Nearly 100 high school students across the U.S. had an exciting opportunity to learn about rail in a Summer 2023 program titled “Tracks to the Future: Railroad Transportation and Engineering”. The program, which began in 2012 with Michigan Technological University’s (MTU) Rail Transportation Program, has since grown to include sessions at the following universities: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Penn State Altoona, University of South Carolina, California State University-Fresno and the University of Mexico.
Thanks to funds from the Federal Railroad Administration, which included all program materials plus lodging and meals for the on-site portion, RailTEC hosted 21 students originating from Illinois, Missouri, New York, Tennessee, and Washington. 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 with a two-day visit at one of the six partnering campuses. The 2023 program included two sessions. The first took place 19-23 June at MTU, University of South Carolina and California State University-Fresno; the second session took place 17-21 July at the University of New Mexico, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Penn State-Altoona.