In the News

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Major Research Funding Award

February 2015: The US DOT Federal Transit Administration (FTA) recently announced that RailTEC has been awarded a major, two-year research project investigating improvements in rail transit infrastructure quality, reliability and safety. RailTEC faculty and students will use innovative technologies and methods to characterize the desired performance and resiliency requirements for concrete crossties and fastening systems, quantify their behavior under load, and develop resilient infrastructure component design solutions for concrete crossties and fastening systems for light rail, eavy rail, and commuter rail operators. This project will include development of prototype crossties and fastening systems with the overall objective of keeping public transportation safe and in a state of good repair, especially during natural disasters and other externally caused extreme events. Click here for a complete listing of the media coverage of this newly awarded FTA project.

Illinois Receives AREMA Scholarships

February 20, 2015: This morning the AREMA Educational Foundation announced its 2015 Scholarship Winners and eleven Illinois students are recipients. The winners are: Ivan Atanassov, Samantha Chadwick, Giovanni DiDomenico, Matthew Greve, Phanuwat Kaewpanya, Alexander Lovett, Daniel Rivi, Thomas Roadcap, Scott Schmidt, Paul Shih, and Kaijun Zhu. For a complete list of names and their awarded scholarships, click here. Congratulations to all!

RailTEC Faculty Quoted

February 2015: Two RailTEC faculty were interviewed in the aftermath of the February 3 Metro-North collision with an SUV. Click here to read the article.

RailTEC presence at TRB

Over 45 University of Illinois RailTEC students, faculty and alumni attended the 94th TRB Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. on January 11 – 15, 2015. These students, faculty and alumni were referenced over 70 times in the session schedule. Click here for a guide to RailTEC presentations or session chairs.


NURail Center Student of the Year
James O’Shea

January 2015: Congratulations to James O’Shea, the NURail Center Student of the Year. James is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at UIC in Mechanical Engineering. His research activities focus on railroad vehicle stability and the analysis of vehicle derailment criteria. As the recipient of this award James will receive an honorarium from NURail in recognition of his outstanding technical research, record of publications and presentation, academic performance, and professional leadership.

Professional and Educational Milestones

December 2014: Members of RailTEC's railroad infrastructure research team recently achieved significant professional and educational milestones. Riley Edwards and Marcus Dersch both passed their Professional Engineering exam. Meanwhile, the newest addition to RailTEC staff, Research Engineer Yu Qian, deposited his Ph.D. dissertation thus completing his degree. Welcome to Yu and Congratulations to all!

Hay Seminar Recordings Available
Jerry Rose

December 2014: University of Kentucky professor Jerry G. Rose wrapped up the William W. Hay Seminar series in December. Professor Rose’s presentation, as well as all the other speakers for the semester, can be found on our Hay Seminar page. A big thank you to all the presenters who shared their time and knowledge with us this semester.

UI Prof. Studies Hong Kong HSR Delay

UI RailTEC Research Professor TC Kao and Professor Bent Flyvberg of the Said Business School of Oxford University were invited by Hong Kong MTRCL (Hong Kong Railway Corporation) to undertake an Independent Experts study on the delay of the multi-billion-dollar Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) project connecting Hong Kong with mainland China. The report, published on October 28, 2014, contains their analysis and recommendations regarding timely delivery, costs, and management procedures for the XRL project. Special attention was given to how to deal with unknown events and their impacts on project delivery. Click here to read the report.

Monticello Railway Museum Work Days

October 11, 2014

October 25, 2014

On October 11 and 25, 2014, nearly 70 civil engineering students and faculty from the CEE 408 and 409 classes participated in two “work days” at the Monticello Railway Museum (MRM) in Monticello, Illinois. The projects consisted of assisting MRM volunteers installing ties, gaging, surfacing and aligning track, placing ballast and repairing washouts which included the installation of drainage pipes under the track. More than 100 ties were installed and approximately 1,000 feet of track were restored to Class 1 conditions. A safe, productive and enjoyable time was had by all. Thanks again to MRM for the opportunity to provide “hands on” track work experience for RailTEC students.

Graduate Education Opportunities

October 2014: RailTEC has graduate research assistantship (RA) positions available for qualified applicants who are seeking to grow while working on exciting projects related to rail transportation and engineering. If you or someone you know may be interested in pursuing a MS or PhD degree with a focus in Rail Transportation and Engineering, please see our flyer.

Joint RailTEC/KTH Courses

October 2014: RailTEC has partnered with the rail research group at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden to offer joint courses. Starting in the 2014-15 academic year, UIUC students may enroll as online students in the following rail courses taught by KTH faculty: Click here to continue reading.

AREMA 2014

September 2014: Approximately 90 RailTEC faculty, students and alumni were present at the AREMA 2014 Annual Conference and Exposition in Chicago. Here is the group gathered for dinner on Sunday, September 28.

