Hitachi Rail USA Donates MicroLok to Penn State Altoona

Written by Andrew Corselli
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From left to right, Michael Kozik, rail transportation engineering (RTE) student, and Bryan Schlake, instructor in RTE, show projects on RTC simulators to Scott Matonak and Doug Peel from Hitachi Rail STS. Image: Marissa Carney

Pittsburgh-based Hitachi Rail STS USA has partnered with the Rail Transportation Engineering (RTE) program at Penn State Altoona to donate a MicroLok® Wayside Control System.

MicroLok® is a complete railway signaling system that includes training modules. Stephen Dillen, assistant teaching professor of electrical engineering, says the system will be used in upper level courses on railroad communications and signals. “Students will see how rail interlocks are controlled and understand the complex levels of redundancy and safety necessary for the secure travel of people and rolling stock,” he said.

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

Penn State Altoona’s RTE program—“the only bachelor of science degree program of its kind in the nation”—aims to prepare students with the in-depth engineering and mathematics education to meet the demands of the industry.

“Our gift to Penn State Altoona symbolizes both our corporate social responsibility and a shared determination to add more talent to this industry,” says Douglas Peel, head of Wayside Engineering, Hitachi Rail STS USA. “We value the work Penn State Altoona is doing to grow this program and provide students with real-world tools and experiences along the way.”

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