Rail Industry Gathers in Pueblo, Colo. for 29th AAR Research Review –– MxV Rail

Written by David C. Lester, Editor-in-Chief
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Courtesy of MxV Rail

PUEBLO, Colo. – MxV Rail welcomed more than 350 attendees including representatives from all Class 1 railroads, industry experts from across the globe, academia, and sponsor representatives to the 29th Annual AAR Research Review event held in Pueblo, Colo.

This year attendees could choose from technical sessions that focused on research updates on rail infrastructure, rolling stock, vehicle/track interaction, communications and train control, and track stability. In addition to the technical sessions and sponsor showcase, attendees participated in the first-ever track walk of MxV Rail’s newly completed FAST® Loop

5 Highlights from the 29th Annual AAR Research Review 

1. The early career railroader workshop kicked off events with 75 early career professionals attending and representatives from eight leading research universities. MxV Rail hosted sessions led by industry experts and early career railroaders who gained knowledge in this unique professional development experience on Day 1. 

2. Ed Boyle, Vice President Engineering for Norfolk Southern Railway, provided insights on the importance of building a strong team and providing them with the tools they need to be successful. During his keynote address, Boyle brought the room up to speed with Norfolk Southern’s Engineering Year in Review and introduced team members attending the conference. It was an inspiring start to Day Two. 

3. Jamie Williams, Chief Mechanical Officer for Norfolk Southern Railway, discussed railcar inspection using machine vision as an example of the need for stakeholder collaboration to enable maximum benefit from technological innovations. He noted that the improved inspections enabled by advances in technology have resulted in more repairs to rolling stock. He also underscored the importance of events such as AAR’s Research Review for the stakeholder dialogue that leads to progress in rail safety, efficiency, reliability, and sustainability. 

4. MxV Rail experts provided an overview of AAR’s Strategic Research Initiatives or “SRI” program including introductions to the team and a sampling of work. This applied program works to understand the railways’ underlying engineering challenges and evaluate potential mitigation strategies. Communicating these findings in publicly available learnings benefits the entire industry beyond the 120 organizations and 12 countries attending the Annual Review. 

5. The first-ever FAST® Loop track walk had perfect weather for those attending. The new FAST track is one of the SRI program’s key initiatives to improve operational safety, reliability, and efficiency. The event featured 32 research and sponsor displays dispersed along the state-of-the-art, 2.8-mile track loop. For many, Day Three was the highlight of their Research Review experience. 

Gratitude goes out to all the Annual AAR Research Review sponsors highlighted in the program and digital media: 

 Level I Sponsors – Progress Rail, Amsted Rail, Loram, Railway Age/RT&S 

 Level II Sponsors – Holland LP, Athena Industrial, Railmetrics, Plasser American, TEC – Technology for Energy Corporation 

 Level III Sponsors – Steel Dynamics, Inc., Herzog Railroad Services, Inc., Comet Industries 

“AAR’s Annual Research Review is the premier conference for those working in the science of railroading,” said Scott Cummings, MxV Rail AVP Research & Innovation. “As a team we love it. This is when we welcome all to see the results derived from our software, our lab equipment, the on-track testing facilities, and all the essential tools for our research. The depth of knowledge and conversations here continue pushing the industry forward.” 

Plans are underway for the 30th Annual AAR Research Review to be held Tuesday, April 29 – Thursday, May 1, 2025, at the Pueblo Convention Center and MxV Rail’s FAST® Loop. Follow MxV Rail on social media and the MxV Rail Conferences page to learn what’s coming soon!