Hay Seminar Recording

September 2014: The first William W. Hay Railroad Engineering Seminar was held on Friday, August 29, 2014 at noon. Eric Pachman and Mark Dingler of CSX were the guest speakers. The title of their presentation was “Railroad Capacity Analytics at CSX” and may be heard here. The event was attended by 75 participants and over 25 online listeners.

2014 NURail Annual Meeting

August 2014: The NURail annual meeting, held this year in Altoona, PA on August 18 – 19, 2014 was hosted by NURail Affiliate Member Penn State Altoona. The two day meeting provided the opportunity to recap highlights of the previous year and discuss plans for 2015. In addition, a variety of presentations on education, outreach, workforce development, and research were given. To see copies of the presentations, click here.

GLXS Symposium a Success

August 2014: The 2014 Global Level Crossing Safety & Trespass Prevention Symposium (GLXS) on 3 – 8 August was a huge success. Over 230 attendees represented 26 countries and 27 states. The symposium provided an opportunity for participants to exchange information and share best practices to improve the safety of the at-grade interface between highway and rail systems. Highlights included rides on Little Obie and a keynote speech by Administrator Joe Szabo of the Federal Railroad Administration. Click here to see local coverage of these events, here to see conference presentations, or here to see the conference photo gallery.

Rail Safety with Little Obie

July 2014: Educating the public about railway safety will be the aim of CN Railroad (CN) when they bring a miniature train, known as Little Obie, to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus next month. The locomotive’s appearance is part of the 2014 Global Level Crossing Safety and Trespass Prevention Symposium being held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on August 4-5, 2014. Click here to read full the press release.

Thailand HSR course completed

June 2014: RailTEC faculty, TC Kao, hosted an intensive course on high speed rail (HSR) systems in Bangkok, Thailand from June 16-21. The objective of the course was to inform the students of the different technologies used for high speed rail passenger transportation systems. The course included lectures and presentations about the core systems such as trains, power system and signaling as well as the civil work that surrounds high speed railway systems.

REES: A step towards higher learning

June 2014: Professors from around the country attended the Railway Engineering Education Symposium (REES) on June 23 – 25, 2014 in Overland Park, Kansas. The objective of the symposium was to further inform the professors of the workforce crisis and give them materials to educate students about railway infrastructure, performance, engineering, and design at their respective universities. It also included trips to BNSF Railway’s Freight Yard and the Kansas City Intermodal Facility. Click here to see additional pictures from REES.

U.S. House Committee Testimony

June 2014: Professor Christopher P.L. Barkan, Executive Director of RailTEC and Director, National University Rail (NURail) Center, testified on June 18, 2014 in front of the U.S. House Committee on Science Space and Technology’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology. He and several other witnesses testified to the Subcommittee about the “Future of Surface Transportation”. As part of his testimony Dr. Barkan made several references to the ongoing activities of the NURail UTC. Click here to read his testimony or view an archive of the webcast.

Crosstie Symposium a Success

June 2014: Over 130 attended the International Crosstie and Fastening System Symposium on June 3 – 5, 2014 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The objective of the symposium was to further international communication and collaboration on design and performance challenges and solutions for crossties and fastening systems. The symposium included technical and poster presentation topics, research discussion topics and technical tours. Click here to see the presentations.

2014 HRS International Outreach

March 2014: RailTEC faculty and students traveled to London and Paris over spring break to participate in a week-long research symposium hosted by SNCF. They also visited IRIS 320, SNCF’s infrastructure diagnostics train.

RailTEC Graduates

May 2014: Congratulations to December 2013 and May 2014 RailTEC graduates! Five who participated in Spring commencement are shown here with Professors Barkan and Saat. From left to right, Xiang Liu (Ph.D. December 2013), Scott Schmidt (B.S. May 2014), Chris Barkan, M. Rapik Saat, Chen-Yu Lin (M.S. May 2014), Xiaonan Zhou (M.S. May 2014) and Anusha Suryanarayanan (M.S. May 2014).

BSA Railroading Merit Badge

On 12 and 26 April, RailTEC students and alumni taught the Railroading merit badge at a STEM merit badge clinic on campus. The merit badge covers a wide topics ranging from signals to train types to model railroading and rail fanning. The material also included an Operation Lifesaver presentation along with other information about how to safely operate around the tracks. The youth planned their own long distance rail trips from Champaign and design their own model railroad layout.

Hay Seminar Audio Links

April 2014: Audio links are available for our Spring 2014 Hay Seminar speakers. If you were not able to catch the live presentations, feel free to listen to our speakers at your leisure. Our guests included: Stephen Schlickman, University of Illinois Chicago; Andrew Kish, Kandrew Inc. Consulting Services; and Gary Carr, Federal Railroad Administration.

High Speed Rail Initiative Announced

April 2014: RailTEC unveiled a new initiative today between the University of Illinois (UIUC) and Southwest Jiaotong University (SWJTU) promoting High Speed Rail Education, Research and Development. SWJTU President Fei Xu, Professor Wanming Zhai, Professor Guang Chen, Professor Ping Wang and Professor Yanjun Qiu visited campus on April 23, 2014 for the official announcement. This collaboration More..

