New federal regulations now mandate North American railroad bridge owners to closely assess the structural capacity of their bridges. Consequently, railroad companies are currently looking into developing and exploring monitoring systems for specific bridges, to help them improve and develop bridge safety in order to help comply with this new rule. The first part of this paper explains the significance of the new federal law. The new rule comes from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Department of Transportation (DOT), and it falls under the 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Parts 213 and 237 1. It requires railroad track owners to know the safe capacity of their bridges and to additionally conduct special inspections if either weather or other exceptional conditions make them necessary to ensure safe railroad bridge operations. The second part of this paper will cover past and current studies about the viability of bridge health monitoring, and actual structural monitoring experiences for railroad bridges. Finally, lessons learned from these monitoring examples, as well as recommendations for future applications, are suggested, including wireless monitoring strategies for railroad bridges such as: campaign sensing inspections (periodic monitoring); bridge replacement observations (short term monitoring); and permanent bridge instrumentation (long term monitoring).