Over a third of the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA) Educational Foundation 2020 scholarships were awarded to RailTEC students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Illinois won 12 of the 34 awarded scholarships. Congratulations to the following Illinois winners: Sina Anesteh, Josue Cesar Bastos, Christopher Bauer, Chung-Lin (James) Chan, Matt Parkes, Isaias Colombani, Camila Pereira Silva, Adrian Diaz de Rivera, Matheus Trizotto, Daniel Holmes, Lee Evans and Geordie Roscoe. The AREMA Educational Foundation provides scholarships to engineering students who are specializing in the railway industry and supports other educational and training endeavors that help to ensure the future of the profession. For a complete list of names and their awarded scholarships, click here.
Ronald L. Batory, Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), visited the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on Friday, February 7, 2020. While on campus, he discussed rail education and research through meetings with campus administration, faculty and students, and learned about RailTEC and NURail. Administrator Batory’s William W. Hay Railroad Engineering Seminar was warmly received by approximately 70 attendees. His visit culminated with a tour of RailTEC’s Research and Innovation Laboratory (RAIL) which the FRA helped fund. Administrator Batory is a career professional with more than 45 years of field and system experience in the railroad industry and was nominated in 2017 by President Donald Trump for his current position.
Each year the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association’s (NRC) Education Committee allows colleges and universities with rail education programs to apply for the NRC Educational Grant Program. After receiving a record number of applications, the NRC Education Committee selected RailTEC as one of its two 2019 recepients. NRC said that both RailTEC and the other winner, Michigan Technological University, “displayed exemplary educational programs, and showcased how their respective programs not only educate the next generation, but also how they prepare the students for industry advancements”. As a grant recipient, Tyler Dick was invited to attend the 2020 NRC conference in San Diego on January 5 – 8 to represent RailTEC and speak on railway education and outreach activities. Click here to read the NRC grant announcement.
The 21st Railroad Environmental Conference (RREC) was held on October 22-23, 2019 on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus. Over 500 registered attendees had the opportunity to hear 65 thought-provoking presentations by railroaders, consulting engineers, academics and others involved in all aspects of railroad environmental topics. There were also 25 poster presentations and 56 exhibitors. The Association of American Railroads (AAR) awarded the 2019 North American Environmental Employee Excellence Award to Brian Zacker, an environmental field services senior manager at CSX. AAR’s award recognizes leading contributions to environmental responsibility and excellence in the industry, and is considered the highest honor for rail industry environmental professionals. Mark your calendars now for the 22nd annual RREC conference, which will be held on October 27-28, 2020.
Both Spring 2019 rail classes took first-rate field trips in April. CEE411 (Railroad Project Design and Construction) went to the CSX Bedford Park Intermodal Facility on Tuesday, April 9 which allowed the students to observe containers and trailers being loaded on railcars and stacked within the facility. From there they went to the Metra 47th Street Diesel Locomotive and Coach Shop in Chicago where the class observed track and building construction for the current expansion of the facility, and ongoing diesel locomotive rebuild and bi-level commuter railcar rehabilitation programs. On Thursday, April 25 the CEE410 (Railway Signaling and Control) class went to Metra’s Signal & Wiring Shop in Mokena, where Illinois students learned about relay and microprocessor controlled CTC, ABS, APB, electric lock switches, and grade crossing warning system technologies. Students then traveled to CN’s Dispatching Center & Locomotive Simulators in Homewood to learn about CN’s network management and observe train dispatchers controlling train operations. They then tried their hand at operating a locomotive simulator at CN’s training facility. Thanks to everyone our students had an outstanding experience!
March 2019: One third of the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA) Educational Foundation 2019 scholarships were awarded to RailTEC students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Scholarships won by Illinois students this year collectively totaled $21,000. The Illinois winners are: Sina Anesteh, Josue Cesar Bastos, Jacob Branson, Yubing Liang, Chen-Yu Lin, Tzu-Yu Chang, Ricardo J. Quiros Orozco, Lee Evans and Geordie Roscoe. The AREMA Educational Foundation provides scholarships to engineering students who are specializing in the railway industry and supports other educational and training endeavors that help to ensure the future of the profession. For a complete list of names and their awarded scholarships, click here. Congratulations to all!
February 2019: During the deep arctic freeze in late January while people took extra measures to keep warm, railroads did the same. In an article written by David Graham of The Atlantic he discusses the effects of cold, wet weather on rails and switches. The title of the piece, “Frozen Train Tracks? Set ‘Em on Fire” was published on February 1, 2019 after videos of what appeared to be Chicago’s commuter tracks on fire. RailTEC’s Professor Chris Barkan was quoted in the article. Click here to read the piece.
January 2019: A white paper prepared by the Rail Transportation and Engineering Center (RailTEC) and commissioned by Metra was cited in a newspaper opinion-editorial in the Daily Herald on January 11, 2019. The op-ed was written by three of Chicago Metra’s board of directors addressing their concern for the commuter railroad’s “dire” capital funding crisis and warning of potential service cuts. The authors referenced the white paper’s statements that failure to spend $1 in preventive maintenance now can cost $4 in deferred maintenance later. Click here to read the entire article.
January 2019: Professor Chris Barkan was recently interviewed by Jo Craven McGinty, author of The Numbers column for The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), and referenced in her January 11, 2019 column. Her article was titled “Will New Train Guidelines Improve Speeds? Not So Fast” and she discussed a Federal Railroad Administration rule which goes into effect on January 22 and introduces new safety and high-speed standards. Click here to read the article.
January 2019: RailTEC faculty, students and alumni will attend the 98th Annual Transportation Research Board meeting in Washington, D.C. on January 13 – 17, 2019. This group will have a strong presence at the conference with 37 presentations, 3 session chairs, 4 committee chairs and 18 committee members. Professor Christopher Barkan will be appointed an Emeritus Member of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Committee AR000 Rail Group. Click here to see our guide to RailTEC presentations at TRB.