Barkan Participates in NTSB Forum

Chris Barkan, Executive Director of RailTEC, participated in the Rail Safety Forum: Transportation of Crude Oil and Ethanol sponsored by the National Transportation Safety Board on April 22 – 23, 2014. Crude oil and ethanol transportation by rail has seen tremendous growth in North America over the last decade, altering the way these flammable liquids are transported. Barkan was an invited panelist for the Rail Operations and Approaches to Risk Management Panel and gave a presentation on: “Optimizing Rail Transportation and Safety Improvement”.

High Speed Rail Initiative Announced

April 2014: RailTEC unveiled a new initiative today between the University of Illinois (UIUC) and Southwest Jiaotong University (SWJTU) promoting High Speed Rail Education, Research and Development. SWJTU President Fei Xu, Professor Wanming Zhai, Professor Guang Chen, Professor Ping Wang and Professor Yanjun Qiu visited campus on April 23, 2014 for the official announcement. This collaboration More..

Field Trip to RAIL.ONE

The RailTEC Crosstie and Fastening System Research Team visited the new RAIL.ONE facility in Clinton, IA on April 25, 2014.

EOH 2014 Visitors

April 2014: RailTEC welcomed Hanson Professional Services, Inc. and a group of students involved in the city of Springfield’s Minority Participation Program to Engineering Open House (EOH) on March 15. Please click here to see additional photos and learn more about EOH 2014.

Senior Research Engineer Quoted

March 2014: The official publication of the National Society of Professional Engineers, PE, interviewed RailTEC Senior Railway Research Engineer, C. Tyler Dick, in January concerning railway engineering education. The story was published in their March 2014 issue. Click here to read the article.

Schlickman audio link available

March 2014: RailTEC was excited to have Stephen E. Schlickman, Executive Director of the Urban Transportation Center at the University of Illinois Chicago as their William W. Hay Railroad Engineering Seminar speaker on March 11, 2014. His talk on “An Overview of the Funding and Finance of Transportation Projects” was well received and can be replayed here.

RailTEC Faculty Quoted

March 2014: RailTEC Executive Director, Chris Barkan, and Senior Research Engineer, Tyler Dick, were interviewed for a March 3 Washington Post article on train efficiency. Click here to read the entire article.

CEE 2014 Spring Job Fair

March 2014: Fifteen of the 67 companies represented at the CEE 2014 Spring Job Fair were interested in talking to students about career opportunities in railroad engineering. Hundreds of students attended the event on Thursday, February 27 and a Job Fair video is available to view here. Registration for the 2014 Fall Job Fair isn’t open yet, but interested companies can check this page:

2014 AREMA scholarship winners

February 2014: Five University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign students were announced as 2014 AREMA Educational Foundation Scholarship Winners. The U of I recipients are:
• Matthew J. Greve - Michael W. & Jean D. Franke Family Foundation Scholarship
• Chen-Yu Lin - New York Central Railroad Memorial Scholarship
• Alexander H. Lovett - Michael & Gina Garcia Rail Engineering Scholarship
• Daniel R. Rivi - Larry L. Etherton Scholarship
• Scott R. Schmidt - AREMA Educational Foundation Scholarship
For a complete list of AREMA scholarship winners, click here. Congratulations to you all!

International Summer Events 2014

February 2014: RailTEC is pleased to introduce International Summer School 2014. These week-long summer school sessions will be held on the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign campus. One summer school session is on High Speed Rail Planning and the other is on Multimodal Transportation Risk. Participants receive certificates of completion with professional development hours (PDH) awarded.  Space is limited so register now! In addition to summer school, two international conferences will be held on campus. See our flyer for more details.

Industry magazines highlight event

February 2014: Both Railway Age and Railway Track & Structures (RT&S) magazines highlighted the upcoming International Crosstie and Fastening System Symposium in recent articles. The symposium will take place on June 3 – 5, 2014 on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus. Read the article Railway Age article here and the RT&S article here.

RailTEC Research Assistantships

February 2014:  Research Assistantship (RA) opportunities are available with RailTEC. Click here to see the flyer for additional details.

RailTEC hosts SWJTU professors

February 2014: RailTEC was pleased to host eight visitors from Southwest Jiaotong University (SWJTU) in Chengdu, China. The visitors, railroad professors from the School of Civil Engineering, stayed a month participating in a high speed rail workshop, meeting students and faculty, sharing research and educational interests, and immersing themselves in U.S. life.

RailTEC featured in CEE magazine

February 2014: Undergraduate Nao Nishio, a junior focusing in Transportation, wrote an article in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association - Winter 2014 magazine about her experience with RailTEC as part of the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. Click here to read her article.

HSR International Outreach

January 2014: Visit England and France over Spring Break and attend an SNCF research symposium and various technical tours. Deadline to apply is February 7. Click here to see the flyer.


