[Vol.20] Past, Present, and Future Everything about Railway (UST-KRRI Campus, Railway System Engineering Major)
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- Registration Date : 2016-12-28
Railway is the epitome of sustainable transportation. After 200 years since the invention of the railway, it still has its day as it has become an effective means of transportation that is still used by many people. According to the national budget management plan in 2016, the railroad investment amounts to about 7.5 trillion won. It accounts for one-third of the total infrastructure investment and about 2% of the whole government budget. While it is regaining the public attention recently as an environmentally friendly transportation, we visited UST-Korea Railroad Research Institute (KRRI) campus that is responsible for the Korean railway sector.
Covering the whole area of transportation
The KRRI campus is the only railway research institute in Korea. It was established in 1996 with the aim of developing railway transportation and enhancing the competitiveness of the industry through technology development and policy research for the railway sector. Trying to present a new vision for the future for railway transportation, they are playing a pivotal role in the development of railway technology in Korea, such as next-generation high-speed railway, next-generation urban railway, bimodal tram, standardization of railway logistics, and building of railway safety system.
Railways are regarded to be the most environmentally friendly and economical of all existing transportation means. Therefore, KRRI campus is trying to present a new vision and technology development strategy to make the railroad become a driving force for improving national competitiveness. "KRRI covers everything about railroads. You can learn anything from machinery for train, civil engineering for tracks, electricity for providing electricity and propelling train, environment technology related to signal system, train operation, and so on" said Won-hee You, the Campus Representative Professor. For the activities of KRRI, he went on to say, "It is called railroad research institute, but the technology researches conducted here cover all the transportation means so the performance here is not limited to the railway industry but applies to all transportation means."
Railway, the result of collaboration and field experiments
Now the campus operates four majors including Transportation and Logistics System & ITS Engineering, Robotics and Virtual Engineering, Energy and Environmental Engineering, and Railway System Engineering. Except for the three majors mainly managed by the other campuses, the Railway System Engineering major is run by KRRI campus.
The Railway System Engineering major covers a wide range of curricula related to transportation such as railway cars, civil engineering, electrical and electronics, environment, and communications. It is important to have a "cooperative" attitude if you are a Railway System Engineering major because railway engineering consists of various technologies, and among them nothing is considered as trivial. "As all the experiments are organized in cooperative manner, we need to respect each other so that the experiment can proceed smoothly."
"In particular, we conduct experiments right at the railway site, in addition to lab experiments," said Professor Sung-il Seo, who is in charge of the major, about the characteristics of KRRI campus and Railway System Engineering major. "Field experiment is essential because "safety" is the top priority in the railway engineering. Sometimes the students get on board the train to check the stability of the track." In addition, the Railway System Engineering provides students with opportunities to visit various fields of the railway industry such as vehicle manufacturer, operator, civil engineering construction site.
KRRI, the leader of Next-generation transportation
KRRI is now in the midst of research on "Hyperloop" these days. Hyperloop, which is attracting attention as a next-generation transportation system, is a high-speed sound-velocity train running through a vacuum tunnel in a state of magnetic levitation using electromagnetic force. In Korea, it is being studied under the name "Capsule Train," and the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning recently announces its plan to commercialize it by 2020 with a large-scale investment of 33 billion won. "KRRI is a leading research institute and will work strenuously to preoccupy the technology of high-speed transportation system." Professor Won-hee You said that they would undergo a lot of technical difficulties that were not taken account for in the development of Capsule Train at present. In the future, vacuum maintenance technology, high-speed vehicle lifting technology, driving safety and comfort technology, friction minimization technology, energy efficiency improvement technology using solar energy, and earthquake resistant technology will be the priorities. "When we achieve related technologies, KRRI will be the world leader of high-speed transportation systems."
KRRI campus and Railway System Engineering, as the leader of railway technology development in Korea and as the railway technology center leading industry-academia cooperation will grow into the world's leading railway research institute. We hope a successful journey of the people of KRRI who are doing their best to reform themselves every year for the economic development and the welfare of the public as the cradle of the future of railway and other transportations.