AAR Annual Research Review draws record crowds to new venue

Written by Mischa Wanek-Libman, editor

A record number of attendees joined researchers from Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI), at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs, Colo., for the Association of American Railroads 19th Annual Research Review April 1-2, 2014. This year's theme was "Innovative Technology Developments in North American Railways."


This was the first year the annual review was held outside of Pueblo, where TTCI’s facilities are located. Growing interest in the annual review meant the event outgrew the available space in Pueblo. In addition to a new location, the review also featured a revamped presentation format. In the past, all attendees were part of one large session, this year, a general session was held in the morning and then attendees were able to choose between two breakout sessions in the afternoon, one focused on mechanical research and the other on track and structures research.

Lisa Stabler, TTCI president, kicked off the event, followed by a brief speech from Les Gruen, Colorado Department of Transportation commissioner for the 9th District. Brent Liang, vice president engineering with Canadian Pacific, delivered the event’s keynote speech in which he detailed various technology developments at CP, mirroring the event’s theme, including increased effectiveness of automatic train brakes, upgrades to the detector network, the development of a new tie plate and additional track monitoring systems.

The second day of the annual review invited attendees to TTCI’s Facility for Accelerated Service Testing (FAST). Attendees were able to walk the 2.7-mile high tonnage loop and see the in-track tests, many of which were discussed during the previous day’s presentations, and speak with TTCI project managers about their research, as well as view poster displays from the FRA and AAR University Affiliated Labs.

“The 19th Annual Review was one of the most successful reviews we have ever had. We were able to accommodate a record 650 people at the new venue. The new review format starting with a plenary session, a keynote speech and research implementation reports by railroad officers went very well. The parallel sessions, which followed the plenary session, provided more in-depth presentations in the track and structures and equipment research areas. TTCI presenters did a very good job of succinctly providing an update and status report. ” Semih Kalay, senior vice president technology and also head of the Strategic Research Initiatives program.

Categories: Ballast, Ties, Rail, Bridge/Retaining Walls/Tunnels, Class 1, ON Track Maintenance, Safety/Training, Shortline/Regional