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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.

3rd Passenger Railway Engineering Education Symposium
July 25, 2019

P.S. Sriraj (left), a NURail Center Partner from UIC, and Mark Walbrun (right), a U of I alumnus, giving their presentation on Station Facility Design.

The third biennial Passenger Railway Engineering Education Symposium (p-REES) was held July 22-24, 2019 at the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Headquarters in downtown Chicago, IL. NURail Center partners participate in this symposium and provide 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. This year faculty and alumni from five NURail Center universities gave presentations on rail transit modal characteristics, railway signaling, terminal facilities & track design. The symposium also included a field visit to CTA’s Control Center and an introduction to CTA’s Red and Purple Modernization Program. p-REES is sponsored by American Public Transportation Association (APTA) in cooperation with the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA).

Sponsored Research Presented, Award Given
July 15, 2019

Dr. Jerry Rose, right, receiving his Lifetime Achievement Award

Information from four different presentations at the 15th International Railway Engineering (RE2019) Conference on July 3-4, 2019 in Edinburgh, Scotland was funded by NURail sponsored research. NURail partner Dr. Jerry Rose, professor emeritus from the University of Kentucky (UK), and UK graduate student Ethan Russell presented their findings on trackbed related research. The co-author on two of those papers was NURail partner Dr. David Clarke from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. While at the conference Dr. Rose received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the conference committee. He began teaching at UK in 1971 and his primary research interest in recent years has been railway engineering.

NURail Student Wins Outstanding Student Award
May 1, 2019

Ethan Russell, UK master’s student

Ethan Russell, a University of Kentucky (UK) master’s student, was recently selected to receive the UK College of Engineering Dean’s Award for Outstanding Master’s Student. This award was given at the awards reception on Monday, April 15 in the Hilary J. Boone Center. Ethan is continuing UK research initiated with NURail funds. This research involves classifying the structural behavior of track, particularly at the Tie/Ballast Interface. To date, his work has been presented or will be presented at seven conferences related to railway construction, maintenance, and management. In addition, his research poster received 2nd place at the 2018 American Railway Engineering & Maintenance-of-Way Associate Annual Meeting. Ethan is currently the president of the UK RailCats student organization and will graduate in December with his BSCE.

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Upcoming Events

JAN12 - 16 2020

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