Fundamentals of Railway Bridge Engineering and Management


Upcoming dates coming soon!

Take this course when it’s offered next!

Course Overview

In this course, you will learn how to better manage your own bridges and why compliance with FRA 237 is so important. Learn how to determine a bridge’s load capacity, and get the latest information on bridge inspection requirements, along with penalties and waivers. Work examples and case studies will also be discussed.

Who Should Attend?

  • Railroad engineers, managers, and supervisors
  • Bridge engineers, inspectors, and supervisors
  • Railroads, consultants, contractors, and agencies
  • Anyone who owns a bridge with railroad track, or has been assigned responsibility for operating and maintaining a bridge with track on it

Additional Information

Please bring a calculator to this course.

The YouTube video:

Course Outline


  • Railroad vs. highway bridges
  • AREMA overview
  • Railroad bridge structures
  • Railroad structure types: timber, steel, concrete, stone, combination, movable
  • FRA 237

Bridge Superstructure

  • Criteria for superstructure type section
  • Bridge deck types
  • Steel and concrete superstructure

Bridge Substructure

  • Criteria for substructure type selection
  • Foundation types
  • Pile foundations
  • Drilled shaft foundations
  • Retaining walls
  • Abutments

Design Code and Load Generation

  • Live load
  • Impact
  • Dead load
  • Centrifugal force
  • Lateral loads from equipment
  • Longitudinal force
  • Environmental loads
  • Load combinations

General Information of FRA 237 Rule

  • Responsibility for compliance
  • Definitions
  • Penalties and waivers

Railroad Bridge Safety Assurance

  • Adoption of a bridge management program
  • Content of a bridge management program

Qualifications and Designations of Responsible Persons

  • Railroad bridge engineers, inspectors, and supervisors
  • Designation of individuals

Bridge Capacity

  • Determination of bridge load capacities
  • Protection of bridges from overweight and over-dimensional loads

Bridge Inspection

  • Scheduling bridge inspections
  • Bridge inspection procedures
  • Special inspections
  • Conduct of bridge inspections
  • Bridge inspection records
  • Review of bridge inspection records

Drones for Bridge Inspection

Bridge Repair and Modification

  • Design
  • Supervision of repairs and modifications


"This program explained FRA 237, bridge inspection and management, and bridge management plans. This will help implement our BMP."
—Christopher R. Ward, Massachusetts Bay Commuter RR

"Walter and Chris did a great job overall. I would be interested in taking more classes from them."
—Brian Mueller, Ames Construction, Inc.

"Excellent course, good information, examples, and explanations."
—Anna Davey, Wisconsin DOT


Walter Bleser

Walt Bleser, PE, is currently the President and CEO of American Rail Engineers Corporation (ARE).  Walt has over 20 years in the North American railway vertical working with every Class I railroad, major commuter railroad and several transit agencies.  He previously was president of SENSR Monitoring Technologies, LLC. Prior to SENSR, spent a decade working for HNTB Corporation doing everything from design to construction of railway bridges, and was the founder of HNTB’s “RailAdvise” railway asset management software.  He was named a Progressive Railroading Rising Stars Top 20 under 40 in 2013 and again an honorable mention by Railway Age for top 20 under 40 in 2019.  Walt is an active participant in AREMA, serving as the vice chairman of Committee 7 and as a subcommittee chairman of Committee 10, aiding in the production of the organization’s Bridge Management Best Practices.

Christian Brown

Chris Brown, PE, Vice President and Project Director for HNTB Corporation, is a Railroad Bridge and Movable Bridge Project Director for HNTB’s Kansas City office, where he is involved in a wide variety of railroad and movable bridge design projects. He has been responsible for projects through their entire lifecycle, including environmental permitting; planning; preliminary and final design; and construction phase services for freight and commuter/transit railroads. Brown is active in several technical and professional organizations, including AREMA, where he is a member of Technical Committee 15 on Steel Design of Railway Structures. Brown currently serves as HNTB’s National Rail and Movable Bridge Practice Leader.  

Upcoming dates coming soon!

Take this course when it’s offered next!

Program Director

Dave Peterson

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