment would be used only on tangent track simulations. 
Bombardier noted that the proposal was inconsistent with paragraphs 
(c)(3) and (4) of this appendix, which would require that the hunting 
segment be used on curves less than 1 degree, and that, as a result, a 
revision to paragraph (b)(1)(i) or a footnote to figure 1 would be 
needed to address this inconsistency.
    In response to this comment, paragraph (b)(1)(i) is being revised 
to make clear that the hunting perturbation segment applies both to 
tangent track and to track that is curved less than 1 degree. Figure 1 
is also being modified accordingly to show that the hunting 
perturbation section must be included for curves less than 1 degree. 
The modifications to figure 1 and the text in paragraph (b)(1)(i) 
reference under what curvature conditions the hunting segment is to be 
used. Since the curvature value is calculated using a combination of 
speed and cant deficiency, there is no need to specify which track 
classes need to include this section in curving simulations.
    Further, the amplitude value a1 for the hunting 
perturbation segment is being lowered from 0.5 inch, as proposed in the 
NPRM, to 0.25 inch in this final rule. The intent of the hunting 
perturbation segment is to test vehicle stability on tangent track. A 
perturbation of 0.5 inch could result in wheel flange contact with the 
rail and thereby cause one of the VTI safety limits to be exceeded. 
Consequently, use of a 0.5-inch perturbation could lead to exceedances 
that would not appropriately reflect the vehicle/track performance 
concern at issue, or be useful for proper evaluation of the intended 
feature of the vehicle design. By reducing the amplitude to 0.25 inch, 
wheel contact should stay on the tread, and the ability of the vehicle 
to remain stable and resist hunting can more appropriately be examined. 
This change is intended to advance the purpose of including the hunting 
perturbation segment and not compromise safety.
    In addition, Bombardier commented that the text in proposed 
paragraph (b)(1)(ix) concerning the combined perturbation segment was 
inconsistent with Sec.  213.332, Combined track alinement and surface 
deviations, which has been adopted in this final rule. The text of 
proposed paragraph (b)(1)(ix) limited its application to curved track 
segments, while Sec.  213.332 addresses combined track alinement and 
surface deviation limits for Class 9 track, either curved or tangent. 
Bombardier noted that a revision to paragraph (b)(1)(ix) or a footnote 
to figure 1 was needed to address this inconsistency. In response to 
this comment, paragraph (b)(1)(ix) has been modified to make clear that 
the segment is to be used for all simulations on Class 9 track. In 
addition, figure 1 has been modified so that it reflects application of 
the combined perturbations segment to tangent cases on Class 9 track. 
These changes make this appendix consistent with Sec.  213.332.
    As noted, the MCAT layout in figure 1 has been modified to clarify 
which segments are required depending on the speed and the degree of 
curvature involved. In particular, the hunting perturbation segment is 
not required for simulations of curves greater than or equal to 1 
degree; the short warp segment is not required for tangent track 
simulations; and the combined perturbation segment is required on 
tangent track only for Class 9 track, and is not required for 
simulations of no more than 5 inches of cant deficiency other than for 
Class 9 track, where it is required for all cant deficiency values.
    As proposed in the NPRM, table 1 identifies the minimum lengths of 
the MCAT segments. In response to a request for clarification from 
Interfleet during the development of the final rule, FRA makes clear 
that longer segment lengths can be used at higher speeds to allow for 
transient response to dissipate and to ensure that the filtering window 
does not cover more than one MCAT segment.
    Table 2 is being added to this appendix D to identify the degree of 
curvature for use in MCAT simulations of both passenger and freight 
equipment performance on Class 2 through 9 track by speed and cant 
deficiency, based on the equation in paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this 
appendix. For track Classes 2 through 5, degrees of curvature are 
identified only where the cant deficiencies are more than 6 inches,

[[Page 16090]]

since those are the only cant deficiencies that require simulations for 
such track classes. In this regard, degrees of curvature for use in 
MCAT simulations of equipment performance on Class 1 track are not 
specified given the extraordinarily high values that would be reached 
for such cant deficiencies; nonetheless, FRA intends that degrees of 
curvature for Class 1 track be based on the same equation in paragraph 
(b)(3)(i) using an appropriate superelevation. FRA also notes that the 
degrees of curvature for use in MCAT simulations of freight equipment 
performance on Class 6 (freight) track for speeds of 85 and 90 m.p.h. 
is shown in italics for cant deficiencies not exceeding 6 inches, to 
emphasize that these values apply to freight equipment only. MCAT 
simulations are required for both passenger and freight equipment 
performance where track Class 6 speeds coincide, i.e., speeds exceeding 
90 m.p.h.
    Paragraph (c) identifies and describes the simulations that are 
required using MCAT. To aid the reader, table 3 was originally proposed 
as table 2 in the NPRM to summarize by vehicle type, cant deficiency, 
and class of track when assessments of vehicle performance using MCAT 
are required. Following the NPRM's publication, Bombardier commented 
that the proposed table needed to be revised to include Class 9 track, 
and during Task Force discussions it was suggested that this table be 
made clearer in other ways. Accordingly, FRA has revised the table not 
only to correct the inadvertent omission noted by Bombardier, but also 
to make more explicit when simulations are required and when they are 
not, including identifying when simulations are an option for 
demonstrating compliance with the rule.
    Paragraph (c)(1)(ii) addresses the use of worn wheel profiles in 
simulations. Bombardier commented that the Task Force agreed that 
simulations using worn wheels be conducted only for tangent track 
segments. Bombardier did not believe that this agreement was reflected 
in the NPRM text that implied that all simulations must be conducted 
with worn wheel profiles on tangent track and in curves. Bombardier 
stated that such a requirement was not taken into consideration by the 
Task Force in any of the simulations conducted to develop the proposed 
track geometry limits. In discussing this issue with the Task Force 
following publication of the NPRM, FRA noted that it had believed that 
the proposed requirement was part of the Task Force's consensus on the 
NPRM and that worn wheel profiles can both present a problem for 
stability on tangent track and affect response during curving. 
Nonetheless, FRA acknowledges that the effect of wheel wear on 
stability on tangent track is of paramount concern and that, for all 
other vehicle and rail parameters that might equally or more 
significantly affect response during curving, only nominal values for 
such parameters are required to be used in MCAT simulations. Thus, FRA 
has agreed to limit the requirement to conduct simulations using worn 
wheel profiles to tangent track segments. However, FRA expects that 
railroads and car manufacturers will utilize MCAT for broader safety 
planning purposes and for performance optimization studies while 
conducting these simulations. As an additional point, Bombardier 
commented that the words ``running profile'' should be replaced with 
``wheel profile'' in this paragraph. The Task Force concurred with this 
change, and FRA has modified the paragraph accordingly to make the text 
clearer and more precise.
    Paragraph (c)(2) addresses vehicle performance on tangent track 
Classes 6 through 9. As a general comment on the proposal, Bombardier 
believed that some effort should be applied to simplifying proposed 
paragraph (c)(2) by including more information in table 4 (proposed 
table 3) with less descriptive text in paragraphs (c)(2)(ii) and (iii). 
Bombardier suggested a proposed revision to the table, and the Task 
Force recommended that new table 4 be reformatted according to the 
example shown in Bombardier's comments. Table 4 provides the amplitude 
values for the MCAT segments described in paragraphs (b)(1)(i) through 
(vii) and, for track Class 9, (b)(1)(ix), for each speed of the 
required parametric MCAT simulations. In preparing the table for the 
final rule, an additional header table has been added, as recommended 
by Bombardier, containing the maximum operating and simulation speeds 
for each track class, along with a list of all of the amplitude 
parameters identifying each MCAT segment to which they correspond, 
where each segment description can be found, and to which class(es) of 
track they are applicable. The inclusion of the additional information 
in new Table 4 does help add clarity; however, even with this 
additional information, the descriptive text in paragraphs (c)(2)(ii) 
and (iii) is still required. For example, without the text in paragraph 
(c)(2)(ii), it would not be clear that running simulations using all 
three 31-foot-based wavelengths is a requirement, and paragraph 
(c)(2)(iii) states the requirement to run the final simulations at 5 
m.p.h. over the maximum proposed operating speed. Moreover, even though 
the new information in the table lists a maximum speed for simulations 
for each track class, only the rule text in paragraphs (c)(2)(iii)(A) 
through (C) specifies that this 5 m.p.h. overspeed is required when 
transitioning between classes, e.g., 115 m.p.h. for Class 6 track when 
qualifying a vehicle for Class 7 track.
    Bombardier raised a number of additional comments with table 4 
(proposed table 3). Specifically, Bombardier commented that the 
combined deviation parameters a7, a8 and 
a13 should be specified in the table for track Class 9, and 
that the repeated surface parameter a9 for the 124-foot 
wavelength on track Class 9 be specified as 0.625 inch. Bombardier is 
correct that there were no values specifically identified for combined 
deviation parameters a7, a8 and a13 
for track Class 9, and that the repeated surface parameter 
a9 for the 124-foot wavelength on track Class 9 was 
inadvertently proposed as 0.875 inch.
    As was the consensus of the Task Force, new table 4 is being 
restated to include the combined deviation parameters a7, 
a8 and a13 for track Class 9; 31-foot wavelength: 
a7=0.333 inch, a8=0.000 inch, and 
a13=0.333 inch; 62-foot wavelength: a7=0.333 
inch, a8=0.000 inch, and a13=0.500 inch; and 124-
foot wavelength: a7=0.500 inch, a8=0.000 inch, 
and a13=0.667 inch. Moreover, the repeated surface parameter 
a9 for the 124-foot wavelength on track Class 9 has been 
restated as 0.625 inch. These changes make the table consistent with 
Sec.  213.332, which provides that combined deviation limits apply to 
all Class 9 track, including tangent sections. These changes also make 
the table consistent with the repeated surface limit of 0.625 inch for 
the 124-foot wavelength on Class 9 track in Sec.  213.331(c).
    In addition, FRA notes that on closer examination of the proposed 
MCAT tables FRA found and corrected some inadvertent errors in the 
proposed track Class 6 amplitude parameters for a3 (gage 
widening) and a6 (single alinement). The corrected values 
now reflect both the maximum permissible gage and the maximum 
permissible alinement variations. Specifically, for Class 6 track in 
table 4 of the final rule, for the 31-foot perturbation wavelength, the 
a3 parameter is 0.75 inch; and for the 62-foot perturbation 
wavelength, the a3 paramenter is 0.75 inch, and the 
a6 parameter is 0.
    FRA is also formatting tables 4 though 7 in this final rule so that 
the a1

[[Page 16091]]

(hunting) and a12 (short warp) amplitude parameters are in 
their own designated rows, rather than grouped with the 31-, 62-, and 
124-foot wavelengths. These hunting and short warp perturbation 
segments have fixed wavelengths, 10 feet and 20 feet, respectively, 
which are now explicitly stated in the tables to identify clearly the 
wavelength to be used for simulating these perturbations.
    Paragraph (c)(3) addresses vehicle performance on curved track 
Classes 6 through 9. As for paragraph (c)(2), Bombardier stated that 
some effort should be applied to simplifying the paragraph by including 
more information in tables 5 and 6 (proposed tables 4 and 5) with less 
descriptive text in paragraphs (c)(3)(ii) and (iv). Table 5 applies to 
Class 6 through 9 curved track with cant deficiency greater than 3 
inches but not greater than 5 inches; table 6 applies to Class 6 
through 9 curved track with cant deficiency greater than 5 inches. The 
Task Force concurred that new tables 5 and 6 be reformatted to match 
the examples shown in Bombardier's comments with an additional header 
table containing the maximum operating and simulation speeds for each 
track class, along with a list of all of the amplitude parameters 
identifying each MCAT segment to which they correspond, where each 
segment description can be found, and to which class(es) of track they 
are applicable. Tables 5 and 6 also include the parameter 
a1. This hunting perturbation parameter applies to track 
that is curved less than 1 degree, and has been included accordingly. 
Please note that the amplitude of this perturbation parameter has been 
reduced, as discussed above.
    The inclusion of the additional information in tables 5 and 6 does 
help add clarity; however, even with this additional information, the 
descriptive text in paragraphs (c)(3)(ii) and (iv) is still required. 
For example, without the text in paragraph (c)(3)(ii), it would not be 
clear that running simulations using all three 31-foot-based 
wavelengths is a requirement, and the text in paragraph (c)(3)(iv) 
specifies the need to run the final simulations at 5 m.p.h. over the 
maximum proposed operating speed and cant deficiency. Moreover, even 
though the new information in the tables lists a maximum speed for 
simulations for each track class, only the rule text in paragraphs 
(c)(3)(iv)(A) through (C) specifies that this 5 m.p.h. overspeed is 
required when transitioning between classes, e.g., 115 m.p.h. for Class 
6 track when qualifying a vehicle for Class 7 track. In addition, the 
text in paragraphs (c)(3)(iv)(A) through (C) describes how the 5 m.p.h. 
overspeed cases at the end of a track class will be conducted at the 
maximum proposed cant deficiency, using the curvature value, D, 
calculated using the maximum track class speed and maximum proposed 
cant deficiency.
    Bombardier raised additional comments on tables 5 and 6 (proposed 
tables 4 and 5). Bombardier noted that the repeated surface parameter 
a9 for the 124-foot wavelength on track Class 9 should be 
0.625 inch. In the NPRM, in proposed tables 4 and 5, the repeated 
surface parameter a9 for the 124-foot wavelength on track 
Class 9 was identified as 0.875 inch. By consensus of the Task Force, 
in new tables 5 and 6 the repeated surface parameter a9 for 
the 124-foot wavelength on track Class 9 has been corrected to state 
0.625 inch. These changes conform the tables with the repeated surface 
limit of 0.625 inch for the 124-foot wavelength on track Class 9 track 
provided in Sec.  213.331(c).
    Bombardier also commented that the warp parameter a12 
for track Class 9 should be corrected in tables 5 and 6 (proposed 
tables 4 and 5). As proposed, the warp parameter a12 on 
track Class 9 was identified as 0.500 inch. The Task Force concurred 
that the tables be corrected so that the warp parameter a12 
for track Class 9 be 0.750 inch. These changes also conform the tables 
with the warp limit of 0.75 inch for Class 9 track provided in Sec.  
213.331(a) and (b).
    Bombardier additionally commented that the combined deviation 
surface parameter a13 for track Class 9 should be 0.667 inch 
in table 5 (proposed table 4). In the NPRM, the combined deviation 
surface parameter a13 for track Class 9 was proposed as 
0.833 inch. The Task Force concurred that new table 5 reflect that the 
combined deviation surface parameter a13 for track Class 9 
be 0.667 inch. This change conforms the surface value in the table with 
the combined deviation equation stated in Sec.  213.332, when evaluated 
using the corresponding combined deviation alinement parameter 
a7 found in the table.
    FRA also notes that, on closer examination of the MCAT tables, FRA 
found and corrected some inadvertent errors in the proposed track Class 
6 amplitude parameters for a3 (gage widening) and 
a6 (single alinement). The corrected values now reflect both 
the maximum permissible gage and the maximum permissible alinement 
variations. Specifically, for Class 6 track in tables 5 and 6 of the 
final rule, for the 31-foot perturbation wavelength, the a3 
parameter is 0.75 inch; and for the 62-foot perturbation wavelength, 
the a3 paramenter is 0.75 inch, and the a6 
parameter is 0.
    Paragraph (c)(4) addresses vehicle performance on curved track 
Classes 1 through 5 at high cant deficiency. As for paragraphs (c)(2) 
and (3) Bombardier raised the same general comment that this section be 
simplified by including more information in table 7 (proposed table 6) 
with less descriptive text in paragraphs (c)(4)(ii) and (iv). (FRA 
notes that Bombardier's comment references paragraph (c)(3) under a 
discussion of paragraph (c)(4) and has treated the comment as relating 
to paragraph (c)(4).) As for the other tables, the Task Force concurred 
that table 7 (proposed table 6) be reformatted. Table 7 also includes 
the parameter a1, which has been added for curves less than 
1 degree, as noted above.
    The inclusion of the additional information in table 7 helps add 
clarity; however, even with this additional information, the 
descriptive text in paragraphs (c)(4)(ii) and (iv) is still required. 
For example, without the text in paragraph (c)(4)(ii), it would not be 
clear that running simulations using both the 31-foot and 62-foot 
wavelengths is required for assessing vehicle performance on curved 
track Classes 1 through 5 at high cant deficiency.

