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USDOT's LaHood, TSA's Pistole observe training and technological advances at TTCI


Last week, the Transportation Technology Center Inc. (TTCI) in Pueblo, Colo., provided tours to two federal transportation dignitaries: U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator John Pistole.

On July 27, Pistole observed demonstrations at TTCI’s Security and Emergency Response Training Center (SERTC) and talked to students training at the TSA Surface Transportation Security Training Center (STSTC). In 2009, TSA entered into an agreement with the Federal Railroad Administration  (FRA) to establish the STSTC at TTCI. The center serves as a security testing and training facility for rail and other transportation modes offering classroom-style instructions and hands-on exercises. Through the STSTC, the Department of Homeland Security and TSA also provide training to other federal, state and local security partners, and plan to offer classes to industry stakeholders in all surface transportation modes.

On July 28, LaHood paid his first visit to TTCI, where he toured a rail dynamics laboratory to see a Vibration Test Unit (VTU) in operation. A computer-controlled test device, the VTU is designed to reproduce a rail car’s ride environment in revenue service, and is used to evaluate and restrain the movement of a car’s load to improve safety and prevent damage.

LaHood also toured the STSTC and SERTC, where he observed an Automotive Fuels Testing Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy; viewed class demonstrations by National Domestic Preparedness Consortium-funded students; and watched live video of train-to-train impact tests before and after the application of Crash Energy Management (CEM) equipment, which is designed to distribute energy created by an accident to unoccupied areas throughout the train to reduce passenger injuries and fatalities. CEM has been introduced for the first time into passenger-rail equipment built to operate at speeds up to 125 mph at the Southern California Regional Rail Authority, according to the FRA.

LaHood concluded his visit by observing various detection systems being tested at TTCI, including a cracked wheel detector designed to automatically inspect internal wheel defects as a train rolls slowly by a detector.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/3/2010