Dr. Xiang Liu receives SRA award

December 2013: Congratulations to recent PhD graduate Xiang Liu for winning the Student Merit Award from the Risk Policy and Law specialty group at the 2013 Society of Risk Analysis (SRA) Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland on December 8 – 11, 2013. Dr. Liu's award is based on his work on railroad crude oil transportation risk management.

The future of railway engineering

December 2013: RailTEC and NURail are featured in the UIUC portion of this RT&S article describing how railroad engineering programs are helping prepare students to fill the spots in industry as many in the current railroad engineering workforce retire. Click here to read the article.

Anthony Perl audio link available

December 2013: RailTEC was excited to have Dr. Anthony Perl, professor of Urban Studies and Political Science at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, as their William W. Hay Railroad Engineering Seminar speaker on December 6, 2013. His talk on “Global Lessons in High Speed Rail and Their Relevance for North America” was well received and can be replayed here.

Ruppert appointed to Blue Ribbon Panel

Conrad Ruppert, Jr., Senior Research Engineer and Director of Research with RailTEC, was appointed to a Blue Ribbon Panel to assist the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). He is part of a distinguished group of rail engineering and transportation experts, politicians and former US DOT Secretaries of Transportation. The panel was formed to assist MTA in a broad-ranging investigation into how they can improve their rail engineering and safety practices following several accidents this past summer. Click here to read the article in the rail industry's leading trade magazine, Railway Age.

Wireless Monitoring of RR bridges

In a new project for lthe Federal Railroad Administration led by Professor Bill Spencer, two CEE research centers, the Smart Structures Technology Laboratory (SSTL) and RailTEC, are working together to develop a portable, cost-effective and practical wireless structural health monitoring system for railroad bridges in North America. Click here to read the article.

NURail Center Receives Funding

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has awarded a grant of $1.4 million to the National University Rail (NURail) Center, a multi-university rail transportation and engineering research center led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The NURail Center was established in 2012 with funding from the USDOT as the nation's first rail-specific UTC. This new grant emphasizes work toward the USDOT's strategic goal of economic competitiveness and will address rail issues related to infrastructure and vehicle engineering, capacity planning and optimization, operational safety and risk mitigation, systems integration and finance and policy. Click here to read more. Click here to read the RT&S article.

University of Illinois High-Speed Rail Study Released

The University of Illinois released the final report of a preliminary feasibility study for a 220-mph high-speed rail (HSR) passenger service between Chicago, Champaign-Urbana and beyond. More...

RailTEC Faculty Interviewed about Concrete Ties

September 2013: RailTEC Senior Lecturer, J. Riley Edwards, is quoted in a November 2013 Trains magazine article discussing his research on concrete ties. Click here to read the article.

Monticello Railway Museum work day

September 2013: Approximately 70 civil engineering students and faculty from the CEE 408 and 409 classes participated in an annual "work day" at the Monticello Railway Museum (MRM) in Monticello, Illinois on September 14, 2013. This year the project consisted of assisting MRM volunteers with reconstructing approximately 300 feet of track, including the track within a highway grade crossing, and replacing defective switch ties in an adjacent turnout. Work on this day consisted of setting and spacing crossties, laying rail, bolting rail sticks together, setting plates, gauging and spiking rail, aligning the track, spreading and tamping ballast, and setting final top-of-rail elevations.

RailTEC student awarded
Frank Richter Scholarship

September 3, 2013, Chicago, IL: AARS awarded three students the Frank J. Richter Scholarship this year. The recipient of the $1,000 scholarship award, Scott Schmidt, a civil engineering student at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Scott’s focus of study is railway engineering with a minor in business. More…

RailTEC Faculty Interviewed about
Train Safety

July 2013: After the high speed train crash in northwest Spain, RailTEC senior research engineer, Conrad Ruppert, Jr., was interviewed by TIME magazine. Click here to read the article.

Special All-Rail Issue of TR News Published

July 2013: A special, all-rail issue of TR News, Number 286, May-June 2013: Railroads and Research: Sharing Track, was recently published by TRB that includes two articles written by UIUC RailTEC faculty Chris Barkan, Rapik Saat and Yanfeng Ouyang, and another by UIUC alumnus Tom Cornillie. More...

MS Students Join Rail Industry

July 2013: The rail industry welcomed former RailTEC MS students into their midst as five individuals launched their careers.
Two students joined BNSF: Mike Wnek is working as a Management Trainee - Technical Research & Development and Brennan Caughron as a Management Trainee in Engineering Services. Chris Rapp is a Railroad Designer with Hanson Profession Services and Sam Sogin is the Assistant Manager of Transportation Planning for Union Pacific Railroad. Sam Chadwick is currently in Taipei as a 2013 – 2014 Luce Scholar, where she has been placed with Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation.
Good luck to you all!

