Activities Backup Sep-29-16

UMASC wants to facilitate the professional and personal development of all it's Chapter members. To achieve this, UMASC organizes activities to acquaint students with topics of interest in railway engineering through guest speaker luncheons, Chapter sponsored trips, and technical tours. As railway engineering is a multi-disciplined industry, we strive to bring in speakers that span all technical aspects of the industry. 

Check our Calendar to see upcoming events hosted by UMASC. As always, if you'd like to have a technical tour at a specific facility or guest speaker brought in on a particular topic, don't hesitate to contact us.

Technical Tours

CN Engineering Yard Tour: Continuously Welded Rail – January 30, 2016

Led By: Darrell Trask, Manager of Engineering Facilities, CN, and Jim Miller, CN

With the support of: David Lilley, Senior Manager of Training and Development, CN

This past tour was held at the CN Engineering Railyard off Pandora Avenue in Transcona. This tour began with a safety briefing by Mr. Darrell Trask, who is the Manager of Engineering Facilities. Mr. Trask outlined the importance of a safe workplace and explained the steps which CN has taken in past years to improve safe working conditions for all employees.

The tour then moved into the rail yard, where AREMA Student Chapter members were able to experience the automated process of continuously welding stretches of rail together, which span hundreds of feet. Wow do those welds ever get hot! Student Chapter members were also able to experience the point at which these sections are loaded 9 high by 6 wide onto the long train cars which deliver the rail to its destinations.

The AREMA Student Chapter thanks Mr. Trask, Mr. Miller, and Mr. Lilley for making this tour possible for us on a Saturday morning. 

CN Engineering Yard 2016

Paterson Grain Terminal – Thursday March 19, 2015

Led by:

Henri Ritchot and Greg Bowey

This week the AREMA student chapter was treated to a very special and unique tour of the Paterson Grain Terminal just inside the Northwest perimeter highway in Winnipeg. This grain terminal features dozens of storage bins which can accommodate a wide variety of commodities, and serves places in eastern Canada and the United States, potentially many miles away. The grain terminal also features a large loop track to assist with railcar-terminal transfer as well as a large warehouse, with a capacity of thousands of tonnes.

On this tour, we were able to get a close-up experience of all operations of the terminal, including computer systems, quality testing equipment, and the truck unloading process. We also were able to see parts of the facility that you do not get to see every day, such as the roof of the terminal bins, and the interior of the Paterson-owned locomotive. Additionally, we were able to experience the operations at the warehouse, including the truck loading process, and inflow conveyor belt.

We all enjoyed this tour very much and got to see some very cool aspects of grain terminal operation. The AREMA Student Chapter would like to thank the folks at the Paterson Grain Terminal for taking the time out of their busy schedules to give us this in-depth tour and teach us all about the facility. You can see a video with some of the tour highlights below!

Paterson Grain Tour


Plessis Road Underpass Project – Saturday September 20, 2014

Led by:

Tanya Worms, Transportation Engineer, AECOM

Bob Paetsch, Sr. Project Manager, AECOM

Gordon Rybuck, President of GR Rail Inc.

The first part of the September 20th UMASC technical tour featured the Plessis Road Underpass Project, located just north of the intersection of Plessis Road and Dugald Road. The project will increase efficiency and safety at the intersection using a grade separation between Plessis Road and the adjacent railroad tracks. The project features surface drainage, active transportation facilities, roadway improvements, and utility relocation, and is due to be completed in 2015.

Tanya, Bob, and Gordon began the tour by covering the challenges of evaluating options during design stages, coordinating the many construction activities involved in the project, and working around existing project constraints such as private property and utilities. Next, our student chapter was lucky enough to explore some components of the temporary track diversion as part of the tour. We were able to learn first-hand about the characteristics of ballast, track joints, switches, signals, and signal controls. This tour gave us a perspective of what a construction project of this size involves.

UMASC would like to thank Tanya, Bob, and Gordon for taking the time out of their busy schedules on a Saturday morning to give us this very memorable tour! (See slide show below for photos)

CN Campus Transcona – Saturday September 20, 2014

Led by David Lilley, Senior Manager of Training and Development, CN

The second part of the September 20th tour was held at the new CN Training Facility, located on Pandora Avenue in Transcona. The 100,000 square-foot facility opened in 2014, and hosts hundreds of students from across Canada on a weekly basis, with hands-on training for key railway jobs.

