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NURail Center Meeting in D.C.
January 15, 2020

NURail partners took the opportunity to meet in January at TRB. Photo credit: Chris Barkan.

National University Rail Center (NURail) Center partners met during the 99th Annual Transportation Research Board (TRB) meeting in Washington, D.C. on January 12, 2020. Meeting participants discussed plans for current and future education, research, workforce development and outreach activities in addition to discussing remaining project funds, timelines and reporting requirements. Five NURail partner universities were represented at TRB with numerous types of involvement with the conference.

FRA Director Visit
December 6, 2019

Graduate student Lee Evans talks with Dr. Maryam Allahyar about his research while postdoctoral research associate Chen-Yu Lin looks on.

Dr. Allahyar and the RailTEC Infrastructure group discuss their research out at the RAIL facility.

On December 5, 2019 RailTEC hosted Dr. Maryam Allahyar, Director, Office of Research, Development & Technology, Federal Railroad Administration. Dr. Allahyar received an overview of both the National University Rail (NURail) Center and RailTEC and was briefed on research and education projects. She also toured the Research and Innovation Laboratory (RAIL) and discussed infrastructure research being conducted there. In addition, she visited the graduate students office to talk with students and learn about their specific projects.

NURail Students Attend Railway Interchange 2019
October 1, 2019

NURail Center faculty and students at the Railway Interchange conference

Ethan Russell

Liam Dancey

Over 30 students from NURail Center partner schools attended the Railway Interchange (RI) conference on September 22 – 25, 2019 in Minneapolis, MN. RI is the largest railway exhibition and technical conference in North America and is attended by nearly 9,000 rail industry professionals from around the globe. In addition to competing in the student quiz bowl and attending the poster competition, students also had the opportunity to network with people and companies involved in the rail industry. In the Student Quiz Bowl three out of the top four winners were NURail Center schools. Liam Dancey, an undergraduate student at the University of Kentucky, took second place in the Undergraduate Student Poster Competition with his poster titled: “Eastern Kentucky Railyard Revitalization”. University of Kentucky master’s student, Ethan Russell, was the winner of the Graduate Student Poster Competition. His poster was titled “In-Track Measurements of Crosstie-Ballast Interfacial Pressure Magnitudes and Distributions with Varying Train Operational Conditions”. The top three posters in each category were given the opportunity to showcase their poster during the AREMA Monday morning breakfast at the conference.

Ten NURail Students receive RSI Scholarships
September 23, 2019

RSI scholarship winners with RSI President, Mike O'Malley (left) and Director, Communications & Member Relations John Hebert (right)

Ten students from NURail partner and affiliate schools received scholarships from the Railway Supply Institute (RSI) to attend the RSI Education & Technical Conference at the 2019 Railway Interchange Conference in Minneapolis, MN on September 22 – 25. The winners were: Lee Evans, Adrian Diaz de Rivera and Matheus Trizotto Silva from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; Kyle Dick, Walter Friesel and Stanton Schmitz from Michigan Technological University; William Dancey, Ethan Russell and Charles Morton from the University of Kentucky; and Michael Yohn from Penn State University – Altoona. The RSI Education & Technical Training Conference serves to educate attendees on new technologies and trends in the rail industry and provide an opportunity for industry networking and collaboration.

2019 NURail Annual Meeting
July 29, 2019

Dave Clarke, University of Tennessee – Knoxville, (left) and Forrest Van Schwartz, Managing Director Global Transportation Consultancy, (right), flank Chris Barkan who holds his Silver Tank Car Award.

Some of the NURail members attending the technical tour in St. Louis.

The NURail Annual Meeting was held July 24 – 26, 2019 in St. Louis, MO in conjunction with Summerail, which is hosted by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Committee on Rail Freight Transportation (AR040). This three day event featured two days of presentations and one day of technical tours. Four NURail partners gave technical presentations during the meeting. Pasi Lautala, Michigan Tech University, spoke on “Moving Forest Products in Upper Midwest – are there benefits from increased rail movements?” A presentation on “Trackbed Research and AREMA “Railcats” Activities at University of Kentucky” was given by Jerry Rose, University of Kentucky. Tyler Dick, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, talked about his research on “Influence of Mainline Schedule Flexibility and Volume Variability on Railway Classification Yard Performance”. And the University of Tennessee, Knoxville was represented by Pankaj Dahal who discussed his research on "Building a GIS Rail Network with Attributes for the Entire U.S." Also during the meeting Christopher Barkan, NURail Center Director, received the Silver Tank Car Award from TRB AR040 for his many years of dedicated service to TRB and his ongoing research on rail tank car design and safety benefitting all railroads and shippers worldwide.

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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-R) 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