Program Update - July 20, 2022

We've completed another outstanding season of railroad summer youth programs!  This year we added a hybrid option, with field trips and on-campus activities at three different universities, to our standard week long program at Michigan Tech.  We also re-branded the program, with a new title, Tracks to the Future! to more clearly reflect that the rail industry is a technology leader in manyways.  Details of each program are shown below. 

Our traditional program hosted 22 students here on the Michigan Tech campus.  Students loved the hands-on activities in our campus work, and raved about the field trip opportunities.  Each student had the opportunity to operate and old fashioned  hand cart and to drive a small gas powered pusher.  Stops at the Escanaba and Lake Superior Car Repair Facility and the Ishpeming and Lake Superior Railroad offered a behind the scenes look at railroad operations. 

The first ever hybrid program provided two days of hands-on activities and virtual lessons in a home environment, then a condensed on-campus and field trip experience.  We hosted 43 students at three campuses, Penn State Altoona, University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, and Michigan Tech.  While there were some growing pains with the new program, students were captivated with our hands-on activities, and the three universities offered both opportunities to students who could not make it to Houghton and a wealth of field trip options that are not available in Michigan's upper peninsula. 


After ten years of operating a successful summer program, Michigan Tech, in partnership with University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and Penn State Altoona are expanding the opportunities to learn rail transportation and engineering. We offer both a week-long on campus program at the Michigan Tech campus and hybrid option that combines virtual programming at your home location with a two-day visit at one of the three participating universities.  Our 2022 program fees are covered through a generous grant from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). See below for more information on each program....registration is open NOW, see the registration instructions for each program below, or use the Registration Link in the side panel.  Problems with registration?  Contact our SYP staff at or 906-487-2219

2022 Program Overview

Railroads, the high tech and environmentally sensitive transportation mode!  Don’t believe us?  Come and learn why railroads remain the most energy-efficient transportation mode and what forms modern railroad track, equipment, and communications/control systems might take.  Learn how rail compares with other modes and leads the charge in reducing transportation greenhouse gas emissions!  Find out how it all works: classroom/virtual sessions, hands-on activities, and plenty of field visits to all sorts of railroad facilities!  See below for description of traditional (on-campus) and hybrid program options.

Traditional Program

The traditional program will take place at Michigan Tech campus on June 27th-July 1st. The program will combine classroom hands-on activities with field visits to rail industry sites. Grant funding will cover program materials, lodging and meals during the week, and transportation for the rail tours.  Participants will be responsible for travel to Houghton and back home again.  

Hybrid Program

Hybrid program will run between July 11-15. Students opting for hybrid this program will receive two days of virtual instruction on July 11-12.  This portion will feature hands on activities (we will send each participant a package of materials to use!), group virtual instruction and activities, and online activities.  Wednesday July 13 will be a travel day, and the session will continue on July 14-15 at one of our University locations: Michigan Tech, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, or Penn State Altoona.  The university programs will feature hands-on activities and rail industry field trips. Lodging is provided on the campus of the selected university  This option is also covered by the FRA Grant, which covers all program materials, plus lodging and meals for the on-site portion.  Students will be responsible for travel to the assigned university location.  

Contact David Nelson at or by phone at 906-487-1734, if you have any questions about either program.  Problems with registration?  Contact our SYP staff at or 906-487-2219.   CLICK HERE for a short video that will give you an idea of what the program is about, or HERE for a recap of our SYP 2021 program. 

Thanks to our generous sponsors!
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Jun 27, 2022 8:00am to Jul 1, 2022 5:35pm


Michigan Tech
1400 Townsend Dr
Houghton, MI 49931