David was generous enough to show us just about every aspect of the campus, starting with some switch displays, and then moving onto the defects yard, the outdoor welding facility, and the systems troubleshooting testing room. Next, our student chapter was given a glimpse of some of the hands-on simulation training offered to CN students at the campus. We were able to test out some of the train simulators, crane simulators, and welding simulator. We were also given a tour of some typical classrooms on campus, which are equipped with state-of-the-art display equipment and hands-on models to promote an interactive environment. The tour was finished-off in the main display room, which featured rail cars, wheels and switches. This tour gave UMASC valuable insight into the operations at CN.

UMASC would like to thank David for taking the time to give us this in-depth and exciting tour of the facility!

Sept 20, 2014 - Plessis Underpass and CN Campus

Canadian Pacific Weston Yards - Winnipeg, Manitoba

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Organized by Tim Yamashita, P.Eng., General Manager Engineering Canada, Central Region

Thank you to Tim Yamashita and the staff at the Weston Yards for making this a memorable experience. UMASC members were given a full tour of the Weston Yards including  hands-on experience using maintenance equipment (see the slideshow), an overview of safety and derailment analysis, and got a chance to see the control room for network operations. This full day tour even had lunch included which, as a student, is always greatly appreciated. The second half of the tour gave the students a chance to experience how a rail yard operations works through a training simulation exercise used by the staff at CP. The simulation turned a 24-hour day into 24 minutes in which students were given specific roles and had to work as a team to make sure all the trains were received, sorted, and dispatched as efficiently as possible - what a great learning tool! Again, we, the student chapter, would like to express how thankful we are that veteran railroaders are willing to take time out of their weekend (did I mention this tour was on a Saturday?) to help educate future railroaders: THANKS CP!

CN Symington Yard - Guided Tour through shops and control tower

Led by Mike Adams, Canadian National, Asst. Track Supervisor

Arranged by Tom Wincheruk, Canadian National, Asst. Chief - Regional Engineering

UMASC was given the opportunity to tour the CN Symington Yard - Western Canada's only hump yard. The tour began on a snowy November morning at the main offices where Tim Pulak, Superintendent Transportation - Manitoba, and Tom Wincheruk, Asst. Chief - Regional Engineering, took time out of their busy schedules (on a Saturday morning) to tell the Student Chapter about CN operations and the activities at Symington. Following the introductions, Mike Adams, Asst. Track Supervisor, gave the Chapter a safety briefing, did a head count, and then our caravan (three full vans totalling 21 persons) followed Mike in his CN truck over to the Locomotive Reliability Center (LRC). 

At the LRC, UMASC had the chance to get up close to the locomotives in the repair bays where they receive inspection and repairs for traction motors, wheelsets, diesel engines, alternators, and everything in-between. Our tour guide, Bob Gray, Manager of the Symington LRC, brought us through the service bays and did a great job explaining the activities that go on inside the shop. One of the highlights in the shop was the polished up 1950s EMD E9, don't get a chance to see these guys too often! From the LRC, the Student Chapter moved on to the Car shop where Laurent Richard, Asst Superintendent - Mechanical, guided us through the shop car bays, showed the Chapter the crane used for derailments, and brought us outside to where they switch out wheelsets.

For the last part of the tour, Mike Adams guided us through the yard to Control Tower 'C'. This is where all the action happens for trains coming in and out of Symington. Marty McLaren, the Signals and Communication Supervisor, gave us a breakdown of the software and equipment used to control and monitor the hump. We then climbed the stairs up to the top of the control tower to speak with Vinnie Mask, Asst. Superintendent - Transportation, who told us what the guys upstairs do to make sure cars and trains keep moving through the yard. One thing's for sure: communication is key!

UMASC would like to thank everyone at CN who helped make this tour possible, we had a great time touring the yard and seeing what it takes to keep the railroad moving. We'd like to extend additional thanks to Mike Adams, who helped organize the tour and took time on his day off to lead UMASC around the Symington yard. Please enjoy the slide show of this tour below, and look for more pictures to be added as they come in from our members.

Guest Lectures

BRT Phase II and the Waverley Underpass

March 29, 2015

Presented by Bob Paetsch, P. Eng., Senior Project Manager, AECOM

This UMASC luncheon featured Bob Paetsch, a Senior Project Manager at AECOM. Bob has a wealth of experience in the railway industry, as he spent 22 years at Canadian National, spent three years in railway consulting as the President of BHR Enterprises, and has been with AECOM since 1999.

