Railroad Engineering Group Offers New Services

Posted on Wednesday, December 16th, 2020 by
In Railroad Engineering, tagged in
affinis railroad engineering

Railroad engineering requires a unique skillset and network. It is needed any time the railroad falls within a project’s limits. We recently sat down with Sam Ramirez, the Affinis rail manager and asked him to share how this new group can benefit municipalities and departments of transportation. Find his interview below.

Sam, can you tell us a little about your background and experience working with railroads?
As a son of a long-time retired railroader, railroading has always been in my life. I’ve worked with various railroads from Class 1’s to shortlines, which has allowed me to understand the policies and standards that are required for municipalities and DOT’s to see their project across the finish line seamlessly. Over the course of my career, I’ve built relationships in the railroad industry. I understand whom to contact and the best approach at achieving the objective.

Why are these specialized services needed?
The railroads have their own unique structure. Understanding how personnel and railroad officers work with one another, as well as their roles and responsibilities, can be difficult. It takes years to build relationships with key players. Our background allows us to smooth the lines of communication and keep projects moving forward.

What kinds of services does Affinis’s rail group provide?
Affinis offers a variety of rail services to current and prospective clients. We work with municipalities and departments of transportation to facilitate efforts wherever a site interacts with railroad facilities. Below is a short list outlining the ways our team can help:

  • Civil and railroad engineering plan preparation.
  • Green-field / brown-field rail served yard layouts.
  • Rail served industrial park development.
  • Rough order of magnitude and construction cost estimation.
  • Planning and design of utility installation through railroad right-of-way.
  • Public at-grade railroad crossings improvements and new design planning.
  • Quiet Zone feasibility studies.
  • Construction inspection services near or around a railroad right-of-way.
  • Railroad surveying and construction staking.
  • Exhibit A preparation, review and submittal for approval to serving railroad.

Could you provide some examples as to how clients are using these services?
Several current clients have taken advantage of the Rail team’s expertise. We have worked with the City of Merriam, Kansas on their Johnson Drive project. For this effort, we communicated with the BNSF flagging team to monitor activity on the railroad and increase safety. Working with the railroad to shut down the main line track for a week during construction was a critical component that helped keep the project on schedule. We also supported the City of Kansas City, Missouri on their fiber optic installation, which went under a busy KC Southern rail yard.

What is the process for working with the Rail group?
It starts with a conversation or short dialogue. We discuss the client’s and project’s needs. Then, we make a site visit to study the existing site and potential layout of the project. With this information, we prepare a memorandum of understanding and begin working with the applicable railroad entity. From there, we develop engineering plans that reflect the approved path forward.

How can these services benefit Affinis clients?
Many firms offering railroad engineering are larger than we are. Our size allows us to be mobile and responsive. We know one another well and regularly collaborate on projects across groups. This translates to a more streamlined and efficient experience for our clients. With our team, they are accessing years of rail experience and a robust network, along with personalized service.

To learn more about our rail engineering capabilities, visit our new Railroad page

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