Sunday, December 2, 2012

General Business Meeting -12/4/2012

Full Speed Ahead

A Brief Review of Current Rail Activities at the MTU Rail Transportation Program


Location: Dillman 214
Time: 6pm
Presenter: Prof. Pasi Lautala, Director of Rail Transportation Program


Free Pizza and Pop as Usual!

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

CN Duluth Trip - 11/2-11/3

On November 2nd and 3rd, members of REAC visited the CN facilities in Duluth, Minnesota. For those of whom who are not familiar with where Duluth is located, see the map below:

View Larger Map

Located at the far western tip of Lake Superior, Duluth is a major shipping center for grains and, in particular, taconite pellets. These taconite pellets are a low-grade iron-ore used in the steel making process. Since most of the steel industry is focused in and around Pennsylvania and Ohio, freighters are required to ship the pellets across Lake Superior and down Lake Huron to ports on Lake Erie.

But before they can get shipped by freighter, they must get shipped in by rail from the mines to the port. Many of these mines are located quite a ways away in North Eastern Minnesota. So, our first stop in Duluth began at the CN Proctor Yard, located in the tiny town of Proctor, MN, just west of the ore docks where we met up with Neil Chambers.

The CN Proctor Yard is one of a group of CN Yards spread throughout the Duluth region to aid the iron mining industry. A sprawling complex, the Proctor Yard sports a rail car repair facility (government regulations place heavy fines, in excess of $25,000, on the railroads if infractions are found), a locomotive servicing facility, an old round house, and over 25 tracks of varying lengths. Some of these tracks are solely dedicated to iron ore carts that pass through on a routine basis.

Three locomotives in CN Proctor Yard.
Group shot in front of CN locomotive.
Vacant roundhouse with turntable (still in use to a small degree.)
Ore carts in repair shop.
Explaining the sand chute for the wheels.
 After the Proctor Yard, our group made it's way to downtown Duluth, MN to visit the KrechOjard offices, an engineering and design firm working closely with CN on some major projects in the "Ring of Fire" region in Northern Ontario, Canada where a very large chromite deposit has been discovered.  Brandon M. Maurisak, project engineer, gave us a detailed run down of some of the rail projects KrechOjard is currently working on, and it appears to be going strong.

Our last tour of the trip ended on the shores of Lake Superior at the CN ore docks. The design of these docks were very similar to the dock (see our other field trip) in Marquette, MI. At this point, only one dock is being used at the moment as it costs a lot to fix up the supports for the docks, but iron ore shipments have been increasing. In fact, 2011 was one of the best years at the CN ore dock.

Group photo in front of CN Ore Docks, Duluth, MN.
View atop the North ore dock.
Ore chute (from staging area off to left) and ore carts.
Ore docks looking out over Duluth.
Group photo on ore dock.
The trip to Duluth was a great experience. It offered a new perspective on the iron ore mining industry and the roles that railroads and freighters play in moving raw materials from point A to point B. If you're interested in joining REAC, feel free to contact us!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

General Business Meeting - 11/13/2012

A Growing Rail Industry in Wisconsin

A Perspective From Two Michigan Tech Alumni


Location: DOW 875
Time: 6pm
Presenter: Brent Marsh & Steve Sams


Also...Officer Elections for Marketing and Advertising Chair Positions

Free Pizza and Pop as Usual!

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Need Your REAC Fall Trip Deposit!

You have until 3:00 p.m. Wednesday to reserve your spot for the Fall Trip. To reserve your spot you must sign up on the spreadsheet and pay your $20 deposit to Pam Hannon. The deposit will be returned to you when you get in the vans for departure. 

More updates... We will be leaving at 6:00 p.m. Friday evening (Nov. 2) from Lot 24 (Sherman Field Parking Lot) and heading to Duluth from there. Please eat and use all restroom facilities before we depart at 6:00 p.m. We will most likely be stopping at a gas station half way through the trip. On Saturday, we will be touring the CN Coal Facility and visiting the Rail Museum followed by an evening of bowling with UW-Superior. We will head out as early as people would like on Sunday, so probably 8 a.m. The only cost will be food while traveling and possibly dinner Saturday night. If you have any questions please feel free to ask! 


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Presentation on Transit System Optimization

Jeff Lidicker, the Civil Engineering Department's new Faculuty member focusing on Transportation Engineering, will be giving a presentation on Transit System Optimization. Here's what he has to say:


You are invited to a presentation I am giving for Bill Leder's Transit course Tues. 16th at 2pm in Dillman 214.  If you are interested in Transit System Evaluation/Optimization, please join us.  Those in the Transportation Enterprise are especially encouraged to attend.

