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Railroad Track Inspection & Safety Standards

When - Where

November 6-10, 2023

(8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time)


27 Professional Development Hours (PDHs) can be granted for this course.

Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum
4121 Cromwell Road
Chattanooga, TN  37421
Tel: 865-974-5255 for directions

Register ONLINE here.


Register by fax or mail. Click here to download the brochure.



Track is the foundation of the railroad's physical plant. Although railroad track components are relatively simple in concept, they interact in a complex fashion to form a system capable of withstanding the extremely large forces applied by rail vehicles. Safe and reliable train operations rely upon the track system remaining within established specifications. Because the combined effects of traffic and environment degrade track, regular inspection is essential to identify defects and initiate remedial action before problems develop. This course describes track defects and acceptable corrective actions, presents a recommended methodology for conducting inspections, and discusses in depth the Federal Track Safety Standards in 49 CFR, Part 213.

Objectives and Benefits

In this class, you will

  • learn how to organize, conduct, and document track inspections;
  • learn how to measure track parameters;
  • develop a clear understanding of the Federal Track Safety Standards and the FRA track inspection process; and
  • learn how to use inspection results to identify track maintenance needs and plan maintenance activities.

This course has been reviewed and approved by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) under CFR Part 243 of the new training rule. This course is intended for safety-related railroad employees or independent students who seek employment with a railroad and/or a railroad contractor and who may be tasked with the application of Federal regulation 49 CFR Part 213, Track Safety Standards, Subparts A-F. The course does not contain an on-the-job training (OJT component). This is the only comprehensive course on track inspection providing sufficient time to discuss this complex subject in detail and to demonstrate the measurement techniques needed. Hundreds of attendees through the years have increased their understanding of the track inspection process as a result of this class.


Track inspection personnel from shortline, regional, and Class I railroads; railroad contractors and consultants; state and local government officials associated with railroad operation, finance, and regulation; and railway engineers have all benefited from attending this workshop.


David B. Clarke, Ph.D., P.E.

Dr. Clarke is the Director the Center for Transportation Research and a research associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Tennessee. His over 30 years of experience encompass a variety of railroad related design, inspection, research and education activities. He has taught railway related courses including this one, to college students and professionals since 1990. Dr. Clarke is well versed in the Federal Track Safety Standards covered in this course, and is frequently engaged as an expert to assess track conditions. As a licensed civil engineer, Dr. Clarke prepares specifications and designs for railroad track construction and maintenance. He is a licensed civil engineer in South Carolina and Tennessee and is active in AREMA, ASCE and TRB.


The workshop begins each day at 8:00am. Activities on days 1-4 end no later than 5:00pm; day 5 will be completed by 11:00am.

Day 1
Introduction and overview
Part 213 Subpart A-General
Part 213 Subpart B-Roadbed
Part 213 Subpart C-Track Geometry

Day 2
Part 213 Subpart C-Track Geometry (cont.)
Part 213 Subpart D-Track Structure
Field Exercises - Geometry Measurement

Day 3
Part 213 Subpart D-Track Structure (cont.)
Part 213 Subpart E-Track Appliances
Part 213 Subpart F-Inspection

Day 4
The Inspection Process
Field Inspection and Review

Day 5
Review and Conclusion


The course registration of $965 includes course materials. Registration fees must be received to guarantee your place in the class. Attendees are responsible for meals and lodging. Registrants will be provided information on available lodging in the course vicinity.

Register ONLINE here.


Register by fax or mail. Click here to download the brochure.