• Rail and Engineering Center at U. of Ill.

  • General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.
General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.

Moderator: Robert Paniagua

  by mxdata
From the Railroad dot Net featured articles:

"The University of Illinois announced Tuesday in a press release that they plan to add a rail transportation and engineering center to the school. The U.S Department of Transportation will allocate $3.5 million to set up the center. Called the NURail Center, this program, according to the University’s news release, will address problems with using rail corridors for both high-speed passenger trains and freight trains."

This hundred plus year old "problem" requires $3.5 million of taxpayers money and a another academic "center" to solve? Is this just more Federal funds to support another think tank full of people who never worked a day in the railroad industry?

  by Arborwayfan
Knowing who is involved, I think the center is probably a very good use of of taxpayers money. It's U of I, MIT, Rose-Hulman Inst of Tech, and various others. MIT's Rail Group has been a leading producer of really important railroad research (for the AAR, for various railroads, etc.) for decades -- everything from terminal design to rail wear. Among other things, the people who helped bring you hourly freight car charges to avoid a mad rush to interchange just before midnight to avoid per diem, figured out when heavy axle loads make sense and didn't, etc. Their profs and other researchers may get MIT paychecks but they've spent a good long time working "in the railroad industry". Many of their graduates are working for railroads now. (I don't work for MIT and I didn't go there, and I don't work for a railroad.) Rose-Hulman is going to start teaching at least one specific undergraduate course in railroad engineering to help meet demand in a kind of engineering that no one's been teaching for decades. (I do work at Rose-Hulman, but I will not be teaching this class; I do not speak for Rose in this or any other forum.) I don't know the specifics about the U of I folks but I know there are people there who've brought us better ties, among other things.
  by mtuandrew
A press release from Michigan Technological University, another partner in the NURail program:

http://www.mtu.edu/news/stories/2012/fe ... 62206.html
February 3, 2012—

Michigan Technological University’s Rail Transportation Program--part of the Michigan Tech Transportation Institute--is one of seven members of a research university consortium that has received the US Department of Transportation’s (USDoT) first multi-million grant to a University Transportation Center focused solely on rail transportation. The University of lllinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) will lead the consortium.

The $3.5 million grant is part of a $77 million USDoT initiative to advance research and education programs that address critical transportation challenges facing the nation. In addition to UIUC and Michigan Tech, the members of the National University Rail Center (NURail) are MIT, the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Kentucky and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
I can testify to both the importance of this center and specifically to the Railroad Engineering program at Michigan Tech, where I started my undergraduate studies. My class was the first to be involved in the program, with several weeks of study in the United States and abroad. Though I'm not involved in the industry, several of my classmates now work for Class 1 operations. Since that time, the program has developed to the point that it is nationally known, despite not having active rail within the county. This announcement gives me a great deal of hope that the shortage of engineers on the railroad will be corrected soon, and that the railroad industry, working with colleges and government, will leave the bad old days of the 1960s and 1970s in the dust and become a leader in industry again.
  by Jeff Smith
Cross-posting to Railroad Ops.
  by jbvb
I did work in the MIT program years ago; though I did not go on to a RR career, several of my classmates did. You would be amazed at some of the things our research was turning up about inefficiencies and accounting issues in RR operations.