SNCF/UIUC Joint Workshop

June 2013: Leadership from the engineering and research departments within the French National Railway Company (SNCF) (Société Nationale des Chemins de fer français) recently visited the Rail Transportation and Engineering Center (RailTEC) to discuss research topics relating to railway infrastructure and the potential for further collaboration in areas of mutual interest. Specifically, topics relating to railway ballast flight and track substructure research were covered. The meetings also included an exchange of research between SNCF and RailTEC relating to concrete sleepers and elastic fastening systems. In addition to SNCF and UIUC participation, these meetings were also attended by industry experts from Amtrak, the University of Kentucky, and the John A. Volpe National Transportation Center.

Crosstie and Fastening Research

June 2013: Almost the entire crosstie and fastening research team (15 members at different times during the week) traveled to the Transportation Technology Center (TTC) in Pueblo, CO from May 16–24, 2013 to complete their second set of field experiments. The team repaired previous instrumentation, installed new instrumentation, and collected additional data that will further their knowledge of the demands placed on crosstie and fastening system components. For more details and to see a video highlighting their research efforts, click here.

Shared Corridors Report

June 2013: The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently published a report on their website entitled “Investigating Technical Challenges and Research Needs Related to Shared Corridors for High-Speed Passenger and Railroad Freight Operations”. It was written by Rapik Saat, PhD, Research Assistant Professor for RailTEC, and Professor Chris Barkan, PhD, Executive Director of RailTEC. The report discusses the technical challenges associated with shared high-speed passenger and freight rail corridors, describes an effort to prioritize the challenges, and presents an in-depth literature review of specific high-priority challenges to identify existing research and future research needs. Click here to read the report.

Rail – Copenhagen 2013

In May 2013, UIUC RailTEC Alumnus, Yung-Cheng Lai (MS 2004, PhD 2008); RailTEC Senior Research Engineer, C. Tyler Dick; Professor Chris Barkan; and RailTEC MS students, Brennan Caughron and Samuel Sogin, attended "Rail - Copenhagen 2013", the 5th International Seminar on Railway Operations Modeling and Analysis, organized by the International Association of Railway Operations Researchers and hosted by the Technical University of Denmark. They presented three papers and two of them were among five nominated for the best young researcher prize at the conference, one by Sam Sogin (M.S. student), C. Tyler Dick (Senior Research Engineer) and Chris Barkan (Professor), and the other by alumnus, Yung-Cheng Lai, now an Associate Professor at National Taiwan University, and his students, Yun-Hsuan Liu and Yi-Ju Lin.

Lovett awarded Eisenhower Fellowship

May 7, 2013: Alexander Lovett, a Civil and Environmental Engineering Ph.D. student with a focus on railway engineering, was selected to receive a 2013 Dwight David Eisenhower Graduate Fellowship. This fellowship is awarded to students pursuing degrees in transportation related disciplines in an effort to attract qualified students to the field of transportation and research, and advance transportation workforce development. Lovett’s primary research interest and subject of his dissertation research is ensuring that the track is maintained efficiently at levels commensurate with the traffic and tonnage it transports. He is developing a model to optimize investments in maintenance activities given a number of critical input factors.

Professor gives UIC seminar

April 2013: Dr. Rapik Saat, Research Assistant Professor with RailTEC, has been invited to give a special seminar on Tuesday, April 2, 2013 on the topic “Optimizing Railroad Transportation Safety Improvement” on the University of Illinois Chicago campus. This presentation will illustrate optimization models to consider different risk reduction strategies, independently and in combination, in the context of railroad hazardous materials transportation. An overview of on-going research related to passenger trains on shared rail corridors with freight trains will also be presented.

RailTEC student named Luce Scholar

March 2013: Samantha Chadwick, a May 2013 University of Illinois graduate, was one of 18 students nationwide to be named a Luce Scholar for 2013 – 2014. The Luce Scholarship will provide a full stipend and internship for her to live and work in Asia. Chadwick conducted her master’s theses research with RailTEC and hopes to be placed in a nation where high-speed rail is central to their commerce and culture. More...

Yu Qian wins Yee Memorial Fellowship

May 2013: Yu Qian, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was recently honored with the Yee Memorial Fellowship. Qian has been working on an innovative research topic, Discrete Element Modeling of Railroad Ballast Degradation Trends, currently funded by FRA. More...

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University of Illinois to Lead U.S. DOT Research Center

URBANA, IL (January 17, 2012)

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded a grant of $3.5 million to a multi-university consortium led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to establish a rail transportation and engineering research center. Headquartered within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Illinois, the National University Rail (NURail) Center will focus on rail education and research to improve railroad safety, efficiency and reliability. Particular focus will be on challenges associated with rail corridors in which higher-speed passenger trains share infrastructure with freight trains. 

The NURail Center will be the first UTC focused solely on rail, and the proposal received broad support from a large number of public, private sector, and international rail organizations. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign leads a consortium of research universities including the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Michigan Technical University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Tennessee. Within the theme of shared rail corridors, research projects will focus on track and structures; train control; rolling stock; human factors, and other topics identified based on Federal Railroad Administration and Association of American Railroads priorities. The center will be under the direction of Professor Christopher P.L. Barkan, the Krambles Faculty Fellow and director of the Illinois Rail Transportation and Engineering Center (RailTEC).

