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Estimating Maintenance Costs for Mixed Higher Speed Passenger and Freight Rail Corridors

[+] Author Affiliations
Allan M. Zarembski, Pradeep Patel

ZETA-TECH, Cherry Hill, NJ

Paper No. JRC2010-36036, pp. 383-393; 11 pages
  • 2010 Joint Rail Conference
  • 2010 Joint Rail Conference, Volume 2
  • Urbana, Illinois, USA, April 27–29, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: Rail Transportation Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4907-1 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3867-9
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


In order to reduce the cost of new intercity passenger rail corridors, the operation of higher speed passenger networks on existing freight corridors is being examined and considered. The issues to be addressed in such operations include the one-time upgrade of the track to allow for this higher speed passenger traffic and the ongoing maintenance costs necessary to maintain this track for the mixed higher speed passenger and freight operations. This latter issue is usually addressed in the access agreements for the corridor, and must include how these costs are to be shared. A recent US Federal Railroad Administration study specifically addressed the issue of “steady state” maintenance costs for mixed use corridors consisting on this class of higher speed passenger operations and concurrent freight operations, to include heavy axle load freight operations. The result of that study was a “planner’s handbook” for estimating these track maintenance costs, as part of the overall analysis of the feasibility and cost of operating higher speed passenger traffic on existing freight corridors. This paper presents the methodology used in the development of the methodology for estimating maintenance costs for mixed higher speed passenger and freight rail corridors (Classes 4, 5 and 6). Specifically, it addresses the estimation of these “steady state” infrastructure maintenance costs for a range of operating scenarios with different combination of passenger and freight traffic densities and operating speeds. These infrastructure costs include track, bridge and building (B&B), and communications and signal (C&S) costs. The resulting costs are presented as a set of cost matrices both in terms of a total cost per track mile and in terms of cost per passenger train mile. The cost matrices cover a range of combinations of traffic and track configuration, with minimum and maximum costs developed for each cell in the cost matrices. The minimum costs are based on maintenance standards geared to typical Class I freight railroad practice, such as where passenger trains currently operate on a freight railroad right of way, while the maximum costs reflect maintenance practices on existing high speed railroad track. This paper provides a description of the analytic models used to generate the costs, and the process by which those models were calibrated to actual cost data to develop costs for a wide range of traffic and track combinations. Sample application of the methodology to include several proposed mixed use corridors is also presented.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME
Topics: Maintenance , Rails



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