I will be presenting a study of the Shuttle system around and through UC Berkeley's campus done with the intent of improving the service for passengers without spending additional funds.  Two data collection efforts were done to completely characterize the current system and demand.  An on-board survey of the passengers was administered, and then a careful documenting of times for the shuttles as they traversed their routes as well as passenger counts was also done. 

The eventual analysis produced passenger Origin-Destination maps for decision makers to use and travel time models used to evaluate potential scenarios designed to improve system performance. Recommendations for change showed a potential 15% reduction in average travel times for passengers or the elimination of some services as options.

See you there!
-Jeff Lidicker

Volunteer at Lake Linden!

All REAC Members,

We have a GREAT OPPORTUNITY for members to volunteer for the Lake Linden Historical Railroad Museum this coming Saturday, October 20th. It would be wise to consider this as a chance to have fun and experience the wide variety of events REAC and the Railroad Transportation Group provide for students interested in railroad at Tech. I strongly suggest that newer members participate and take advantage of the older/experienced members (who will be attending) in finding out more about upcoming events and their personal experience with the club. Again, the opportunities provided in REAC are unparalleled when it comes to exposing students to the railroad industry, and participating in events like the Halloween volunteering with a local museum is a great way to being/continue membership.

The museum is looking for students to assist in conducting the train, selling refreshments/food, helping people on and off of the train, and possibly working as actors who scare the kids. Fun right? If you are intersted in being one of the actors you may bring costumes if you want, but I'm sure the museum will have something for us to use. Also there will be other things to help around the museum, but remember, its a great chance to get involved with a great club.

There will be two sessions. For children, the Halloween train is running from 2pm-5pm, and for adults, it will be running from 7pm-10pm. You can sign up for one or both. If transporation is an issue please contact me at 810-247-4284 or email at, or any other the officers and we will discuss a means of getting youthere. The museum is located in Lake Linden right as you enter the city limits on the lakeside of the highway.


If any other questions or concerns arise please let me know!


REAC Treasurer

Upcoming Duluth Field Trip

The REAC Fall field trip this year will be to Duluth, Minnesota from November 2-4. We will be touring the CN or BNSF facilities (depending on availability), possibly the ore docks, and railroad museum. We will also be doing a little bowling against UW Superior to top things off. We plan on returning Sunday morning, so any of those whom have some homework to attend to will have all of Sunday afternoon to get it done.

If you are interested in going, please drop off a security deposit of $20 to Pam Hannon in Room 318 of Dillman. This will be paid back before we leave. You will be responsible for paying for your own meals during our trip.

Sign Up Here

I'll post updates as more information comes along.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

General Business Meeting - 10/9/2012

Positive Train Control - What It Is and What It Means to BNSF

Location: Dow 610 at 6pm

Presenter: John Warlof - Supervisor Design Services for BNSF Railway

Free Pizza and Pop!

See you there!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Career Fair and Rail Information Nights

The Career Fair is just a day away. A lot of events are coming up, so, just to keep you informed, here are the events occurring over the next couple of days to interact with rail representatives.

Monday, 10/1/2012

- 2012 Evening With Industry, 5:15-8:30pm, MUB Ballroom
- CSX Information Night, 5-6pm, EERC 216

Tuesday, 10/2/2012

-2012 Career Fair, 12-6pm, Student Development Complex (SDC)
-Rail Information Night, 7-8:30pm, DHH Ballroom

Wednesday, 10/3/2012

-Union Pacific Information Night, 5:30-7pm, Fisher 127

Hope to see a good turnout at these!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

First General Business Meeting

Michigan Tech's Railroad Engineering Activities Club (REAC) will be holding our first meeting of the year next Tuesday, September 11th at 6pm in Dillman 214. We will give a brief overview of REAC and then students who had internships and or co-ops in the rail industry this previous summer will give a brief summary of the their experiences! ALL majors are welcome to come! The railroad industry is specially focused on recruiting mechanical & electrical engineering students! If this interests you at all, stop by the meeting to get more information.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Updates on the Website

Hello everyone,

I've been making some additions to the website recently. Here they are:

-A new Quincy Mine and Hoist page illustrating all of our volunteer work with the Quincy Mine Hoist Association.
-Railroad Nights Page. This will help people gauge what these events are all about. Will be adding descriptions to them shortly.
-General Business Meeting Page - Lets people know what goes on our at meetings with summaries posted for convenience. More will be added as they are located.

To be added...

A revised field trip page detailing recent trips to the LS&I RR in Ishpeming, MI and down to Chicago. Pictures will be included so stay tuned!

