The Norfolk Southern Railway terminal in Decatur, Illinois features the largest flat-switching classification yard in the United States. The facility it situated at a key gateway where NS routes from Kansas City to Detroit and other eastern destinations intersect lines to St. Louis and Chicago. The yard also supports several nearby agricultural and industrial facilities that ship by rail, including the large ADM plant, and interchange of freight traffic with other railroads serving Decatur. The NS Illinois Division train dispatching center is also located in Decatur. From this facility, NS employees control and manage railway operations on multiple NS routes across the Midwest.
In 2013, the Rail Transportation and Engineering Center (RailTEC) at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign embarked on a mission to design and construct a laboratory with the primary objective of improving the performance and design of railway infrastructure and its components. To achieve this objective, the 3,500 square foot Research and Innovation Laboratory (RAIL) was conceived and located in the Harry Schnabel, Jr. building on the CERL campus. RAIL currently houses multiple testing frames which provide the ability to conduct experiments on railway infrastructure and mechanical components including crossties and fastening systems. The cornerstone of RAIL is the Track Loading System (TLS) which provides researchers the ability to perform static and dynamic experimentation on railway superstructure and rolling stock mechanical components and full-depth track substructures. RAIL provides researchers with the necessary tools to study various infrastructure components at the material, component, and system levels.
Wednesday, July 13th
|Depart Campus (NCEL Lobby)
|Field Visit to Railway Facilities (Norfolk Southern Yard and Dispatching Center, Decatur IL)
|Depart Decatur for Champaign - Box lunch on the bus
|UIUC RailTEC Research and Innovation Lab (RAIL) Tour (North Champaign)
|Arrive Campus (NCEL Lobby)