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RAILROAD ENGINEERING AT MICHIGAN TECH

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  1. RAILROAD ENGINEERING AT MICHIGAN TECH William J. Sproule and Pasi Lautala Michigan Tech University

  2. Opportunities in the Railroad Industry • Railroad Engineering Education • Program at Michigan Tech • The Future

  3. Wanted: Railroad Engineers • almost 40% of current workforce eligible to retire within the next decade • 80,000 to be hired within next 5-6 years • 140,000 within next 10 years • infrastructure is aging and increasing volumes will require more improvements • need civil engineers for design of new facilities and rehabilitation • also need mechanical, electrical and computer engineers, and others

  4. Where are tomorrow’s railroad engineers? • at one time railroad engineering was a common course in civil engineering programs, but it has disappeared • it has been years since railroads have been on campuses recruiting • challenge for the industry – reinvigorate interest in railroad engineering

  5. What’s new? • AREMA (American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association), Committee 24 (Education and Training) • Seminars, short courses, and course materials • New book : “Practical Guide to Railway Engineering” • Universities • Courses – Illinois, Delaware, Kentucky, Texas A&M, others • Short Courses – Wisconsin-Madison • New books

  6. Michigan Tech • Five-week summer program (May/June) with a study abroad component • on Michigan Tech campus – one week • in Chicago – one week • in Tampere, Finland – three weeks • Students take two courses • Introduction to Railroad Engineering – 3 credits • Finnish Language and Culture – 3 credits

  7. Introduction to Railroad Engineering • Introduction to railroads – history, terminology, North American railroads today, economics • Rail organizations • Railroad safety • Operations • Signals and communications • Railroad track location and design • Terminal, yard, and grade crossing design • Track construction and maintenance • Passenger rail operations • Introduction to urban rail transit

  8. Field Visits in Chicago • National Railroad Museum, Green Bay • Belt Line of Chicago Hump Classification Yard • CSX Intermodal Yard • METRA Traffic Control Center and Maintenance Shops • A Railroad Engineering Consulting firm (Patrick Engineering) • Ride CTA and Airport People Mover

  9. Field Visits in Finland • Finnish Railroad Administration • Helsinki Metro • Rail construction site • Ride EMMA (track measurement car) • Ride the Pendolino (high speed rail) • Experience European passenger rail service and public transit

  10. Finland • 5.2 million population • Republic of Finland (independence from Russia, 1917) • President: Tarja Halonen • Official Languages: Finnish and Swedish • Capital: Helsinki • Finns love their saunas, cell phones, and coffee

  11. Tampere, Finland • 200,000+ population • 100 miles northwest of Helsinki • 62oN latitude • originally the leading industrial city in Finland (textiles, wood products, and manufacturing) • home of Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame

  12. TUT – Tampere University of Technology • founded in 1965 • engineering and technology programs and research • 11,000+ students • second largest university in Finland

  13. Finnish Language and Culture

  14. Cost to Students • Program Fee $2200 • includes tuition (6 credits), fees, course materials, lodging, some meals, field trips, and study abroad fees • Air Fare $850 • Other Expenses varies • additional meals, entertainment, and personal expenses • Experience priceless

  15. Experience • SUCCESS!!! • Number of Students • 2004 – 16 • 2005 – 13, including one from the University of Kentucky • Rail companies are recruiting on campus again • 5 of the 6 largest railroads on campus – CSX, BNSF, Union Pacific, Canadian National, and Canadian Pacific • Of the 16 students that participated in the 2004 program, 14 graduated in 2004-05 – 7 accepted permanent positions with a railroad

  16. Experience • Summer Internship programs with railroads developed • Of the 13 students that participated in the 2005 program, 6 accepted intern positions (BNSF, CSX, and one with the Finnish Railroad) • Scholarship fund established • Students want more railroad courses

  17. Student Comments “…being able to stand next to railroad construction equipment and observe the whole process up close was an incredible experience.” “The classes were interesting and you get get to be immersed in a different culture, but never feel totally lost or out of place.”

  18. The Future • the railroads face an enormous challenge • there are exciting opportunities for universities to help the rail industry • planning has started for next summer (May 8 – June 9, 2006) and we welcome students from other universities to join us