Come See What Rail Engineering Is All About

The most highly respected rail engineering program in North America is right here at the University of Illinois Urbana – Champaign. An incredible five rail transportation and engineering courses will be offered in the Fall 2021 semester. These courses are approved options for advanced technical electives for a Primary or Secondary in Transportation Engineering. Did you know our graduates have excellent employment opportunities? Additional information on the courses is provided below, including instructor contact information.

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


CEE 408 – Railroad Transportation Engineering (Course Catalog Link)

Rail transportation systems require infrastructure, vehicles, motive power and energy to move goods and people. Rail technology spawned a transportation revolution that continues to substantially influence national and global markets. This course begins with the fundamental economics of rail transportation. This is followed by consideration of railroad rolling stock design, running gear and other mechanical components, train braking system design, function, and dynamics, and locomotive design, operation and function. The course covers quantitative analysis of train resistance, power and energy requirements, effects of aerodynamics, grade, and curvature, and their effect on speed, power, and acceleration. Railroad track system design, components, roadbeds, and maintenance needed to support safe and efficient movement of railway vehicles is also covered. The course concludes with an introduction to passenger rail transportation, high-speed rail, and the technical and operational challenges of increasing speed and frequency of passenger service on existing freight rail corridors.

Instructor: Professor – Christopher Barkan

CEE 409 – Railroad Track Engineering (Course Catalog Link)

Railroad track is the backbone of a railway network and a key element of the vehicle-track system. Its primary functions are to support and distribute train loads, guide rail vehicles and facilitate drainage. The safe and efficient movement of trains requires that track is properly designed, constructed, inspected and maintained. The objectives of this course are to provide the student with a fundamental understanding of basic railroad track engineering principles, concepts, practices and technologies. The course also includes the development of a comprehensive track design project in a team setting.

Instructors: Sr. Lecturer & Sr. Research Scientist – J. Riley Edwards and Adjunct Professor – Conrad Ruppert, Jr.

CEE 412 – High-Speed Rail Engineering (Course Catalog Link)

This course provides an introduction to the development, engineering, design and construction of a high-speed rail (HSR) passenger transport systems with particular emphasis on the unique engineering elements of HSR technology. Students will learn about the features of the HSR system and its subsystems including: core systems (trains, power, signal, communication and control), track system and civil infrastructure (earthwork, bridges, viaducts and tunnels). The course also covers basic design and construction of HSR stations and rolling stock maintenance facilities.

Instructors: Adjunct Professor – Conrad Ruppert, Jr. and Adjunct Professor – Tsung-Chung Kao

CEE 498 RVT – Rail Vehicle Technology (Course Catalog Link)

This course gives an extensive overview to rail vehicles and their technical basis, while you as a student design a commuter-type train in a course-long project task. The lectures and the project task advance in parallel throughout the course, in a weekly basis, so that technical aspects used in the design of the vehicle are available to the students throughout the lectures and online recordings. The material in this course has been developed by KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden and is a joint course with them.

Instructor: Lecturer & Principal Railway Research Engineer – Tyler Dick

CEE 595 HAL – High-Efficiency Freight Rail (Course Catalog Link)

This graduate seminar will feature a series of visiting speakers with expertise and direct experience with properly managing the changes the railroads face as they continuously evolve to take advantage of the economies of scale made by possible by their inherent capacity to move larger, heavier materials in greater quantities through use of larger, higher capacity freight cars, and longer trains.  Beyond the technical content, this graduate seminar will emphasize the critical role of engineers as creative problem solvers.

Instructor: Professor – Christopher Barkan