This paper provides a review of me of the main themes in North American R&D and technology innovation from the 1970s through 2017. A chronological description identifies some of the principal developments in safety and performance over the years, including the introduction of new technologies, the changes in government and industry priorities and funding for R&D. This includes investments in tank car/hazmat research, maglev, and high speed rail). Key technology introductions such as automated track and rolling stock inspection systems are discussed. The evolving and changing roles of the Federal government, the AAR, individual railroads, the supply industry are described. The paper offers a timeline of key events in railroad R&D and technology introductions, with brief discussions each came to pass, the conditions in the industry which drove or enabled them and the impacts each introduction have had. The paper closes with some thoughts about current trends in technology and railroad R&D and their likely trajectory into the future.

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