Archives—February 2014

Rail Night Brings Industry, Educators and Students Together

Railroad Night offered a relaxed dine-with-industry setting for faculty, students, industry, administration and community to meet each other and to learn more about railroads and the railroad industry. The event included hors d’oeuvres , cash bar, door prizes, and more. This event continues to draw in record numbers of participants with each year with over 165 this year. The Keynote Speaker was Lisa Stabler, President of the Transportation Technology Center Inc., Pueblo, Colorado.

The Rail Transportation Program (RTP) and the Rail Engineering and Activities Club (REAC) organized the 9th Annual Railroad Night and related Rail Day activities recently. Railroad Night’s 150-plus participants made for a full house and an exciting evening. The event drew in 15 industry company sponsors including RTP program partners Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific and CN. Continue reading

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar: Characteristics of Railway Operation and System Design

Civil Engineering Graduate Seminar; 4 – 5 PM, Feb 13, 2014 in Dow 642;
Mr. Ulrich Leister of SMA Partner AG, Zurich, Switzerland, presents: Characteristics of Railway Operation and System Design

Ulrich Leister obtained a Master of Science in transportation engineering from the Institute of Technology Berlin. In 2010, he wrote his master thesis on the integration of the high-speed system in California at SMA. Today he is Manager Business Development for the US market and has been project manager for our American projects since 2012.

The presentation will describe the characteristics of railroads, and explain the complexity resulting from the strong interdependencies between transportation, infrastructure and equipment that are unique to railroads. Planning approaches to design and operate rail systems, both on the freight and passenger side, are presented before ideas from our recent work in the United States to improve integration of both service types are discussed.

Sponsored by Michigan Tech Rail Transportation Program

SMA Partner AG

Rail Talks: High Speed Rail Track Design and Passenger Rail Outlook

Michigan Tech Rail Transportation Program Talks:
Feb 11, 2014: Mr Phil Pasterak, PE, Parsons Brinckerhoff, presents:
1:00 PM HSR Track Design – Dillman 301J
4:00 PM Passenger Rail Outlook in the US – Dow 875

Phil Pasterak has 30 years of professional experience and currently serves as PB’s Central Regional Manager for Rail and Transit. He has extensive experience in the management, planning, and technical design of rail, transit, and other transportation facilities and infrastructure. Mr. Pasterak is recognized for his expertise in developing high speed/intercity/commuter rail corridors, including his work on the Chicago-St. Louis high speed corridor, for which he currently serves as PB’s project manager. He also served as task
manager for planning through construction of the Utah Transit Authority’s first commuter rail service, and for planning of numerous passenger rail corridors in Illinois, Ohio, New York, and Virginia Continue reading

Environmental Engineering Seminar: Lake Superior Topics

Environmental Engineering Seminar Series
GLRC 202 3:00pm

Rasika Gawde, PhD student, Environmental Engineering

“Hydrodynamics and Thermal Structure in Lake Superior Impacts of an Episodic Climate Anomaly”

In recent years, 3D hydrodynamic models have been widely applied in a predictive capacity to all the Great Lakes to study ecosystem response to long-term climate change. But, an alternative aspect of climate change, observed as intermittent climatic anomalies, has not received equal interest. An isolated, positive anomaly observed in local air temperature measurements in March 2012 presents a unique opportunity to study the latter in Lake Superior’s ecosystem. Here, a 3D hydrodynamic model, Environmental Fluids Dynamics Code (EFDC), is applied for two consecutive summers, one preceded by the spring anomaly (2012) and the second preceded by average spring air temperatures (2011), to analyze the impact of this climatic anomaly on the thermal regime of the lake. This modeling effort is supported by a rich, comprehensive dataset of surface water temperatures and vertical temperature profiles measured during the April to September period of 2011 and 2012. Impacts of the temperature anomaly were observed along temporal and spatial scales; e.g. the 6°C increase in lake-wide surface water temperatures at the start of summer 2012 as compared to 2011 as well as on the physical processes; e.g. an early onset of thermal stratification (4 weeks in advance) in 2012. These shifts in thermal regimes will in turn affect ecological processes.

Marcel Dijkstra, PhD student, Environmental Engineering

“Ecosystem function in Lake Superior: Impacts of an episodic climate anomaly”

Climate change may become manifest over differing time scales: one characterized by long term, incremental changes as recorded in historical averages and the other by short term variability, e.g. the magnitude, timing, frequency and duration of episodic, extreme events. The ecological impact of extreme weather events may be particularly severe, simply because they are extreme, but also because ecosystems have rarely been exposed to such events. Due to the inherent unpredictability of extreme events, few studies have reported on the attendant ecosystem response. Here, the effects of an episodic air-temperature anomaly that occurred in Spring 2012 are reported and compared to those of 2011, a year with essentially average temperature conditions. Impact of this extreme weather event on the lake’s thermal regime and ecological forcing conditions (e.g. light, temperature and nutrients) cascaded through the system. This resulted in elevated annual primary production with a distinctive temporal distribution characterized by high productivity in early summer followed by a collapse in September (brought on by nutrient depletion resulting from extended thermal stratification). The benefits of increased annual primary production to the higher food web may be offset by cataclysmic drops in production.

Rail Transportation Program Hosting Railroad Night Feb. 18

The Rail Transportation Program (RTP) and the Rail Engineering and Activities Club (REAC) are hosting the Ninth Annual Railroad Night on Tuesday, Feb. 18, at the Franklin Square Inn, Magnuson Hotel. Railroad Night, scheduled from 7 to 9:30 p.m., has been a highlight of the year for RTP and REAC, and the event has drawn a full house year after year of industry representatives, students, and Michigan Tech faculty, staff and administration. Continue reading