Proposed Amendments to 49 CFR Part 238, Passenger Equipment Safety 
Standards

Subpart C--Specific Requirements for Tier I Passenger Equipment
Section 238.227 Suspension System
    FRA is modifying this section so that it conforms with the changes 
being made to part 213 of this chapter and also to provide cross-
references to relevant sections of part 213. Overall, these revisions 
help to reconcile the requirements of the 1998 Track Safety Standards 
final rule and the 1999 Passenger Equipment Safety Standards final rule 
for Tier I passenger equipment, i.e., passenger equipment operated at 
speeds not exceeding 125 mph.
    For consistency throughout this part and part 213 of this chapter, 
the term ``hunting oscillations'' in paragraph (a) is being replaced 
with the term ``truck hunting,'' which has the same meaning as that for 
``truck hunting'' in 49 CFR 213.333. Truck hunting is defined in the 
table of vehicle/track interaction safety limits in Sec.  213.333 as 
``a sustained cyclic oscillation of the truck evidenced by lateral 
accelerations exceeding 0.3g root mean squared for more than 2 
seconds.'' The Task Force believed that the term ``hunting 
oscillations,'' which was formerly defined in paragraph (b) of this 
section as ``lateral oscillations of

[[Page 16092]]

trucks that could lead to a dangerous instability,'' has a less 
definite meaning and could be applied unevenly as a result. The Task 
Force therefore preferred using the definition of ``truck hunting'' in 
part 213 with its more specific criteria, and FRA agrees that more 
specific criteria provide more certainty. Unlike Sec.  213.333, 
however, paragraph (a) of this section applies to all Tier I passenger 
equipment, regardless of track class or level of cant deficiency.
    The pre-revenue service qualification requirements in paragraph (b) 
are being revised consistent with the revisions to part 213 of this 
chapter. Paragraph (b) is also being broadened to address revenue 
service operation requirements. Paragraph (b), as revised, generally 
summarizes the qualification and revenue service operation requirements 
of part 213 for Tier I passenger equipment. This paragraph is not 
intended to impose any requirement itself not otherwise contained in 
part 213.
Subpart E--Specific Requirements for Tier II Passenger Equipment
Section 238.427 Suspension System
    Similar to the revisions to Sec.  238.227, FRA is modifying this 
section to conform to the changes made in part 213 of this chapter. 
Overall, these revisions help to reconcile the requirements of the 1998 
Track Safety Standards final rule and the 1999 Passenger Equipment 
Safety Standards final rule.
    While paragraph (a)(1) remains unchanged, paragraph (a)(2) is being 
revised in an effort to summarize the qualification and revenue service 
operation requirements of part 213 for Tier II passenger equipment. The 
reference to the suspension system safety standards in appendix C has 
been removed, as discussed below. The carbody acceleration requirements 
in paragraph (b) have been revised consistent with the changes to part 
213. The steady-state lateral carbody acceleration limits of 0.1g for 
pre-revenue service qualification and 0.12g for service operation have 
been revised to a single limit of 0.15g, to conform to the changes in 
Sec.  213.329. Please see the discussion of Sec.  213.329. The 
remaining carbody acceleration requirements have been consolidated by 
referencing the requirements of Sec.  213.333.
    Paragraph (c) continues to require that each truck be equipped with 
a permanently installed lateral accelerometer mounted on the truck 
frame. However, for consistency throughout this part and part 213 of 
this chapter, this paragraph is being revised to make clear that the 
purpose of the accelerometer is to detect ``truck hunting,'' as defined 
in 49 CFR 213.333. This change helps not only to reconcile the 
requirements governing truck hunting but to streamline the requirements 
of this paragraph by removing the term ``hunting oscillations'' and its 
defining text. If truck hunting is detected, the train monitoring 
system shall provide an alarm to the engineer, and the train shall be 
slowed to a speed at least 5 m.p.h. less than the speed at which the 
truck hunting stopped. This paragraph formerly stated that the 
notification alarm be provided to the ``train operator,'' and FRA has 
revised the text to make clear that this notification be provided to 
the ``locomotive engineer,'' i.e., the crewmember operating the train.
    The Task Force believed that the overheat sensor requirements in 
paragraph (d) were not directly related to suspension system safety and 
should be specified elsewhere. FRA agreed that the requirements of this 
paragraph could be stated separately for clarity, and therefore 
proposed to move them to a new section, Sec.  238.428.
Section 238.428 Overheat Sensors
    As proposed, FRA is adding a new section containing the 
requirements that were previously found in Sec.  238.427(d). However, 
there has been no change to the substantive rule text. FRA agreed with 
the Task Force that the requirements for overheat sensors are more 
appropriately contained in their own section rather than with the 
requirements for suspension systems in Sec.  238.427. FRA has amended 
the rule accordingly.
Appendix A to Part 238--Schedule of Civil Penalties
    This appendix contains a schedule of civil penalties to be used in 
connection with this part. Because such penalty schedules are 
statements of agency policy, notice and comment are not required prior 
to their issuance. See 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(A). Nevertheless, FRA invited 
comment on the penalty schedule; no comment was received, however.
    Accordingly, FRA is amending the penalty schedule to reflect the 
addition of a new section to part 238, Sec.  238.428, Overheat sensors. 
The requirements of this section were previously included in Sec.  
238.427, Suspension system, and have been set apart for clarity.
Appendix C to Part 238--Suspension System Safety Performance Standards
    As proposed, FRA is removing and reserving appendix C, which 
contained the minimum suspension system safety performance standards 
for Tier II passenger equipment. FRA believes that removing appendix C 
is appropriate in light of the changes to Sec.  238.427(a)(2). Section 
238.427(a)(2) formerly required that Tier II passenger equipment meet 
the safety performance standards for suspension systems contained in 
appendix C, or alternative standards providing at least equivalent 
safety if approved by FRA under Sec.  238.21. As discussed above, FRA 
is revising Sec.  238.427(a)(2) to require compliance with the safety 
standards contained in Sec.  213.333, in lieu of those in appendix C. 
Given the cross-reference to the requirements in Sec.  213.333, which 
are more extensive than the ones contained in appendix C, appendix C is 
no longer necessary and has therefore been removed and reserved.

VII. Regulatory Impact and Notices

A. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 and DOT Regulatory Policies and 
Procedures

    This final rule is a significant regulatory action within the 
meaning of Executive Orders 12866 and 13563, and DOT regulatory 
policies and procedures (see 44 FR 11034; Feb. 26, 1979). FRA has 
prepared and placed in the docket a regulatory impact analysis (RIA) 
addressing the economic impact of this final rule.
    In analyzing the impacts of this rule and the NPRM that preceded 
it, FRA considered the extent of affected operations based on 
preliminary plans and policies, many of which are still in development, 
or subject to change. For example, when the NPRM was published there 
were plans for high speed operations in Florida, but now those plans 
have been suspended. In this analysis FRA does not attempt to quantify 
benefits in the same manner as the NPRM. FRA acknowledges significant 
uncertainty with the development of certain high speed systems. FRA 
also acknowledges significant uncertainty with respect to the estimates 
of time savings and equipment procurement savings. As a result of this 
uncertainty, and the difficulty in finding reliable evidence for point 
estimates from which to base a sensitivity analysis, FRA describes its 
expectations for the benefits and uses its expert technical experience 
to conclude that the costs will be justified by the benefits.

[[Page 16093]]

    The changes to geometric standards and performance standards for 
high-speed operations will not adversely affect any existing 
operations, which are now limited to Amtrak on the Northeast Corridor, 
but rather will promote their safe operation. In order to meet the 
vehicle acceleration limits of the Track Safety Standards' subpart G 
before the changes made in this final rule, Amtrak had, in effect, 
adhered to the tighter geometric standards in this rule, even though 
those standards were not expressly identified. If Amtrak were to have 
attempted to operate Acela at the maximum allowable speeds and cant 
deficiencies for which it was qualified, but were to have allowed track 
deviations to reach the previous maximum limits, the Acela trainset, 
because of its dynamic characteristics, would have been subject to 
accelerations in excess of the limits permitted. FRA's modeling has 
shown that Acela, as it is currently qualified to operate, will meet 
the safety standards in this final rule.
    There will be a relatively small one-time cost ($292,000) to 
program the new limits into existing geometry measuring systems 
discussed in the cost section below. Further, those railroads that 
voluntarily operate at high cant deficiencies will have to maintain 
their tracks to tighter limits. This cost will be offset by the reduced 
cost of maintaining curves where entering trains would have to brake to 
reduce their speeds to meet the prior cant deficiency standard, as 
discussed below.
    FRA believes that significant benefits will arise from this 
rulemaking. Time savings will result from permitting trains that 
operate at maximum speeds up to 90 m.p.h. to travel around curves with 
higher cant deficiencies and thereby more rapidly and efficiently. 
Previously, the rule did not permit such high cant deficiency 
operations for these trains, which meant that they had to operate more 
slowly through curves, adding to trip time. Railroads will also 
experience cost savings when they purchase new trains for operations at 
speeds over 90 m.p.h. This will result from increased competition as a 
greater variety of equipment will be able to meet the revised vehicle/
track interaction qualification requirements for speeds over 90 m.p.h. 
Cost savings will also result from more streamlined testing 
requirements for new and existing passenger trainsets, regardless of 
operating speed. Revised testing requirements will also make it much 
easier to qualify a trainset on additional track once it has been 
qualified on any track, and provide more flexibility for monitoring 
trainset performance in service.
Benefits: Equipment Procurement
    Future high-speed operations will be made simpler, because the 
railroad, if it requires equipment manufacturers to provide equipment 
that will meet performance requirements on minimally compliant track, 
will find several suppliers of off-the-shelf equipment, likely lowering 
bid prices, and gaining multiple bidders. Further, some high cant 
deficiency passenger train operations at speeds in excess of 90 m.p.h. 
may be able to use equipment without tilting mechanisms under the final 
rule, saving procurement costs.
    Absent this rulemaking, FRA believes railroads would seek to have 
new equipment used in high-speed train operations built to performance 
standards at the maximum deviations permitted under the previous 
geometric standards, or with tilting mechanisms, or both.
    FRA believes that future high-speed operations will in comparison 
save on bids because of the increased number of trainsets and 
carbuilders that will meet the final rule's standards with little or no 
modification compared to the number that would have met the prior 
rule's standards with little or no modification. Because high cant 
deficiency operations at passenger train speeds in excess of 90 m.p.h. 
would have been permitted under the prior rule, FRA generally does not 
believe that there is a benefit from travel time saved at these speeds, 
only a benefit for equipment procurement.
    FRA notes that, in commenting on the economic analysis for the 
NPRM, which attempted to quantify the benefits of the rule changes, 
Amtrak stated:

    The assumption that the standards simplify the design process of 
the equipment and would save $2,000,000 per train set is false. The 
Acela example indicates the exact opposite to be true. The FRA 
rules, as existing and proposed, eliminate the possibility of 
purchasing off-the-shelf equipment. The engineering work required to 
design new compliant equipment alone would far outstrip any possible 
savings from the rules if there were any to be had.

FRA believes that the former rule would not have permitted many, and 
perhaps might not have permitted any, carbuilders to offer off-the-
shelf equipment with little or no modification that would have met the 
acceleration requirements on track with geometry having the maximum 
allowable deviations. Under the final rule it is likely that several 
carbuilders could provide off-the-shelf equipment that will meet 
acceleration requirements on minimally compliant track. This will lower 
costs through increased competition, and use of existing designs. 
Further, railroads may now be able to order equipment without tilting 
mechanisms and operate that equipment at high cant deficiencies, thus 
saving the costs of tilting mechanisms and making the number of 
available trainsets even greater. Based on the above, FRA does not 
agree with Amtrak's comment for the purposes of this final rule. It is 
not unreasonable to estimate that the equipment procurement benefits 
alone will justify the costs of the rule. However, even if FRA 
eliminates from consideration equipment procurement benefits, as a 
result of Amtrak's comment, FRA believes the high cant deficiency and 
streamlined testing requirements would justify the costs of the rule.
Benefits: High Cant Deficiency
    The provisions for high cant deficiency operations on all track 
classes are permissive in nature and create no additional net costs. A 
railroad could either adhere to these provisions in expectation that 
any additional expenditure would trigger savings and result in an 
overall net benefit, or simply avoid triggering the provisions. High 
cant deficiency offers significant opportunities to reduce trip time, 
as it will reduce the amount of time travelled at the slowest speeds. 
For example, to travel a mile, a train could take three minutes at 20 
m.p.h. or two minutes at 30 m.p.h. Traveling at 30 m.p.h. would reduce 
trip time by a minute. By contrast a train traveling 120 m.p.h. would 
take 5 minutes to travel ten miles, while a train traveling 150 m.p.h. 
would take four minutes to travel the same distance, reducing trip time 
by one minute relative to the train traveling 120 m.p.h. The net time 
savings from traveling one mile at 30 m.p.h. instead of 20 m.p.h. is 
the same as the time savings from traveling ten miles at 150 m.p.h. 
instead of 120 m.p.h. High cant deficiency can allow that kind of time 
savings at lower speeds, and therefore offers a relatively low-cost way 
of improving trip time. The United States is investing more in 
passenger rail transportation, and this is a very good way to make the 
high-speed rail system more efficient.
    FRA believes that use of higher cant deficiencies will become much 
more common over the coming years, although, nearer term, relatively 
few opportunities for new operations at cant deficiencies in excess of 
5 inches will present themselves. In any event, there could be a 
benefit to some operations from the potential enhanced speeds.

[[Page 16094]]

    For illustrative purposes, Amtrak has placed values of $2 million 
or more annually for a reduction of 1 minute in total travel time on 
the south end of the Northeast Corridor, and in excess of $1 million 
for such a reduction on the north end of the Northeast Corridor, for 
its high-speed operations. FRA expects significant travel time savings 
on the Northeast Corridor, and eventually other routes, from the high 
cant deficiency provisions. These benefits are partially offset by the 
additional costs of maintaining track for high cant deficiency 
operation, but this offset is roughly two orders of magnitude less than 
the benefits. Moreover, the additional maintenance costs are at least 
partially offset by reduced track maintenance from passenger trains 
that would otherwise have subjected rail to braking forces at entries 
to curves, and by efficiency savings because the passenger trains can 
clear the track segments more rapidly so that other trains can use the 
tracks.
    FRA also notes that there is no procurement benefit considered for 
passenger train operations at speeds no greater than 90 m.p.h, 
principally because these operations were not permitted to operate at 
high cant deficiency under the prior rule. Similarly, the time savings 
from high cant deficiency for passenger operations at speeds in excess 
of 90 m.p.h. already existed and is not included in the high cant 
deficiency benefit. The equipment benefit and the high cant deficiency 
benefit therefore apply to different classes of operations and are 
exclusive of each other.
Benefits: Streamlined Testing Requirements
    Improvements in the use of monitoring equipment and streamlined 
qualification procedures have the potential to reduce costs, without 
any offsetting increases. New procedures will not require as much 
labor, or as expensive capital, as was required before the final rule, 
all else being equal. The reduced need for instrumented wheelsets, 
instrumented cars, and related tests could save roughly $2 million per 
year on current high-speed operations (based in part on Task Force 
discussions), and have the potential for similar savings on planned 
high-speed operations. Furthermore, the current policy of the DOT is to 
promote balance in the Nation's transportation system in the long-term 
by growing the market-share of passenger rail service in intercity 
travel. FRA believes that this policy will result in the implementation 
of more high-speed rail projects that align with the estimates used in 
this analysis.
    In addition, FRA believes that using MCAT to extend the range of 
qualified equipment will result in savings greater than $1 million per 
year. MCAT can work to enhance safety, because a train that is shown to 
be safe on minimally compliant track will likely be safe under 
foreseeable operating conditions. In the absence of MCAT, the train 
could be qualified on very good track, which might later deteriorate 
over time. Although accelerometers should provide indications of such 
deterioration, using MCAT to ensure that the train will be safe on 
track meeting the geometric limits adds to the life-cycle safety of a 
trainset, most notably because the geometry standards help limit unsafe 
accelerations that could cause a derailment.
    FRA believes that modifications to the vehicle/track system 
qualification requirements themselves, as opposed to the process, will 
have no net impact as the changes codify current practice.
Benefits: Other
    Certain refinements to the testing requirements will yield greater 
confidence in the test results and thus enhanced safety levels. Such 
benefits are not readily quantifiable and FRA has not attempted to 
quantify them.
Costs: Track Maintenance
    When a railroad voluntarily operates passenger trains at high cant 
deficiencies, the track in curves must have smaller deviations, which 
in turn means that deviations that would not have to be adjusted in the 
absence of high cant deficiency operations would have to be adjusted to 
conform to the standards. On the other hand, if a railroad does not 
allow high cant deficiency operations, it requires passenger trains to 
slow down just before they enter curves. The braking imparts a 
longitudinal force in the rail, making it more likely that the rail 
will displace from its original alinement. When the rail displaces from 
its original alinement, it may now have deviations that even exceed the 
less restrictive standards that would have been applicable in the 
absence of high cant deficiency operations, and the rail must be 
adjusted. The process of adjusting rail is roughly the same whether the 
adjustment occurs because the rail moved longitudinally under braking 
or the rail needed to be adjusted to meet tighter geometric standards, 
and thus the cost is roughly equal for either adjustment. FRA believes 
the probability of needing to adjust the rail is roughly equivalent in 
either case.
    FRA believes that it costs roughly $400 to adjust a rail to restore 
alinement per occurrence. On good track, the kind most likely to be 
found in high cant deficiency passenger operations, this occurs about 
twice a year per mile of curve, at a cost of about $800 per mile per 
year. FRA believes the difference, if any, between the frequency of 
such occurrences, and consequently, the maintenance costs for the track 
with and without high cant deficiency operations, is less than 10%, or 
$80 per mile per year. FRA is not certain whether maintenance costs 
will be higher or lower with high cant deficiency operations. FRA 
expects a difference of plus or minus $80 per mile per year in 
maintenance costs. Given the uncertainty as to whether the change would 
be a benefit or a cost, and because FRA anticipates any maintenance 
costs to be significantly less than the benefits of high cant 
deficiency operations, FRA does not find any potential maintenance 
costs would change its core conclusion about this rule.
Costs: Programming
    Railroads use automated track geometry measuring systems to 
determine whether track geometry complies with track safety standards. 
The final rule adds new standards and dimensions that must be 
programmed into automated track geometry measuring software before the 
railroads can operate under the final rule. FRA is contracting to 
modify the software on FRA's inspection cars to record instances where 
deviations exceed the maximum allowed under the final rule. Although 
the contractor has estimated that providing and system testing the 
software modifications will require roughly $73,000, the amount FRA is 
going to pay will fall on the government, not on regulated entities, 
and is not accounted for any further.
    Four other entities provide automated track inspection services to 
railroads, and may need to update their inspection vehicles' software 
to accommodate the new requirements of the final rule. FRA believes 
that the $73,000 figure provided by FRA's contractor may be higher than 
the cost to an entity providing services over a more limited set of 
tracks, or for other reasons, but that the higher number is a ceiling 
on likely costs, and is conservative. Thus FRA estimates that it will 
cost 4 times $73,000, or $292,000 for a one-time expense of updating 
track inspection software. The programming modifications must occur 
before the railroads operate under the final rule, so the costs are not 
discounted.

