“Tracks to the Future” Summer Camp a Success

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Michigan Tech and Penn State Altoona teamed up this summer to offer nearly 50 high school students across the U.S. an exciting opportunity to learn about rail in a Summer 2022 program titled “Tracks to the Future: Railroad Transportation and Engineering”. Illinois hosted 16 campers from Illinois, Michigan and New Jersey.

Through virtual sessions, hands-on activities, and field visits to railroad facilities, students learned what forms modern railroad track, explored railway equipment from around the globe, and analyzed the latest operations, communication and control systems. They also learned how rail compares with other modes and leads the charge in reducing transportation greenhouse gas emissions. This hybrid program featured a two-day at-home virtual portion that ran 11-12 July with a two-day visit at one of the three partnering campuses on 14-15 July. Wednesday, 13 July was a travel day.

Successful camps are not possible without the extraordinary help from others. A huge thank you to the following groups:

  1. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for funding the camp and all participant costs
  2. Monticello Railway Museum (MRM) volunteers for opening up the museum especially for the group on a day they are normally closed, and hosting an amazing experience for the campers
  3. Coordinators and camp counselors at the Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE) program at Illinois’ Grainger College of Engineering for taking care of the group after hours
  4. RailTEC grad students for their volunteer service