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Passenger Railway Engineering Education Symposium (p-REES)
July 8 – 10, 2015

Built on the success of AREMA’s original REES program, the inaugural "p-REES" program, meeting and collaboration with other engineering professors on passenger rail and transit education and research was held this summer in Philadelphia. NURail Center partners participated in this symposium and provided practical, hands-on engineering information and materials, with the goal of encouraging engineering faculty interest in adding rail and transit engineering content to their current courses and curricula. The symposium also included a field visit to the rail transit facilities of SEPTA in Philadelphia, the sixth largest transit system in the United States.

Hanson’s CEO Joins NURail Board
July 8, 2015

Sergio “Satch” Pecori, P.E., president and chief executive officer at Hanson Professional Services Inc., has joined NURail’s Executive Advisory Board (EAB). Pecori started his career at Hanson in 1974 and has worked on a wide variety of projects in the U.S. and overseas, including railroads. “Satch’s experience and commitment to advancing railway engineering education is a great asset to NURail, and he also brings the perspective of the consulting engineering community to the EAB, which is important to our rail workforce development mission,” Chris Barkan, NURail Center Director, said. Click here to read the news release.

NURail Welcomed STEAM Summer Camp Students
July 3, 2015

On Friday, July 3 the NURail Center welcomed eleven students from the Next Generation School STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) Summer Camp. This innovative summer program provides real-world experiences for students in grades 4-6 in the Champaign-Urbana area. Camp the week of June 29 was titled "Zoom Zoom Invent" and focused on transportation and scientific inventions of transportation technology. On the day the student spent at the NURail Center, they focused on railroad planning, construction and safety, as well as investigating the physics of rail transportation.

Spotlight on NURail partner Steve Schlickman
June 30, 2015

In an ongoing series of columns showcasing APTA members, the June 30, 2015 issue of the Passenger Transport e-newsletter spotlighted NURail Center partner, Stephen E. Schlickman, Executive Director of the Urban Transportation Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Click here to read the article.

Special Hay Seminar Series on Shared Rail Corridors
June 16, 2015

Ahmadreza Talebain

Sam Levy

Hamed Pouryousef

Chen-Yu Lin

William W. Hay Seminar listeners were treated to a special two part seminar series this semester when four NURail students, each representing a different partner university, gave presentations on their research related to Shared Rail Corridors. The special series started on Friday, April 3 with Hamed Pouryousef from Michigan Tech and his topic "Introducing Hybrid Optimization of Train Schedule (HOTS) Model as Timetable Management Technique". Next, Chen-Yu Lin from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign spoke on "Hazards Associated with Shared-Use Rail Corridor Operations". To listen to Hamed and Chen-Yu’s presentations click here.

On Friday, April 17, Sam Levy from MIT spoke along with Ahmadreza Talebian from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Sam spoke on "Shared-use Passenger Corridors in California: HSR and the Peninsula Corridor” while Ahmadreza discussed "Capacity Allocation in Vertically Integrated Railway Systems: A Sequential Bargaining Game Approach with Focus on the US Context”. To listen to their presentations click here. This special series was well received by audience members and may be repeated in the future.

Click HERE for more news.

Featured Project

Elasto-Viscoplastic Modeling of Rail Ballast and Subgrade

Concrete Crosstie Fastener project

This project will focus on automatically detecting flat-spotted wheels from thermal imagery using computer vision methods. In addition to that, we introduce a novel algorithm to detect hot bearings. Click here to read the detailed brief.

Elasto-Viscoplastic Modeling of Rail Ballast and Subgrade

Concrete Crosstie Fastener project

Settlement of Rail Ballast and Subballast is a major issue in the rail industry. In this research, we develop a three-invariant soil model capable of simulating the settlement of soil under repeated loads. This model can be incorporated into finite element analysis of soils under the dynamic motions of trains. Click here to read the detailed brief.

Coupled Rail-Ballast-Subgrade Analysis of Train Dynamics

Concrete Crosstie Fastener project

In this project, we develop an integrated multibody dynamics and finite element model that include wheel-rail contact and deformation of the rail, fasteners, ties, ballast, sub-ballast and subgrade. Click here to read the detailed brief.

Structural Adhesive Behavior – Experimental and Computational Study

Concrete Crosstie Fastener project

In this brief, an experimental and computational study aiming to investigate the structural adhesive behavior at different loading scenarios is presented. The objectives of this research are: i) investigate the behavior of structural adhesive by characterizing their mechanical properties, and ii) establish a representative material model that can mimic their behavior and can be used in numerical models for computational studies. Click here to read the detailed brief.