[[Page 16095]]

    Offsetting any additional programming costs, but not accounted for 
in the benefits, the new geometry limits should avoid instances where 
an excessive acceleration is recorded but the track is within geometry 
limits, as happens with some frequency under the prior rule. The cost 
for a railroad to inspect the track in the area of an exceedance of an 
acceleration limit is more than $100 per instance, and FRA believes the 
new limits will reduce such instances by at least two per day, more 
than offsetting any programming costs. As the extent of high cant 
deficiency operations or high speed operations increases, the number of 
such exceedances would have increased in the absence of the final rule.
Total Costs
    Total costs are $292,000, whether using a 3 percent or 7 percent 
discount rate, as they are one-time costs. Annualized total costs over 
twenty years are $27,563 per year, using a 7 percent discount rate, or 
$19,627 using a 3 percent discount rate.
Net Benefits
    FRA expects the equipment procurement, time savings, and 
streamlined testing benefits to vastly exceed the programming costs of 
the rule. It is not unreasonable to estimate that the equipment 
procurement benefits alone will justify the costs of the rule. However, 
even if FRA eliminates from consideration equipment procurement 
benefits, as a result of Amtrak's comment, FRA believes the high cant 
deficiency and streamlined testing requirements would justify the costs 
of the rule. FRA concludes the rule will have net benefits.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Act and Executive Order 13272

    To ensure that the potential impact of this rule on small entities 
was properly considered, FRA developed this rule in accordance with 
Executive Order 13272 (``Proper Consideration of Small Entities in 
Agency Rulemaking'') and DOT's policies and procedures to promote 
compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). 
The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires an agency to review regulations 
to assess their impact on small entities. An agency must conduct a 
regulatory flexibility analysis unless it determines and certifies that 
a rule is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities.
    The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) stipulates in its 
``Size Standards'' that the largest a railroad business firm that is 
``for-profit'' may be, and still be classified as a ``small entity,'' 
is 1,500 employees for ``Line-Haul Operating Railroads,'' and 500 
employees for ``Switching and Terminal Establishments.'' ``Small 
entity'' is defined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act as a small 
business that is not independently owned and operated, and is not 
dominant in its field of operation. Federal agencies may adopt their 
own size standards for small entities in consultation with SBA and in 
conjunction with public comment. Pursuant to that authority, FRA has 
published a final statement of agency policy that formally establishes 
``small entities'' or ``small businesses'' as being railroads, 
contractors, and hazardous materials shippers that meet the revenue 
requirements of a Class III railroad as set forth in 49 CFR 1201.1-1, 
which is $20 million or less in inflation-adjusted annual revenues; and 
commuter railroads or small governmental jurisdictions that serve 
populations of 50,000 or less. See 68 FR 24891, May 9, 2003, codified 
at Appendix C to 49 CFR, part 209. The $20 million-limit is based on 
the Surface Transportation Board's revenue threshold for a Class III 
railroad. Railroad revenue is adjusted for inflation by applying a 
revenue deflator formula in accordance with 49 CFR 1201.1-1. FRA has 
applied this definition for this rulemaking.
    There are currently two intercity passenger railroads, Amtrak and 
the Alaska Railroad Corporation. Neither is considered to be a small 
entity. Amtrak is a Class I railroad and the Alaska Railroad is a Class 
II railroad. The Alaska Railroad is owned by the State of Alaska, which 
has a population well in excess of 50,000.
    There are currently 28 commuter railroad operations in the U.S. 
Most commuter railroads are part of larger transportation organizations 
that receive Federal funds and serve major metropolitan areas with 
populations greater than 50,000. However, two commuter rail operations 
do not fall in this category and are considered small entities. One 
provides service to and from a sporting venue in Iowa City, Iowa; the 
second provides service between North Creek and Saratoga Springs, New 
York. Both operations are conducted at low speeds--with only one 
reaching a maximum speed as high as 30 m.p.h. Consequently, neither 
entity will be impacted by the requirements of this rule affecting 
high-speed operations. Moreover, it is extremely unlikely that either 
entity would engage in high cant deficiency operations because such 
operations require relatively expensive rolling equipment capable of 
tilting to provide a safe and comfortable ride to passengers.
    At present, no small entities will be affected by either the high-
speed provisions or the high cant deficiency provisions. Small 
railroads hosting passenger operations can recoup any costs of 
maintaining infrastructure, through trackage agreements which enable 
host railroads to recover marginal costs of permitting passenger 
operations over their tracks, to accommodate high cant deficiency 
operations, or they can refuse to host such operations, as appropriate. 
To the extent that new passenger railroads are small entities, and want 
to take advantage of high cant deficiency and have the means to do so, 
they will benefit. Nonetheless, FRA does not foresee any situation 
under which a small entity might be affected by the high-speed 
provisions in this final rule.
    In the NPRM, FRA requested comments on both the analysis and the 
certification that there will be no significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. No comment was received.
    Based on these determinations, I certify that this action will not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities.

C. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The information collection requirements in this final rule have 
been submitted for approval to the Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. 
The sections that contain both new and current information collection 
requirements, and the estimated time to fulfill each requirement, are 
summarized in the following table. Please note that the table does not 
include those information collection requirements added by the Concrete 
Crossties rulemaking, see 76 FR 18073 (April 1, 2011), 76 FR 55819 
(Sept. 9, 2011), as they are covered under a separate approval, OMB No. 
2130-0592, which is current until October 31, 2014.

[[Page 16096]]



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                          Respondent         Total annual      Average time per    Total annual
             CFR Section                   universe            responses           response        burden hours
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
213.4--Excepted Track:
    --Designation of track as         200 railroads.....  20 orders.........  15 minutes........               5
     excepted.
    --Notification to FRA about       200 railroads.....  15 notifications..  10 minutes........               3
     removal of excepted track.
213.5--Responsibility for Compliance  728 railroads.....  10 notifications..  8 hours...........              80
213.7--Designation of Qualified
 Persons to Supervise Certain
 Renewals and Inspect Track:
    --Designations..................  728 railroads.....  1,500 names.......  10 minutes........             250
    --Employees trained in CWR        31 railroads......  80,000 employees..  24 hours..........       1,920,000
     procedures.
    --Written authorizations and      31 railroads......  80,000              10 minutes + 60             93,333
     recorded Exams.                                       authorizations +    minutes.
                                                           80,000 exams.
    --Designations (partially         31 railroads......  250 names.........  30 minutes........             125
     qualified) under paragraph (c)
     of this section.
213.17--Waivers.....................  728 railroads.....  6 petitions.......  112 hours.........             672
213.57--Curves; Elevation and Speed
 Limitations:
    --Requests to FRA for vehicle     728 railroads.....  2 requests/         80 hours..........             160
     type approval.                                        documents.
    --Written notification to FRA     728 railroads.....  2 notifications...  8 hours...........              16
     prior to implementation of
     higher curving speeds.
    --Written consent of track        728 railroads.....  2 consents........  8 hours...........              16
     owner(s) by railroad providing
     service over the track.
213.110--Gage Restraint Measurement
 Systems (GRMS):
    --Implementing GRMS; notices and  728 railroads.....  2 notifications +   24 hours..........              72
     reports.                                              1 technical
                                                           report.
    --GRMS vehicle output reports...  728 railroads.....  50 reports........  60 minutes........              50
    --GRMS vehicle exception reports  728 railroads.....  50 reports........  60 minutes........              50
    --GRMS/PTLF procedures for data   728 railroads.....  4 procedure         2 hours...........               8
     integrity.                                            documents.
    --GRMS training programs/         728 railroads.....  2 programs + 5      24 hours..........             168
     sessions.                                             sessions.
    --GRMS inspection records.......  728 railroads.....  50 records........  2 hours...........             100
213.118--Continuous Welded Rail
 (CWR); Plan Review and Approval:
    --Plans.........................  728 railroads.....  728 reviewed plans  4 hours...........           2,912
    --Notification to FRA and         728 railroads.....  728 notifications   15 minutes + 2               2,849
     employees of plan effective                           + 80,000            minutes.
     date.                                                 notifications.
    --Written submissions in support  728 railroads.....  20 submissions....  2 hours...........              40
     of plan.
    --FRA-required revisions to CWR   728 railroads.....  20 reviewed plans.  1 hour............              20
     plan.
213.119--Continuous Welded Rail
 (CWR); Plan Contents:
    --Fracture report for each        239 railroads/1     12,000 reports....  10 minutes........           2,000
     broken CWR joint bar.             association.
    --Petition for technical          1 association.....  1 petition........  15 minutes........            0.25
     conference on fracture reports.
    --Training programs on CWR        239 railroads/ 1    240 amended         1 hour............             240
     procedures.                       association.        programs.

[[Page 16097]]

 
    --Annual CWR training of          31 railroads......  80,000 employees..  30 minutes........          40,000
     employees.
    --Recordkeeping (track with CWR)  239 railroads.....  2,000 records.....  10 minutes........             333
    --Recordkeeping for CWR rail      239 railroads.....  360,000 records...  2 minutes.........          12,000
     joints.
    --Periodic records for CWR rail   239 railroads.....  480,000 records...  1 minute..........           8,000
     joints.
    --Copy of track owner's CWR       728 railroads.....  239 manuals.......  10 minutes........              40
     procedures.
213.233--Track Inspections:
    --Notations.....................  728 railroads.....  12,500 notations..  1 minute..........             208
213.241--Inspection Records.........  728 railroads.....  1,542,089 records.  varies............       1,672,941
213.303--Responsibility for           2 railroads.......  1 petition........  8 hours...........               8
 Compliance.
213.305--Designation of Qualified
 Individuals; General
 Qualifications:
    --Designations..................  2 railroads.......  150 designations..  60 minutes........             150
    --Designations (partially         2 railroads.......  20 designations...  60 minutes........              20
     qualified) under paragraph (d)
     of this section.
213.317--Waivers....................  2 railroads.......  1 petition........  80 hours..........              80
213.329--Curves; Elevation and Speed
 Limitations:
    --FRA approval of qualified       728 railroads.....  2 documents.......  80 hours..........             160
     vehicle types based on results
     of testing.
    --Written notification to FRA     728 railroads.....  2 notifications...  8 hours...........              16
     prior to implementation of
     higher curving speeds.
    --Written consent of track        728 railroads.....  2 written consents  8 hours...........              16
     owner(s) by railroad providing
     service over the track.
213.333 Automated Vehicle-Based
 Inspection Systems:
    --Request for alternative         10 railroads......  1 request.........  8 hours...........               8
     measurement distance (new
     requirement).
    --Track Geometry Measurement      10 railroads......  3 reports.........  40 hours..........             120
     System (TGMS) output/exception
     reports.
    --Track/vehicle performance       10 railroads......  20 records........  40 hours..........             800
     measurement system; copies of
     most recent exception records.
    --Notification to track           10 railroads......  10 notifications..  40 hours..........             400
     personnel when onboard
     accelerometers indicate track
     related problem (new
     requirement).
    --Requests for an alternate       10 railroads......  10 requests.......  40 hours..........             400
     location for device measuring
     lateral accelerations (new
     requirement).
    --Report to FRA providing         10 railroads......  4 reports.........  8 hours...........              32
     analysis of collected
     monitoring data (new
     requirement).
213.341--Initial Inspection of New
 Rail and Welds:

[[Page 16098]]

 
    --Mill inspection; copy of        2 railroads.......  2 reports.........  16 hours..........              32
     manufacturer's report.
    --Welding plan inspection report  2 railroads.......  2 reports.........  16 hours..........              32
    --Inspection of field welds.....  2 railroads.......  125 records.......  20 minutes........              42
213.343--Continuous welded rail
 (CWR):
    --Recordkeeping.................  2 railroads.......  150 records.......  10 minutes........              25
213.345--Vehicle/Track System
 Qualification:
    --Qualification program for all   10 railroads......  10 programs.......  120 hours.........           1,200
     vehicle types operating at
     track Class 6 speeds or above
     or at curving speeds above 5
     inches of cant deficiency (new
     requirement).
    --Qualification program for       10 railroads......  10 programs.......  80 hours..........             800
     previously qualified vehicle
     types (new requirement).
    --Written consent of track         10 railroads.....  1 written consent.  8 hours...........               8
     owner(s) by railroad providing
     service over the track (new
     requirement).
213.347--Automotive or Railroad
 Crossings at Grade:
    --Protection plans..............  1 railroad........  2 plans...........  8 hours...........              16
213.369--Inspection Records:
    --Record of inspection of track.  2 railroads.......  500 records.......  1 minute..........               8
    --Internal defect inspections     2 railroads.......  50 records........  5 minutes.........               4
     and remedial action taken.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    All estimates include the time for reviewing instructions, 
searching existing data sources, gathering or maintaining the needed 
data, and reviewing the information. Pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 
3506(c)(2)(B), FRA solicits comments concerning the following: whether 
these information collection requirements are necessary for the proper 
performance of the functions of FRA, including whether the information 
has practical utility; the accuracy of FRA's estimates of the burden of 
the information collection requirements; the quality, utility, and 
clarity of the information to be collected; and whether the burden of 
collection of information on those who are to respond, including 
through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of 
information technology, may be minimized. For information or a copy of 
the paperwork package submitted to OMB, contact Mr. Robert Brogan, 
Information Clearance Officer, Federal Railroad Administration, at 202-
493-6292, or Ms. Kimberly Toone, Federal Railroad Administration, at 
202-493-6132.
    Organizations and individuals desiring to submit comments on the 
collection of information requirements should direct them to Mr. Robert 
Brogan or Ms. Kimberly Toone, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE., 3rd Floor, Washington, DC 20590. Comments may also 
be submitted via email to Mr. Brogan or Ms. Toone at the following, 
respective addresses: Robert.Brogan@dot.gov; or Kimberly.Toone@dot.gov.
    OMB is required to make a decision concerning the collection of 
information requirements contained in this final rule between 30 and 60 
days after publication of this document in the Federal Register. 
Therefore, a comment to OMB is best assured of having its full effect 
if OMB receives it within 30 days of publication.
    FRA is not authorized to impose a penalty on persons for violating 
information collection requirements that do not display a current OMB 
control number, if required. FRA intends to obtain current OMB control 
numbers for any new information collection requirements resulting from 
this rulemaking action prior to the effective date of the final rule. 
The OMB control number, when assigned, will be announced by separate 
notice in the Federal Register.

D. Federalism Implications

    Executive Order 13132, ``Federalism'' (see 64 FR 43255, Aug. 10, 
1999), requires FRA to develop an accountable process to ensure 
``meaningful and timely input by State and local officials in the 
development of regulatory policies that have federalism implications.'' 
``Policies that have federalism implications'' are defined in the 
Executive Order to include regulations that have ``substantial direct 
effects on the States, on the relationship between the national 
government and

[[Page 16099]]

the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among 
the various levels of government.'' Under Executive Order 13132, the 
agency may not issue a regulation with federalism implications that 
imposes substantial direct compliance costs and that is not required by 
statute, unless the Federal government provides the funds necessary to 
pay the direct compliance costs incurred by State and local 
governments, the agency consults with State and local governments, or 
the agency consults with State and local government officials early in 
the process of developing the regulation. Where a regulation has 
federalism implications and preempts State law, the agency seeks to 
consult with State and local officials in the process of developing the 
regulation.
    This final rule has been analyzed in accordance with the principles 
and criteria contained in Executive Order 13132. This final rule will 
not have a substantial effect on the States or their political 
subdivisions, and it will not affect the relationships between the 
Federal government and the States or their political subdivisions, or 
the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels 
of government. In addition, FRA has determined that this regulatory 
action will not impose substantial direct compliance costs on the 
States or their political subdivisions. Therefore, the consultation and 
funding requirements of Executive Order 13132 do not apply.
    However, this final rule could have preemptive effect by operation 
of law under certain provisions of the Federal railroad safety 
statutes, specifically the former Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970, 
repealed and recodified at 49 U.S.C. 20106. Section 20106 provides that 
States may not adopt or continue in effect any law, regulation, or 
order related to railroad safety or security that covers the subject 
matter of a regulation prescribed or order issued by the Secretary of 
Transportation (with respect to railroad safety matters) or the 
Secretary of Homeland Security (with respect to railroad security 
matters), except when the State law, regulation, or order qualifies 
under the ``essentially local safety or security hazard'' exception to 
section 20106.
    In sum, FRA has analyzed this final rule in accordance with the 
principles and criteria contained in Executive Order 13132. As 
explained above, FRA has determined that this final rule has no 
federalism implications, other than the possible preemption of State 
laws under Federal railroad safety statutes, specifically 49 U.S.C. 
20106. Accordingly, FRA has determined that preparation of a federalism 
summary impact statement for this final rule is not required.

E. Environmental Impact

    FRA has evaluated this final rule in accordance with its 
``Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts'' (FRA's Procedures) 
(see 64 FR 28545, May 26, 1999) as required by the National 
Environmental Policy Act (see 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), other 
environmental statutes, Executive Orders, and related regulatory 
requirements. FRA has determined that this action is not a major FRA 
action (requiring the preparation of an environmental impact statement 
or environmental assessment) because it is categorically excluded from 
detailed environmental review pursuant to section 4(c)(20) of FRA's 
Procedures. See 64 FR 28547, May 26, 1999. In accordance with section 
4(c) and (e) of FRA's Procedures, the agency has further concluded that 
no extraordinary circumstances exist with respect to this final rule 
that might trigger the need for a more detailed environmental review. 
As a result, FRA finds that this final rule is not a major Federal 
action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.

F. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    Pursuant to Section 201 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 
(Pub. L. 104-4, 2 U.S.C. 1531), each Federal agency ``shall, unless 
otherwise prohibited by law, assess the effects of Federal regulatory 
actions on State, local, and tribal governments, and the private sector 
(other than to the extent that such regulations incorporate 
requirements specifically set forth in law).'' Section 202 of the Act 
(2 U.S.C. 1532) further requires that ``before promulgating any general 
notice of proposed rulemaking that is likely to result in the 
promulgation of any rule that includes any Federal mandate that may 
result in expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the 
aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100,000,000 or more (adjusted 
annually for inflation) in any 1 year, and before promulgating any 
final rule for which a general notice of proposed rulemaking was 
published, the agency shall prepare a written statement'' detailing the 
effect on State, local, and tribal governments and the private sector. 
This final rule will not result in the expenditure, in the aggregate, 
of $100,000,000 or more (as adjusted annually for inflation) in any one 
year, and thus preparation of such a statement is not required.

G. Energy Impact

    Executive Order 13211 requires Federal agencies to prepare a 
Statement of Energy Effects for any ``significant energy action.'' See 
66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001. Under the Executive Order, a ``significant 
energy action'' is defined as any action by an agency (normally 
published in the Federal Register) that promulgates or is expected to 
lead to the promulgation of a final rule or regulation, including 
notices of inquiry, advance notices of proposed rulemaking, and notices 
of proposed rulemaking: (1)(i) That is a significant regulatory action 
under Executive Order 12866 or any successor order, and (ii) is likely 
to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or 
use of energy; or (2) that is designated by the Administrator of the 
Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs as a significant energy 
action.
    FRA has evaluated this final rule in accordance with Executive 
Order 13211. FRA has determined that this final rule is not likely to 
have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use 
of energy. Consequently, FRA has determined that this regulatory action 
is not a ``significant energy action'' within the meaning of the 
Executive Order.

H. Trade Impact

    The Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (Pub. L. 96-39, 19 U.S.C. 2501 et 
seq.) prohibits Federal agencies from engaging in any standards or 
related activities that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign 
commerce of the United States. Legitimate domestic objectives, such as 
safety, are not considered to be unnecessary obstacles. The statute 
also requires consideration of international standards and, where 
appropriate, that they be the basis for U.S. standards.
    FRA has assessed the potential effect of this rulemaking on foreign 
commerce and believes that its requirements are consistent with the 
Trade Agreements Act. The requirements are safety standards, which, as 
noted, are not considered unnecessary obstacles to trade. Moreover, FRA 
has sought, to the extent practicable, to state the requirements in 
terms of the performance desired, rather than in more narrow terms 
restricted to a particular vehicle design, so as not to limit 
different, compliant designs by any manufacturer--foreign or domestic. 
FRA has also taken into consideration international standards for the 
safe interaction of vehicles and the track over which they operate, 
such as

[[Page 16100]]

standards for steady-state, lateral acceleration of passenger 
carbodies.

