On March 18, members of the Senate and House Appropriation Committee toured the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) Transportation Technology Center (TTC), near Pueblo, Colo., to learn firsthand about the activities being performed at the site.
FRA’s Director of the Office of Research, Dr. John Tunna, welcomed the group to the facility saying that this facility served a need in assisting the North American rail industry to improve the safety and reliability of both passenger and freight rail.
Committee members and guests toured a number of areas at the facility, including the Rail Dynamics Laboratory, where computer controlled testing rigs are available for testing freight cars and locomotives for safety, ride quality, stability and life expectancy.
They also witnessed live demonstrations of the HazMat training offered to first responders at the Security and Emergency Response Training Center (SERTC). SERTC provides hands-on, graduate level training to the nation’s emergency responders in all aspects of surface transportation. In addition to the current course offerings for rail, highway, and mass transit scenarios, SERTC is presently developing emergency response training specific to crude oil incidents with money committed by North American railroads.
A tour of the Facility for Accelerated Service Testing, which is devoted for testing locomotives, vehicles, track components and safety and signal devices, was also on the agenda. Committee members learned about the latest developments in machine vision and advanced track components. Later in the day, the guests were able to witness a positive train control braking demonstration from the cab of one of TTC’s locomotives.
Lisa Stabler, president of Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI), said, “We were able to provide a hands-on demonstration to our guests that the partnership that exists between FRA and TTCI to manage the Transportation Technology Center allows our respective organizations the ability to meet the industry’s needs for safety and reliability improvements through research, testing and training.”