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Master of Military Logistics Students Tour Red River Valley & Western Railroad

Posted: Nov 8, 2006

MML students toured the Red River Valley & Western Railroad yardStudents from the NDSU Master of Military Logistics program toured the Red River Valley and Western Railroad yard in Breckenridge, Minn., Monday, Oct. 23, to observe rail operations first hand.

"This was a tremendous opportunity for students to see in real life the rail operations they have been learning about in textbooks," notes Denver Tolliver, associate director of the NDSU's Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute.

The Red River Valley and Western is a regional railroad in North Dakota. It began operations in 1987 over track acquired from the Burlington Northern Railroad. It owns and operates 517 route miles of track and handles 42,000 carloads annually.

The Breckenridge site is railway's main rail yard. Students toured the yard including the locomotive service and car repair shop, turnouts, crossovers and wayside signals. They also toured a shuttle train loading facility adjacent to the yard and the interchange where cars from the Red River Valley and Western are exchanged with the BNSF Railway.

"The site visit was of tremendous value to the students and the staff," says Brian Kalk, program manager for the Master of Military Logistics Program. "By interacting with professionals in the rail industry, our students gained a better understanding and appreciation of what it takes to move goods by rail."

At the car repair shop, students saw different freight cars in detail and learned about car components including truck assemblies and foundation brake rigging, and the operation and mechanisms of covered hopper cars.

Dan Zink, vice president of the Red River Valley and Western, said his company was eager to welcome the students. "Our goal for tours like this one is to contribute to the education and hands-on learning of the logistics students and to better prepare them to go back into the operational forces. Student with this type of experience will make a difference."

"This was an opportunity to view the rail yard and visualize the movement of inbound and outbound trains. It was a great value to see how trains enter the yard and determine their placing," said student Nicole Chilson. "This experience will enhance my ability to overcome logistical challenges when managing or just working with a rail yard in the movement of our equipment."

Published in NDSU's staff newsletter
It's Happening at State
Nov. 8, 2006

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