In addition to being part of the NuRails center, the Urban Transportation Center at UIC will join a collaboration led by the University of South Florida’s National Center for Transit Research, one of only two centers designated to work on transit research nationally. Work at UIC may include projects related to the issues of safety, maintenance, competitiveness, livability, and environmental stability in the Chicago region, Illinois, and nationally. UIC has been guaranteed $700,000 of the $3.5 million federal grant to the University of South Florida, with a $700,000 matching grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation. UIC is also a participant in a third UTC consortium led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

University of Illinois President Michael Hogan said, “The University of Illinois is very thankful for the support of Governor Pat Quinn and our state Congressional leadership, in helping us win these grants.  Illinois has the nation’s best programs in rail engineering and transit system development and operation, and these UTC’s will help the nation and region prepare for future freight and passenger rail needs.”  

These research grants are part of $77 DOT million in grants to 22 UTCs—involving a total of 121 different universities across the country—to advance research and education programs that address critical transportation challenges facing the nation. The UTCs conduct research that directly supports the priorities of the DOT on transportation-related issues such as shared rail corridors, innovations in multimodal freight and infrastructure, bridge inspection methods, and reducing roadway fatalities and injuries.


Nancy Wilochka, U.S. Department of Transportation, 202/

Christopher Barkan, director, National University Rail (NURail) Center and RailTEC, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 217/

Steve Schlickman, executive director, UTC at University of Illinois, Chicago, 312/

USDOT grants target three rail, intermodal research centers:

Link to PDF: Click Here

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IDOT and University of Illinois High-Speed Rail Study Announcement 

Thursday June 2, 2011 - Illinois Governor Pat Quinn announced a partnership between the University of Illinois, the Illinois Department of Transportation to study the feasibility of 220-mph passenger rail service in Illinois.  The study will complement the ongoing construction of a regional 110-mph network that will connect Chicago to 40 cities in the Midwest, while supporting Governor Quinn's vision to create jobs, enhance regional mobility and improve the environment by expanding passenger rail in Illinois. "Illinois is leading the nation with our work to expand high-speed and passenger rail," said Governor Quinn. "This study will provide greater insight into how we can make 220-mph rail service a reality. An expanded and improved rail network will boost our position in the global economy and create thousands of jobs." The study will explore the potential costs and benefits of establishing 220-mph service between O'Hare International Airport, downtown Chicago, McCormick Place, and Champaign-Urbana and will also look at extending the corridor in the region to cities south of Champaign-Urbana, including St. Louis and Indianapolis. 

For more information please see the following articles: Governor Quinn's Announcement of IDOT/U of I HSR Study UIUC Engineering State-University Partnership to Study High-Speed Rail Line - Railway Age Magazine U. of Illinois, state DOT to study 220 mph HSR - Chicago Tribune Illinois to study 220 mph bullet trains

AREMA Student Chapter Newsletter 

January 2011 Issue


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Media Coverage: WICD News Channel 15, News-Gazette, College of Engineering and WILL AM 580

CN has made a new $325,000 donation to the Railroad Engineering Program, a gift which renews the company’s generous commitment to railroad engineering education.

CN Renews Support for Rail Program

CN Renews Support for Rail Program
Winter 2011 CEE Alumni Association Newsletter

CN Renews Support for UIUC Rail Engineering Program
Railway Track & Structure - August 2010 


Railroad Students Recipients of AREMA 2010 Scholarship

AREMA logo

Seven Railroad Engineering Students received an AREMA Scholarship.

Introducing RailTEC

For over a century, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been the leading academic institution in rail transportation engineering in North America. Building on its strong academic and research programs in rail engineering and transport, Illinois introduces a dynamic new hub: The Rail Transportation and Engineering Center (RailTEC). RailTEC recognizes the expanding importance of rail transportation to the economy, to society and to a safe and sustainable environment, and is committed to further growth and development of its teaching and research activities in support of the nation’s need for talented young minds and new technologies for this vital transportation mode. Download pdf of UIUC RailTEC flyer here

High-Speed Rail a New Focus for Railroad Program

HSR Train in Taiwan

High-speed rail is the next big thing in railroad engineering in the United States, and the University of Illinois’ Railroad Engineering Program is assuming a leadership role in bringing the latest information about this hot topic to students, fellow educators, and the industry.  This semester, an expert from Taiwan is teaching, at Illinois, the first university-level class in high-speed rail to be offered in the country.  In addition, a major international rail conference will be held on the U of I campus in April, featuring high-speed and intercity passenger rail as its primary focus.

Caption: Professor T.C Kao and his wife, Mei, wait to board a high-speed train in Taiwan.


