The FRA Sponsored Tracks to the Future - Railroad Transportation and Engineering Summer Youth Program - Sessions 1 and 2.

We've completed another awesome summer!  We hosted more than 100 high school students from 18 different states at our six university locations.  Our program this year was definitely diverse, we had over have of our cohort minority students, and over 20% were female.  A big thanks to our travel support partners, Union Pacific, Via Rail, GATX, Ensco, Hanson Professional Services, CN, BNSF, Genesee & Wyoming, and South West Bridge.  They made it possible for 25 of our students to participate.  

Although registration is closed for 2023 you can put your name on our early notification list for Tracks to the Future 2024.  We expect to open registration early in 2024, and will give students on this list an advance opportunity to register before the crowd!  CLICK HERE to add your name, a good email address to contact you, and the grade you will be in during the fall of 2024.  The program will be open to students who will be in grades 9-12  during the fall of 2024. 

In 2024 we will expand the program to a total of 10 universities, so there may be one in your back yard! 


Copy of Flyer

Session 1 - took place June 19-23, 2023

Session 2 - took place July 17-21, 2023.

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!  

This hybrid program will start with two days of virtual instruction on Monday and Tuesday featuring hands on activities (we will send each participant a package of materials to use!), group virtual instruction and activities, and online activities.  Wednesday will be a travel day and the session will continue on Thursday and Friday at one of our University locations.  We will run two sessions this summer and will include six Universiies:

Session 1 - June 19-23: Michigan Technological University, University of South Carolina,  and California StateUniversity-Fresno 

Session 2 - July 17-21:   University of New Mexico, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Penn State-Altoona. 

The university programs will feature hands-on activities and rail industry field trips. Lodging is provided for Wednsesday, Thursday and Friday on the campus of the selected university.  This program is covered by an FRA Grant, which includes all program materials, plus lodging and meals for the on-site portion.  Students will be responsible for travel to their assigned university location.  The application process will ask each participant to rank their preference for the two sessions and six available sites.  Participant preference and home location will both be considered when assigning the on-site location.  Go HERE for instructions on how to apply for the program.  You will be asked later to submit some supporting documents to complete your scholarship application.  After participant selection and placement to one of the two sessions and six university locations takes place in mid April you will be notified and will need to complete a suplemental registration package for the assigned university location.  Again, start your registration HERE!   Problems with registration?  Contact our program staff at

Click HERE to see results from our previous years!

Click here to see how to donate toward student travel expenses
Thanks to our generous sponsors!
Lean more about how your organization can become a Sponsor!

Diamond Level Sponsors ($2000)

Platinum Level Sponsors ($1000)

Gold Level Sponsors ($500)

Silver Level Sponsors ($250)


Jun 19, 2023 8:00am to Jun 23, 2023 5:00pm