A Hi-Rail inspection may include examining a rail truck's many different parts and components. The truck is already made up of many elements alone and with rail equipment attached it must undergo a thorough inspection for safety purposes. Legally, all rail equipment must undergo a safety inspection to ensure all parts and elements meet the expected safety requirements before, during, and after traveling on the railroad. Here is a breakdown of what inspectors may look for when examining a truck during a hi-rail inspection starting with what this specific inspection means.
What is a Hi-Rail Inspection?
A hi-rail inspection examines all hi-rail gear to ensure it meets the safety requirements. These inspections are required annually, with no more than 14 months in between each exam.
What is inspected during a Hi-Rail Exam?
During a hi-rail examination, the inspector will analyze the tram, wheel wear, and gauge by measuring each component and making any necessary adjustments to ensure the vehicle can operate safely. A hi-rail truck should be equipped with an automatic change of direction alarm or backup alarm that provides an audible indicator and lasts at or around three seconds long. This alarm should be highly distinguishable from other alarms within the vehicle. An inspector may also examine the truck for an operable 360-degree intermittent warning signal that will be mounted outside the vehicle. There are many other components and examinations that make up the hi-rail inspection all of which include:
- Inspecting Hi-Rail assemblies for loose or missing parts
- Checking the warning light
- Checking the backup alarm
- Inspecting the guide wheels and their wear
- Checking the guide wheel gauge
- Annually inspection report is properly placed within the vehicle
What is a Hi-Rail Truck?
A hi-rail truck is labeled a dual-mode vehicle because it can operate on a railroad and on the road. These truck types usually have a set of steel wheels that are flanged to allow the vehicle to travel on the railways as well. A Hi-Rail truck may consist of various system types. For instance, propulsion, which means driving or pushing forward, can occur with a hi-rail truck equipped with roadway tires or a hydraulic system.
Oftentimes, the flanged wheels will free roll if powered by a directional control system which is contingent upon the railroad construction. This type of system is in place to eliminate the need to steer the vehicle. Usually, steering locks are implemented into the setup to prevent the possibility of derailment.
What happens when a Hi-Rail Truck doesn't meet safety requirements?
When a Hi-Rail and its parts do not meet the necessary safety requirements due to faulty parts, poorly functioning parts, or loose and missing parts, the inspector will require the parts and components to be repaired or replaced before the vehicle is allowed to continue to operate. They may also tag and date the issue and keep a record of it to be given to a designated official. For instance, a vehicle with poorly performing headlights is allowed up to 7 days to operate between daylight hours before it is tagged and disqualified for further use. A vehicle with a non-working horn may also operate for no more than 7 days along with a poorly performing change of direction or backup alarm system. The fire extinguisher within the vehicle must be readily available and can only be defective for up to 7 days. A hi-rail vehicle is only allowed to operate with poorly performing parts for a limited time and issues must be rectified after an inspector has discovered any issues. The inspection is in place to ensure that safety protocols are met by requiring railway vehicles like pick-up trucks to meet or exceed expectations.