Monday, July 28, 2014

Michigan Tech Rail Night is Moving to October!


   Some very exciting changes to Michigan Tech's Rail Night are upon us.  Railroad Night will be moving to October 14th, two weeks after the fall career fair.  By changing the date, we are aiming to remove the hassles of winter travel, making it easier for everyone to attend.


   In addition to the moving of Rail Night, we are introducing the first ever Michigan Tech Rail Day/EXPO.  On the same newly changed date as Rail Night, we will be holding a day packed with events aimed at getting students closer and more familiar with this opportunity-rich industry.  An afternoon cookout, Railroad Equipment/Technology Expo and around-campus displays are just a few of the great things planned for our new Rail Day.  Rail Transportation Program students will presenting their posters as well as research and educational activities on and off campus. Then, after an action-packed day of rail, we will all head over to the 10th annual Railroad Night for a dinner with industry.  There are many exciting things to look forward to over the course of the day, so mark your calendars for October 14th!

For more information visit

or Contact Dave Nelson directly at or 906-487-1734

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

General Meeting - Tuesday, April 8 in EERC 100

We will be having the last general meeting of the year at 7pm on Tuesday April 8th in EERC 100. Guest speaker, Ed Burkhardt, will be coming to talk about when the UP railroads were owned by Wisconsin Central.

Food and refreshments will be provided.  All majors are welcome.
For more information please contact Colleen Carbary at

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Spring 2014 Field Trip to Detroit

The last weekend in March, REAC members had the incredible opportunity to head downstate and see how railroads play a vital role in Michigan's economy.

On the first day in Detroit, we visited SEMCOG where Tim Hoeffner and Tim Fischer gave us an inside look at the M-1 streetcar project that will soon break ground on Woodward Avenue.  In total, the streetcar will run 3.3 miles from the downtown Business District to the Amtrak Station off West Grand Boulevard.  While at SEMCOG, we got a very interesting presentation from Marge Byington with the Continental Rail Gateway.  She shared the current efforts to fund and construct a brand-new underwater rail tunnel connecting Detroit and Windsor.  Currently, two tunnels exist, however they are not tall enough to accommodate the increasing container train heights.  The next stop on the trip was Dearborn, where Barry Murray and Mike Hohenstein gave us a special tour of the city's almost completed intermodal passenger station that will be served by Amtrak's Wolverine.  After leaving Dearborn, Ryan Hoensheid escorted the group to Jackson where we learned about Amtrak's efforts to increase operating speeds on the Chicago-Detroit corridor.  Roger Saborido and Robert Lotsbaich gave the group a better understanding of the high-tech signaling systems that are being implemented on the line.  The first day was finished off by a great Amtrak ride back into the city. 

The second day was started off by a trip to SteelPro, where Paul Russo and Christopher Burcham gave us a tour of an enormous steel coil warehouse, complete with four indoor freight car unloading tracks; quite an impressive operation.  Next stop was the Norfolk Southern dispatching center where we met Dave Arnovitz.  Dave took us to see the TripleCrown intermodal yard and the vehicle loading facilities where vehicles are driven onto rail cars and shipped across the nation.  The last stop for the trip was Conrail's Livernois yard and Rouge River lift bridge, where Ed Statzer gave us an up-close and personal look at the massive bridge in operation.

In total, the 2014 Spring Field Trip to Detroit was action packed and very informative.

Thanks to all who made it possible!

For a better look at these photos and more, click here!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spring Field Trip Reminder -- Detroit Trip March 28-30th 2014

If you are planning to go on the spring REAC trip David Nelson needs you to add your name to the list at: 

as soon as possible.  If you are planning to go it is critical that you get your name on the list NOW!  If we do not have enough interest in the trip we may have to cancel, so twist some arms if you want to make sure it happens. A refundable deposit of $20 can be delivered to Pam Hannon to reserve your spot for the trip. She is located right next to Pasi's office.

