CWR and Thermal Forces Workshop


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Take this course when it’s offered next!

Course Overview

Upon completing this course, you will:

  • Know how rail is made
  • Be able to define and understand basic thermal forces
  • Understand how thermal forces impact the track structure
  • Calculate thermal expansion of rail steel
  • Understand and calculate neutral temperature
  • Know how to perform CWR maintenance
  • Know what is required in a CWR written plan per FRA rule
  • Qualify for FRA’s annual requirement to attend an approved training program upon passing the certification exam.

After completing the course, which qualifies as a training program per Part 213.7(c) of the FRA Track Safety Standards, you may take the FRA Certification exam. Your instructor, John Zuspan, is an experienced trainer for the exam.

Who Should Attend?

  • Railroad engineers
  • Railroad managers and superintendents
  • Consultants
  • Project engineers
  • Contractors and consultants
  • Qualified engineering technicians
  • Track supervisors
  • Industries having on-site track
  • Industry/tech sales representatives
  • Class I, Class II, and Class III Regional Railroads

Course Outline

Track Structure Review

  • What happens when temperature changes
  • The formula and what it means

Calculating the Gaps

  • Understanding the forces
  • Calculating the forces
  • CWR Maintenance

What Happens When You Line a Curve In or Out

  • Understanding quarter points

Thermal Adjusting Procedure

  • What if we do it wrong?


  • FRA regulations
  • Replacing rail

Qualification Exam (Optional)


Dave Peterson

Dave is the Program Director for the University of WisconsinMadison Railroad Engineering and Operations Program. The program consists of 12 courses conducted annually on topics ranging from introduction to railroad engineering and operations to signaling, bridges, crossings, and traction power. He is also the Department Administrator for Interdisciplinary Professional Programs. Dave has a BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering and an MBA from UWMadison.

John Zuspan

John Zuspan is President of Track Guy Consultants in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. John started as a track laborer and worked his way up to foreman and director of the track divison at Slattery/Skanska and vice president for Balfour Beatty Rail. He has managed the trackwork, reviewed all design packages, and has had final authority for approval on many large scale projects. John currently leads the National Railroad Construction & Maintenance Association’s (NRC) Safety Committee and has led the efforts to produce many safety training DVDs for railroad contractors. He is a dedicated teacher and trainer.

Upcoming dates (0)

Take this course when it’s offered next!

Program Director

Dave Peterson

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