Michigan Rail Conference 2018

The Michigan Rail Conference was held at the Conference Center at Saginaw Valley State University in Saginaw, MI, August 7-9, 2018! 

From Aug. 7-9 the Michigan Tech Rail Transportation Program (RTP) worked with Michigan Department of Transportation, Michigan State University, and a planning team of dedicated rail industry representatives to conduct the Michigan Rail Conference 2018.   

Under RTP's leadership the planning committee that consisted of rail industry, government agencies, and other stakeholders interested in promoting the industry brought together more than thirty speakers and over 100 participants in Saginaw, Michigan to focus on the conference theme, End to End Journeys: Integrating Partners.   

RTP Faculty, Staff and Students led the conference coordination and logistics. Nikkie Johnson, MDOT Office of Rail, Project Manager for Economic Development & Freight Operations and Nicholas Little, Michigan State University Director of Rail Education were the Conference Co-chairs, while David Nelson and Amanda Kerttu from Michigan Tech were the lead coordinators for the program.  Two students - Alex Christmas and Kyle Dick - came to Saginaw to assist....and to enjoy the conference.

The conference opened on Tuesday morning with a golf outing with proceeds going to the conference's student scholarship fund. The day was capped off with an evening reception at the Lake State Railway’s offices and yard, and featured a train ride to Midland and back on vintage passenger cars brought to the yard specifically for the conference.  

Wednesday featured the technical content of the conference at the Saginaw Valley State University conference center. The program included eight plenary and breakout sessions featuring industry experts in a host of passenger and freight rail topics. The keynote address was given by Jo Strang, Senior Vice President, Safety and Regulatory Policy from the American Shortline and Regional Railroad Administration (ASLRRA).

The event wrapped up with a full day of field trips featuring stops at a variety of rail served shipping locations, and culminating with another train ride, again hosted by Lake State Railway Company, this time from Grayling back to the Saginaw area. 

The event provided an excellent venue for discussions and networking across the entire spectrum of rail industry companies and supporters in Michigan.

Conference Attandees Lounge in the PRR Pullman on the Lake State Ride to Midland 

Events like these are simply not possible without the generous support of our sponsors!