Rail Transportation Program Wins National Honor

The Rail Transportation Program (RTP) at Michigan Tech has received a prestigious grant from the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC). Each year the NRC accepts applications for the NRC Education Grant Program from colleges and universities with rail education programs.

In addition to Michigan Tech’s RTP, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Rail Transportation and Engineering Center received a NRC Education Grant.

“This year, we had a record number of applications for the 2019 NRC Education Grant Program. All submissions were from top-tier rail programs which made the committee’s job very difficult in deciding our winners,” said Daniel Stout, vice president of STX Railroad Construction Services, and the chairman of the NRC Education Committee. “I am looking forward to having our co-winners, Michigan Tech and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, join us in discussing their respective programs and how they plan to utilize the grand funds at the 2020 NRC Conference in San Diego.”

Rail education at Michigan Tech includes coursework and related rail transportation minor, field trips, research projects, internships, scholarships and hands-on opportunities. The RTP is active in pre-university education sponsoring a Rail and Intermodal program through Michigan Tech’s Summer Youth Programs (SYP).

RTP Director Pasi Lautala (CEE), said the grant funds will be used for enhancing the educational resources available for the Rail Program. These include the construction of a track section on campus and the development of various demonstration tools related to railroad signals. The grant will also support the activities of the Railroad Engineering and Activities Club (REAC) and the Summer Youth Program.

“We are extremely excited that the NRC recognizes the value of academic programs in securing talent for the future generation of railroaders,” Lautala said.

“The vision of our program is ‘to develop leaders and technologies for 21st-century rail transportation,’ and this grant will allow us to provide improvement that we have considered for several years. We are humbled by NRC’s selection and are looking forward to working more closely with NRC in improving railroad engineering education in the US.”

The NRC 2020 Education Grant application period will open later this spring.


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