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Assessment of existing railroad bridges to accommodate a higher speed considering Chinese practices.
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  • Abstract:
    As the country continues to grow, the USDOT understands that the transportation system will

    continue to evolve to meet the demands of the future. A balanced use of all modes of public

    transportation, for both individuals and freight, will be required to meet the country’s future

    transportation needs. An underutilized mode of public transportation is the nation’s rail system.

    Rail transportation of passengers is safer than highway travel, generates less emissions per unit

    transported than either highway or air, is more energy efficient than any other transportation

    mode, and inherently has a lower transportation cost per unit mile.

    Recently, the USDOT has sponsored the formulation of the National University Rail (NURail)

    Center. The NURail consortium has selected shared rail corridors as the central theme of its

    proposed research program. Currently, the rail systems in the U.S. are designed to support heavy

    freight train traffic. As High-Speed Rail (HSR) becomes a more vital asset to our nation’s

    infrastructure, there are many elements of the existing rail network that need to be tailored to

    address safety concerns as well as the maintenance of dual purpose assets that service both HSR

    passenger traffic and shared revenue service lines. However, development of incremental HSR

    lines in the U.S. poses a number of new challenges related to existing railroad. On the other

    hand, China has gone through similar upgrades and accumulated many experiences.

    1.2 Objectives and Focus Areas

    The purpose of the tour was to investigate and document the applications and experiences with

    shared rail corridors in China, especially regarding China’s six different rail speed upgrades.

    The team conducted meetings with government agencies, academia, and private sector

    organizations to evaluate the Chinese railroad bridge system and issues identified in China

    when their railroad speed was increased six different times. This will be done so as to compare

    US railroad bridge systems with Chinese railroad bridge systems and to identify the most

    significant technologies for implementation in the United States, and propose strategies to

    accommodate a higher speed for the nation’s shared rail corridors.

    The following activities were undertaken:

    1. Visited the China Academy of Railway Science and consulted with several experts on the

    general experience

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