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Senate and House Appropriation Committee members toured the Transportation Technology Center Inc. (TTCI) in Pueblo, Colo., on March 18 to learn about the facility's research and development activities.The center serves a need in the North American rail industry by helping to improve the safety and reliability of both passenger and freight rail, John Tunna — the director of the Federal Railroad Administration's Office of Research — told the committee members, according to a TTCI press release.The committee members and several guests toured a number of areas, including the center's rail dynamics lab, where computer-controlled testing rigs test freight cars and locomotives for safety, ride quality, stability and life expectancy.They also watched live demonstrations of the hazardous materials training course at the Security and Emergency Response Training Center (SERTC). The facility provides hands-on, graduate-level training to emergency responders in all aspects of surface transportation, including rail, mass transit and highway. SERTC also is developing emergency response training specific to crude oil incidents with funds committed by North American railroads, TTCI officials said.The tour also included a stop at the Facility for Accelerated Service Testing, which is devoted to testing locomotives, vehicles, track components, and safety and signal devices. Committee members learned about the latest developments in machine vision and advanced track components. In addition, they viewed a positive train control braking demonstration from the cab of one of TTCI’s locomotives.The partnership between the Federal Railroad Administration and TTCI to manage the Transportation Technology Center "allows our respective organizations the ability to meet the industry’s needs for safety and reliability improvements through research, testing and training," said TTCI President Lisa Stabler.
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