Switch Geometry Modeling using ANCF

Concrete Crosstie Fastener project

The objective of this work is to develop a new finite element based procedure for representing surface geometry in MBS contact problems. This procedure ensures a certain degree of continuity at the element interface, thereby allowing for more accurate predictions of kinetics results that include the contact forces. Click here to read the detailed brief.

Study of Liquid Sloshing using a Multibody Approach

Concrete Crosstie Fastener project

The objective of this investigation is to develop a total Lagrangian liquid sloshing solution procedure based on finite element floating frame reference (FFR) formulation and absolutely nodal coordinate formulation (ANCF). Click here to read the detailed brief.

New Semester Course in Railway Terminal Design & Operations

Concrete Crosstie Fastener project

In the new Railway Terminal Design & Operations course (CEE 598 RTD) developed as a NURail education project, students learn details of the design, operations planning, management, and optimization of the terminal facilities required for the railway network to function as an efficient freight transportation system. The focus is on design of classification yards, intermodal facilities and bulk terminals, and how these facilities are organized into a network to provide different types of freight transportation service by rail. Click here to read the detailed brief.

"Grow Our Own" Minority STEM Initiative: Partnering in Outreach

Concrete Crosstie Fastener project

The railroad programs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-­‐Champaign and Michigan Technological University are supporting efforts led by Hanson Professional Services, a civil engineering consulting firm headquartered in Springfield, IL, to expose underrepresented groups to railway engineering and “grow our own” next generation of civil engineering leaders. Program coordinators at Hanson work with nearby schools and local organizations to identify minority students in the Springfield community with an interest in STEM topics. Students are then matched with appropriate programs to foster their interest. Click here to read the detailed brief.

Summer Youth Program in Rail and Intermodal Transportation

Concrete Crosstie Fastener project

Since 2010, Michigan Technological University has offered a Summer Youth Program (SYP) in Rail and Intermodal Transportation. The program hosts a diverse group of students in grades 9-11 representing 17 states. The structure of the program consists of classwork, tours, and hands-on activities. The mission statement of the program is "a collaboration to attract a new generation." Click here to read the detailed brief.

Railroad Engineering Education Symposium (REES) 2012

Concrete Crosstie Fastener project

The Railway Engineering Education Symposium (REES) is intended to foster the participation of university faculty in railway engineering with the goal of encouraging and supporting their interest in adding railway engineering content to their engineering courses and curricula. REES 2012 was held June 11-13, 2012 in Overland Park, KS at the Johnson County Community College (JCCC). REES 2012 presented basic railway education materials, but also added more advanced material targeted toward professors who returned to REES to deepen their understanding of the railroad industry. Click here to read the detailed brief.

Railroad Projects at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Concrete Crosstie Fastener project

Three rail related projects were taken on as part of the year-long Senior Design Capstone class. Two rail projects were also part of the Freshman Design class. During the spring of 2014 students in the Railroad Engineering class designed and constructed a 60 foot section of track at the Wabash Valley Railroaders Museum. The track is used to display a WWII Pullman Troop Sleeper car. Click here to read the detailed brief.

Rail Highway Grade Crossing Roughness Quantitative Measurement Using 3D Technology

Concrete Crosstie Fastener project

This research reports on the development of an accurate, low cost and readily deployable sensor capable of rapidly collecting a 3D surface model of a rail crossing in its present state. This is seen as a first step towards automating the crossing inspection process, ultimately leading to the quantification and estimation of future performance of rail crossing. Click here to read the detailed brief.

Quantifying Rail-Highway Grade Crossing Roughness: Accelerations and Dynamic Modeling

Concrete Crosstie Fastener project

Quality of surface is an important aspect affecting both the safety and performance of rail-highway grade crossings. No quantitative method currently exists to assess the condition of rail crossings in order to evaluate the performance of crossings and set a quantitative trigger for their rehabilitation. This research reports on the use of LiDAR to collect a 3D surface point cloud as input to a customized vehicle dynamic model. Click here to read the detailed brief.

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Upcoming Events

Aug 12 - 13 2015

Urbana, IL
9th Annual TRB Summerail

Aug 19 - 20 2015
Oct 20 2015

11:00a.m. Houghton, MI
Michigan Tech Rail Day

Oct 20 2015

6:00p.m. Houghton, MI
Michigan Tech Railroad Night

Who We Are

The NURail Center is a rail-focused seven-university consortium led by the Rail Transportation and Engineering Center (RailTEC) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

We are a Tier-1 University Transportation Center (UTC) under the US Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research & Technology (OST) program working to improve and expand rail education, research, workforce development, and technology transfer.

Members of the consortium are:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Illinois at Chicago
    College of Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Michigan Technological University
University of Kentucky
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology


NURail Center
1239B Newmark Engineering Laboratory, MC-250
205 N. Mathews Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801

Tel: (217) 244-4999
Fax: (217) 333-9464