Testing Facilities & Equipment
The R&D Facilities and Test Equipment Program addresses the acquisition, upgrading, and maintenance of FRA-owned facilities and equipment required to accomplish the whole spectrum of railroad research objectives and projects.
Transportation Technology Center
"To maintain state-of-the-art research and test capabilities to support DOT and other governmental and private entities in problem solving, personnel training, product evaluation and the support of research and development of new emerging technologies to improve the safety, security, efficiency and environmental impact of transportation”.
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) owns the Transportation Technology Center (TTC) in Pueblo, Colorado. The facility is on 52 square miles of land leased from the State of Colorado. Since its dedication as the High Speed Ground Test Center in 1971, it has played an important part in research, development, and testing of rail infrastructure and equipment including the Acela train prior to revenue service in 2000.
There are approximately 50 miles of test track at TTC. The short High Tonnage Loop is used primarily to test track components under heavy axle load freight cars. The 13.5 mile long Railroad Test Track is used for high-speed testing up to 165 mph. The shorter Transit Test Track is equipped with third rail electrification and a maximum speed of 90 mph. Various other test tracks are used to evaluate vehicle performance over a range of extreme track conditions.
The 12 major buildings at TTC include offices, workshops, test halls and laboratories. Test equipment includes servo-hydraulic stands on which entire rail cars can be mounted. There is a crash wall used for impact testing passenger cars and tank cars.
Since 1985, the Security and Emergency Response Training Center at TTC has been training first responders to handle hazardous materials accidents. In recent years the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has created the Surface Technology Security Training Center located at TTC, providing training to Department of Homeland Security inspectors and other federal, state and local security partners. TSA’s presence is one of several cases of other Federal agencies using TTC. The Federal Transit Administration and the Department of Defense are also involved. Other government agencies are encouraged to use the facility.