Bob’s presentation covered two recent major Winnipeg projects in the Fort Garry area – the second phase of the Bus Rapid Transit program, and the Waverley underpass project. Bob discussed some of the geometry and right-of-way issues with the BRT phase II program and how it impacts the nearby rail lines and residents. Bob also discussed the need for the various Transit line grade separations involved with the project. Additionally, Bob discussed the logistics and geometrical considerations of the Waverley underpass project from a railway perspective. He talked about the issues of surrounding businesses, drainage, and the interaction between the railway and traffic diversions. Bob also talked about the rail bridge construction phases and the reasoning behind the type of infrastructure selected for the project. UMASC would like to thank Bob for coming to the University of Manitoba to give this excellent presentation and for sharing his knowledge with the Student Chapter.

Mechanics of the Wheel-Rail Interface

January 22, 2016

Presented by: Gordon Bachinsky, President of Advanced Rail Management Corporation

The AREMA Student Chapter was pleased to host Mr. Gordon Bachinsky, president of the Advanced Rail Management Corporation. He received his Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at the University of Manitoba in 1982, and has always had strong ties with our university and our Student Chapter.

His last visit was on January 22, where he taught AREMA members about the fundamentals of the wheel-rail interface and the complexities of this interaction. The AREMA Student Chapter would like to extend a big thank-you to Mr. Bachinsky for coming over to give us another great presentation. His collaboration with us is always appreciated.

Railway Regulations and Safety

November 10, 2015

Presented by Mark Conrad, P. Eng., Regional Director of Rail Safety and Transportation of Dangerous Goods, Transport Canada

The most recent UMASC luncheon featured mark Conrad, who is the Regional Director of Rail Safety and Transportation of Dangerous Goods at Transport Canada. Mark graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1986, with a Bachelor of Commerce and MBA in Marketing and Finance. He has a rich history of working in the railway industry and has been a Regional Director at Transport Canada since 2005.

Mark’s presentation discussed the fundamental concepts of successful transport regulations as well as the pros and cons of regulations that are “open-ended” versus “set-in-stone”. Mark also discussed the approaches to regulation development based on the predicted costs and benefits. This presentation offered a valuable perspective of the railroad industry as well as some thought-provoking information for all of us who are impacted by the regulatory environment. UMASC would like to thank Mr. Conrad for coming over to the University to deliver his presentation to the Student Chapter. 

Grain Transport in Canada

February 6, 2015

Presented by: Robert Sumner, Transport Canada Policy Group

This last luncheon featured Robert Sumner, a Grain Monitor Analyst from the Transport Canada Policy Group since 2008, who was kind enough to put together a presentation discussing current grain transportation operations in Canada. From this presentation, we learned that the railways in Canada are governed by a complex and inter-connected set of policies and there are many regulations to consider. This is especially true, since there are a wide variety of track owners, train car owners, producers and clients to deliver product to and they all must work together within the system for effective operations. We learned about some of the economic and logistical aspects of grain handling/transportation, and the current state of the rolling stock involved.

UMASC would like to thank Mr. Sumner for taking the time to come to the University of Manitoba to give his presentation on behalf of the Transport Canada Policy Group. A copy of the presentation can be found here.

Railway Crossings & Provincial Highways

Presented by Diana Emerson, P. Eng., MCIP, Traffic Services Engineer, MIT

This UMASC luncheon featured Diana Emerson with the Traffic Engineering Branch at Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation. She has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a Master of City Planning, both from the University of Manitoba. Diana has 17 years of professional experience in Transportation Engineering and City Planning, which has included positions as a Project Engineer/Planner with DS Lea Consultants Ltd., Traffic Management Engineer with the City of Winnipeg Public Works Department, and her current position with MIT. This experience has given Diana a thorough background in urban transportation planning, regional and neighborhood traffic management, highway traffic safety and operations, traffic impact studies, pedestrian safety, and active transportation.

Diana’s presentation featured information on the significance of the issues we face at at-grade railway crossings today, as well as the responsibilities of the Traffic Engineering Branch and other authorities in developing standards, identifying locations warranting repairs, and implementing those repairs. Diana also discussed current at-grade railway crossing standards in Manitoba, highlighting some of the key issues to consider.

The presentation was insightful and very informative, and the University of Manitoba AREMA Student Chapter would like to thank Diana for taking the time and effort to present this material and support the chapter. A copy of the presentation can be found Here.

Interactions at the Wheel-Rail Interface

September 17, 2014

Presented by Gordon Bachinsky, P. Eng., President of Advanced Rail Management Corporation

Gordon Bachinsky is the president of the Advanced Rail Management Corporation, with previous job experience with the Harris Corporation and with Canadian National. He received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at the University of Manitoba in 1982, and we are proud to have him represent our University well in the area of Railway Engineering.

