This years theme:  Connecting the Dots:  Business, Communities and Technology

4th Annual Michigan Rail Conference Recap

The 4th Annual Michigan Rail Conference took place on August 17-18, 2016 at the Northern Michigan University (NMU) in Marquette. This was the first time for the conference to be held in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and it broke all expectations with a record of 160 participants. The conference received support from fourteen sponsoring agencies/companies.  As in the past conferences, the organization was led by the Michigan Tech’s Rail Transportation Program (RTP), under guidance from Conference Planning Committee (see list below). Additional support was received from the Michigan Department of Transportation and the National University Rail Center (NURail).

The full day of technical presentations featured two keynote speakers, Mr. Tom Baldini, and Mr. Frank Patton. Almost 30 presenters, many of them from outside the State of Michigan provided their expertise on sessions that ranged from the future of rail in Michigan, to rail operations and related development in the Upper Peninsula, and passenger rail in the age of lean public investment. On the evening before the conference, speakers got together to a gorgeous barbeque along the Lake Superior, sponsored by the Engineered Rail Solutions, LLC.

Almost 70 conference attendees stayed in Marquette for a second day to participate in field visits that covered multiple locations in the beautiful Upper Peninsula. The tours started with a tour of the recently opened Lundin Mining and Mineral Range Railroad operations in Humboldt, followed by tours of Potlatch corporation and other rail facilities in the vicinity of Sawyer airport. The final visits took the group to Escanaba to tour Escanaba & Lake Superior car repair shop (E&LS graciously sponsored lunch for the day), CN ore docks and rotary dumper, and the visit of Delta Manufacturing facilities.

Several television channels covered the conference (WLUC TV6 (NBC), WBUP Channel 10 (ABC), including the field visit, and WJMN Channel 3 (CBS))

The organizers would like to thank all individuals/organizations and sponsoring agencies/companies involved in making the 4th Annual Michigan Rail Conference a success beyond expectations. In 2017, the conference will return to the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, more specifically to Kalamazoo. We’re looking forward to yet another successful year and will work to get more details on the dates and conference venue in near future.

If you have an idea about a topic you'd like to see included at the 2017 Michigan Rail Conference, or if you would like to present a topic yourself, visit the Michigan Rail Conference Topic Submission Form

You can now check out the photos from the Conference and Field Trips!

Keynote Speaker
Mr.Tom Baldini delivering the Keynote speech
MRC2015 Speaker Gifts check presented to Operation Lifesaver
MRC 2016 Organizing Committee
Thanks to our generous sponsors!
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Aug 17, 2016 7:30am to Aug 18, 2016 5:00pm


Northern Michigan University
1401 Presque Isle Ave
Marquette, MI 49855