Congestion, emissions generated by transportation, increasing fuel costs and expanding demand for mobility have revived the interest for modern rail transportation throughout the world. Simultaneously, expansion of global trade and increasing demands for technology to improve the safety and productivity of the industry are creating a new environment that requires a different way of thinking when developing railway systems. Overall, the authors believe that current changes provide a fertile ground for institutions of higher education in the United States and the European Union (EU) to increase their transatlantic cooperation in education and research. Recent studies related to railway higher education have been undertaken in Europe and the United States. The European Rail Research Network of Excellence (EURNEX) conducted a study to develop and organize educational and training activities in participating higher education institutions. In Germany, a comprehensive inventory was conducted to define the current level of rail transportation activities in higher education institutions. In the United States, American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association (AREMA) conducted a study to determine the type and extent of rail education currently offered on campuses. In addition, a benchmarking study was performed by Michigan Tech University to investigate rail education and recruitment at universities with the objective to define the quantitative and qualitative demands for rail engineers by industry employers. This paper presents a synopsis of these past studies and introduces an on-going “TUNRail” project to “tune” and intensify the railway higher education knowledge exchange and collaboration between the EU and the United States.

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