I. Privacy Act

    Anyone is able to search the electronic form of any comment or 
petition received into any of FRA's dockets by the name of the 
individual submitting the comment or petition (or signing the comment 
or petition, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor 
union, etc.). Please see the privacy notice at http://www.regulations.gov/#!privacyNotice. You may review DOT's complete 
Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 
2000 (65 FR 19477-19478).

List of Subjects

49 CFR Part 213

    Incorporation by reference, Penalties, Railroad safety, Reporting 
and recordkeeping requirements.

49 CFR Part 238

    Incorporation by reference, Passenger equipment, Penalties, 
Railroad safety, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

The Rule

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, FRA amends parts 213 and 
238 of chapter II, subtitle B, of title 49, Code of Federal 
Regulations, as follows:

PART 213--[AMENDED]

0
1. The authority citation for part 213 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 20102-20114 and 20142; Sec. 403, Div. A, 
Public Law 110-432, 122 Stat. 4885; 28 U.S.C. 2461, note; and 49 CFR 
1.89.

Subpart A--General

0
2. Section 213.1 is amended by revising the second sentence of 
paragraph (a) to read as follows:


Sec.  213.1  Scope of part.

    (a) * * * In general, the requirements prescribed in this part 
apply to specific track conditions existing in isolation. * * *
* * * * *

0
3. Section 213.7 is amended by revising paragraphs (a)(2)(i) and 
(b)(2)(i) to read as follows:


Sec.  213.7  Designation of qualified persons to supervise certain 
renewals and inspect track.

    (a) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (i) Knows and understands the requirements of this part that apply 
to the restoration and renewal of the track for which he or she is 
responsible;
* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (i) Knows and understands the requirements of this part that apply 
to the inspection of the track for which he or she is responsible;
* * * * *

0
4. Section 213.14 is added to read as follows:


Sec.  213.14  Application of requirements to curved track.

    Unless otherwise provided in this part, requirements specified for 
curved track apply only to track having a curvature greater than 0.25 
degree.

Subpart C--Track Geometry

0
5. Section 213.55 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  213.55  Track alinement.

    (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, alinement 
may not deviate from uniformity more than the amount prescribed in the 
following table:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                         Tangent track                 Curved track
                                                     -----------------------------------------------------------
                                                       The deviation of    The deviation of    The deviation of
                                                        the mid-offset     the mid-ordinate    the mid-ordinate
                   Class of track                       from a 62-foot      from a 31-foot      from a 62-foot
                                                       line \1\ may not    chord \2\ may not   chord \2\ may not
                                                        be more than--      be more than--      be more than--
                                                           (inches)            (inches)            (inches)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Class 1 track.......................................                   5             \3\ N/A                   5
Class 2 track.......................................                   3             \3\ N/A                   3
Class 3 track.......................................              1\3/4\              1\1/4\              1\3/4\
Class 4 track.......................................              1\1/2\                   1              1\1/2\
Class 5 track.......................................               \3/4\               \1/2\               \5/8\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The ends of the line shall be at points on the gage side of the line rail, five-eighths of an inch below the
  top of the railhead. Either rail may be used as the line rail; however, the same rail shall be used for the
  full length of that tangential segment of the track.
\2\ The ends of the chord shall be at points on the gage side of the outer rail, five-eighths of an inch below
  the top of the railhead.
\3\ N/A--Not Applicable

    (b) For operations at a qualified cant deficiency, Eu, 
of more than 5 inches, the alinement of the outside rail of the curve 
may not deviate from uniformity more than the amount prescribed in the 
following table:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                               Curved track
                                 ---------------------------------------
                                   The deviation of    The deviation of
                                   the mid-ordinate    the mid-ordinate
         Class of track             from a 31-foot      from a 62-foot
                                   chord \1\ may not   chord \1\ may not
                                    be more than--      be more than--
                                       (inches)            (inches)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Class 1 track \2\...............             \3\ N/A              1\1/4\
Class 2 track \2\...............             \3\ N/A              1\1/4\
Class 3 track...................               \3/4\              1\1/4\
Class 4 track...................               \3/4\               \7/8\
Class 5 track...................               \1/2\               \5/8\
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The ends of the chord shall be at points on the gage side of the
  outer rail, five-eighths of an inch below the top of the railhead.
\2\ Restraining rails or other systems may be required for derailment
  prevention.
\3\ N/A--Not Applicable


[[Page 16101]]


0
6. Section 213.57 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  213.57  Curves; elevation and speed limitations.

    (a) The maximum elevation of the outside rail of a curve may not be 
more than 8 inches on track Classes 1 and 2, and 7 inches on track 
Classes 3 through 5. The outside rail of a curve may not be lower than 
the inside rail by design, except when engineered to address specific 
track or operating conditions; the limits in Sec.  213.63 apply in all 
cases.
    (b) The maximum allowable posted timetable operating speed for each 
curve is determined by the following formula--
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR13MR13.007

Where--

Vmax = Maximum allowable posted timetable operating speed 
(m.p.h.).
Ea = Actual elevation of the outside rail (inches).\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Actual elevation, Ea, for each 155-foot track 
segment in the body of the curve is determined by averaging the 
elevation for 11 points through the segment at 15.5-foot spacing. If 
the curve length is less than 155 feet, the points are averaged 
through the full length of the body of the curve.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Eu = Qualified cant deficiency \2\ (inches) of the 
vehicle type.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ If the actual elevation, Ea, and degree of 
curvature, D, change as a result of track degradation, then the 
actual cant deficiency for the maximum allowable posted timetable 
operating speed, Vmax, may be greater than the qualified 
cant deficiency, Eu. This actual cant deficiency for each 
curve may not exceed the qualified cant deficiency, Eu, 
plus 1 inch.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    D = Degree of curvature (degrees).\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ Degree of curvature, D, is determined by averaging the 
degree of curvature over the same track segment as the elevation.

    (c) All vehicles are considered qualified for operating on track 
with a cant deficiency, Eu, not exceeding 3 inches. Table 1 
of appendix A to this part is a table of speeds computed in accordance 
with the formula in paragraph (b) of this section, when Eu 
equals 3 inches, for various elevations and degrees of curvature.
    (d) Each vehicle type must be approved by FRA to operate on track 
with a qualified cant deficiency, Eu, greater than 3 inches. 
Each vehicle type must demonstrate, in a ready-for-service load 
condition, compliance with the requirements of either paragraph (d)(1) 
or (2) of this section.
    (1) When positioned on a track with a uniform superelevation equal 
to the proposed cant deficiency:
    (i) No wheel of the vehicle type unloads to a value less than 60 
percent of its static value on perfectly level track; and
    (ii) For passenger cars, the roll angle between the floor of the 
equipment and the horizontal does not exceed 8.6 degrees; or
    (2) When operating through a constant radius curve at a constant 
speed corresponding to the proposed cant deficiency, and a test plan is 
submitted to and approved by FRA in accordance with Sec.  213.345(e) 
and (f):
    (i) The steady-state (average) load on any wheel, throughout the 
body of the curve, is not less than 60 percent of its static value on 
perfectly level track; and
    (ii) For passenger cars, the steady-state (average) lateral 
acceleration measured on the floor of the carbody does not exceed 
0.15g.
    (e) The track owner or railroad shall transmit the results of the 
testing specified in paragraph (d) of this section to FRA's Associate 
Administrator for Railroad Safety/Chief Safety Officer (FRA) requesting 
approval for the vehicle type to operate at the desired curving speeds 
allowed under the formula in paragraph (b) of this section. The request 
shall be made in writing and contain, at a minimum, the following 
information--
    (1) A description of the vehicle type involved, including schematic 
diagrams of the suspension system(s) and the estimated location of the 
center of gravity above top of rail;
    (2) The test procedure,\4\ including the load condition under which 
the testing was performed, and description of the instrumentation used 
to qualify the vehicle type, as well as the maximum values for wheel 
unloading and roll angles or accelerations that were observed during 
testing; and
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ The test procedure may be conducted whereby all the wheels 
on one side (right or left) of the vehicle are raised to the 
proposed cant deficiency, the vertical wheel loads under each wheel 
are measured, and a level is used to record the angle through which 
the floor of the vehicle has been rotated.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (3) For vehicle types not subject to parts 229 or 238 of this 
chapter, procedures or standards in effect that relate to the 
maintenance of all safety-critical components of the suspension 
system(s) for the particular vehicle type. Safety-critical components 
of the suspension system are those that impact or have significant 
influence on the roll of the carbody and the distribution of weight on 
the wheels.
    (f) In approving the request made pursuant to paragraph (e) of this 
section, FRA may impose conditions necessary for safely operating at 
the higher curving speeds. Upon FRA approval of the request, the track 
owner or railroad shall notify FRA in writing no less than 30 calendar 
days prior to the proposed implementation of the approved higher 
curving speeds allowed under the formula in paragraph (b) of this 
section. The notification shall contain, at a minimum, identification 
of the track segment(s) on which the higher curving speeds are to be 
implemented.
    (g) The documents required by this section must be provided to FRA 
by:
    (1) The track owner; or
    (2) A railroad that provides service with the same vehicle type 
over trackage of one or more track owner(s), with the written consent 
of each affected track owner.
    (h)(1) Vehicle types permitted by FRA to operate at cant 
deficiencies, Eu, greater than 3 inches but not more than 5 
inches shall be considered qualified under this section to operate at 
those permitted cant deficiencies for any track segment. The track 
owner or railroad shall notify FRA in writing no less than 30 calendar 
days prior to the proposed implementation of such curving speeds in 
accordance with paragraph (f) of this section.
    (2) Vehicle types permitted by FRA to operate at cant deficiencies, 
Eu, greater than 5 inches shall be considered qualified 
under this section to operate at those permitted cant deficiencies only 
for the previously operated or identified track segments(s).
    (i) For vehicle types intended to operate at any curving speed 
producing more than 5 inches of cant deficiency, the following 
provisions of subpart G of this part shall apply: Sec. Sec.  213.333(a) 
through (g), (j)(1), (k) and (m), 213.345, and 213.369(f).
    (j) As used in this section--
    (1) Vehicle means a locomotive, as defined in Sec.  229.5 of this 
chapter; a freight car, as defined in Sec.  215.5 of this chapter; a 
passenger car, as defined in Sec.  238.5 of this chapter; and any rail 
rolling equipment used in a train with either a freight car or a 
passenger car.
    (2) Vehicle type means like vehicles with variations in their 
physical properties, such as suspension, mass, interior arrangements, 
and dimensions that do not result in significant changes to their 
dynamic characteristics.

0
7. Section 213.59 is amended by revising the second sentence of 
paragraph (a) to read as follows:


Sec.  213.59  Elevation of curved track; runoff.

    (a) * * * If elevation runoff occurs in a curve, the actual minimum 
elevation shall be used in computing the maximum allowable posted 
timetable operating speed for that curve under Sec.  213.57(b).
* * * * *

0
8. Section 213.63 is revised to read as follows:

[[Page 16102]]

Sec.  213.63  Track surface.

    (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, each track 
owner shall maintain the surface of its track within the limits 
prescribed in the following table:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                    Class of track
                       Track surface (inches)                       --------------------------------------------
                                                                        1        2        3        4        5
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The runoff in any 31 feet of rail at the end of a raise may not be    3\1/2\        3        2   1\1/2\        1
 more than.........................................................
The deviation from uniform profile on either rail at the mid-              3   2\3/4\   2\1/4\        2   1\1/4\
 ordinate of a 62-foot chord may not be more than..................
The deviation from zero crosslevel at any point on tangent or              3        2   1\3/4\   1\1/4\        1
 reverse crosslevel elevation on curves may not be more than.......
The difference in crosslevel between any two points less than 62           3   2\1/4\        2   1\3/4\   1\1/2\
 feet apart may not be more than\*1, 2\............................
*Where determined by engineering decision prior to June 22, 1998,          2   1\3/4\   1\1/4\        1    \3/4\
 due to physical restrictions on spiral length and operating
 practices and experience, the variation in crosslevel on spirals
 per 31 feet may not be more than..................................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Except as limited by Sec.   213.57(a), where the elevation at any point in a curve equals or exceeds 6
  inches, the difference in crosslevel within 62 feet between that point and a point with greater elevation may
  not be more than 1\1/2\ inches.
\2\ However, to control harmonics on Class 2 through 5 jointed track with staggered joints, the crosslevel
  differences shall not exceed 1\1/4\ inches in all of six consecutive pairs of joints, as created by seven low
  joints. Track with joints staggered less than 10 feet apart shall not be considered as having staggered
  joints. Joints within the seven low joints outside of the regular joint spacing shall not be considered as
  joints for purposes of this footnote.

    (b) For operations at a qualified cant deficiency, Eu, 
of more than 5 inches, each track owner shall maintain the surface of 
the curve within the limits prescribed in the following table:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                    Class of track
                       Track surface (inches)                       --------------------------------------------
                                                                        1        2        3        4        5
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The deviation from uniform profile on either rail at the mid-         N/A\1\   N/A\1\        1        1        1
 ordinate of a 31-foot chord may not be more than..................
The deviation from uniform profile on either rail at the mid-         2\1/4\   2\1/4\   1\3/4\   1\1/4\        1
 ordinate of a 62-foot chord may not be more than..................
The difference in crosslevel between any two points less than 10           2        2   1\3/4\   1\3/4\   1\1/2\
 feet apart (short warp) shall not be more than....................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ N/A--Not Applicable.


0
9. Section 213.65 is added to subpart C to read as follows:


Sec.  213.65  Combined track alinement and surface deviations.

    On any curved track where operations are conducted at a qualified 
cant deficiency, Eu, greater than 5 inches, the combination 
of alinement and surface deviations for the same chord length on the 
outside rail in the curve, as measured by a TGMS, shall comply with the 
following formula:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR13MR13.008

Where--
Am = measured alinement deviation from uniformity 
(outward is positive, inward is negative).
AL = allowable alinement limit as per Sec.  213.55(b) 
(always positive) for the class of track.
Sm = measured profile deviation from uniformity (down is 
positive, up is negative).
SL = allowable profile limit as per Sec.  213.63(b) 
(always positive) for the class of track.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR13MR13.009

Subpart D--Track Structure

0
10. Section 213.110 is amended by revising paragraphs (c) through (f), 
(l), (p)(2) and (3) to read as follows:


Sec.  213.110  Gage restraint measurement systems.

* * * * *
    (c)(1) The track owner shall also provide to FRA sufficient 
technical data to establish compliance with the following minimum 
design requirements of a GRMS vehicle:
    (2) Gage restraint shall be measured between the heads of rail--
    (i) At an interval not exceeding 16 inches;
    (ii) Under an applied vertical load of no less than 10 kips per 
rail; and
    (iii) Under an applied lateral load that provides for a lateral/
vertical load ratio of between 0.5 and 1.25 \5\, and a load severity 
greater than 3 kips but less than 8 kips per rail.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ GRMS equipment using load combinations developing L/V ratios 
that exceed 0.8 shall be operated with caution to protect against 
the risk of wheel climb by the test wheelset.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (d) Load severity is defined by the formula:

S = L-cV

Where--

[[Page 16103]]

S = Load severity, defined as the lateral load applied to the 
fastener system (kips).
L = Actual lateral load applied (kips).
c = Coefficient of friction between rail/tie, which is assigned a 
nominal value of 0.4.
V = Actual vertical load applied (kips), or static vertical wheel 
load if vertical load is not measured.

    (e) The measured gage values shall be converted to a Projected 
Loaded Gage 24 (PLG24) as follows--

PLG24 = UTG + A x (LTG-UTG)

Where--
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-kip lateral load and a 33-
kip vertical load.
For all track--
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR13MR13.010


    Note: The A factor shall not exceed a value of 3.184 under any 
valid loading configuration.

L = Actual lateral load applied (kips).
V = Actual vertical load applied (kips), or static vertical wheel 
load if vertical load is not measured.

    (f) The measured gage and load values shall be converted to a Gage 
Widening Projection (GWP) as follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR13MR13.011

* * * * *
    (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--

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  If measurement      Remedial action
      GRMS parameters\1\          value exceeds           required
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          First Level Exception
------------------------------------------------------------------------
UTG...........................  58 inches........  (1) Immediately
                                                    protect the
                                                    exception location
                                                    with a 10 m.p.h.
                                                    speed restriction,
                                                    then verify
                                                    location;
                                                   (2) Restore lateral
                                                    restraint and
                                                    maintain in
                                                    compliance with PTLF
                                                    criteria as
                                                    described in
                                                    paragraph (m) of
                                                    this section; and
                                                   (3) Maintain
                                                    compliance with Sec.
                                                      213.53(b) as
                                                    measured with the
                                                    PTLF.
LTG...........................  58 inches........
PLG24.........................  59 inches........
GWP...........................  1 inch...........
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                         Second Level Exception
------------------------------------------------------------------------
LTG...........................  57 [frac34]        (1) Limit operating
                                 inches on Class    speed to no more
                                 4 and 5 track      than the maximum
                                 \2\.               allowable under Sec.
                                                      213.9 for Class 3
                                                    track, then verify
                                                    location;
                                                   (2) Maintain in
                                                    compliance with PTLF
                                                    criteria as
                                                    described in
                                                    paragraph (m) of
                                                    this section; and
                                                   (3) Maintain
                                                    compliance with Sec.
                                                      213.53(b) as
                                                    measured with the
                                                    PTLF.
PLG24.........................  58 inches........
GWP...........................  0.75 inch........
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Definitions for the GRMS parameters referenced in this table are
  found in paragraph (p) of this section.
\2\ This note recognizes that good track will typically increase in
  total gage by as much as one-quarter of an inch due to outward rail
  rotation under GRMS loading conditions. For Class 2 and 3 track, the
  GRMS LTG values are also increased by one-quarter of 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 action(s) 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 Sec.   213.53(b) applies.

* * * * *
    (p) * * *
    (2) Gage Widening Projection (GWP) means the measured gage 
widening, which is the difference between loaded and unloaded gage, at 
the applied loads, projected to reference loads of 16 kips of lateral 
force and 33 kips of vertical force.
    (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.
* * * * *

Subpart G--Train Operations at Track Classes 6 and Higher

0
11. Section 213.305 is amended by revising paragraphs (a)(2)(i) and 
(b)(2)(i) to read as follows:


Sec.  213.305  Designation of qualified individuals; general 
qualifications.

* * * * *
    (a) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (i) Knows and understands the requirements of this subpart that 
apply to the restoration and renewal of the track for which he or she 
is responsible;
* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (2) * * *

[[Page 16104]]

    (i) Knows and understands the requirements of this subpart that 
apply to the inspection of the track for which he or she is 
responsible.
* * * * *

0
12. Section 213.307 is amended by revising the section heading and 
paragraph (a) to read as follows:


Sec.  213.307  Classes of track: operating speed limits.