Video of Mike Franke - AMTRAK discussing the 2010 AREMA Hay Award

HSR Train in Taiwan

On Aug. 30, the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA) presented the annual William W. Hay Award - which recognizes excellence in rail engineering - to Norfolk Southern Railway for the $190 million Heartland Corridor clearance improvement project. Michael Franke, an Amtrak assistant vice president and AREMA's treasurer, discusses the 12th annual award, which was presented during the association's annual conference in Orlando, Fla.

Caption: Amtrak/AREMA exec Michael Franke on the annual 'Hay' award


Conference Focuses on High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail - TR NEWS 269 July–August 2010

Improving Hazmat Transportation by Kathi Kube, Trains Magazine, January 2010

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Nation's Top Transportation Research Official Visits UIUC/ATREL

The UIUC transportation group welcomed Peter H. Appel to campus and ATREL on August 19-20. Appel was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Administrator of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) in spring 2009.

2009 AREMA Annual Conference - September 2009
Railroad Students and faculty attended the 2009 AREMA Annual Conference in Chicago, IL.

Renewing the Partnership by Christopher P.L. Barkan, Railway Age, October 2009

2010 Joint Rail Conference - High Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail
JRC 2010 is the the principal, multi-disciplinary, North American conference focused on rail transportation next year.  The conference will be held 27-29 April 2010 on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Urbana, IL 140 mi, (225 km) south of Chicago. 

Field Trip on BNSF Geometry Car

Railroad students had the opportunity to take a ride on the BNSF Geometry Car in July 2009

Chris Barkan and Yung-Cheng Lai receive the TA Steward-Dyer/ Frederick Harvey Trevithick Prize
Summer 2009 CEE Alumni Association Newsletter

International Heavy Haul Association 2009 
Railroad Engineering Students went to Shanghai, China to present papers.

2009 Railroad Job Fair
The University of Illinois Civil & Environmental Engineering Department and Engineering Career Services were excited to host an event to highlight the railroad and the innovative opportunities available to college students and graduates.  “Getting Your Career on Track in the Railroad Industry” was held on Wednesday, September 9, 2009 from 4-6 p.m. at the Illini Union on the Urbana-Champaign campus.

2009 Dr. W.W. Hay Award for Excellence
The selection process for the tenth Dr. W.W. Hay Award of Excellence began and the 2009 chair, Michael W. Franke, a former student of Dr. Hay, issued a call for entries. Entries should have been received no later than June 15, 2009 Click here for more information

8th International Conference on the Bearing Capacity of Roads, Railways and Airfields
The Eight International Conference on the Bearing Capacity of Roads, Railways and Airfields (BCR2A’09) took place at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois, on June 29-July 2, 2009. The BCR2A’09 conference was particularly of interest to academics, researchers, and practitioners involved in transportation geotechnics, pavement and railroad engineering disciplines and concerned with the many issues pertaining to the bearing capacity and mechanistic based design of highway and airfield pavements and railroad track structures. The BCR2A’09 conference provided a forum to promote efficient design, construction and maintenance of the transportation infrastructure. Click here for PDF 

2009 TRB Annual Conference - January 2009

Railroad students and faculty presented at the 2009 TRB Annual Conference in Washington, DC. 

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2008 AREMA Annual Conference - September 2008
Railroad Students and faculty attended the 2008 AREMA Annual Conference in Salt Lake City, UT.

Field Trip to Monticello Railway Museum
Railroad students had an opportunity to work on the railroad.

Railroads and "green" by Tom Judge, December, Railway Track and Structures. Tom Judge, editor of RT&S, discusses attending the 2008 Railroad Environmental Conference.

1968 - 2008 Moving toward green: Forty years of railroad environmental practice by Chris Barkan, Railway Age, October 2008, pp. 24-27

AREMA Student Chapter Formed
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign formed a student chapter of AREMA in the Fall of 2008. The goal of this chapter is to expose students to railroad engineering education and the railway industry in order to foster the development of leaders in railroad engineering in North America and throughout the world.

"Building an Education Infrastructure For Railway Transportation Engineering - Renewed Partnerships on NewTracks" by Christopher P.L. Barkan, July-August 2008 - TR News

2008 Railroad Engineering Education Symposium
To foster the growth of rail engineering education within universities, the AREMA Foundation and AREMA Committee 24 - Education and Training, organized an event called the Railway Engineering Education Symposium. The goal of the event was to provide engineering professors with rail curriculum to take back to the classroom. The professor symposium was held from June 8-11, 2008, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The symposium included two days of discussion on railroad engineering materials, current and future research, and a visit to local railroad facilities.

Trains Magazine Logo
"Narrowing the Information Gap" by Kathi Kube, September - Trains Magazine
RT&S Logo
"Leadership for the Future" by George Sokulski, August - Railway Track & Structures
"CFIRE Sponsors REES Summit"
Trains Magazine Logo
"Help wanted, training needed Universities, industry try to forestall engineering shortage" by Kathi Kube, May - Trains Magazine


8th World Conference on Railway Research, Seoul, Korea - May 2008 
Three University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign students and Prof. Barkan attended the 8th World Conference on Railway Research in Seoul, Korea. Prof. Barkan, Darwin Schafer and Yung-Cheng Lai all presented papers. Darwin Schafer's paper was chosen the "Prize for Best Paper Award" and "Prize for Young Researcher Award."

