Protran Technology’s RailTest model is a comprehensive ultrasonic testing frequency scheduling tool that utilizes actual railroad data to forecast the frequency with which rail segments should be tested ultrasonically. The model uses extensive research performed by the Federal Department of Transportation, Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, and Protran Technology.

RailTest utilizes statistical and empirical techniques for forecasting future rail failure rates, probability of failed defect detection, and growth rates of rail flaws. The test frequency is then determined for a threshold level of risk for each specific track segment based on properties of the track and the max desired level of risk. RailTest will determine if the current test frequency is too high, too low, or correct for maintaining the target level of risk.


  • Recommends how often to test rail ultrasonically while managing risk of broken rail-caused derailments
  • Determines defect development rates based on actual test data and rail defect history
  • Identifies locations of track with high risk of service defects
  • Prioritizes ultrasonic testing and resource allocation
  • An ultrasonic testing frequency can be determined for each track segment


  • Forecasts based on historical rail defects and testing history
  • Establishes site-specific target risk levels to manage level of risk on different track segments
  • Defect parameters are specific to type of operation
  • Determines locations where less frequent testing can be allowed to maintain target risk and allocate resources to higher priority tracks