In 2012, the seven university consortium, including Michigan Tech, was awarded the first National University Rail Transportation Center (NURail) by the USDOT Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA). The University of lllinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) leads the consortium.
The primary objective of the NURail Center is to improve and expand rail education, research, workforce development, and technology transfer in the U.S. The first round of NURail sponsored and co-sponsored projects have been progressing throughout academic year 2012-2013 and the first projects will be compled in late 2013 and early 2014. The grant has also supported various educational and student activities and projects, covered earlier in this report. read the press release...
In September, 2013 The U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) has awarded a grant of $1.4 million to the National University Rail (NURail) Center, a multi-university rail transportation and engineering research center led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. read the press release...
ONGOING NURAIL RESEARCH PROJECTS AT MICHIGAN TECH
Austempered Ductile Iron (ADI) in Railroad Wheels
Dr. Paul Sanders and PhD Student Karl Warsinski are working on the development of Austempered Ductile Iron as a potential railroad wheel material. As part of the project, Warsinski has been collaborating with a local railroad to collected data on wheel temperatures during the braking application.
Influences of Driver Attention on Rail Crossing Safety
Myounghoon “Philart” Jeon and Alex Hardy, a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics are continuing the work started by Hardy and Dr. John Hill. The research has concentrated on mapping the automobile driver eye fixation patterns, as they cross highway rail at-grade crossings. The project attempts to evaluate the effects of various safety devices to driver behavior and how different distractions change the behavior.
MDOT AND NURail CO-SPONSORED PROJECTS
The Rail Transportation Program has two ongoing research projects co-sponsored by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the NURail. In addition, Michigan Tech has been leading the organization of the 1st Michigan Rail Conference.
Assessment of Aggregate Sources in Michigan for High Speed Railroad Ballast
Dr. Stan Vitton is leading a project that analyzes acceptable aggregates available in Michigan for railroad ballast on high speed rail lines. The current work on the railroad ballast project involves identification and testing of a select number of aggregates to evaluate whether their characteristics meet ballast specifications. In the spring the project began static and dynamic testing of ballast sources in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, especially the carbonate aggregates.
UP Rural Freight Rail Study
This project concentrates on identifying challenges faced by rural rail service providers and shippers along light-density lines in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and on developing tools and methods that facilitate the use of rail and multimodal transportation alternatives.
Michigan Tech's Rail Transportation Program is one of seven members of a research university consortium that focuses on rail transportation. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) leads the consortium. Michigan Tech and UIUC are partnered with MIT, the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. These seven form the National University Rail Center (NURail) which aims to develop rail related research, education, and technology transfer.
Official NURail Project Website