In this luncheon, Gordon held a presentation on the cutting-edge developments in railway maintenance that ARM is responsible for. He outlined the need for an update in the maintenance regimes of the railway track structure and explained ARM’s advanced maintenance methods and how they allow the track structure to remain safer, for longer periods of time than in the past. This lecture helped the Student Chapter to understand the critical importance of maintenance, and the significance of the rail head in railway safety and longevity of track use.

In many ways, the procedures of Advanced Rail Management are the future of railway maintenance and we are greatful to have experienced this presentation. UMASC would like to extend a big thank you to Gord for taking the time to stop by at the University of Manitoba to give us this presentation!

Coordinating with Railroads on Large Construction Projects

Presented by Tanya Worms, P. Eng., M. Sc., AECOM

The latest luncheon hosted by UMASC featured Tanya Worms, a project manager with AECOM and a graduate of the University of Manitoba civil engineering program, with support from Keith Gerrits, manager of AECOM's Winnipeg rail division. Tanya has over 10 years of experience working in project management and has been involved in several projects that required extensive coordination and planning with railroads. Many of these projects are well known in Winnipeg including the Kenaston underpass (at the CN Rivers Subdivsion), the Perimeter overpass (at the CN Sprague Subdivision), and she is currently working on the Plessis underpass (at the CN Redditt Subdivision).

Tanay's presentation provided useful insights into the project constraints, safety considerations, and the importance of coordination between all parties involved in large-scale construction projects near railroad infrastructure. The University of Manitoba AREMA Student Chapter would like to thank both Tanya and Keith for taking time out of their (very) busy schedules to show their support for the Student Chapter. A copy of the presentation can be found here

Engineering Services at Canadian National

Presented by Shane McCartney, P.Eng., MBA, Senior Project Manager and Travis Froehlich, P.Eng., Technical Services

The end of the semester is upon us and what better way to end a successful year than to have a guest speaker luncheon – with samosas! Our last guest speaker event of the school year featured professional engineers Shane McCartney and Travis Froehlich. Mr. McCartney is Senior Project Manager and Mr. Froehlich is a Technical Services Engineer with Canadian National. They graciously took time out of their busy schedules to speak to the Student Chapter regarding what it’s like to work in Engineering Services at CN. This presentation covered an overview of the types of projects Engineering Services is involved in, such as special capital activities including yard and terminal changes, siding extensions, new customer facilities, drainage and grade stabilization projects, and other improvements to the overall CN rail network and service. Several sample projects were shown from across Western Canada along with the specific challenges faced in each project (see the powerpoint link available at the bottom of this page).

Thank you to both Shane and Travis for the presentation and, along with Kirk Luke (Manager Track Services), for sticking around after the presentation to mingle with the Student Chapter members and answer questions regarding the projects they have worked on, what it is like to work in Engineering Services at Canadian National and employment opportunities in the railway industry.

A Day in the Life of a Railway Bridge Engineer

Presented by Gody Gamboa, Canadian Pacific, Manager Structures, ES MB WEST

UMASC hosted a guest speaker luncheon with Gody Gamboa and Maxim Delisle of Canadian Pacific. Gody Gamboa, divisional structures manager with CP, gave a presentation to the student chapter on railway bridge design and what it is like to work as a bridge engineering in the ralroad industry. This presentation covered topics such as bridge safety management, performing bridge assessments and inspections, and determining load capacities (with the ever-popular Cooper's loading). This was an educational presentation, particularly for those UMASC members with an interest in structures. The Student Chapter learned common terminology and how to identify particularly safety challenges associated to bridge structural health and rail network performance. One of the main highlights from this presentation was the unique challenges that railway bridge engineers: bridge repair and deck replacement in a 6 hour time frame! Clearly railway bridge engineering is not for the feint of heart, but it definitely is a profession of creativity and advanced problem solving.

The presentation by Mr. Gamboa can be found in the links at the bottom of this page. Thank you to both our guests, Gody and Maxim, for coming out and showing their support of Canada's first AREMA Student Chapter in Canadian Pacific's second visit and presentation to UMASC.

A Day in the Life of a Railroad Bridge Engineer

Railway Engineering Consulting & the Grain Industry

Presented by Bob Paetsch, AECOM, Sr. Project Manager - Freight Rail, Canada West

To kick off the Winter Semester, UMASC hosted a guest speaker luncheon with a presentation provided by Bob Paetsch, a senior project manager in the AECOM freight rail division. Mr. Paetsch spoke about work a consulting firm does in the railroad sector, including their work with Class 1 railways, industrial and mining corporations, and the short lines. He provided an excellent framework for the type of work performed such as upgrading infrastructure, providing industrial connections, design of new transload facilities, and performing inspections and safety assessments. To provide a practical application of the type of work being done right here in Manitoba and the prairies, Mr. Paetsch gave an overview of grain elevator developments and the work required to provide rail service to the high throughput terminals. The student chapter had the opportunity to learn about the benefits and limitations of different track layouts, how to meet the needs of clients, and the infrastructure and operations of grain terminal rail facilities.