    (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section and as 
otherwise provided in this subpart G, the following maximum allowable 
speeds apply:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
     Over track that meets all of the           The maximum allowable
  requirements prescribed in this subpart   operating  speed for  trains
                   for--                               is \1\
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Class 6 track.............................  110 m.p.h.
Class 7 track.............................  125 m.p.h.
Class 8 track.............................  160 m.p.h.\2\
Class 9 track.............................  220 m.p.h.\2\
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Freight may be transported at passenger train speeds if the
  following conditions are met:
(1) The vehicles utilized to carry such freight are of equal dynamic
  performance and have been qualified in accordance with Sec.   213.329
  and Sec.   213.345.
(2) The load distribution and securement in the freight vehicle will not
  adversely affect the dynamic performance of the vehicle. The axle
  loading pattern is uniform and does not exceed the passenger
  locomotive axle loadings utilized in passenger service, if any,
  operating at the same maximum speed.
(3) No carrier may accept or transport a hazardous material, as defined
  at 49 CFR 171.8, except as provided in Column 9A of the Hazardous
  Materials Table (49 CFR 172.101) for movement in the same train as a
  passenger-carrying vehicle or in Column 9B of the Table for movement
  in a train with no passenger-carrying vehicles.
\2\ Operating speeds in excess of 125 m.p.h. are authorized by this part
  only in conjunction with FRA regulatory approval addressing other
  safety issues presented by the railroad system. For operations on a
  dedicated right-of-way, FRA's regulatory approval may allow for the
  use of inspection and maintenance criteria and procedures in the
  alternative to those contained in this subpart, based upon a showing
  that at least an equivalent level of safety is provided.

* * * * *

0
13. Section 213.313 is added to read as follows:


Sec.  213.313  Application of requirements to curved track.

    Unless otherwise provided in this part, requirements specified for 
curved track apply only to track having a curvature greater than 0.25 
degree.



0
14. Section 213.323 is amended by revising paragraph (b) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  213.323  Track gage.

* * * * *
    (b) Gage shall be within the limits prescribed in the following 
table:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                   The change of
                                                                                                  gage within 31
                         Class of track                            The gage must   But not more    feet must not
                                                                   be at least--      than--        be greater
                                                                                                      than--
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Class 6 track...................................................           4'8''      4'9\1/4\''         \3/4\''
Class 7 track...................................................           4'8''      4'9\1/4\''         \1/2\''
Class 8 track...................................................           4'8''      4'9\1/4\''         \1/2\''
Class 9 track...................................................      4'8\1/4\''      4'9\1/4\''         \1/2\''
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



0
15. Section 213.327 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  213.327  Track alinement.

    (a) Uniformity at any point along the track is established by 
averaging the measured mid-chord offset values for nine consecutive 
points that are centered around that point and spaced according to the 
following table:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      Chord length                            Spacing
------------------------------------------------------------------------
31'.....................................................           7'9''
62'.....................................................          15'6''
124'....................................................          31'0''
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (b) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, a single 
alinement deviation from uniformity may not be more than the amount 
prescribed in the following table:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              The deviation     The deviation     The deviation
                                                             from uniformity   from uniformity   from uniformity
                                                            of the mid-chord  of the mid-chord  of the mid-chord
           Class of track            Tangent/ Curved track  offset for a 31-  offset for a 62-  offset for a 124-
                                                             foot chord may    foot chord may    foot chord may
                                                               not be more       not be more       not be more
                                                             than--(inches)    than--(inches)    than--(inches)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Class 6 track......................  Tangent..............             \1/2\             \3/4\            1\1/2\
                                     Curved...............             \1/2\             \5/8\            1\1/2\
Class 7 track......................  Tangent..............             \1/2\             \3/4\            1\1/4\
                                     Curved...............             \1/2\             \1/2\            1\1/4\
Class 8 track......................  Tangent..............             \1/2\             \3/4\                 1
                                     Curved...............             \1/2\             \1/2\             \3/4\
Class 9 track......................  Tangent..............             \1/2\             \1/2\             \3/4\
                                     Curved...............             \1/2\             \1/2\             \3/4\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (c) For operations at a qualified cant deficiency, Eu, 
of more than 5 inches, a single alinement deviation from uniformity of 
the outside rail of the curve may not be more than the amount 
prescribed in the following table:

[[Page 16105]]



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              The deviation     The deviation     The deviation
                                                             from uniformity   from uniformity   from uniformity
                                                            of the mid-chord  of the mid-chord  of the mid-chord
           Class of track                  Track type       offset for a 31-  offset for a 62-  offset for a 124-
                                                             foot chord may    foot chord may    foot chord may
                                                               not be more       not be more       not be more
                                                             than--(inches)    than--(inches)    than--(inches)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Class 6 track......................  Curved...............             \1/2\             \5/8\            1\1/4\
Class 7 track......................  Curved...............             \1/2\             \1/2\                 1
Class 8 track......................  Curved...............             \1/2\             \1/2\             \3/4\
Class 9 track......................  Curved...............             \1/2\             \1/2\             \3/4\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (d) For three or more non-overlapping deviations from uniformity in 
track alinement occurring within a distance equal to five times the 
specified chord length, each of which exceeds the limits in the 
following table, each track owner shall maintain the alinement of the 
track within the limits prescribed for each deviation:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              The deviation     The deviation     The deviation
                                                             from uniformity   from uniformity   from uniformity
                                                            of the mid-chord  of the mid-chord  of the mid-chord
                      Class of track                        offset for a  31- offset for a 62-  offset for a 124-
                                                             foot chord may    foot chord may    foot chord may
                                                               not be more       not be more       not be more
                                                             than--(inches)    than--(inches)    than-- (inches)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Class 6 track.............................................             \3/8\             \1/2\                 1
Class 7 track.............................................             \3/8\             \3/8\             \7/8\
Class 8 track.............................................             \3/8\             \3/8\             \1/2\
Class 9 track.............................................             \3/8\             \3/8\             \1/2\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (e) For purposes of complying with this section, the ends of the 
chord shall be at points on the gage side of the rail, five-eighths of 
an inch below the top of the railhead. On tangent track, either rail 
may be used as the line rail; however, the same rail shall be used for 
the full length of that tangential segment of the track. On curved 
track, the line rail is the outside rail of the curve.

0
16. Section 213.329 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  213.329  Curves; elevation and speed limitations.

    (a) The maximum elevation of the outside rail of a curve may not be 
more than 7 inches. The outside rail of a curve may not be lower than 
the inside rail by design, except when engineered to address specific 
track or operating conditions; the limits in Sec.  213.331 apply in all 
cases.
    (b) The maximum allowable posted timetable operating speed for each 
curve is determined by the following formula:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR13MR13.012

Where--
Vmax = Maximum allowable posted timetable operating speed 
(m.p.h.).
Ea = Actual elevation of the outside rail (inches).\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ Actual elevation, Ea, for each 155-foot track 
segment in the body of the curve is determined by averaging the 
elevation for 11 points through the segment at 15.5-foot spacing. If 
the curve length is less than 155 feet, the points are averaged 
through the full length of the body of the curve.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Eu = Qualified cant deficiency \7\ (inches) of the 
vehicle type.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ If the actual elevation, Ea, and degree of 
curvature, D, change as a result of track degradation, then the 
actual cant deficiency for the maximum allowable posted timetable 
operating speed, Vmax, may be greater than the qualified 
cant deficiency, Eu. This actual cant deficiency for each 
curve may not exceed the qualified cant deficiency, Eu, 
plus one-half inch.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

D = Degree of curvature (degrees).\8\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ Degree of curvature, D, is determined by averaging the 
degree of curvature over the same track segment as the elevation.

    (c) All vehicles are considered qualified for operating on track 
with a cant deficiency, Eu, not exceeding 3 inches. Table 1 
of appendix A to this part is a table of speeds computed in accordance 
with the formula in paragraph (b) of this section, when Eu 
equals 3 inches, for various elevations and degrees of curvature.
    (d) Each vehicle type must be approved by FRA to operate on track 
with a qualified cant deficiency, Eu, greater than 3 inches. 
Each vehicle type must demonstrate, in a ready-for-service load 
condition, compliance with the requirements of either paragraph (d)(1) 
or (2) of this section.
    (1) When positioned on a track with a uniform superelevation equal 
to the proposed cant deficiency:
    (i) No wheel of the vehicle type unloads to a value less than 60 
percent of its static value on perfectly level track; and
    (ii) For passenger cars, the roll angle between the floor of the 
equipment and the horizontal does not exceed 8.6 degrees; or
    (2) When operating through a constant radius curve at a constant 
speed corresponding to the proposed cant deficiency, and a test plan is 
submitted and approved by FRA in accordance with Sec.  213.345(e) and 
(f):
    (i) The steady-state (average) load on any wheel, throughout the 
body of the curve, is not less than 60 percent of its static value on 
perfectly level track; and
    (ii) For passenger cars, the steady-state (average) lateral 
acceleration measured on the floor of the carbody does not exceed 
0.15g.
    (e) The track owner or railroad shall transmit the results of the 
testing specified in paragraph (d) of this section to FRA's Associate 
Administrator for Railroad Safety/Chief Safety Officer (FRA) requesting 
approval for the vehicle type to operate at the desired curving speeds 
allowed under the formula in paragraph (b) of this section. The request 
shall be made in writing and contain, at a minimum, the following 
information--
    (1) A description of the vehicle type involved, including schematic 
diagrams of the suspension system(s) and the estimated location of the 
center of gravity above top of rail;

[[Page 16106]]

    (2) The test procedure,\9\ including the load condition under which 
the testing was performed, and description of the instrumentation used 
to qualify the vehicle type, as well as the maximum values for wheel 
unloading and roll angles or accelerations that were observed during 
testing; and
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ The test procedure may be conducted whereby all the wheels 
on one side (right or left) of the vehicle are raised to the 
proposed cant deficiency, the vertical wheel loads under each wheel 
are measured, and a level is used to record the angle through which 
the floor of the vehicle has been rotated.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (3) For vehicle types not subject to part 238 or part 229 of this 
chapter, procedures or standards in effect that relate to the 
maintenance of all safety-critical components of the suspension 
system(s) for the particular vehicle type. Safety-critical components 
of the suspension system are those that impact or have significant 
influence on the roll of the carbody and the distribution of weight on 
the wheels.
    (f) In approving the request made pursuant to paragraph (e) of this 
section, FRA may impose conditions necessary for safely operating at 
the higher curving speeds. Upon FRA approval of the request, the track 
owner or railroad shall notify FRA in writing no less than 30 calendar 
days prior to the proposed implementation of the approved higher 
curving speeds allowed under the formula in paragraph (b) of this 
section. The notification shall contain, at a minimum, identification 
of the track segment(s) on which the higher curving speeds are to be 
implemented.
    (g) The documents required by this section must be provided to FRA 
by:
    (1) The track owner; or
    (2) A railroad that provides service with the same vehicle type 
over trackage of one or more track owner(s), with the written consent 
of each affected track owner.
    (h) (1) Vehicle types permitted by FRA to operate at cant 
deficiencies, Eu, greater than 3 inches but not more than 5 
inches shall be considered qualified under this section to operate at 
those permitted cant deficiencies for any Class 6 track segment. The 
track owner or railroad shall notify FRA in writing no less than 30 
calendar days prior to the proposed implementation of such curving 
speeds in accordance with paragraph (f) of this section.
    (2) Vehicle types permitted by FRA to operate at cant deficiencies, 
Eu, greater than 5 inches on Class 6 track, or greater than 
3 inches on Class 7 through 9 track, shall be considered qualified 
under this section to operate at those permitted cant deficiencies only 
for the previously operated or identified track segments(s). Operation 
of these vehicle types at such cant deficiencies and track class on any 
other track segment is permitted only in accordance with the 
qualification requirements in this subpart.
    (i) As used in this section and in Sec. Sec.  213.333 and 213.345--
    (1) Vehicle means a locomotive, as defined in Sec.  229.5 of this 
chapter; a freight car, as defined in Sec.  215.5 of this chapter; a 
passenger car, as defined in Sec.  238.5 of this chapter; and any rail 
rolling equipment used in a train with either a freight car or a 
passenger car.
    (2) Vehicle type means like vehicles with variations in their 
physical properties, such as suspension, mass, interior arrangements, 
and dimensions that do not result in significant changes to their 
dynamic characteristics.

0
17. Section 213.331 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  213.331  Track surface.

    (a) For a single deviation in track surface, each track owner shall 
maintain the surface of its track within the limits prescribed in the 
following table:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                Class of track
       Track surface (inches)        -----------------------------------
                                         6        7        8        9
------------------------------------------------------------------------
The deviation from uniform \1\              1        1    \3/4\    \1/2\
 profile on either rail at the mid-
 ordinate of a 31-foot chord may not
 be more than.......................
The deviation from uniform profile          1        1        1    \3/4\
 on either rail at the mid-ordinate
 of a 62-foot chord may not be more
 than...............................
Except as provided in paragraph (b)    1\3/4\   1\1/2\   1\1/4\        1
 of this section, the deviation from
 uniform profile on either rail at
 the mid-ordinate of a 124-foot
 chord may not be more than.........
The deviation from zero crosslevel          1        1        1        1
 at any point on tangent track may
 not be more than \2\...............
Reverse elevation on curves may not     \1/2\    \1/2\    \1/2\    \1/2\
 be more than.......................
The difference in crosslevel between   1\1/2\   1\1/2\   1\1/4\        1
 any two points less than 62 feet
 apart may not be more than \3\.....
On curved track, the difference in     1\1/4\   1\1/8\        1    \3/4\
 crosslevel between any two points
 less than 10 feet apart (short
 warp) may not be more than.........
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Uniformity for profile is established by placing the midpoint of the
  specified chord at the point of maximum measurement.
\2\ If physical conditions do not permit a spiral long enough to
  accommodate the minimum length of runoff, part of the runoff may be on
  tangent track.
\3\ However, to control harmonics on jointed track with staggered
  joints, the crosslevel differences shall not exceed 1 inch in all of
  six consecutive pairs of joints, as created by seven low joints. Track
  with joints staggered less than 10 feet apart shall not be considered
  as having staggered joints. Joints within the seven low joints outside
  of the regular joint spacing shall not be considered as joints for
  purposes of this footnote.

    (b) For operations at a qualified cant deficiency, Eu, 
of more than 5 inches, a single deviation in track surface shall be 
within the limits prescribed in the following table:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                Class of track
       Track surface (inches)        -----------------------------------
                                         6        7        8        9
------------------------------------------------------------------------
The difference in crosslevel between   1\1/4\        1     1\1\    \3/4\
 any two points less than 10 feet
 apart (short warp) may not be more
 than...............................
The deviation from uniform profile     1\1/2\   1\1/4\   1\1/4\        1
 on either rail at the mid-ordinate
 of a 124-foot chord may not be more
 than...............................
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ For curves with a qualified cant deficiency, Eu, of more than 7
  inches, the difference in crosslevel between any two points less than
  10 feet apart (short warp) may not be more than three-quarters of an
  inch.


[[Page 16107]]

    (c) For three or more non-overlapping deviations in track surface 
occurring within a distance equal to five times the specified chord 
length, each of which exceeds the limits in the following table, each 
track owner shall maintain the surface of the track within the limits 
prescribed for each deviation:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                Class of track
       Track surface (inches)        -----------------------------------
                                         6        7        8        9
------------------------------------------------------------------------
The deviation from uniform profile      \3/4\    \3/4\    \1/2\    \3/8\
 on either rail at the mid-ordinate
 of a 31-foot chord may not be more
 than...............................
The deviation from uniform profile      \3/4\    \3/4\    \3/4\    \1/2\
 on either rail at the mid-ordinate
 of a 62-foot chord may not be more
 than...............................
The deviation from uniform profile     1\1/4\        1    \7/8\    \5/8\
 on either rail at the mid-ordinate
 of a 124-foot chord may not be more
 than...............................
------------------------------------------------------------------------


0
18. Section 213.332 is added to read as follows:


Sec.  213.332  Combined track alinement and surface deviations.

    (a) This section applies to any curved track where operations are 
conducted at a qualified cant deficiency, Eu, greater than 5 
inches, and to all Class 9 track, either curved or tangent.
    (b) For the conditions defined in paragraph (a) of this section, 
the combination of alinement and surface deviations for the same chord 
length on the outside rail in a curve and on any of the two rails of a 
tangent section, as measured by a TGMS, shall comply with the following 
formula:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR13MR13.013

Where--

Am = measured alinement deviation from uniformity 
(outward is positive, inward is negative).
AL = allowable alinement limit as per Sec.  213.327(c) 
(always positive) for the class of track.
Sm = measured profile deviation from uniformity (down is 
positive, up is negative).
SL = allowable profile limit as per Sec.  213.331(a) and 
Sec.  213.331(b) (always positive) for the class of track.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR13MR13.014


0
19. Section 213.333 is amended by revising the section heading, 
paragraphs (a), (b)(1) and (2), and (c), paragraph (g) introductory 
text, paragraphs (h) through (m), and the Vehicle/Track Interaction 
Safety Limits table to read as follows:


Sec.  213.333  Automated vehicle-based inspection systems.

    (a) A qualifying Track Geometry Measurement System (TGMS) shall be 
operated at the following frequency:
    (1) For operations at a qualified cant deficiency, Eu, 
of more than 5 inches on track Classes 1 through 5, at least twice per 
calendar year with not less than 120 days between inspections.
    (2) For track Class 6, at least once per calendar year with not 
less than 170 days between inspections. For operations at a qualified 
cant deficiency, Eu, of more than 5 inches on track Class 6, 
at least twice per calendar year with not less than 120 days between 
inspections.
    (3) For track Class 7, at least twice within any 120-day period 
with not less than 25 days between inspections.
    (4) For track Classes 8 and 9, at least twice within any 60-day 
period with not less than 12 days between inspections.
    (b) * * *
    (1) Track geometry measurements shall be taken no more than 3 feet 
away from the contact point of wheels carrying a vertical load of no 
less than 10 kips per wheel, unless otherwise approved by FRA;
    (2) Track geometry measurements shall be taken and recorded on a 
distance-based sampling interval preferably at 1 foot not exceeding 2 
feet; and
* * * * *
    (c) A qualifying TGMS shall be capable of measuring and processing 
the necessary track geometry parameters to determine compliance with--
    (1) For operations at a qualified cant deficiency, Eu, 
of more than 5 inches on track Classes 1 through 5: Sec.  213.53, Track 
gage; Sec.  213.55(b), Track alinement; Sec.  213.57, Curves; elevation 
and speed limitations; Sec.  213.63, Track surface; and Sec.  213.65, 
Combined track alinement and surface deviations.
    (2) For track Classes 6 through 9: Sec.  213.323, Track gage; Sec.  
213.327, Track alinement; Sec.  213.329, Curves; elevation and speed 
limitations; Sec.  213.331, Track surface; and for operations at a cant 
deficiency of more than 5 inches Sec.  213.332, Combined track 
alinement and surface deviations.
* * * * *
    (g) The track owner or railroad shall maintain for a period of one 
year following an inspection performed by a qualifying TGMS, a copy of 
the plot and the exception report for the track segment involved, and 
additional records which:
* * * * *
    (h) For track Classes 8 and 9, a qualifying Gage Restraint 
Measurement System (GRMS) shall be operated at least once per calendar 
year with at least 170 days between inspections. The lateral capacity 
of the track structure shall not permit a Gage Widening Projection 
(GWP) greater than 0.5 inch.
    (i) A GRMS shall meet or exceed minimum design requirements 
specifying that--
    (1) Gage restraint shall be measured between the heads of the rail:
    (i) At an interval not exceeding 16 inches;
    (ii) Under an applied vertical load of no less than 10 kips per 
rail; and
    (iii) Under an applied lateral load that provides a lateral/
vertical load ratio of between 0.5 and 1.25,\10\ and a load severity 
greater than 3 kips but less than 8 kips per rail. Load severity is 
defined by the formula:

    \10\ GRMS equipment using load combinations developing L/V 
ratios that exceed 0.8 shall be operated with caution to protect 
against the risk of wheel climb by the test wheelset.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

S = L-cV

Where--


[[Page 16108]]


S = Load severity, defined as the lateral load applied to the 
fastener system (kips).
L = Actual lateral load applied (kips).
c = Coefficient of friction between rail/tie, which is assigned a 
nominal value of 0.4.
V = Actual vertical load applied (kips), or static vertical wheel 
load if vertical load is not measured.

