Friday, March 17, 2006

. . . and Back from TTCI!

Almost everyone agreed that the 11th Annual Research Review was the best yet. There were more attendees than ever. It is almost to the point that some of the Test Center facilities are being swamped.

I will blog about various thoughts later. But, in the meantime, let me tell you that the MOST exciting thing to me was the participation of college students! A brief overview was given during the sessions themselves, but out in the hallway were posters that detailed specific projects.

Check out some of the research that was presented. The Railroad Engineering Program at the University of Illinois presented "Prospects for Energy Recovery from Freight Locomotive Dynamic Brakes" and "Optimizing the Aerodynamic Efficiency of Intermodal Freight Trains". The Zachry Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A & M University provided "Automated Wireless Instrumentation for the Monitoring of Potential Landslide Hazards". And Virginia Tech had several presentations involving Train Crew Fatigue, including how to measure it unobtrusively and how to prevent it.

U of I has long been know for filling the pipeline with very capable Railroad Engineers. The recent addition of the Aggies and VaTech is most welcome, and will hopefully continue.

Everyone I spoke with was genuinely excited about the contribution made by these collegians. And, almost everyone agreed that this was a great way to get more college students interested in Railroad Engineering as a career choice. These topics were just a sample of others, and all of the projects I saw indicated the benefit of looking at today's railroad operations thru a different paradigm, and coming up with great ideas that escape those of us preoccupied with everyday problems.

There is reason to be optimistic about the future of this industry.


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