Members Spotlight: Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI)

TTCIThe Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI) offers the rail industry valuable solutions by providing research, development, testing, training, and analytical services in a central location at Pueblo, Colorado, USA. Whether you want to test track or rolling stock components or full scale rail vehicles for performance, reliability, specification conformance, and official certification, TTCI can help. 

The Transportation Technology Center (TTC) is a 52-square mile research and test facility with more than 50 miles of railroad track and several laboratory facilities. There are four complete track loops. Three of these tracks are mainly used for performance, reliability and endurance testing of freight and passenger vehicles, while the fourth, the Facility for Accelerated Service Testing (FAST), is used for testing track components and wayside inspection systems under a Heavy Axle Load (HAL) train environment. All four tracks support testing of new technologies, including signal and safety devices. The FAST track loop offers testing of rail, ties, fastening systems, frogs, turnouts, ballast, subgrade, maintenance procedures, and wayside inspection systems. The 100 to 120 car train operation is designed to accumulate around 1.6 million gross ton (MGT) on the infrastructure per day. Three of the track loops also offer a test bed for the testing of Positive Train Control (PTC).

TTCI also provides unique laboratory facilities including highly specialized full-scale and component fixtures, which include:

  • Vibration Test Unit (VTU) – a computer controlled, full-scale laboratory test device used by customers in evaluating suspension characteristics of rail vehicles, component and vehicle natural frequencies, ride comfort, and lading responses
  • Simuloader (SMU) – a computer controlled, electrohydraulic structural test device for applying dynamic forces directly to a full-scale railcar body, highway vehicles and other heavy structures to re-enact the fatigue life in an accelerated time period

The component lab fixtures allow the following test to be conducted and results to be produced during a components’ development or certification stage:

  • Mini-Shaker Unit (MSU) – vehicle truck suspension system characterization
  • Rolling Load Test Machine – wheel loads on the rail, joints and insulated joints
  • Dynamometer – thermal and mechanical loads at wheel/brake shoe interface
  • Roller Bearing Test Facility – revenue service environment of roller bearings
  • Bolster and Sideframe – fatigue performance and life
  • Center Plate Tester is used to test center bowl lubricants and liners
  • Tie Test fixture provides the required American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way (AREMA) loads to tie’s made from any material
  • Air Brake fixture to duplicate operation and performance of a 100-car train.

TTCI is known for the research it provides to the North American rail industry, primarily through the Association of American Railroad (AAR) sponsored Strategic Research Initiatives. To find out more about the industry-sponsored research TTCI performs, you can attend the AAR Annual Research Review, March 29 and 30, 2016 at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs. This conference is open to the public each year, but spaces are limited. TTCI also performs significant research each year for the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

However, TTCI is also available to the industry, on a commercial basis, to perform work that benefits a private company.

If you are a small or large company and your need is in prototyping, product development or approval/certification, TTCI can provide testing and analytical services, using the facilities in a laboratory or on-track environment that duplicates in-revenue service.

TTCI has the engineering staff and tools to help with optimization in the vehicle/track arena such as vehicle systems and subsystems, track and substructure engineering, wheel/rail profiles, and modeling. TTCI is also ready to provide assistance in structural integrity, fatigue life determination, measurement systems, non-destructive evaluation in support of product development and certification.

Whether you want to introduce a new design of a small component like a tie or a full turnout, TTCI can provide design assessment using our mathematical models and testing facilities which can reduce development to market cycles and hopefully lower life cycle costs.

For more information on TTCI and all of your needs in testing, consulting, and training visit www.aar.com or contact Carmen Trevizo at 719-584-0560 or Carmen_Trevizo@aar.com

Ms. Trevizo can provide you with specific answers for your testing needs, including a quotation for service.

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