RailStar Services

Railstar provides railroad bridge inspection that is conducted safely and thoroughly, is practical, economical and sensitive to our client's needs.

Our inspectors are highly proficient, with many years of railroads bridge experience.  Some from Class 1s.  All trained by a former Class 1 RR inspector.

We use tools and techniques such as specialized cameras, drones and custom made tools to collect detailed information in the most productive way possible.

We can provide our own hyrail access if desired.

For over ten years, Railstar has been assisting shortlines, industries and historic railroads develop, implement and maintain their own Bridge Management Programs.

BMPs developed with Railstar's assistance are relevant, practical and fulfill FRA requirements.  Working closely with its clients, Railstar constantly improves BMP policies and manuals to ensure safe bridge practices compliant with FRA rules and regulations.

Derailments, fires, and collisions with marine vessels or overheight trucks are the primary causes of bridge damage.  Railstar's engineers have dealt with all of these and can quickly size up the situation and decide whether further action is required, often saving the client valuable time and money. 

Railstar has vast experience designing bridge repairs and often assists the client in executing the work, engaging a contractor if required.  Railstar keeps its finger on the pulse of contractors, both local and national, capable of railroad bridge work. 

If a bridge does not rate sufficiently, Railstar engineers draw on decades of experience to provide realistic options and associated costs.  Not all spans can be strengthened economically.  Replacement may make more sense.  Other bridges on the line may come into play.  Railstar helps railroads navigate these decisions.

If strengthening is deemed appropriate, Railstar engineers have the necessary design and detailing capabilities but, perhaps more importantly, work adamantly to design with constructability in mind.  Years of experience result in a respect for simplicity.  The simple solution is often the most resilient and economical one.

Proven strengthening methods that have withstood the test of time are preferred, but when traditional methods don't make sense, Railstar engineers have the creativity to think outside the box, if that's what it takes, to design something that will work.

Load Rating uses RailStar's vast experience of rating hundreds of railroad bridges.

Because almost all commercially available software is written for highway bridges, RailStar has developed its own Live Load Generator specifically for railroad loads as well as dozens of templates for rating the vast majority of railroad bridge types.

Ultrasonic inspection is sometimes required for pins on old pin-connected trusses. RailStar has both the specialized equipment and the trained engineers needed to evaluate the state of each pin, and ensure that only necessary replacements or repairs are made. RailStar will also ensure that all work is correctly recorded in the line's Bridge Management Plan.

From simple repairs to large replacements, RailStar can help.  We connect railroads with experienced bridge contractors we trust and are able to train railroad personnel to do their own bridge work.  To further reduce downtime, we can order parts, equipment, and tools as necessary.

Culverts are another important part of railroad maintenance. Culvert failures are one of the leading causes of line closures, yet are often overlooked as part of the maintenance program. We specialize in the unique requirements of ensuring that all culverts are safe, fully functioning, and documented.

Sometimes strain gauge testing can save bridges that would otherwise require expensive rebuilding or replacement.  Strain gauge testing can also aid in designing the most cost-effective repair or retrofit to strengthen deficient spans.

Railstar partners with strain gauge specialists Resensys to provide economical strain gauge testing.  Resensys has developed a unique WiFi alternative to stringing and securing sensor wires, cutting the time required for testing.

If desired, sensors can be protected against the elements and left in place to continue to collect information for years.  Sensors for monitoring other factors such as displacement, temperature, acceleration, wind speed, water height and more are available.  A gateway can be installed on the bridge to funnel all information to a cellular modem (or directly to an internet connection if available) and upload it to the cloud from which anyone with internet access and rights can download and utilize it, making it possible to monitor a bridge 24 - 7.