MxV Rail will be accelerating implementation of critical track infrastructure to meet industry technology and innovation demands.
April 27, 2023, Pueblo, CO – MxV Rail is well underway with the second phase of construction at PuebloPlex. The 2023 construction plan includes the implementation of the industry’s premier infrastructure test bed, the Facility for Accelerated Service Testing (FAST), along with the Curving Performance Track (CPT) and Suspension Resonance Track (SRT).
The FAST program is a staple of the Association of American Railroads’ (AAR) Strategic Research Initiatives (SRI) and the proving ground for many innovative technologies. FAST allows for testing components and technologies in a carefully controlled and monitored real-world heavy-axle-load freight railroad setting. The 2023 program will kick off on a brand new 2.8-mile-long track loop being constructed at PuebloPlex. A minimum of 23 AAR-sponsored tests are expected to be installed and monitored in the inaugural year at MxV Rail’s new facility. Some experiments are extensions of previous research that has been relocated and will be re-installed during the construction of the loop.
The groundwork for the new test bed is nearly complete, and the design team is expecting FAST operations to commence in early fall 2023. The MxV Rail research team accumulates 140 million gross tons (MGT) annually at FAST and is excited to initiate operations over the new loop in the first season of running at PuebloPlex. MxV Rail will also be hosting visitors during the 28th Annual AAR Research Review, where construction of the loop along with experiments and other MxV Rail capabilities will be on full display.
In addition to the FAST loop construction, MxV Rail’s Board of Directors approved an accelerated timeline for the implementation of the Curving Performance and Suspension Resonance tracks. The suspension resonance track and curving performance track support vehicle dynamics testing and are considered critical assets for the global rail community. Ongoing research to study the rail vehicle body, suspension and other underbody systems will take place at the suspension resonance track, while MxV Rail researchers modify systems to test overall track performance of freight and passenger rail cars at the curving performance track. The construction will be completed in coordination with completion expected in Q4 2023.
As with all R&D on-site, the build is an industry-wide effort, and the Class I railroads are supporting with funding, materials, and expertise. Everything from wood ties to rail, from ballast to trackwork is being donated by the Class I railroads to keep pace with the accelerated construction schedule. “Industry support for MxV Rail has never been stronger, and it speaks to the vital role freight rail plays in North America’s economy,” said Ian Jefferies, President and CEO of AAR. “Our best and brightest are innovating here to meet the industry’s engineering and technology needs to drive safety, efficiency and sustainability improvements that will benefit all sectors of transportation.”
The announcement comes ahead of schedule for the new infrastructure and adds to the operations established by MxV Rail in late 2022. The new tracks will complement the Impact Track and Crash Wall, High Speed Loop, as well as the new Testing and Metallurgical Laboratories, and the Operations and Training Center that is home to the Security and Emergency Response Training Center (SERTC).
“We appreciate the vote of confidence from our Board, and I think it speaks to the caliber of engineering and railroading talent we have at MxV Rail, along with the positive impact our research is having on safety, reliability and efficiency,” said MxV Rail President & CEO Kari Gonzales. “As we make progress solving the technical challenges facing industry, it helps shape a better future for us all.”
Learn more about MxV Rail’s Board and executive team on our Leadership page.
About MxV Rail: MxV Rail (formerly TTCI) is a subsidiary of the Association of American Railroads established to provide vital support to the nation’s rail industry as its most trusted research and engineering partner. Through focused funding and strategic planning, MxV Rail is making key investments in its people and facilities to undertake new technological challenges in the rail industry and beyond. Building on its legacy of excellence, the team offers a full suite of advisory and research services including consulting, testing, research, maintaining standards and training. Learn more at www.mxvrail.com.
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