Penn State Altoona receives gift from PS Technology to support RTE program

ps technology 1

Penn State Altoona students Michael Kozik and John Yohn experiment with the Positive Train Control Prime Simulator from PS Technology.

Credit: Marissa Carney

ALTOONA, Pa. -- Penn State Altoona has received an in-kind gift from PS Technology (PST) that will enhance the college’s Rail Transportation Engineering (RTE) program curriculum.

The gift is a 12-month equipment lease of a Positive Train Control (PTC) Prime Simulator to support the RTE program’s "Teaching Railway Applications through Immersive learning and Network Simulation" (TRAINS) laboratory. The PTC simulator will help students more thoroughly understand the real-world implications and requirements of PTC utilization.

The web-based software, PTC Prime, is PST’s training solution used by multiple railroads in North America. The contribution includes self-guided training and interactive locomotive simulations based on specific training scenarios which expose students to the engineer-operations focus of the Federal Railroad Administration PTC requirements. The system automatically instructs, scores and records the training results of the students.

“We’ve found Penn State Altoona’s program to be just what the rail industry needs as it heads into the future,” said PST president Seenu Chundru. “We are encouraged by Penn State Altoona’s commitment to excellence in this area and wanted to help provide a premium experience for students in the program.”

“We are extremely grateful to PST for its contribution to our TRAINS laboratory,” added Bryan Schlake, Penn State Altoona lecturer in rail transportation engineering. “Through the use of the locomotive simulator and PTC Prime software, students receive hands-on training in the end-user experience for PTC systems. By understanding how the locomotive engineer interacts with PTC, students will develop a better grasp on how these systems should be designed, maintained, and strengthened for improved efficiency and resiliency.”

The equipment lease is valued at $104,000 with an opportunity to renew.

"Our immersive learning lab provides greater exposure for our students in a variety of real-world railway environments, including: train operations, signaling, railroad yard design, and welding. Now we can offer students simulated training in locomotive operations to further enhance their engineering education," said Schlake. “This gift from PS Technology is a perfect addition to our TRAINS lab at Penn State Altoona."

“With increasing demands on the U.S. rail network and with further automation on the horizon, we believe that having tools like the PTC Prime Simulator will better prepare RTE students for careers in the rail industry,” added Robert Bourg, Penn State Altoona RTE Industry Advisory Board member. The board is comprised of a diverse cross-section of high-level railroad industry professionals from various sectors of the railroad industry. The board has played a key role in developing the RTE program and steering its efforts in order to effectively address the unique needs of the railroad industry.

“RTE students, faculty and I are thrilled to have this new simulation capability thanks to the gift from PS Technology,” stated Jungwoo Ryoo, professor of information sciences and technology, and division head of Business, Engineering, and Information Sciences and Technology. “This is a natural addition to our TRAINS laboratory with its current equipment line-up. With this new simulator, we are one step further toward making our RTE student experience as close as possible to what practitioners do in industry. We are very thankful for this generous gift.”

PST’s asset management systems power the largest railroads in North America. PST’s crew management and timekeeping solutions have been used to manage the day-to-day operations of over 100,000 employees that run, maintain and support rail operations across more than 120,000 miles of rail.