    (2) The measured gage and load values shall be converted to a GWP 
as follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR13MR13.015


Where--

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.
L = Actual lateral load applied (kips).
V = Actual vertical load applied (kips), or static vertical wheel 
load if vertical load is not measured.
GWP = Gage Widening Projection, which means the measured gage 
widening, which is the difference between loaded and unloaded gage, 
at the applied loads, projected to reference loads of 16 kips of 
lateral force and 33 kips of vertical force.

    (j) As further specified for the combination of track class, cant 
deficiencies, and vehicles subject to paragraphs (j)(1) through (3) of 
this section, a vehicle having dynamic response characteristics that 
are representative of other vehicles assigned to the service shall be 
operated over the route at the revenue speed profile. The vehicle shall 
either be instrumented or equipped with a portable device that monitors 
onboard instrumentation on trains. Track personnel shall be notified 
when onboard accelerometers indicate a possible track-related problem. 
Testing shall be conducted at the frequencies specified in paragraphs 
(j)(1) through (3) of this section, unless otherwise determined by FRA 
after reviewing the test data required by this subpart.
    (1) For operations at a qualified cant deficiency, Eu, 
of more than 5 inches on track Classes 1 through 6, carbody 
acceleration shall be monitored at least once each calendar quarter 
with not less than 25 days between inspections on at least one 
passenger car of each type that is assigned to the service; and
    (2) For operations at track Class 7 speeds, carbody and truck 
accelerations shall be monitored at least twice within any 60-day 
period with not less than 12 days between inspections on at least one 
passenger car of each type that is assigned to the service; and
    (3) For operations at track Class 8 or 9 speeds, carbody 
acceleration shall be monitored at least four times within any 7-day 
period with not more than 3 days between inspections on at least one 
non-passenger and one passenger carrying vehicle of each type that is 
assigned to the service, as appropriate. Truck acceleration shall be 
monitored at least twice within any 60-day period with not less than 12 
days between inspections on at least one passenger carrying vehicle of 
each type that is assigned to the service, as appropriate.
    (k)(1) The instrumented vehicle or the portable device, as required 
in paragraph (j) of this section, shall monitor lateral and vertical 
accelerations of the carbody. The accelerometers shall be attached to 
the carbody on or under the floor of the vehicle, as near the center of 
a truck as practicable.
    (2) In addition, a device for measuring lateral accelerations shall 
be mounted on a truck frame at a longitudinal location as close as 
practicable to an axle's centerline (either outside axle for trucks 
containing more than 2 axles), or, if approved by FRA, at an alternate 
location. After monitoring this data for 2 years, or 1 million miles, 
whichever occurs first, the track owner or railroad may petition FRA 
for exemption from this requirement.
    (3) If any of the carbody lateral, carbody vertical, or truck frame 
lateral acceleration safety limits in this section's table of vehicle/
track interaction safety limits is exceeded, corrective action shall be 
taken as necessary. Track personnel shall be notified when the 
accelerometers indicate a possible track-related problem.
    (l) For track Classes 8 and 9, the track owner or railroad shall 
submit a report to FRA, once each calendar year, which provides an 
analysis of the monitoring data collected in accordance with paragraphs 
(j) and (k) of this section. Based on a review of the report, FRA may 
require that an instrumented vehicle having dynamic response 
characteristics that are representative of other vehicles assigned to 
the service be operated over the track at the revenue speed profile. 
The instrumented vehicle shall be equipped to measure wheel/rail 
forces. If any of the wheel/rail force limits in this section's table 
of vehicle/track interaction safety limits is exceeded, appropriate 
speed restrictions shall be applied until corrective action is taken.
    (m) The track owner or railroad shall maintain a copy of the most 
recent exception records for the inspections required under paragraphs 
(j), (k), and (l) of this section, as appropriate.
4910-06-P

[[Page 16109]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR13MR13.016


[[Page 16110]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR13MR13.017


[[Page 16111]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR13MR13.018

BILLING CODE 4910-06-C

0
20. Section 213.345 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  213.345  Vehicle/track system qualification.

    (a) General. All vehicle types intended to operate at track Class 6 
speeds or above, or at any curving speed producing more than 5 inches 
of cant deficiency, shall be qualified for operation for their intended 
track classes in accordance with this subpart. A qualification program 
shall be used to demonstrate that the vehicle/track system will not 
exceed the wheel/rail force safety limits and the carbody and truck 
acceleration criteria specified in Sec.  213.333--
    (1) At any speed up to and including 5 m.p.h. above the proposed 
maximum operating speed; and
    (2) On track meeting the requirements for the class of track 
associated with the proposed maximum operating speed. For purposes of 
qualification testing, speeds may exceed the maximum allowable 
operating speed for the class of track in accordance with the test plan 
approved by FRA.
    (b) Existing vehicle type qualification. Vehicle types previously 
qualified or permitted to operate at track Class 6 speeds or above or 
at any curving speeds producing more than 5 inches of cant deficiency 
prior to March 13, 2013, shall be considered as being successfully 
qualified under the requirements of this section for operation at the 
previously operated speeds and cant deficiencies over the previously 
operated track segment(s).
    (c) New vehicle type qualification. Vehicle types not previously 
qualified under this subpart shall be qualified in accordance with the 
requirements of this paragraph (c).
    (1) Simulations or measurement of wheel/rail forces. For vehicle 
types intended to operate at track Class 6 speeds, simulations or 
measurement of wheel/rail forces during qualification testing shall 
demonstrate that the vehicle type will not exceed the wheel/rail force 
safety limits specified in Sec.  213.333. Simulations, if conducted, 
shall be in accordance with paragraph (c)(2) of this section. 
Measurement of wheel/rail forces, if conducted, shall be performed over 
a representative segment of the full route on which the vehicle type is 
intended to operate.
    (2) Simulations. For vehicle types intended to operate at track 
Class 7 speeds or above, or at any curving speed producing more than 6 
inches of cant deficiency, analysis of vehicle/track performance 
(computer simulations) shall be conducted using an industry recognized 
methodology on:
    (i) An analytically defined track segment representative of 
minimally compliant track conditions (MCAT--Minimally Compliant 
Analytical Track) for the respective track class(es) as specified in 
appendix D to this part; and
    (ii) A track segment representative of the full route on which the 
vehicle type is intended to operate. Both simulations and physical 
examinations of the route's track geometry shall be used to determine a 
track segment representative of the route.
    (3) Carbody acceleration. For vehicle types intended to operate at 
track Class 6 speeds or above, or at any curving speed producing more 
than 5 inches of cant deficiency, qualification testing conducted over 
a representative segment of the route shall demonstrate that the 
vehicle type will not exceed the carbody lateral and vertical 
acceleration safety limits specified in Sec.  213.333.
    (4) Truck lateral acceleration. For vehicle types intended to 
operate at track Class 6 speeds or above, qualification testing 
conducted over a representative segment of the route shall demonstrate 
that the vehicle type will not exceed the truck lateral acceleration 
safety limit specified in Sec.  213.333.
    (5) Measurement of wheel/rail forces. For vehicle types intended to 
operate at track Class 7 speeds or above, or at any curving speed 
producing more than 6 inches of cant deficiency, qualification testing 
conducted over a representative segment of the route shall demonstrate 
that the vehicle type will not exceed the wheel/rail force safety 
limits specified in Sec.  213.333.
    (d) Previously qualified vehicle types. Vehicle types previously 
qualified under this subpart for a track class and cant deficiency on 
one route may be qualified for operation at the same class and cant 
deficiency on another route through analysis or testing, or both, to 
demonstrate compliance with paragraph (a) of this section in accordance 
with the following:
    (1) Simulations or measurement of wheel/rail forces. For vehicle 
types intended to operate at any curving speed producing more than 6 
inches of cant deficiency, or at curving speeds that both correspond to 
track Class 7 speeds or above and produce more than 5 inches of cant 
deficiency, simulations or measurement of wheel/rail forces during 
qualification testing shall demonstrate that the vehicle type will not 
exceed the wheel/rail force safety limits specified in Sec.  213.333. 
Simulations, if conducted, shall be in accordance with paragraph (c)(2) 
of this section. Measurement of wheel/rail forces, if conducted, shall 
be performed over a representative segment of the new route.
    (2) Carbody acceleration. For vehicle types intended to operate at 
any curving speed producing more than 5 inches of cant deficiency, or 
at track Class 7 speeds and above, qualification testing conducted over 
a representative segment of the new route shall demonstrate that the 
vehicle type will not exceed the carbody lateral and vertical 
acceleration safety limits specified in Sec.  213.333.
    (3) Truck lateral acceleration. For vehicle types intended to 
operate at track Class 7 speeds or above, measurement of truck lateral 
acceleration during qualification testing shall demonstrate that the 
vehicle type will not exceed the truck lateral acceleration safety 
limits specified in

[[Page 16112]]

Sec.  213.333. Measurement of truck lateral acceleration, if conducted, 
shall be performed over a representative segment of the new route.
    (e) Qualification testing plan. To obtain the data required to 
support the qualification program outlined in paragraphs (c) and (d) of 
this section, the track owner or railroad shall submit a qualification 
testing plan to FRA's Associate Administrator for Railroad Safety/Chief 
Safety Officer (FRA) at least 60 days prior to testing, requesting 
approval to conduct the testing at the desired speeds and cant 
deficiencies. This test plan shall provide for a test program 
sufficient to evaluate the operating limits of the track and vehicle 
type and shall include:
    (1) Identification of the representative segment of the route for 
qualification testing;
    (2) Consideration of the operating environment during qualification 
testing, including operating practices and conditions, the signal 
system, highway-rail grade crossings, and trains on adjacent tracks;
    (3) The maximum angle found on the gage face of the designed 
(newly-profiled) wheel flange referenced with respect to the axis of 
the wheelset that will be used for the determination of the Single 
Wheel L/V Ratio safety limit specified in Sec.  213.333;
    (4) A target maximum testing speed in accordance with paragraph (a) 
of this section and the maximum testing cant deficiency;
    (5) An analysis and description of the signal system and operating 
practices to govern operations in track Classes 7 through 9, which 
shall include a statement of sufficiency in these areas for the class 
of operation; and
    (6) The results of vehicle/track performance simulations that are 
required by this section.
    (f) Qualification testing. Upon FRA approval of the qualification 
testing plan, qualification testing shall be conducted in two 
sequential stages as required in this subpart.
    (1) Stage-one testing shall include demonstration of acceptable 
vehicle dynamic response of the subject vehicle as speeds are 
incrementally increased--
    (i) On a segment of tangent track, from acceptable track Class 5 
speeds to the target maximum test speed (when the target speed 
corresponds to track Class 6 and above operations); and
    (ii) On a segment of curved track, from the speeds corresponding to 
3 inches of cant deficiency to the maximum testing cant deficiency.
    (2) When stage-one testing has successfully demonstrated a maximum 
safe operating speed and cant deficiency, stage-two testing shall 
commence with the subject equipment over a representative segment of 
the route as identified in paragraph (e)(1) of this section.
    (i) A test run shall be conducted over the route segment at the 
speed the railroad will request FRA to approve for such service.
    (ii) An additional test run shall be conducted at 5 m.p.h. above 
this speed.
    (3) When conducting stage-one and stage-two testing, if any of the 
monitored safety limits is exceeded on any segment of track intended 
for operation at track Class 6 speeds or greater, or on any segment of 
track intended for operation at more than 5 inches of cant deficiency, 
testing may continue provided that the track location(s) where any of 
the limits is exceeded be identified and test speeds be limited at the 
track location(s) until corrective action is taken. Corrective action 
may include making an adjustment in the track, in the vehicle, or both 
of these system components. Measurements taken on track segments 
intended for operations below track Class 6 speeds and at 5 inches of 
cant deficiency, or less, are not required to be reported.
    (4) Prior to the start of the qualification testing program, a 
qualifying TGMS specified in Sec.  213.333 shall be operated over the 
intended route within 30 calendar days prior to the start of the 
qualification testing program.
    (g) Qualification testing results. The track owner or railroad 
shall submit a report to FRA detailing all the results of the 
qualification program. When simulations are required as part of vehicle 
qualification, this report shall include a comparison of simulation 
predictions to the actual wheel/rail force or acceleration data, or 
both, recorded during full-scale testing. The report shall be submitted 
at least 60 days prior to the intended operation of the equipment in 
revenue service over the route.
    (h) Based on the test results and all other required submissions, 
FRA will approve a maximum train speed and value of cant deficiency for 
revenue service, normally within 45 days of receipt of all the required 
information. FRA may impose conditions necessary for safely operating 
at the maximum approved train speed and cant deficiency.
    (i) The documents required by this section must be provided to FRA 
by:
    (1) The track owner; or
    (2) A railroad that provides service with the same vehicle type 
over trackage of one or more track owner(s), with the written consent 
of each affected track owner.

0
21. Section 213.355 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  213.355  Frog guard rails and guard faces; gage.

    The guard check and guard face gages in frogs shall be within the 
limits prescribed in the following table--

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                           Guard check gage               Guard face gage
                                                   -------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    The distance between the gage
                                                     line of a frog to the guard
                                                    line \1\ of its guard rail or    The distance between guard
                  Class of track                       guarding face, measured     lines,\1\ measured across the
                                                      across the track at right     track at right angles to the
                                                     angles to the gage line,\2\   gage line,\2\ may not be more
                                                        may not be less than--                 than--
 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Class 6, 7, 8 and 9 track.........................                    4'6\1/2\''                          4'5''
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ A line along that side of the flangeway which is nearer to the center of the track and at the same elevation
  as the gage line.
\2\ A line five-eighths of an inch below the top of the center line of the head of the running rail, or
  corresponding location of the tread portion of the track structure.


[[Page 16113]]


0
22. Appendix A to part 213 is revised to read as follows:

Appendix A to Part 213--Maximum Allowable Curving Speeds

    This appendix contains four tables identifying maximum allowing 
curving speeds based on 3, 4, 5, and 6 inches of unbalance (cant 
deficiency), respectively.

                                                             Table 1--Three Inches Unbalance
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                               Elevation of outer rail (inches)
                                    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        0      \1/2\      1      1\1/2\     2      2\1/2\     3      3\1/2\     4      4\1/2\     5      5\1/2\     6
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Degree of curvature                                                       Maximum allowable operating speed (m.p.h.)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
0[deg]30'..........................       93      100      107      113      120      125      131      136      141      146      151      156      160
0[deg]40'..........................       80       87       93       98      104      109      113      118      122      127      131      135      139
0[deg]50'..........................       72       77       83       88       93       97      101      106      110      113      117      121      124
1[deg]00'..........................       65       71       76       80       85       89       93       96      100      104      107      110      113
1[deg]15'..........................       59       63       68       72       76       79       83       86       89       93       96       99      101
1[deg]30'..........................       53       58       62       65       69       72       76       79       82       85       87       90       93
1[deg]45'..........................       49       53       57       61       64       67       70       73       76       78       81       83       86
2[deg]00'..........................       46       50       53       57       60       63       65       68       71       73       76       78       80
2[deg]15'..........................       44       47       50       53       56       59       62       64       67       69       71       73       76
2[deg]30'..........................       41       45       48       51       53       56       59       61       63       65       68       70       72
2[deg]45'..........................       39       43       46       48       51       53       56       58       60       62       64       66       68
3[deg]00'..........................       38       41       44       46       49       51       53       56       58       60       62       64       65
3[deg]15'..........................       36       39       42       44       47       49       51       53       55       57       59       61       63
3[deg]30'..........................       35       38       40       43       45       47       49       52       53       55       57       59       61
3[deg]45'..........................       34       37       39       41       44       46       48       50       52       53       55       57       59
4[deg]00'..........................       33       35       38       40       42       44       46       48       50       52       53       55       57
4[deg]30'..........................       31       33       36       38       40       42       44       45       47       49       50       52       53
5[deg]00'..........................       29       32       34       36       38       40       41       43       45       46       48       49       51
5[deg]30'..........................       28       30       32       34       36       38       39       41       43       44       46       47       48
6[deg]00'..........................       27       29       31       33       35       36       38       39       41       42       44       45       46
6[deg]30'..........................       26       28       30       31       33       35       36       38       39       41       42       43       44
7[deg]00'..........................       25       27       29       30       32       34       35       36       38       39       40       42       43
8[deg]00'..........................       23       25       27       28       30       31       33       34       35       37       38       39       40
9[deg]00'..........................       22       24       25       27       28       30       31       32       33       35       36       37       38
10[deg]00'.........................       21       22       24       25       27       28       29       30       32       33       34       35       36
11[deg]00'.........................       20       21       23       24       25       27       28       29       30       31       32       33       34
12[deg]00'.........................       19       20       22       23       24       26       27       28       29       30       31       32       33
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                                                             Table 2--Four Inches Unbalance
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                               Elevation of outer rail (inches)
                                    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        0      \1/2\      1      1\1/2\     2      2\1/2\     3      3\1/2\     4      4\1/2\     5      5\1/2\     6
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Degree of curvature                                                       Maximum allowable operating speed (m.p.h.)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
0[deg]30'..........................      107      113      120      125      131      136      141      146      151      156      160      165      169
0[deg]40'..........................       93       98      104      109      113      118      122      127      131      135      139      143      146
0[deg]50'..........................       83       88       93       97      101      106      110      113      117      121      124      128      131
1[deg]00'..........................       76       80       85       89       93       96      100      104      107      110      113      116      120
1[deg]15'..........................       68       72       76       79       83       86       89       93       96       99      101      104      107
1[deg]30'..........................       62       65       69       72       76       79       82       85       87       90       93       95       98
1[deg]45'..........................       57       61       64       67       70       73       76       78       81       83       86       88       90
2[deg]00'..........................       53       57       60       63       65       68       71       73       76       78       80       82       85
2[deg]15'..........................       50       53       56       59       62       64       67       69       71       73       76       78       80
2[deg]30'..........................       48       51       53       56       59       61       63       65       68       70       72       74       76
2[deg]45'..........................       46       48       51       53       56       58       60       62       64       66       68       70       72
3[deg]00'..........................       44       46       49       51       53       56       58       60       62       64       65       67       69
3[deg]15'..........................       42       44       47       49       51       53       55       57       59       61       63       65       66
3[deg]30'..........................       40       43       45       47       49       52       53       55       57       59       61       62       64
3[deg]45'..........................       39       41       44       46       48       50       52       53       55       57       59       60       62
4[deg]00'..........................       38       40       42       44       46       48       50       52       53       55       57       58       60
4[deg]30'..........................       36       38       40       42       44       45       47       49       50       52       53       55       56
5[deg]00'..........................       34       36       38       40       41       43       45       46       48       49       51       52       53
5[deg]30'..........................       32       34       36       38       39       41       43       44       46       47       48       50       51
6[deg]00'..........................       31       33       35       36       38       39       41       42       44       45       46       48       49
6[deg]30'..........................       30       31       33       35       36       38       39       41       42       43       44       46       47
7[deg]00'..........................       29       30       32       34       35       36       38       39       40       42       43       44       45
8[deg]00'..........................       27       28       30       31       33       34       35       37       38       39       40       41       42
9[deg]00'..........................       25       27       28       30       31       32       33       35       36       37       38       39       40

