Hitachi Rail STS donation benefits rail transportation engineering program

ALTOONA, Pa .– To help prepare the next generation of engineers and signaling operators to gain experience in the safe management of passenger and freight rail traffic, Hitachi Rail STS USA, based in Pittsburgh , has partnered with Penn State Altoona’s Rail Transportation Engineering (RTE) program to donate a MicroLok wayside control system, a piece of equipment used to perform life-saving and non-life-support signaling systems.

Representatives from Hitachi visited the college’s RTE labs on September 13 to meet with students and faculty and discuss the gift and industry needs for skilled workers.

Scott Matonak, left, of Hitachi Rail STS, and student Michael Wallitsch test the MicroLok wayside control system offered to the Penn State Altoona Rail Transportation Engineering Program by Hitachi Rail STS.

“Our gift to Penn State Altoona symbolizes both our corporate social responsibility and a shared determination to add more talent to this industry,” said Douglas Peel, Head of Trackside Engineering at Hitachi Rail STS USA . “We appreciate the work Penn State Altoona is doing to develop this program and provide students with real-world tools and experiences throughout the process.”

MicroLok is a comprehensive railway signaling system that includes training modules. Stephen Dillen, an assistant professor of electrical engineering education, said the system will be used in higher level courses on communications and rail signals.

“Students will see how rail locks are controlled and understand the complex levels of redundancy and security required for the safe movement of people and rolling stock,” said Dillen.

More than 144,000 miles of track support the US economy, with the freight industry investing more than $ 25 billion each year to improve the rail network. Freight, passenger and metro rail operators will continue to add cutting-edge technology to the rail networks they operate and the assets they maintain, creating many opportunities for rail and signal engineers in the workforce. ‘artwork. Penn State Altoona’s RTE program, the only BSc program of its kind in the country, prepares students for in-depth engineering and math training to meet industry demands.

Safety is a top priority in the rail industry, and signaling systems allow trains to communicate with each other.

“The signaling system is the most important aspect of rail lines and helps them run safely,” said Jonathan Ambrosino, a major junior at RTE in Los Angeles.

Ambrosino said he was eager to use the MicroLok to learn “to program signals and familiarize themselves with signaling concepts,” and to keep trains, their passengers and cargo far enough from each other that everything the world reaches destinations safely.

With the addition of the Hitachi Rail STS MicroLok, students will have direct access to market systems for in-depth training and real-world application of train control signaling systems, processes and procedures.

“Every day, all over the world, Hitachi Rail STS employees work hard to help customers solve the most complex transportation challenges. Our growing mobility business in the United States is part of a globally integrated comprehensive rail solutions provider with expertise in rolling stock, signaling and turnkey, operations, service and maintenance, ”Peel said. “There is a great demand, especially in the United States, for engineers, software developers and project managers. We applaud Penn State Altoona’s efforts to train the next generation of engineers.

The Hitachi Rail STS MicroLok II wayside control system combines railway signaling and control functions and is currently used in mass transit, metro, mainline and freight applications. Inside what looks like an ordinary metal cabinet is advanced technology that can monitor multiple railway lines and crossings to efficiently move people and goods to their intended destinations. The system performs key functions including train detection, track circuit integrity, coded track circuit communication, cabin signaling code generation, and event recording. It also includes a vital lock code and a code system for control and non-vital indications.

With more than 4,200 employees in 31 countries, Hitachi Rail STS works with rail providers and providers of passenger rail services, freight transport, providing traffic management, train control, signaling systems and services. of maintenance.

This donation from Hitachi Rail STS will advance “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” a targeted campaign that aims to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to meet the three key imperatives of a 21st century public university: keeping the doors of higher education open to hard-working students, whatever their financial well-being; create transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and make an impact on the world by fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Great State of Pennsylvania for 21st Century Excellence,” visit

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