Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

rail integrity

Improving Service and Safety at Penn Station in New York City

Penn Station is one of the busiest passenger transportation facilities in the U.S., serving more than 600,000 commuter rail and Amtrak passengers each day. In late March and early April, Penn Station suffered two train derailments within a week of each other. Following both derailments, U.S. DOT’s Volpe Center supported the Federal Railroad Administration by sending mechanical engineer Brian Marquis to take measurements at both sites and conduct a track and equipment data analysis.

Volpe’s Innovations from the 2016 Joint Rail Conference

From eliminating broken rails and combating punctured tank cars, to making stronger interfaces between rail ties and ballast, Volpe engineers support the Federal Railroad Administration in making passenger and freight rail travel safer.

Rail Innovations Throttle Up at Volpe

From energy efficiency to fuel tank standards, Volpe’s range of rail expertise was on display at the 2015 Joint Rail Conference. Read on for brief summaries of seven Volpe papers presented during the conference, which examined A Century of Innovation: Heavy Haul to High-Speed Rail.

Volpe's 2014 Reports Available for Download

Volpe published 77 reports and conference papers in 2014 spanning a myriad of transportation research topics. View the topic areas and download free copies of Volpe’s transportation resources.

Clickety-Clack: A Study on Joint Bar Integrity

To help prevent the conditions that can lead to derailments, Volpe worked with a team to survey joint bars across the country’s rail system to understand why, and under what conditions, joint bars are at risk for failure.

Staying on the Rails with Vehicle-Track Interaction

Track and infrastructure failure is the second leading cause of train derailments in the United States. Vehicle-track interaction research investigates wheel-rail contact forces and their consequences to reduce railroad derailments and improve safety.

Cracked Up—Broken Rails Are Serious Business

Nearly all cracks in rails are hidden—so says Dr. David Jeong, senior mechanical engineer at Volpe, The National Transportation Systems Center. Jeong and his colleagues, in support of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), have been examining the mechanics of metal fatigue and crack growth in the country's network of rail steel.