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Introduction to Railway Engineering

September - October, 2017
Saturdays, 3pm (except Oct. 14), starts September 2nd
At the Freighthouse

This is a summary outline of the class Introduction to Railway Engineering (or "Railway Planning and Design") to be offered at Cal Poly (CE 425, Spring 2018), modified for presentation as a series of public lectures at the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum in Fall 2017. Each session will last about an hour. Various published and online resources will be identified, but there will not be a required text. Attendees may do out-of-class research or exercises to share with the class on the final session. The class will be taught by Glen Matteson, museum board member.

  • Session 1 (Sept 2)
    • What is a railroad?
    • Why a railroad?
    • Types of railroads and trains
    • SLO rail yard and RRM site visit [Introduction of individual seminar and team quarter projects that students would choose from]
  • Session 2 (Sept 9)
    • Basic physical requirements - grades & curves
    • Line changes
  • Session 3 (Sept 16)
    • Spiral easements, superelevation, reverse curves
    • Single & multiple track
    • Switches Crossings at grade
    • Corridors
    • Traffic considerations
  • Session 4 (Sept 23)
    • Signaling
    • Communications & dispatching
    • Electrification
    • Major terminals
  • Session 5 (Sept 30)
    • Rights-of-way
    • Subgrade
    • Access
    • Ballast, ties, slab, embedded, panel track
    • Rail - weights, dimensions, inspection, defects
    • Rail connections
  • Session 6 (Oct 7)
    • Switch & crossing components, geometry
    • Gauntlet, dual-gage, guard rails
    • Clearances, special loads
    • Special situations (permafrost; bogs; long tunnels)
    • Snow sheds, rock sheds, drainage overcrossings
    • Industrial trackage
    • Wyes, balloon tracks, turntables, and transfer tables
    • Train dynamics and wheel-rail interface
    • Safety and accidents, investigations
    • Rail banking; rails-to-trails; trails next to rails
    • Maintenance
  • Session 7 (Oct 21)
    • Railroad corporate organization
    • Railroad interaction with other organizations
    • Transit & commuter environments
  • Session 8 (Oct 28)
    • [Attendee presentations, if any]
    • Professional associations; grad schools; internships; careers