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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

On-Board Broken Rail Detection (OBRD) Research and Development

Document Series
Research Results
Federal Railroad Administration
Report Number
RR 22-16
Subject Train Control
Alternative Broken Rail and Rollout Detection, ABRRD, full-moving block, FMB, Head-of-Train-Alternative Broken Rail Detection, HOT-ABRD, Onboard Broken Rail Detection, OBRD, Positive Train Control, PTC, train control
OBRD R and D.pdf (394.99 KB)

From October 2019 to May 2022, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) sponsored a research and development project, performed by Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI), to research the feasibility of an Onboard Broken Rail Detection (OBRD) concept at the Transportation Technology Center. The research team collaborated with a rail industry stakeholder technical advisory group (TAG) to research the OBRD system concept. The overall objective of this research project is to validate a usable concept for an OBRD system. Finding an onboard solution is important because it could contribute to the implementation of moving block train control, which could potentially improve railroad capacity to near the theoretical maximum limit. This solution could also reduce the life cycle cost of broken rail and occupancy detection.

Last updated: Wednesday, September 7, 2022