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June 13, 2022: FRA Considers Request for Wheel Temp Detectors Instead of Manual Inspections

A wheel-temperature detector during testing at the Transportation Test Center in 2010. (FRA)

Canadian Pacific and Union Pacific submitted a joint petition to FRA requesting permission to use wheel temperature detectors as an alternative to the Class 1 brake test. The railroads claim the test is more accurate. The two railroads are seeking a waiver for a potash unit train that operates between Saskatchewan, Canada, and Portland, Ore.
Robynn Tysver, Communications Manager for Union Pacific, said “The use of technology is an opportunity for Union Pacific to improve on its strong safety record. Our initial findings indicate that wheel temperature detectors identify more defects than traditional detection methods, which translates into a safer operation for both the public and our employees. The use of this technology will not eliminate visual inspections by trained personnel. The wheel temperature detectors change the frequency of when a test is required, eliminating unnecessary brake tests and allowing our inspectors and train crews to focus attention on those brakes that warrant attention.”

FRA weighs railroads’ request for wheel temperature detectors instead of manual inspections

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