With a focus on improving railway safety and enhancing the performance of the nation’s rail system, the Texas A&M Board of Regents has approved establishing the Center for Railway Research (CRR) as a part of the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI).
“Having this center is a very positive step in our plans to increase the breadth and volume of initiatives that we pursue with our partners and sponsors in railway research. It will certainly position the university and TTI to become a more impactful leader in railway research,” said TTI associate research engineer Gary Fry, who will be the director of the center. Fry is also an associate professor in Texas A&M’s Zachry Department of Civil Engineering.
“The Center for Railway Research will also be dedicated to education and information sharing through formal initiatives,” Fry said. As part of this, CRR will actively recruit students to enter railway transportation fields.
CRR will focus its research on the physical infrastructure associated with the rail industry, including the mechanical systems of trains, tracks and bridges. Safety and performance through innovation will be priorities for the center, which has a goal of creating longer lasting and more efficient components and systems.
Rail is one of the most economically and environmentally friendly modes of transportation and has a reputation for safety and reliability.
Since 1995, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) has provided TTI with $200,000 annually in seed money to operate the Texas A&M University’s Affiliated Laboratory for Railway Research (ALRR), which is one of three university-based railway research programs in the United States. With the establishment of the center, AAR will continue its support under the new administrative structure that CRR provides.
“Railway transportation is a vital element of our transportation system, which is responsible for an estimated 40 percent of our freight movement and serves every sector of our economy,” TTI Agency Director Dennis Christiansen said. “For that reason and many others, we are proud to house the Center for Railway Research.”