2008 Dr. W.W. Hay Award for Excellence
The selection process for the tenth Dr. W.W. Hay Award of Excellence began and the 2008 chair, Michael W. Franke, a former student of Dr. Hay, had issued a call for entries. Entries should have been received no later than June 15, 2008 Click here for more information

CTA - Fellowship for Summer 2008 
The Chicago Transit Authority had initiated the inaugural Presidential Fellowship during summer 2008. The program sought highly-skilled and motivated graduate students the opportunity to both learn from and contribute to the CTA's mission to providing quality and affordable transit services to residents in the Chicago area. They targeted students from top graduate programs in policy engineering  transportation studies and public and business administration to join the program.

University of Kentucky Students and Faculty Visited UIUC 
The Univeristy of Kentucky students and faculty visited the railroad engineering program March 7-11, 2008.

Engineering Open House - March 7-8, 2008
Engineering Open House (EOH) is an annual event organized entirely by engineering students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  It is held each spring semester, and draws estimated crowds of 20,000 people including, students, teachers, parents and families, from all over Illinois (and beyond). The Railroad Engineering Program participates in EOH each year by working with major railroads who to set up various exhibits and displays of railroad technology. 

Alumnus returns to teach railroad engineering
Winter 2008 CEE Alumni Association Newsletter

Railroad Alumnus Speaks at Grainger

Chuck Allen of Norfolk Southern spoke at a William W. Hay Railroad Engineering Seminar on 10-19-07

TRB 87th Annual Meeting - January 2008
Railroad Engineering faculty and students attended the TRB Annual Meeting in Washington, DC to present papers and attend sessions

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INFORMS - November 2007
Railroad Engineering students went to the INFORMS meeting in Seattle, WA to present papers.

2007 AREMA Annual Conference - September 2007
The 2007 AREMA Annual Conference was held at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, IL.  UIUC faculty member, Erol Tutumluer, and Railroad Engineering Program graduate student, Daniel Peltier, both presented papers, as did UIUC alumnus, Kevin Day of CN.  The title and links to their papers are here .  A number of students in the UIUC Railroad Engineering Program attended the conference and had the opportunity to meet some of their predecessors who are now working in engineering positions in the railroad industry

Railroad Job Fair - September 6, 2007 
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Railroad Engineering Department and Engineering Career Services hosted a Railroad Engineering Job Fair.

Understanding Ballast Behavior
Railway Track and Structure, August 2007. UIUC Professor Erol Tutumler's research on Discrete Element Modeling (DEM) of railroad ballast performance was discussed in an article in the August 2007 issue of Railway Track and Structures

International Heavy Haul Association 2007 
Railroad Engineering Students went to Kiruna, Sweden to present papers.

Teaching and Research Position in Railroad Engineering 
The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign invites applications for a full-time Lecturer in its railroad engineering program.

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Hay Railway Engineering Collection Dedicated 
The William W. Hay Railway was dedication on September 29th, 2006 in the Grainger Engineering LIbrary.

Illinois Engineer presents the American Railroads Experience 
La Opinion, Granada, Spain. 5/24/06

Lean Railroading
Productivity Press 2006

William Hay Railroad Engineering Collection dedicated at Grainger
Fall/Winter 2006 CEE Alumni Association Newsletter

Hanson Inc. gift will help expand, improve rail program
Fall/Winter 2006 CEE Alumni Association Newsletter

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Letter from Luc Aliadière, UIC Chief Executive
Mads Bergendorff, Senior Advisor for Environment at UIC, 2001 – 2005 Keynote Speaker at the 2004 Railroad Environmental Conference at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign 

Safe, Efficient Rail Transport

Fall/Winter 2005 CEE Alumni Association Newsletter

Union Pacific Railroad Gift to Support Rail Grad Research, Diversity 
Fall/Winter 2005 CEE Alumni Association Newsletter

Career in Rail Prompts Gift for Scholarships
Fall/Winter 2005 CEE Alumni Association Newsletter

Norfolk Southern Corporation’s gift sponsors Hay seminars
Fall/Winter 2005 CEE Alumni Association Newsletter

Barkan named George Krambles Faculty Fellow 
Fall/Winter 2005 CEE Alumni Association Newsletter 

Those Who Can, Teach 
Trains Magazine, May 2005

Amtrak President David Gunn Lectures at UIUC
Spring/Summer 2005 CEE Alumni Association Newsletter

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CN gift supports railroad program Spring 
Spring 2003 CEE Alumni Association Newsletter

Transit leader's life inspires scholarship
Spring 2003 CEE Alumni Associate Newsletter

On Track 
Spring 2003 CEE Alumni Association Newsletter

William W. Hay Railroad Engineering Collection 
Friendscript Volume 23, Issue 2, Winter 2001

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