[[Page 16114]]

 
10[deg]00'.........................       24       25       27       28       29       30       32       33       34       35       36       37       38
11[deg]00'.........................       23       24       25       27       28       29       30       31       32       33       34       35       36
12[deg]00'.........................       22       23       24       26       27       28       29       30       31       32       33       34       35
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                                                             Table 3--Five Inches Unbalance
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                               Elevation of outer rail (inches)
                                    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        0      \1/2\      1      1\1/2\     2      2\1/2\     3      3\1/2\     4      4\1/2\     5      5\1/2\     6
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Degree of curvature                                                       Maximum allowable operating speed (m.p.h.)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
0[deg]30'..........................      120      125      131      136      141      146      151      156      160      165      169      173      177
0[deg]40'..........................      104      109      113      118      122      127      131      135      139      143      146      150      150
0[deg]50'..........................       93       97      101      106      110      113      117      121      124      128      131      134      137
1[deg]00'..........................       85       89       93       96      100      104      107      110      113      116      120      122      125
1[deg]15'..........................       76       79       83       86       89       93       96       99      101      104      107      110      112
1[deg]30'..........................       69       72       76       79       82       85       87       90       93       95       98      100      102
1[deg]45'..........................       64       67       70       73       76       78       81       83       86       88       90       93       95
2[deg]00'..........................       60       63       65       68       71       73       76       78       80       82       85       87       89
2[deg]15'..........................       56       59       62       64       67       69       71       73       76       78       80       82       84
2[deg]30'..........................       53       56       59       61       63       65       68       70       72       74       76       77       79
2[deg]45'..........................       51       53       56       58       60       62       64       66       68       70       72       74       76
3[deg]00'..........................       49       51       53       56       58       60       62       64       65       67       69       71       72
3[deg]15'..........................       47       49       51       53       55       57       59       61       63       65       66       68       70
3[deg]30'..........................       45       47       49       52       53       55       57       59       61       62       64       65       67
3[deg]45'..........................       44       46       48       50       52       53       55       57       59       60       62       63       65
4[deg]00'..........................       42       44       46       48       50       52       53       55       57       58       60       61       63
4[deg]30'..........................       40       42       44       45       47       49       50       52       53       55       56       58       59
5[deg]00'..........................       38       40       41       43       45       46       48       49       51       52       53       55       56
5[deg]30'..........................       36       38       39       41       43       44       46       47       48       50       51       52       53
6[deg]00'..........................       35       36       38       39       41       42       44       45       46       48       49       50       51
6[deg]30'..........................       33       35       36       38       39       41       42       43       44       46       47       48       49
7[deg]00'..........................       32       34       35       36       38       39       40       42       43       44       45       46       47
8[deg]00'..........................       30       31       33       34       35       37       38       39       40       41       42       43       44
9[deg]00'..........................       28       30       31       32       33       35       36       37       38       39       40       41       42
10[deg]00'.........................       27       28       29       30       32       33       34       35       36       37       38       39       40
11[deg]00'.........................       25       27       28       29       30       31       32       33       34       35       36       37       38
12[deg]00'.........................       24       26       27       28       29       30       31       32       33       34       35       35       36
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                                                              Table 4--Six Inches Unbalance
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                               Elevation of outer rail (inches)
                                    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        0      \1/2\      1      1\1/2\     2      2\1/2\     3      3\1/2\     4      4\1/2\     5      5\1/2\     6
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Degree of curvature                                                       Maximum allowable operating speed (m.p.h.)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
0[deg]30'..........................      131      136      141      146      151      156      160      165      169      173      177      181      185
0[deg]40'..........................      113      118      122      127      131      135      139      143      146      150      154      157      160
0[deg]50'..........................      101      106      110      113      117      121      124      128      131      134      137      140      143
1[deg]00'..........................       93       96      100      104      107      110      113      116      120      122      125      128      131
1[deg]15'..........................       83       86       89       93       96       99      101      104      107      110      112      115      117
1[deg]30'..........................       76       79       82       85       87       90       93       95       98      100      102      105      107
1[deg]45'..........................       70       73       76       78       81       83       86       88       90       93       95       97       99
2[deg]00'..........................       65       68       71       73       76       78       80       82       85       87       89       91       93
2[deg]15'..........................       62       64       67       69       71       73       76       78       80       82       84       85       87
2[deg]30'..........................       59       61       63       65       68       70       72       74       76       77       79       81       83
2[deg]45'..........................       56       58       60       62       64       66       68       70       72       74       76       77       79
3[deg]00'..........................       53       56       58       60       62       64       65       67       69       71       72       74       76
3[deg]15'..........................       51       53       55       57       59       61       63       65       66       68       70       71       73
3[deg]30'..........................       49       52       53       55       57       59       61       62       64       65       67       69       70
3[deg]45'..........................       48       50       52       53       55       57       59       60       62       63       65       66       68
4[deg]00'..........................       46       48       50       52       53       55       57       58       60       61       63       64       65

[[Page 16115]]

 
4[deg]30'..........................       44       45       47       49       50       52       53       55       56       58       59       60       62
5[deg]00'..........................       41       43       45       46       48       49       51       52       53       55       56       57       59
5[deg]30'..........................       39       41       43       44       46       47       48       50       51       52       53       55       56
6[deg]00'..........................       38       39       41       42       44       45       46       48       49       50       51       52       53
6[deg]30'..........................       36       38       39       41       42       43       44       46       47       48       49       50       51
7[deg]00'..........................       35       36       38       39       40       42       43       44       45       46       47       48       49
8[deg]00'..........................       33       34       35       37       38       39       40       41       42       43       44       45       46
9[deg]00'..........................       31       32       33       35       36       37       38       39       40       41       42       43       44
10[deg]00'.........................       29       30       32       33       34       35       36       37       38       39       40       41       41
11[deg]00'.........................       28       29       30       31       32       33       34       35       36       37       38       39       39
12[deg]00'.........................       27       28       29       30       31       32       33       34       35       35       36       37       38
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


0
23. Amend appendix B to part 213:
0
a. Under subpart C by removing the entry for Sec.  13.55 and adding 
entries for Sec. Sec.  213.55 and 213.65 in numerical order;
0
b. By revising the subpart D heading and under it revising the entries 
for Sec. Sec.  213.109 and 213.127, and adding the entry for Sec.  
213.110 in numerical order;
0
c. By adding the entry for Sec.  213.234 in numerical order under 
subpart F;
0
d. By revising the subpart G heading and under it revising the entries 
for Sec. Sec.  213.307, 213.327, 213.329, 213.333, and 213.345, and 
adding the entry for Sec.  213.332 in numerical order.
    The revisions and additions read as follows:

Appendix B to Part 213--Schedule of Civil Penalties

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              Willful
                 Section                     Violation     violation \1\
------------------------------------------------------------------------
SUBPART C--TRACK GEOMETRY:
 
                              * * * * * * *
    213.55 Track alinement..............           5,000           7,500
 
                              * * * * * * *
    213.65 Combined track alinement and            5,000           7,500
     surface deviations.................
 
SUBPART D--TRACK STRUCTURE:
 
                              * * * * * * *
    213.109 Crossties
        (a) Material used...............           1,000           2,000
        (b) Distribution of ties........           2,500           5,000
        (c) and (d) Sufficient number of           1,000           2,000
         non-defective ties.............
        (e) Joint ties..................           2,500           5,000
        (f) Track constructed without              2,500           5,000
         crossties......................
    213.110 Gage restraint measurement             5,000           7,500
     systems............................
 
                              * * * * * * *
    213.127 Rail Fastening Systems......           2,500           5,000
 
                              * * * * * * *
SUBPART F--INSPECTION:
 
                              * * * * * * *
    213.234 Automated inspection of                5,000           7,500
     track constructed with concrete
     crossties..........................
 
                              * * * * * * *
SUBPART G--TRAIN OPERATIONS AT TRACK
 CLASSES 6 AND HIGHER:
 
                              * * * * * * *
    213.307 Classes of track: operating            2,500           5,000
     speed limits.......................
 
                              * * * * * * *
    213.327 Track alinement.............           5,000           7,500
    213.329 Curves; elevation and speed            2,500           5,000
     limits.............................
 
                              * * * * * * *
    213.332 Combined track alinement and           5,000           7,500
     surface deviations.................
    213.333 Automated vehicle-based                5,000           7,500
     inspection systems.................
 

[[Page 16116]]

 
                              * * * * * * *
213.345 Vehicle/track system
 qualification:
        (a) through (d).................           5,000           7,500
        (e) through (i).................           2,500           5,000
 
                             * * * * * * *
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ A penalty may be assessed against an individual only for a willful
  violation. The Administrator reserves the right to assess a penalty of
  up to $105,000 for any violation where circumstances warrant. See 49
  CFR part 209, appendix A.


0
24. Appendix C to part 213 is added and reserved.

0
25. Appendix D to part 213 is added to read as follows:

Appendix D to Part 213--Minimally Compliant Analytical Track (MCAT) 
Simulations Used for Qualifying Vehicles To Operate at High Speeds and 
at High Cant Deficiencies

    1. This appendix contains requirements for using computer 
simulations to comply with the vehicle/track system qualification 
testing requirements specified in subpart G of this part. These 
simulations shall be performed using a track model containing 
defined geometry perturbations at the limits that are permitted for 
a specific class of track and level of cant deficiency. This track 
model is known as MCAT, Minimally Compliant Analytical Track. These 
simulations shall be used to identify vehicle dynamic performance 
issues prior to service or, as appropriate, a change in service, and 
demonstrate that a vehicle type is suitable for operation on the 
track over which it is intended to operate.
    2. As specified in Sec.  213.345(c)(2), MCAT shall be used for 
the qualification of new vehicle types intended to operate at track 
Class 7 speeds or above, or at any curving speed producing more than 
6 inches of cant deficiency. MCAT may also be used for the 
qualification of new vehicle types intended to operate at speeds 
corresponding to Class 6 track, as specified in Sec.  213.345(c)(1). 
In addition, as specified in Sec.  213.345(d)(1), MCAT may be used 
to qualify on new routes vehicle types that have previously been 
qualified on other routes and are intended to operate at any curving 
speed producing more than 6 inches of cant deficiency, or at curving 
speeds that both correspond to track Class 7 speeds or above and 
produce more than 5 inches of cant deficiency.
    (a) Validation. To validate the vehicle model used for 
simulations under this part, the track owner or railroad shall 
obtain vehicle simulation predictions using measured track geometry 
data, chosen from the same track section over which testing shall be 
performed as specified in Sec.  213.345(c)(2)(ii). These predictions 
shall be submitted to FRA in support of the request for approval of 
the qualification testing plan. Full validation of the vehicle model 
used for simulations under this part shall be determined when the 
results of the simulations demonstrate that they replicate all key 
responses observed during qualification testing.
    (b) MCAT layout. MCAT consists of nine segments, each designed 
to test a vehicle's performance in response to a specific type of 
track perturbation. The basic layout of MCAT is shown in figure 1 of 
this appendix, by type of track (curving or tangent), class of 
track, and cant deficiency (CD). The values for wavelength, 
[lambda], amplitude of perturbation, a, and segment length, d, are 
specified in this appendix. The bars at the top of figure 1 show 
which segments are required depending on the speed and degree of 
curvature. For example, the hunting perturbation section is not 
required for simulation of curves greater than or equal to 1 degree.

[[Page 16117]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR13MR13.019

    (1) MCAT segments. MCAT's nine segments contain different types 
of track deviations in which the shape of each deviation is a 
versine having wavelength and amplitude varied for each simulation 
speed as further specified. The nine MCAT segments are defined as 
follows:
    (i) Hunting perturbation (a1): This segment contains 
an alinement deviation having a wavelength, [lambda], of 10 feet and 
amplitude of 0.25 inch on both rails to test vehicle stability on 
tangent track and on track that is curved less than 1 degree.
    (ii) Gage narrowing (a2): This segment contains an 
alinement deviation on one rail to reduce the gage from the nominal 
value to the minimum permissible gage or maximum alinement 
(whichever comes first).
    (iii) Gage widening (a3): This segment contains an 
alinement deviation on one rail to increase the gage from the 
nominal value to the maximum permissible gage or maximum alinement 
(whichever comes first).
    (iv) Repeated surface (a9): This segment contains 
three consecutive maximum permissible profile variations on each 
rail.
    (v) Repeated alinement (a4): This segment contains 
two consecutive maximum permissible alinement variations on each 
rail.
    (vi) Single surface (a10, a11): This 
segment contains a maximum permissible profile variation on one 
rail. If the maximum permissible profile variation alone produces a 
condition which exceeds the maximum allowed warp condition, a second 
profile variation is also placed on the opposite rail to limit the 
warp to the maximum permissible value.
    (vii) Single alinement (a5, a6): This 
segment contains a maximum permissible alinement variation on one 
rail. If the maximum permissible alinement variation alone produces 
a condition which exceeds the maximum allowed gage condition, a 
second alinement variation is also placed on the opposite rail to 
limit the gage to the maximum permissible value.
    (viii) Short warp (a12): This segment contains a pair 
of profile deviations to produce a maximum permissible 10-foot warp 
perturbation. The first is on the outside rail, and the second 
follows 10 feet farther on the inside rail. Each deviation has a 
wavelength, [lambda], of 20 feet and variable amplitude for each 
simulation speed as described below. This segment is to be used only 
on curved track simulations.
    (ix) Combined perturbation (a7, a8, 
a13): This segment contains a maximum permissible down 
and out combined geometry condition on the outside rail in the body 
of the curve. If the maximum permissible variations produce a 
condition which exceeds the maximum allowed gage condition, a second 
variation is also placed on the opposite rail as for the MCAT 
segments described in paragraphs (b)(1)(vi) and (vii) of this 
appendix. This segment is to be used for all simulations on Class 9 
track, and only for curved track simulations at speeds producing 
more than 5 inches of cant deficiency on track Classes 6 through 8, 
and at speeds producing more than 6 inches of cant deficiency on 
track Classes 1 through 5.
    (2) Segment lengths: Each MCAT segment shall be long enough to 
allow the vehicle's response to the track deviation(s) to damp out. 
Each segment shall also have a minimum length as specified in table 
1 of this appendix, which references the distances in figure 1 of 
this appendix. For curved track segments, the perturbations shall be 
placed far enough in the body of the curve to allow for any spiral 
effects to damp out.

                                           Table 1 of Appendix D to Part 213 Minimum Lengths of MCAT Segments
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Distances (ft)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                   d1                          d2            d3            d4            d5            d6            d7            d8            d9
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1000....................................         1000          1000          1500          1000          1000          1000          1000          1000
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 16118]]

    (3) Degree of curvature.
    (i) For each simulation involving assessment of curving 
performance, the degree of curvature, D, which generates a particular 
level of cant deficiency, Eu, for a given speed, V, shall be 
calculated using the following equation, which assumes a curve with 6 
inches of superelevation:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR13MR13.020

Where--

D = Degree of curvature (degrees).
V = Simulation speed (m.p.h.).
Eu = Cant deficiency (inches).

    (ii) Table 2 of this appendix depicts the degree of curvature for 
use in MCAT simulations of both passenger and freight equipment 
performance on Class 2 through 9 track, based on the equation in 
paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this appendix. The degree of curvature for use 
in MCAT simulations of equipment performance on Class 1 track is not 
depicted; it would be based on the same equation using an appropriate 
superelevation. The degree of curvature for use in MCAT simulations of 
freight equipment performance on Class 6 (freight) track is shown in 
italics for cant deficiencies not exceeding 6 inches, to emphasize that 
the values apply to freight equipment only.
BILLING CODE 4910-06-P

[[Page 16119]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR13MR13.021

BILLING CODE 4910-06-C
    (c) Required simulations.
    (1) To develop a comprehensive assessment of vehicle performance, 
simulations shall be performed for a variety of scenarios using MCAT. 
These simulations shall be performed on tangent or curved track, or 
both, depending on the level of cant deficiency and speed (track class) 
as summarized in table 3 of this appendix.

