Current Project

Hazards Associated with HSR Operations Adjacent to Conventional Tracks



With the increasing demand for High-Speed Rail (HSR) operations, the potential hazards between HSR track and adjacent tracks became more pronounced and need to be considered. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) would like to develop a guidance document that will provide information on the design considerations, and potential mitigations for HSR systems adjacent to, and sharing corridors with existing conventional railway operations. The document should combine existing and proposed research to aid in the proposal, design, and evaluation of planned HSR alignments, particularly in areas where several conventional freight and passenger operations are in service within the same corridor (e.g. NEC future). Guidance information should take into account the relevant speeds of both the HSR and conventional operations, to provide assessment capabilities for an appropriate range of maximum authorized speeds. Development of the document, and its final contents should consider the following issues:

  • Minimum track and Right of Way (ROW) spacing from adjacent railroad tracks without the use of additional protection;
  • Use of intrusion detection or protection devices and proper system characteristics and installation locations;
  • Use of physical barriers or crash walls; what conditions warrant use and basic design characteristics;
  • Other relevant considerations such as aerodynamics, effects of grading and track heights, and protection from activities along ROW access roads, etc.


The objective of this project is to conduct a comprehensive literature review for the following hazards associated with HSR operations adjacent to conventional tracks:

  • Derailment on adjacent track,
  • Shifted load on an adjacent track,
  • Aerodynamic interaction between trains on adjacent tracks,
  • Ground borne vibration and its effect on HSR track geometry,
  • Intrusion of maintenance of way staff and equipment working on the adjacent track,
  • Obstruction hazard resulting from an adjacent track (non-derailment collision),
  • Drainage problem affecting either the HSR track or the adjacent track,
  • Evacuation of passengers from trains on the adjacent track,
  • Hazardous Materials on the adjacent track,
  • Fire on the adjacent track,
  • Electromagnetic interference between trains and wayside equipment on adjacent tracks. 
The literature review will collect and sort out - in clear and organized manner- all information related to the aforementioned hazards, its relevance to the subject matter, and any suggestions or recommendations to overcome or mitigate its effect. .