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Railroad Track Design

When - Where

May 10-12, 2023

(8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time)


15 Professional Development Hours (PDHs) can be granted for this course.

ORNL Hardin Valley Campus 2nd floor meeting room
(formerly NTRC)
2360 Cherahala Blvd.
Knoxville, TN  37932
Tel: 865-946-1500 for directions

Register ONLINE here.


Register by mail. Click here to download the brochure.



This 2½ day class addresses the design of railroad track, including horizontal and vertical alignment, cross section, turnouts and crossings, component selection, earthwork, drainage, and clearances. The design approaches highlight applicable AREMA recommendations and general industry practices. The attendee will learn how traffic characteristics and operational requirements affect design. The coverage distinguishes between high-speed, conventional, rapid transit, and light-rail systems. The course includes examples that showcase and help the student understand typical design procedures.


Personnel who have responsibility for Construction, Track Design or Maintenance from shortline, regional, and Class I railroads; railroad contractors and consultants; state and local government officials associated with railroad operation, finance and regulation. This course does include engineering content and basic math skills are needed.


David B. Clarke, Ph.D., P.E.

Dr. Clarke, Research Professor and former Director of the University of Tennessee's Center for Transportation, brings nearly 40 years of experience encompassing a variety of railroad design, inspection, research and education activities. As a licensed civil engineer, Dr. Clarke prepares specifications and designs for railroad track construction and maintenance. He has taught railway related courses including this one, to college students and professionals since 1990. He is active in Railroad related design activities and knows the Industry standards for Design. He has taught internationally. He is active in railroad related committees of AREMA, ASCE and TRB.


(Workshop begins at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 5:00 p.m. each day. On the third day, the workshop ends at noon)

  • Overview and introduction
  • Design controls
  • Track location
  • Track engineering
    • Track structure
    • Loads
    • Track behavior
    • Stress analysis
      • Rail
      • Crossties/fasteners
      • Ballast
      • Subgrade
  • Basic geometric design
    • Cross Section
    • Horizontal alignment
      • Curves
      • Spirals
      • Superelevation
    • Vertical alignment
      • Grades
      • Vertical curves
  • Advanced geometric design
    • Turnouts and track crossings
    • Track junctions
    • Yard and terminal layout
    • Capacity and operational considerations
    • Rail-highway grade crossings
  • Railway structures
  • Drainage
  • Review and wrap-up


The course registration of $775 includes course materials and refreshments. Registration fees must be received at least two weeks prior to the workshop to guarantee your place in the class.

Attendees are responsible for meals and lodging. Registrants will be provided information on available lodging in the workshop vicinity.

Register ONLINE here.


Register by mail. Click here to download the brochure.