Thanks for your patience if you've been waiting for some updates.

Take care,


Thursday, July 5, 2012

New AREMA Conference Spreadsheet Sign-Up

Hello everyone,

Hope you had a great Fourth of July!

Here is an updated list of the AREMA Conference attendees, this year to be held in Chicago. Thanks to Dylan Anderson for getting this compiled. Please type in your name, e-mail, and number and whether you think you can make it or not on the form.

Click Here.



Friday, April 13, 2012

Welcome Fall 2012 Officers!

Officers for the Fall 2012 Semester have been appointed! See below the list of new officers. We are proud to announce three new members as well as a our new president, Dylan Anderson. We look forward to building REAC in the coming year.

President, Dylan Anderson, Civil Engineering

Vice President, Kyle Peping, Civil Engineering

Secretary / Treasurer,
Matt Purves, Civil Engineering

Secretary / Treasurer,
Ellen Englund, Civil Engineering

Social Chair,
Mike Larson, Mechanical Engineering

Advertising Chair,
Eric Goers, Civil Engineering

Graphics Chair,
Nathan Schilling, Civil Engineering

Website Chair,
Chris Blessing, Civil Engineering

As one can see, most of the officers are Civil Engineering majors. One of our goals for the upcoming year is to broaden enrollment in REAC to include more Mechanical Engineers, Electrical Engineers, Environmental Engineers, Business Majors, and Computer Engineers. The railroad industry requires all sorts of components to operate. This includes signaling (Electrical), engines (Mechanical), computer database systems (Computer), and others. So please do not hesitate to join!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

7th Annual Railroad Night Fast Approaching!

On Tuesday, February 21st, from 7 to 10pm, the 7th Annual Railroad Night will commence in the Sheldon Grill at the Magnuson Hotel in Houghton, MI. Come meet industry managers and representatives from five of the seven largest freight railroad companies, two of the largest consulting firms, and one local railroad company. 

All majors are welcomed to come including civil, mechanical, electrical, business, and environmental. Please see the above image for ticket sale places and prices. Now is your chance to voice your questions and get to learn more about the railroad industry. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Calendar is Up!

Hello everyone,

Just got the calendar working today. It's under the "Events" tab at the top. Please let me know if there are any issues of viewing it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

2011 Fall Trip - LS&I and the Empire Mine

Diesel-Electric Locomotive.
In the fall of 2011, a small group of REAC members made their way to the Lake Superior and Ishpeming (LS&I) Rail Yard near Ishpeming, Michigan as well as the Empire Mine located nearby.

The beginning of the trip began with a tour of the main facility at the LS&I rail yard. Darryl Babbitt, the Track, Signal and Structures Supervisor, gave us a tour of the facility explaining the various machines and components that go into maintaining a locomotive. Everything has to be up-to-date. The wheels, electronics, and diesel engines all require constant attention in order to keep these metal giants on the rails moving the ore to Lake Superior coast. 

LS&I Ore Cars.
The facility was broken into two main sections. One for the locomotives and another for the ore cars, the most valuable asset in transporting the iron ore from the mine to the dock in Marquette. Many of these ore cars date back to the 1930s, but their job still remains just as important as it did 80 years ago.

Leaving the rail yard, we finally come up to the Empire Mine. It's a sprawling complex that you never would have guessed existed unless you knew what you were looking for. The road between the rail yard and the mine curves up and around through some hills until one finally comes to a long straight away in the shadow of a massive pile of displaced dirt and rock.

The Empire Mine. Note the massive piles of rock in middle, Empire Mine, MI.

The long line of ore cars, looking south, Empire Mine, MI.
The road runs along the base of the processing plant exposing it's shear size. It's enormous. Building after building stacked on each other with small conveyor-chutes running between each part of the facility. Although we were not given a detailed tour of the facility, a quick drive around the plant made it easy to see that this was a major operation. For example, in the back corner of the plant, a new building was being erected to house the bigger and better ore hauling trucks (like these) because the previous garage for them was getting too small. So it is easy to see that the railroads play a huge role in the expansion and growth of industry. Without a rail line, Empire Mine would never get the ore to the docks in Marquette efficiently or economically.

Ore carts loading ore onto a freighter, Marquette, MI.
To finish off the tour we headed over to Marquette where we were able to catch a freighter alongside the dock loading up on iron ore, bound for the big cities to the south.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Welcome to the new website for the Michigan Technological University's Railroad Engineering and Activities Club!

Here you can find out what our club is about, which events are coming up, who the officers are, and more.  

Look here on the homepage to find out what's new with the club in the coming months.

If you have any questions, please send them to