RailTEAM Universities

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

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UNLV has continuously made efforts to secure funds for research on high-speed rail. Jointly with the faculty from the University of Virginia, in 2011, Dr. Hualiang “Harry” Teng wrote a proposal to the FRA Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) program on the development of a simulation model system for safety-critical risk assessment of high-speed rail. In 2013, UNLV proposed to the BAA to develop acoustic technology to detect transverse defects in rail at high speed. In RailTEAM, the existing research on high-speed rail will be expanded to a comprehensive program that covers the design, construction, and maintenance of every component of high-speed rail systems.

The work proposed at UNLV will be performed by faculty from three engineering departments: Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Electrical and Computer Engineering. The facility and equipment in all three departments will be available to the UTC. UNLV has developed a partnership with the Nevada State Railroad Museum. The Railroad Museum runs an excursion passenger train for which a large maintenance shop has been established. Any research project related to vehicles can be conducted using the Museum’s equipment, including access to railcars and tracks specifically suited for field tests under controlled conditions.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Railway Technologies Laboratory (RTL) of VT has had a long history of railroad research since its inception in 2004. Prior to that, the Advanced Vehicle Dynamics Laboratory (established in 1995) and Center for Vehicle Systems and Safety (CVeSS) conducted an extensive amount of research in the general area of transportation systems safety, with particular emphasis on railroad and heavy truck applications. Over the years, RTL and CVeSS have conducted more than 50 different projects related to various aspects of transportation research, amounting to more than $24M in funding from various government agencies and transportation industries. Currently, RTL and CVeSS conduct funded research that amounts to approximately $800,000 in annual funding. This includes $200,000 from the Association of American Railroads (AAR), and $348,000 from FRA for research that is conducted at RTL. The work performed at RTL also includes funded research by suppliers such as HARSCO Rail, and Class I railroads such as Norfolk Southern (NS). CVeSS also works with various companies across different sectors of the transportation industry including OEs, suppliers, government agencies such as FHWA, and fleets.

Virginia Tech Railway Technologies Laboratory (RTL) is an AAR-Affiliated Lab, one of only three laboratories in the country that have such a distinction. RTL has had a long history of productive and collaborative research with the U.S. Class I railroads, their suppliers, and government agencies such as FRA. Housed in a dedicated 8000-square-foot facility, RTL operates a state-of-the art roller rig facility, which is unique in terms of the accuracy of measurements that it provides for rail-wheel contact mechanics and dynamics. Worldwide, there are no other facilities with the same level of accuracy as the RTL roller rig, which has been designed and built in close collaboration with several industries that specialize in high-precision test equipment. RTL has direct access to numerous structural testing, sensor development, power electronics, and other advanced laboratories that are especially suited for transportation research.

University of Delaware

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The Railway Engineering and Safety Program at the University of Delaware is dedicated to providing education and advanced research on railway engineering, safety, operations, and economics for the North American and international railway and transit industry. Program activities include undergraduate- and graduate-level courses and professional short courses, with most offerings available both in person and online. The program includes a Graduate Certificate in Railroad Engineering available both on site and on-line. To date Certificate Program participants include both graduate students and railroad industry professionals from US and Overseas.

Faculty of UD’s railroad engineering and safety program conducts independent and collaborative research projects, conference organization and presentations, and collaborations with international organizations. The program is headed by Dr. Allan M. Zarembski, an internationally recognized expert in railroad engineering with extensive experience with railroads and transit systems on all continents

The University of Delaware Railroad Engineering and Safety Program was originally developed by Professor Arnold D. Kerr who ran the program from 1978 through 2004. It was reestablished with the arrival of Professor Zarembski in 2012. Since then it has successful completed over 25 research projects worth over $1 Million and funded by such organizations as the US Federal Railroad Administration, the National Academy of Sciences, State of Pennsylvania, State of Delaware and numerous railways, transits and railroad industry supply organizations. In addition, it currently has active research projects from multiple sources of the order of $750,000.

The University of Delaware established an annual Big Data in Railroad Maintenance Planning Conference in 2014, which has has grown dramatically, with the 201 conference hosting more than 160 registrants from three continents. The Conference addresses new and emerging data analysis techniques for railroad inspection and maintenance management. The focus is on how planning of the critical capital and maintenance programs can be improved by more timely and critical analysis of a large volume of inspection data collected daily by the railroads.

The University of Delaware has an extensive array of engineering facilities that are available for use in the proposed research activities. This includes a complete structures testing laboratory with a full range of dynamic test equipment and measurement equipment.