Engineering Students Design Safer, Faster Freight Trains

Event: MECH 223 Design Competition

Date/ Time: Thursday, Feb. 1, 2007, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Location: Room 1180 Kaiser Bldg, 2332 Main Mall, UBC Vancouver.
For a map and closest parking, visit

Preventing train derailment while increasing transportation efficiency is behind a head-on competition among UBC Mechanical Engineering students tomorrow.

As part of an engineering design course, the competition will see 113 second-year students in 20 teams design and construct freight train models that must travel on treacherous terrain at high speeds while safely delivering cargo. The 2.5m x 5m competition table with four interweaving “coaster tracks” will only be revealed to competitors immediately prior to the competition.

“Railway is generally regarded as an economical and environmentally friendly means of cargo transportation,” says the course’s Instructor Peter Ostafichuk. “But derailments at the Cheakamus River in 2005 and in the Fraser Canyon earlier this month remind us there is ample room for improvement.

“The project encourages students to come up with innovative engineering solutions to real-world problems,” says Ostafichuk.

NB: Space is limited. Please contact Brian Lin to attend the competition.

A rendering of the sample competition track is available at

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