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AFCEC rail network program hosts certified rail inspection course

At center, Mike Crawford, chief track inspector at the U.S. Army Engineering Research and Development Center, explains different turnout components to a group of students during a field trip. A turnout, also known as a railroad switch, is a section of track designed to divert trains from one track to another. The asset visibility transportation division of the Air Force Civil Engineer Center's Operations Directorate recently funded and organized a Certified Railroad Inspector training course at Beale Air Force Base, California.(Courtesy Photo)

At center, Mike Crawford, chief track inspector at the U.S. Army Engineering Research and Development Center, explains different turnout components to a group of students during a field trip. A turnout, also known as a railroad switch, is a section of track designed to divert trains from one track to another. The asset visibility transportation division of the Air Force Civil Engineer Center's Operations Directorate recently funded and organized a Certified Railroad Inspector training course at Beale Air Force Base, California.(Courtesy Photo)

This is a rail joint within the turnout, otherwise known as a railroad switch. A recent training course at Beale Air Force Base, California, provided several practical examples of things to look for during rail inspections. The asset visibility transportation division of the Air Force Civil Engineer Center's Operations Directorate funded and organized the Certified Railroad Inspector training course recently at Beale to assist in training efforts. The program accommodated 21 attendees, comprising civilians, contractors and active duty military from installations across the continental United States as well as Alaska and the Republic of Korea. (Courtesy Photo)

This is a rail joint within the turnout, otherwise known as a railroad switch. A recent training course at Beale Air Force Base, California, provided several practical examples of things to look for during rail inspections. The asset visibility transportation division of the Air Force Civil Engineer Center's Operations Directorate funded and organized the Certified Railroad Inspector training course recently at Beale to assist in training efforts. The program accommodated 21 attendees, comprising civilians, contractors and active duty military from installations across the continental United States as well as Alaska and the Republic of Korea. (Courtesy Photo)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The U.S. Air Force Rail Network is essential transportation for delivering commodities, fuel, coal, aircraft parts, ordinance and support for space programs.

To keep things moving, the asset visibility transportation division of the Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s Operations Directorate funded and organized a Certified Railroad Inspector training course at Beale Air Force Base, California. The knowledge gained in the course teaches students how to properly apply inspection criteria and advances the goal of more detailed asset understanding, tracking and ultimately better use of taxpayer dollars to maintain assets like the rail network.

The program accommodated 21 attendees, comprising civilians, contractors and active-duty military from installations across the continental United States as well as Alaska and the Republic of Korea.

The unified facility criteria, or UFC, requires all active Air Force railroad track to be inspected annually by a certified rail inspector.

Detailed track inspection, as well as safety, preventive maintenance and periodic inspections, are performed by installations based on track usage. Additionally, every five years an ultrasonic rail inspection is required by the UFC.

“We are doing the five-year inspection by contract now as a way of identifying the track, its condition and verifying data with real property,” said Kevin Rogers, AFCEC asset visibility team member. “There are so many miles of track but we are only using a portion of it. So the inspection we are carrying out right now is part of a multi-year inspection program to assess the condition of existing track and validate the actual amount of active track.”

Validation can allow for divesture of tracks and save money that would otherwise go to continued maintenance.

Additional courses are planned for the near future and details will be forthcoming. For more information on the rail network program, contact the AFCEC Reachback Center at afcec.rbc@us.af.mil, 850-283-6995 or visit the CE Dash website.