Developing the next generation of railroaders

We’re developing the next generation of railroad talent, and Norfolk Southern recently hosted 21 students at our Decatur Terminal for a behind the scenes tour. They came from high schools from throughout the nation and were part of a summer program called Tracks to the Future: Railroad Transportation and Engineering.

The program was hosted by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Rail Transportation and Engineering Center (RailTEC) program. This program is possible thanks to funding by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). Students participate at no cost.

“It is important that we provide opportunities for students to see how our operations work by working in partnership with institutions such as the University of Illinois,” said Tim Crouch, Manager of Dispatch Compliance and Training at the Network Operations Center. “These types of activities help to inspire the next generation of rail talent we need to fill positions in the future.”

Students participated in a five-day program that included two days of at-home instruction, followed by a two-day visit to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus. The visit included a comprehensive overview of the railroad, facilities, equipment, and technology.

“For many of the students the field trip to NS’ Decatur Terminal was their first opportunity to see rail operations up close and meet rail industry employees,” said Riley Edwards, Assistant Professor and Manager of RailTEC’s Infrastructure Research Program.  “A visit like this creates a memory that we hope will point them toward the rail industry in their future education and career decisions. I am grateful to NS for their willingness to host these students and impact the next generation.”

Click here to learn more about the University of Illinois RailTEC program.