The primary purpose of this paper is to review the fundamentals, concepts, and merits of new technologies that hold a promise for helping the railroad industry in its missions. The author hopes that this paper will be the first of a series of papers that will be devoted to reviewing new technologies that are on the horizon and can benefit the rail industry, in a manner similar to the current papers that report on the progress of different aspects of transit and passenger cars, locomotives, and freight cars. The fundamental difference between this paper and current papers is that it will be devoted to new technologies that are in a more distant horizon (10–15 years), as opposed to the more immediate future developments that are covered in current papers. The first technology that will be highlighted is the magneto-rheological (MR) technology that has received a tremendous amount of attention in the past five years in the transportation industry, in particular for automotive applications. This paper will provide an overview of MR technology and its common applications, and provide some fruits for thoughts on how MR technology can be used in the rail industry.

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