In 2013, the Rail Transportation and Engineering Center (RailTEC) within the
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign embarked on a mission to design and
construct a laboratory with the primary objective of improving the
performance and design of railway infrastructure and its components.
To achieve this objective, the 3,500 square foot Research and Innovation
Laboratory (RAIL) was conceived and located in the Harry Schnabel, Jr. building on the CERL campus.
RAIL currently houses multiple testing frames which provide the ability
to conduct experiments on
railway infrastructure and mechanical components including crossties
and fastening systems. RAIL provides researchers with the necessary
tools to study various infrastructure components at the material,
component, and system levels.
The cornerstone of RAIL is the Track Loading System (TLS) which provides
researchers the ability to perform static and dynamic experimentation on
railway superstructure and rolling stock mechanical components and
full-depth track substructures. The data gathered from TLS
experimentation also provides researchers the ability to develop new and
validate previous railway infrastructure analytical models.
Additional information about visiting the laboratory and current laboratory capabilities are provided within this site.
The construction and operation of RAIL would not have been possible without the financial and in-kind support of the National University Rail (NURail) Center, Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Amsted Rail, Progress Rail Services, CN, LB Foster - CXT Concrete Ties, Hanson Professional Services, TTX Inc., and the Department of Civil and Environmental Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.