Senator Tammy Duckworth visits RailTEC, discusses importance of infrastructure investments

12/21/2017 12:21:45 PM

Above: Senator Duckworth, right, listens to UI graduate student Tom Roadcap explain how stresses around the bolt-holes at rail joints can lead to cracking while Marcus Dersch, RailTEC Senior Research Engineer, looks on. 

Chancellor Jones shakes hands with Senator Duckworth as professors Imad Al-Qadi and Christopher Barkan look on.
Chancellor Jones shakes hands with Senator Duckworth as professors Imad Al-Qadi and Christopher Barkan look on.
U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth visited a CEE at Illinois railroad engineering research laboratory on Dec. 15. Accompanied by University of Illinois Chancellor Robert Jones, the senator toured the Research and Innovation Laboratory (RAIL) at the Schnabel Geotechnical Laboratory on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) campus in northwest Champaign.

The visit included demonstrations of testing equipment by student researchers from CEE at Illinois’ railroad engineering program (RailTEC) and a meeting with CEE faculty and RailTEC personnel. Duckworth also discussed her efforts to support transportation infrastructure projects and create jobs across Illinois.

“Improving our state’s infrastructure is really just common sense, and it’s one of my top priorities in the Senate,” said Sen. Tammy Duckworth, in a press release issued by her office. “RailTEC’s work to upgrade our rails systems is critical to our economy and supporting working families here in Illinois and families across the region.”

"[RAIL] provides researchers unique capability to conduct static and dynamic experiments on a full-scale railway track system, as well as the various track components to understand how they interact, and respond to forces imparted by rail transit vehicles, heavy axle-load freight and high-speed trains," said professor Christopher Barkan, executive director of RailTEC. "The Senator met a number of our graduate students who explained their research and was able to get hands-on experience – literally! – with some of the sensor technology we are using to conduct these experiments."

As a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Duckworth is tasked with overseeing issues related to the nation’s transportation systems and infrastructure projects and works to ensure Illinois receives adequate funding from the federal government to rebuild and modernize state infrastructure and transportation systems.