Alaska Department of Transportation, Whittier Tunnel Track Circuit System Evaluation

The Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, better known as the Whittier Tunnel, is a 2.6-mile-long tunnel that was converted from a railroad only usage, to a combination railroad/highway tunnel in 2001. It is the longest rail/highway mixed-use tunnel in North America, and provides the sole land access to the town of Whittier, Alaska.

The tunnel relies upon information from the signal train control system to ensure that the tunnel is clear of train occupancy before allowing highway traffic to enter. The track circuits were experiencing a progressive systemic failure, resulting in the track circuits losing its ability to indicate track occupancy. Burns researched and evaluated the apparent progressive track failure of the track circuit system in the Whittier Tunnel.

Burns’ research of this project included evaluating the existing track bed and circuit systems to determine the causes of the progressive failure, creating solutions for modifying the existing track circuit system, assessing alternative solutions, developing budgetary estimates for all viable alternatives, and preparing a research report.

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Location: Anchorage, AK
Railroad & Transit
Client: Alaska Department of Transportation

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