The University of Manitoba AREMA Student Chapter would like to thank Bob Paetsch and his colleague, Brendan Machado, for coming to speak with the Chapter and we look forward to future involvement with the AECOM rail group.


Student Chapter  Meet-and-Greet: Life on the Railroad

by Tim Yamashita, Canadian Pacific, General Manager - Engineering, Central Region

Mr. Tim Yamashita took time out of his busy schedule to come speak to the Student Chapter about what it is like to have a career in the railway industry. The presentation included an overview of his career and experiences with Canadian Pacific. Tim has had a very successful career, starting in Toronto about 20 years ago, and has seen and lived in most of Canada and a portion of the United States through his work with CP. Tim also informed the Student Chapter about what working for the railroads is all about, including highs and lows of the industry that can require relocation, middle-of-the-night phone calls, and working on unique projects. It's an industry in the midst of change and there are a lot of opportunities for young engineers who like the adrenaline rush of solving problems on the fly. Furthermore, Mr. Yamashita presented the Student Chapter with not just, one, but two, historical maps of the Canadian Pacific Railway outlining every line and its associated charter. See below for a picture of our President, Mark Reimer, and mentor, Jim Bertrand, holding up the 3'x10' historical map of Western Canada! Look for these maps to be up on the wall outside of the Transport Information Groups office (Room E2-327) in the coming weeks. On behalf of the Student Chapter, we would like to thank Mr. Yamashita for his, and CPRs, support of the UoM AREMA Student Chapter.

Western Canada CPR Historical Map

Operation Lifesaver Infosession

By Alex Allen, Safety Programs Promotion Officer at Transport Canada and Constable Paul Leaden, CN Police Service

This event was to educate the student chapter on what Operation Lifesaver(OL) does and how we, as a chapter, could get involved with the organization. OL looks to save lives by educating Canadians about the dangers associated with railroads and teach them how to safely interact with railroad infrastructure. They focus on the three Es: education, enforcement, and engineering. A copy of the presentation can be found in the files section at the bottom of this page. Thank you to Alex and Cst. Leaden for taking time out of their busy schedule to come educate the student chapter on the topic of railroads and safety education.

Student Chapter Meet-and-Greet: Overview of Canadian Railroads

By Jim Bertrand, Transport Canada, Railway Works Engineer

Thanks to Jim Bertrand, from Transport Canada Prairie and Northern Region, for coming out to meet the student chapter, giving us an overview of his career in the industry, and providing insights into the Canadian railroad development. This was an informal presentation with no powerpoint slides - so sorry if you couldn't make it out. The discussion focused around the privatization and development of CN railroads in the mid-1990s and the purchase of Illinois Central. This has been a key acquisition for CN as it has given them access to the Gulf of Mexico - making CN the only east-west and north-south railroad. Mr. Bertrand has also taken it upon himself to help promote the Student Chapter and connect us with industry professionals. Thanks to everyone who came out and made this event a success!

Building Canada's Three Transcontinental Railways and Development of Branchlines

By Dr. Ted Regehr, PhD

A big thank-you goes to our first Guest Lecture: Dr. Ted Regehr. Dr. Regehr is a historian and considered a leading authority on Western Canadian history in the areas of railroads, Canadian business, and Mennonites. UMASC invited him to give a lecture on the history and development of the transcontinental rail network in Canada - which he kindly accepted and presented on September 24th. You can find a copy of the presentation and audio in the file list at the bottom of this page. 

We hope you enjoy his presentation and if you have any questions or comments regarding this lecture, feel free to contact us.

Social Events

Across the Board Game Cafe

November 19, 2015

This UMASC social event was held at Across the Board Game Café in Winnipeg’s downtown Exchange District. This is a great venue to have some food and drinks, and get your inner competitor out by playing from a huge selection of board games. UMASC members took part in a fun night involving the board games Concept and Bamboleo. This was a fun night and UMASC hopes to have more social nights like it!

University of Illinois RailTEC William W. Hay Railroad Engineering Seminars

Check in on the RailTEC Seminar website regularly for upcoming guest speakers and how to join the teleconference. UMASC will be hosting these events as webinars, so for our members, check your e-mail regularly to find out the location of where you can sit in on these educational seminars.

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