From Aug. 7 to 9, 2018, the Michigan Tech Rail Transportation Program (RTP) worked with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), Michigan State University and a planning team of dedicated rail industry representatives to present the Michigan Rail Conference 2018.
Under RTP’s leadership, the planning committee consisting of rail industry, government agencies and other stakeholders interested in promoting the industry brought together more than 30 speakers and more than 100 participants in Saginaw to focus on the conference theme, “End to End Journeys: Integrating Partners.”
RTP faculty, staff and students led the conference coordination and logistics. Nikkie Johnson (MDOT), and Nicholas Little (MSU), were conference co-chairs, while David Nelson (CEE) and Amanda Kerttu from Michigan Tech were lead coordinators for the program. Two students, Alex Christmas and Kyle Dick, came to Saginaw to assist and to enjoy the conference.
Day one of the conference was capped off with an evening reception at the Lake State Railway’s offices and yard, and featured a train ride to Midland and back on vintage passenger cars brought to the yard specifically for the conference. Day two featured the technical content of the conference at the Saginaw Valley State University conference center. The program included eight plenary and breakout sessions featuring industry experts in a host of passenger and freight-rail topics. The keynote address was given by Jo Strang, senior vice president, Safety and Regulatory Policy from the American Shortline and Regional Railroad Administration (ASLRRA).
The event wrapped up with a full day of field trips featuring stops at a variety of rail served shipping locations and culminating with another train ride, again hosted by Lake State Railway Company, this time from Grayling back to the Saginaw area.
The event provided an excellent venue for discussions and networking across the entire spectrum of rail industry companies and supporters in Michigan.