Join Us This Spring

Christopher Barkan – Professor and George Krambles Director – RailTEC
C. Tyler Dick – Lecturer and Principal Railway Research Engineer

The University of Illinois has the strongest, most highly respected rail engineering program in North America and our graduates have excellent employment opportunities.  Three rail transportation and engineering courses will be offered in the Spring 2021 semester.  All three courses are approved options for advanced technical electives for a Primary or Secondary in Transportation Engineering.  Additional information on the rail courses is provided below, including instructor contact information.

We hope to see you in one or more of these courses!


CEE 410 – Railway Signaling & Control 

Rail transportation of passengers and freight requires specialized technology, operating practices, and control systems to safely and efficiently move trains from origin to destination. The nature of rail vehicles and infrastructure, specifically the steel wheel on steel rail, enables highly efficient transportation, but it also imposes substantial requirements on the train control system unique to rail transport.  There are three fundamental elements of a train control system: management of train movement authorities, communications, and speed control.  The course begins with an introduction to these concepts and then covers railroad operating rules, stringline diagrams, temporal and spatial train separation, block system concepts, and radio-based train dispatching.  Then track circuit technology and its role in train position monitoring and basic automatic block signaling is presented, followed by train braking mechanisms, stopping distance calculations and their relationship to signal spacing.  The course then introduces more complex signaling and train control problems related to diverging routes, bidirectional signaling on single track, coded track circuits, cab signaling, and automatic train stop and speed control.  The last section of the course covers interlocking concepts and function, centralized traffic control, and positive train control (PTC). Field trip(s) to observe signal system infrastructure and a visit to a railway dispatching and control center will be scheduled if circumstances permit.

Spring 2021 • Online Lectures and Weekly Discussion Group Meeting
Instructor: Professor – Christopher Barkan, Ph.D.

CEE 411 – Railroad Project Design and Construction

This course provides a comprehensive, integrated understanding of the planning, design and construction of a railroad engineering project from concept through to operation.  The course focuses on five elements of a railroad project: Planning, Economic Justification, Design, Surveying and Construction.  Through a series of integrated design assignments, students identify, gather and analyze the necessary information, to plan, design and manage a new railroad construction project.  The course also introduces students to MicroStation and Bentley Rail Track design software as applied to railway design projects.

Spring 2021 • Tu/Th 12:30-1:50 PM • Online or 1311 Newmark Civil Engineering Lab
Instructor: Lecturer & Principal Railway Research Engineer – Tyler Dick, Ph.D., P.E.

CEE 498 TSR- Transportation Safety and Risk

This course introduces students to multi-modal transportation safety and risk analysis. Topics covered include transportation safety and risk management framework, qualitative, semi-quantitative, and quantitative risk assessment techniques, structuring decision problems, overview of hazardous materials transportation, transportation-mode-specific risk assessment methods for highways, railroads, pipelines and inland waterways, and transportation security. The course focuses primarily on freight transportation risk assessment but the methodologies taught can be adapted to passenger transportation and these applications will be presented as well. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be capable of performing mode-specific and multimodal transportation engineering risk analyses.

Spring 2021 • Tu/Th 2:00-3:20 PM • Online
Instructors: Professor – Christopher Barkan, Ph.D.
and Postdoctoral Research Associate – Chen-Yu Lin, Ph.D.