Short Line Connector - Fall 2016 - 24


The Iowa Interstate Railroad used the GREX Aurora® tie inspection system to evaluate
the tie condition of more than 120 miles of track.

Photo courtesy of Georgetown
Rail Equipment

Photo courtesy of Georgetown Rail Equipment

Photo courtesy of Kevin Vahey

FEATURE STORY

Aurora® keeps GPS records of track inspections.

CROSSTIE CLOSE-UP
A partnership between Georgetown Rail Equipment and the Iowa Interstate Railroad showed
the extensive crosstie inspection capabilities of the Aurora system.

I

owa Interstate Railroad (IAIS) is
a regional Class II railroad with
operations between Chicago and
Peoria, Illinois, and Council Bluffs,
Iowa, operating over 550 miles of what
was originally the heart of the Rock Island
system. Since taking ownership of the railroad in 2005, the Railroad Development
Corp. has made significant infrastructure
investments that have resulted in a viable,
well-maintained railroad. IAIS selected
Georgetown Rail Equipment Co. (GREX®)
to perform its automated track inspection
service for tie condition assessment and
for inputs into its maintenance and capital
planning programs.
According to Chad Lambi, assistant
chief engineer for the IAIS, there were

24

two significant benefits to using the
Aurora system for tie inspection:
consistency in tie evaluation and more
efficient use of tie capital. IAIS maintains
nearly 460 miles of track, most of which
is maintained at a minimum of Class
III standards. The IAIS maintenance
portfolio is split into three territories,
and each is assigned a roadmaster.
Before use of the GREX tie inspection
vehicle began, all ties were graded by
manual visual inspection, typically by the
territory's roadmaster or other qualified
personnel. Throughout the IAIS system,
tie evaluation may have been performed
by a few different individuals, which
could mean inconsistencies regarding
defective tie counts.

SHORT LINE CONNECTOR // FALL 2016

To assess crosstie conditions on IAIS,
GREX deployed the Aurora® system,
which operates on a hi-rail platform up
to 40 mph. The technology creates a
high-resolution 3-D image of the track
using lasers and high-speed cameras. Data
is synchronized using differential GPS, a
rate gyro and wheel encoder to provide
accurate position information for every
crosstie. Machine vision algorithms use
the 3-D data to automatically perform
crosstie condition assessments, ensuring
tracks meet industry regulation standards
and calling attention to any needed
updates or repairs.
Aurora has scanned more than 150,000
miles of track across the United States
and Canada, including freight, passenger,



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Short Line Connector - Fall 2016

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Short Line Connector - Fall 2016 - Cover1
Short Line Connector - Fall 2016 - Cover2
Short Line Connector - Fall 2016 - No label
Short Line Connector - Fall 2016 - 2
Short Line Connector - Fall 2016 - 3
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Short Line Connector - Fall 2016 - Cover3
Short Line Connector - Fall 2016 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/summer19
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/spring19
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/winter19
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/fall18
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http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/spring18
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/winter18
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/fall17
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/summer17
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/FactsAndFigures
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/spring17
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/winter17
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/fall16
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/summer16
http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/spring2016
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