The Federal Role in Railroad Bridge Safety

Railroad bridges carry heavy and potentially dangerous loads over busy roadways and important waterways. Many of these bridges are a century old or more. These bridges, built to conservative standards in the age of heavy steam locomotives, have proven to be durably engineered, and rail accidents resulting from bridge failure have been rare. Nevertheless, the presence of visibly aging infrastructure can be alarming to residents, especially in the aftermath of the rare incidents where bridges do fail. As entities engaged in interstate commerce, railroads are regulated by the federal government. However, unlike road bridges, which are the responsibility of public entities, railroad bridges are the responsibility of the private railroad companies that own or operate them, including the responsibility to maintain records of bridge inspections and repairs. Congress has acted in recent years to improve oversight of railroad bridge safety, but incidents have prompted concerns about whether enough is being done to protect the public.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Pagination: 3p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01711773
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: IF10995
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 17 2019 2:02PM