[[Page 16120]]



      Table 3 of Appendix D to Part 213 Summary of Required Vehicle
                Performance Assessment Using Simulations
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    Previously qualified
                                New vehicle types       vehicle types
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Curved track: cant            Curving performance   Curving performance
 deficiency <= 6 inches.       simulation: not       simulation: not
                               required for track    required for track
                               Classes 1 through     Classes 1 through
                               5; optional for       6; optional for
                               track Class 6;        track Classes 7
                               required for track    through 9 for cant
                               Classes 7 through 9.  deficiency > 5
                                                     inches.
Curved track: cant            Curving performance   Curving performance
 deficiency > 6 inches.        simulation required   simulation optional
                               for all track         for all track
                               classes.              classes.
Tangent track...............  Tangent performance   Tangent performance
                               simulation: not       simulation not
                               required for track    required for any
                               Classes 1 through     track class.
                               5; optional for
                               track Class 6;
                               required for track
                               Classes 7 through 9.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (i) All simulations shall be performed using the design wheel 
profile and a nominal track gage of 56.5 inches, using tables 4, 5, 6, 
or 7 of this appendix, as appropriate. In addition, all simulations 
involving the assessment of curving performance shall be repeated using 
a nominal track gage of 57.0 inches, using tables 5, 6, or 7 of this 
appendix, as appropriate.
    (ii) If the wheel profile is different than American Public 
Transportation Administration (APTA) wheel profiles 320 or 340, then 
for tangent track segments all simulations shall be repeated using 
either APTA wheel profile 320 or 340, depending on the established 
conicity that is common for the operation, as specified in APTA SS-M-
015-06, Standard for Wheel Flange Angle of Passenger Equipment (2007). 
This APTA standard is incorporated by reference into this appendix with 
the approval of the Director of the Federal Register under 5 U.S.C. 
552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. To enforce any edition other than that 
specified in this appendix, FRA must publish notice of change in the 
Federal Register and the material must be made available to the public. 
All approved material is available for inspection at the Federal 
Railroad Administration, Docket Clerk, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 
Washington, DC 20590 (telephone 202-493-6030), and is available from 
the American Public Transportation Association, 1666 K Street NW., 
Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20006 (telephone 202-496-4800; 
www.apta.com). It is also available for inspection at the National 
Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the 
availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030 or go to 
http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html. An alternative worn wheel profile may 
be used in lieu of either APTA wheel profile, if approved by FRA.
    (iii) All simulations shall be performed using a wheel/rail 
coefficient of friction of 0.5.
    (2) Vehicle performance on tangent track Classes 6 through 9. For 
maximum vehicle speeds corresponding to track Class 6 and higher, the 
MCAT segments described in paragraphs (b)(1)(i) through (vii) of this 
appendix shall be used to assess vehicle performance on tangent track. 
For track Class 9, simulations must also include the combined 
perturbation segment described in paragraph (b)(1)(ix) of this 
appendix. A parametric matrix of MCAT simulations shall be performed 
using the following range of conditions:
    (i) Vehicle speed. Simulations shall demonstrate that at up to 5 
m.p.h. above the proposed maximum operating speed, the vehicle type 
shall not exceed the wheel/rail force and acceleration criteria defined 
in the Vehicle/Track Interaction Safety Limits table in Sec.  213.333. 
Simulations shall also demonstrate acceptable vehicle dynamic response 
by incrementally increasing speed from 95 m.p.h. (115 m.p.h. if a 
previously qualified vehicle type on an untested route) to 5 m.p.h. 
above the proposed maximum operating speed (in 5 m.p.h. increments).
    (ii) Perturbation wavelength. For each speed, a set of three 
separate MCAT simulations shall be performed. In each MCAT simulation 
for the perturbation segments described in paragraphs (b)(1)(ii) 
through (vii) and (b)(1)(ix) of this appendix, every perturbation shall 
have the same wavelength. The following three wavelengths, [lambda], 
shall be used: 31, 62, and 124 feet. The hunting perturbation segment 
described in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this appendix has a fixed 
wavelength, [lambda], of 10 feet.
    (iii) Amplitude parameters. Table 4 of this appendix provides the 
amplitude values for the MCAT segments described in paragraphs 
(b)(1)(i) through (vii) and (b)(1)(ix) of this appendix for each speed 
of the required parametric MCAT simulations. The last set of 
simulations shall be performed at 5 m.p.h. above the proposed maximum 
operating speed using the amplitude values in table 4 that correspond 
to the proposed maximum operating speed. For qualification of vehicle 
types at speeds greater than track Class 6 speeds, the following 
additional simulations shall be performed:
    (A) For vehicle types being qualified for track Class 7 speeds, one 
additional set of simulations shall be performed at 115 m.p.h. using 
the track Class 6 amplitude values in table 4 (i.e., a 5 m.p.h. 
overspeed on Class 6 track).
    (B) For vehicle types being qualified for track Class 8 speeds, two 
additional sets of simulations shall be performed. The first set at 115 
m.p.h. using the track Class 6 amplitude values in table 4 (i.e., a 5 
m.p.h. overspeed on Class 6 track), and a second set at 130 m.p.h. 
using the track Class 7 amplitude values in table 4 (i.e., a 5 m.p.h. 
overspeed on Class 7 track).
    (C) For vehicle types being qualified for track Class 9 speeds, 
three additional sets of simulations shall be performed. The first set 
at 115 m.p.h. using the track Class 6 amplitude values in table 4 
(i.e., a 5 m.p.h. overspeed on Class 6 track), a second set at 130 
m.p.h. using the track Class 7 amplitude values in table 4 (i.e., a 5 
m.p.h. overspeed on Class 7 track), and a third set at 165 m.p.h. using 
the track Class 8 amplitude values in table 4 (i.e., a 5 m.p.h. 
overspeed on Class 8 track).
BILLING CODE 4910-06-P

[[Page 16121]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR13MR13.022

BILLING CODE 4910-06-C
    (3) Vehicle performance on curved track Classes 6 through 9. For 
maximum vehicle speeds corresponding to track Class 6 and higher, the 
MCAT segments described in paragraphs (b)(1)(ii) through (viii) of this 
appendix shall be used to assess vehicle performance on curved track. 
For curves less than 1 degree, simulations must also include the 
hunting perturbation segment described in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this 
appendix. For track Class 9 and for cant deficiencies greater than 5 
inches, simulations must also include the combined perturbation segment 
described in paragraph (b)(1)(ix) of this appendix. A parametric matrix 
of MCAT simulations shall be performed using the following range of 
conditions:
    (i) Vehicle speed. Simulations shall demonstrate that at up to 5 
m.p.h. above the proposed maximum operating speed, the vehicle type 
shall not exceed the wheel/rail force and acceleration criteria defined 
in the Vehicle/Track Interaction Safety Limits table in Sec.  213.333. 
Simulations shall also demonstrate acceptable vehicle dynamic response 
by incrementally increasing

[[Page 16122]]

speed from 95 m.p.h. (115 m.p.h. if a previously qualified vehicle type 
on an untested route) to 5 m.p.h. above the proposed maximum operating 
speed (in 5 m.p.h. increments).
    (ii) Perturbation wavelength. For each speed, a set of three 
separate MCAT simulations shall be performed. In each MCAT simulation 
for the perturbation segments described in paragraphs (b)(1)(ii) 
through (vii) and paragraph (b)(1)(ix) of this appendix, every 
perturbation shall have the same wavelength. The following three 
wavelengths, [lambda], shall be used: 31, 62, and 124 feet. The hunting 
perturbation segment described in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this appendix 
has a fixed wavelength, [lambda], of 10 feet, and the short warp 
perturbation segment described in paragraph (b)(1)(viii) of this 
appendix has a fixed wavelength, [lambda], of 20 feet.
    (iii) Track curvature. For each speed, a range of curvatures shall 
be used to produce cant deficiency conditions ranging from greater than 
3 inches up to the maximum intended for qualification (in 1 inch 
increments). The value of curvature, D, shall be determined using the 
equation defined in paragraph (b)(3) of this appendix. Each curve shall 
include representations of the MCAT segments described in paragraphs 
(b)(1)(i) through (ix) of this appendix, as appropriate, and have a 
fixed superelevation of 6 inches.
    (iv) Amplitude parameters. Table 5 of this appendix provides the 
amplitude values for each speed of the required parametric MCAT 
simulations for cant deficiencies greater than 3 inches and not more 
than 5 inches. Table 6 of this appendix provides the amplitude values 
for each speed of the required parametric MCAT simulations for cant 
deficiencies greater than 5 inches. The last set of simulations at the 
maximum cant deficiency shall be performed at 5 m.p.h. above the 
proposed maximum operating speed using the amplitude values in table 5 
or 6 of this appendix, as appropriate, that correspond to the proposed 
maximum operating speed and cant deficiency. For these simulations, the 
value of curvature, D, shall correspond to the proposed maximum 
operating speed and cant deficiency. For qualification of vehicle types 
at speeds greater than track Class 6 speeds, the following additional 
simulations shall be performed:
    (A) For vehicle types being qualified for track Class 7 speeds, one 
additional set of simulations shall be performed at 115 m.p.h. using 
the track Class 6 amplitude values in table 5 or 6 of this appendix, as 
appropriate (i.e., a 5 m.p.h. overspeed on Class 6 track) and a value 
of curvature, D, that corresponds to 110 m.p.h. and the proposed 
maximum cant deficiency.
    (B) For vehicle types being qualified for track Class 8 speeds, two 
additional set of simulations shall be performed. The first set of 
simulations shall be performed at 115 m.p.h. using the track Class 6 
amplitude values in table 5 or 6 of this appendix, as appropriate 
(i.e., a 5 m.p.h. overspeed on Class 6 track) and a value of curvature, 
D, that corresponds to 110 m.p.h. and the proposed maximum cant 
deficiency. The second set of simulations shall be performed at 130 
m.p.h. using the track Class 7 amplitude values in table 5 or 6, as 
appropriate (i.e., a 5 m.p.h. overspeed on Class 7 track) and a value 
of curvature, D, that corresponds to 125 m.p.h. and the proposed 
maximum cant deficiency.
    (C) For vehicle types being qualified for track Class 9 speeds, 
three additional sets of simulations shall be performed. The first set 
of simulations shall be performed at 115 m.p.h. using the track Class 6 
amplitude values in table 5 or 6 of this appendix, as appropriate 
(i.e., a 5 m.p.h. overspeed on Class 6 track) and a value of curvature, 
D, that corresponds to 110 m.p.h. and the proposed maximum cant 
deficiency. The second set of simulations shall be performed at 130 
m.p.h. using the track Class 7 amplitude values in table 5 or 6, as 
appropriate (i.e., a 5 m.p.h. overspeed on Class 7 track) and a value 
of curvature, D, that corresponds to 125 m.p.h. and the proposed 
maximum cant deficiency. The third set of simulations shall be 
performed at 165 m.p.h. using the track Class 8 amplitude values in 
table 5 or 6, as appropriate (i.e., a 5 m.p.h. overspeed on Class 8 
track) and a value of curvature, D, that corresponds to 160 m.p.h. and 
the proposed maximum cant deficiency.
BILLING CODE 4910-06-P

[[Page 16123]]

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[[Page 16124]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR13MR13.024

    (4) Vehicle performance on curved track Classes 1 through 5 at high 
cant deficiency. For maximum vehicle speeds corresponding to track 
Classes 1 through 5, the MCAT segments described in paragraphs 
(b)(1)(ii) through (ix) of this appendix shall be used to assess 
vehicle performance on curved track if the proposed maximum cant 
deficiency is greater than 6 inches. A parametric matrix of MCAT 
simulations shall be performed using the following range of conditions:
    (i) Vehicle speed. Simulations shall demonstrate that at up to 5 
m.p.h. above the proposed maximum operating speed, the vehicle shall 
not exceed the wheel/rail force and acceleration criteria defined in 
the Vehicle/Track Interaction Safety Limits table in Sec.  213.333. 
Simulations shall also demonstrate acceptable vehicle dynamic response 
at 5 m.p.h. above the proposed maximum operating speed.

[[Page 16125]]

    (ii) Perturbation wavelength. For each speed, a set of two separate 
MCAT simulations shall be performed. In each MCAT simulation for the 
perturbation segments described in paragraphs (b)(1)(ii) through (vii) 
and paragraph (b)(1)(ix) of this appendix, every perturbation shall 
have the same wavelength. The following two wavelengths, [lambda], 
shall be used: 31 and 62 feet. The short warp perturbation segment 
described in paragraph (b)(1)(viii) of this appendix has a fixed 
wavelength, [lambda], of 20 feet.
    (iii) Track curvature. For a speed corresponding to 5 m.p.h. above 
the proposed maximum operating speed, a range of curvatures shall be 
used to produce cant deficiency conditions ranging from 6 inches up to 
the maximum intended for qualification (in 1 inch increments). The 
value of curvature, D, shall be determined using the equation in 
paragraph (b)(3) of this appendix. Each curve shall contain the MCAT 
segments described in paragraphs (b)(1)(ii) through (ix) of this 
appendix and have a fixed superelevation of 6 inches.
    (iv) Amplitude parameters. Table 7 of this appendix provides the 
amplitude values for the MCAT segments described in paragraphs 
(b)(1)(ii) through (ix) of this appendix for each speed of the required 
parametric MCAT simulations.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR13MR13.025

BILLING CODE 4910-06-C

PART 238--[AMENDED]

0
26. The authority citation for part 238 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 20103, 20107, 20133, 20141, 20302-20303, 
20306, 20701-20702, 21301-21302, 21304; 28 U.S.C. 2461, note; and 49 
CFR 1.89.

Subpart C--Specific Requirements for Tier I Passenger Equipment

0
27. Section 238.227 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  238.227  Suspension system.

    On or after November 8, 1999--
    (a) All passenger equipment shall exhibit freedom from truck 
hunting at all operating speeds. If truck hunting does occur, a 
railroad shall immediately take appropriate action to prevent

[[Page 16126]]

derailment. Truck hunting is defined in Sec.  213.333 of this chapter.
    (b) Nothing in this section shall affect the requirements of the 
Track Safety Standards in part 213 of this chapter as they apply to 
passenger equipment as provided in that part. In particular--
    (1) Pre-revenue service qualification. All passenger equipment 
intended for service at speeds greater than 90 mph or at any curving 
speed producing more than 5 inches of cant deficiency shall demonstrate 
safe operation during pre-revenue service qualification in accordance 
with Sec.  213.345 of this chapter and is subject to the requirements 
of either Sec.  213.57 or Sec.  213.329 of this chapter, as 
appropriate.
    (2) Revenue service operation. All passenger equipment intended for 
service at speeds greater than 90 mph or at any curving speed producing 
more than 5 inches of cant deficiency is subject to the requirements of 
Sec.  213.333 of this chapter and either Sec.  213.57 or Sec.  213.329 
of this chapter, as appropriate.

Subpart E--Specific Requirements for Tier II Passenger Equipment

0
28. Section 238.427 is amended by revising paragraphs (a)(2), (b), and 
(c), and by removing paragraph (d) to read as follows:


Sec.  238.427  Suspension system.

    (a) * * *
    (2) All passenger equipment shall meet the safety performance 
standards for suspension systems contained in part 213 of this chapter, 
or alternative standards providing at least equivalent safety if 
approved by FRA under the provisions of Sec.  238.21. In particular--
    (i) Pre-revenue service qualification. All passenger equipment 
shall demonstrate safe operation during pre-revenue service 
qualification in accordance with Sec.  213.345 of this chapter and is 
subject to the requirements of Sec.  213.329 of this chapter.
    (ii) Revenue service operation. All passenger equipment in service 
is subject to the requirements of Sec. Sec.  213.329 and 213.333 of 
this chapter.
    (b) Carbody acceleration. A passenger car shall not operate under 
conditions that result in a steady-state lateral acceleration greater 
than 0.15g, as measured parallel to the car floor inside the passenger 
compartment. Additional carbody acceleration limits are specified in 
Sec.  213.333 of this chapter.
    (c) Truck (hunting) acceleration. Each truck shall be equipped with 
a permanently installed lateral accelerometer mounted on the truck 
frame. If truck hunting is detected, the train monitoring system shall 
provide an alarm to the locomotive engineer, and the train shall be 
slowed to a speed at least 5 mph less than the speed at which the truck 
hunting stopped. Truck hunting is defined in Sec.  213.333 of this 
chapter.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ A penalty may be assessed against an individual only for a 
willful violation. Generally when two or more violations of these 
regulations are discovered with respect to a single unit of 
passenger equipment that is placed or continued in service by a 
railroad, the appropriate penalties set forth above are aggregated 
up to a maximum of $16,000 per day. However, failure to perform, 
with respect to a particular unit of passenger equipment, any of the 
inspections and tests required under subparts D and F of this part 
will be treated as a violation separate and distinct from, and in 
addition to, any substantive violative conditions found on that unit 
of passenger equipment. Moreover, the Administrator reserves the 
right to assess a penalty of up to $105,000 for any violation where 
circumstances warrant. See 49 CFR part 209, appendix A.
    Failure to observe any condition for movement of defective 
equipment set forth in Sec.  238.17 will deprive the railroad of the 
benefit of the movement-for-repair provision and make the railroad 
and any responsible individuals liable for penalty under the 
particular regulatory section(s) concerning the substantive 
defect(s) present on the unit of passenger equipment at the time of 
movement.
    Failure to observe any condition for the movement of passenger 
equipment containing defective safety appliances, other than power 
brakes, set forth in Sec.  238.17(e) will deprive the railroad of 
the movement-for-repair provision and make the railroad and any 
responsible individuals liable for penalty under the particular 
regulatory section(s) contained in part 231 of this chapter or Sec.  
238.429 concerning the substantive defective condition.
    The penalties listed for failure to perform the exterior and 
interior mechanical inspections and tests required under Sec.  
238.303 and Sec.  238.305 may be assessed for each unit of passenger 
equipment contained in a train that is not properly inspected. 
Whereas, the penalties listed for failure to perform the brake 
inspections and tests under Sec.  238.313 through Sec.  238.319 may 
be assessed for each train that is not properly inspected.

0
29. Section 238.428 is added to read as follows:


Sec.  238.428  Overheat sensors.

    Overheat sensors for each wheelset journal bearing shall be 
provided. The sensors may be placed either onboard the equipment or at 
reasonable intervals along the railroad's right-of-way.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ The penalty schedule uses section numbers from 49 CFR part 
238. If more than one item is listed as a type of violation of a 
given section, each item is also designated by a ``penalty code,'' 
which is used to facilitate assessment of civil penalties, and which 
may or may not correspond to any subsection designation(s). For 
convenience, penalty citations will cite the CFR section and the 
penalty code, if any. FRA reserves the right, should litigation 
become necessary, to substitute in its complaint the CFR citation in 
place of the combined CFR and penalty code citation, should they 
differ.

0
30. Appendix A to part 238 is amended by adding the entry for new Sec.  
238.428 in numerical order to read as follows:

Appendix A to Part 238--Schedule of Civil Penalties 1 
2

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                     Willful
                                    Section                                        Violation        violation
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SUBPART E--SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS FOR TIER II PASSENGER EQUIPMENT:
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
    238.428 Overheat sensors..................................................           2,500            5,000
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Appendix C to Part 238 [Removed and Reserved]

0
31. Appendix C to part 238 is removed and reserved.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on February 25, 2013.
Joseph C. Szabo,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2013-04679 Filed 3-12-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-06-P