The deadline for sign-ups is March 20th.  The REAC will cover the transportation and lodging costs for the trip.  We will leave on Thursday the 27th, spend the night in the Straights area, and get to Detroit early in the afternoon of the 28th.  We'll spend the night of the 28th in the Detroit area, and then start back towards Houghton on the evening of the 29th.  We should be back in Houghton by early afternoon on Sunday. There will be plenty to see and learn on this trip and the only cost to you is food! All travel and accommodations will be provided.

It looks like it is shaping up to be a great opportunity to see what is happening in the rail world around Detroit.  We have confirmed visits with Conrail, SteelPro (a major steel wharehousing and shipping company, that has on-site rail loading with CSX and NS), and NS railyards and dispatch center.  We expect to confirm visits to the M-1 transit project, and  the accelerated rail facilities in the southern part of the state.  

9th Annual Railroad Night Completed!

Dear Colleagues, 

The Rail Transportation Program (RTP) and the Rail Engineering and Activities Club (REAC) thank you for your participation in our 9th Annual Railroad Night and related Rail Day activities. 

The 9th Annual Railroad Night and related Rail Day activities on February 18th, 2014 created a successful and exciting event. Railroad Night brought together a diverse range of participants including rail industry, students, the community, and Michigan Tech faculty, staff, and administration.  Over 150 participants made for a full house and an exciting evening. The event, sponsored by RTP program partners Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific and CN, drew in 15 industry companies. 
The Rail Transportation Program has been founded on a multi-disciplinary approach and this year’s Railroad Night demonstrated the interest across the university. Students and faculty from a diverse cross section of campus attended the event. Faculty and students from ten departments were represented, as well as the administration, including Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Max Seel, Board of Control member Paul Ollila, and Vice President for Governmental Relations, Dale Tahtinen.

Railroad Night included poster presentations of rail related faculty and student research, industry sponsor tables, food, door prizes, and special events.  Keynote speaker Lisa Stabler, President of the Transportation Technology Center Inc.(TTCI) of Pueblo, CO, and one of the leading female executives in the industry gave a presentation on rail industry research and outlook from TTCI. Tom Bartlett (EE, 2008), from Union Pacific was awarded an Honorary REAC membership for his contributions to advance the RTP and REAC.  Over 80 students signed up to participate in the event and were provided the opportunity to socialize, network, and dine with industry and faculty. The event this year was a great success and yet another step to strengthen ties between faculty researchers, rail industry representatives, local technology companies, and students from Michigan Tech.
Thank you again for your participation in this important and memorable event and please stay in touch with upcoming RTP and REAC events. 
Please visit our website for photos and follow up information.

Monday, March 3, 2014

General Meeting/Officer Elections - Tuesday, March 4 in DOW 641 at 7:00PM

Looking for a great opportunity to hone your leadership abilities for future internships/co-ops? 

REAC is looking for determined and motivated individuals that are interested in the rail industry to fill the executive board. The following positions are open:

  • President
  • Vice President
  • Treasurer/Secretary
  • Social Chair
  • Webmaster
  • Graphic Design/Markering Chair

We will also have a recap of the 9th Annual Railroad night, have updates on Senior and Enterprise projects, and discuss general business about our upcoming spring trip to Detroit.

There will be  refreshments and sub sandwiches provided at the meeting, and ALL MAJORS are welcomed!






2014-2015 Executive Board Elections:

Tuesday, March 4 in DOW 641    7:00PM

Rail Trip to Detroit - Thursday March 27 -30

There will be a Spring trip down to Detroit to  visit M-1 Rail, Norfolk Southern, Conrail, Michigan HSR Rial, and a steel shipper plant.

We will be departing from Tech on Thursday, March 27 in the evening and returning  on the 30th around noon. Further details regarding the trip and how to sign up will be discussed at the meeting.

Rail Trip to Detroit

March 27-30
Stay Tuned for further information