Norfolk Southern Corporation opened the expansion of its Railroad University south of Atlanta, in McDonough, Georgia. The two-story expansion effectively doubles the training center's classroom space from 27,000 to 50,000 square feet.
Employees in the new space will receive enhanced technology-enabled interactive instruction, including use of tablets, touch screens, and simulation training. The number of students could grow to 900 in the near future as the new building is occupied.
"This facility is all about investing in our people," CEO Wick Moorman said. "The better we equip and train our conductors, engineers, and other craft and supervisory employees to do their jobs safely and efficiently, the more opportunity we have to achieve and surpass the level of service our customers expect and that we commit to provide."
"After their classroom and practical experiences at the training center, employees go on assignment with the tools and perspective to make immediate contributions to the success of a 21st century railroad and the customers and communities that depend on us," said Dominik Browne, Manager of the facility.
When it opened in December 1974, the center was the rail industry's first dedicated facility for training and educating employees and quickly was dubbed "RRU" or "Railroad University." Over the last 40 years, the career path for Norfolk Southern conductors, engineers, track and signal workers, and others has gone through McDonough and on to field locations throughout the company's 22-state rail network.
Prior expansions at McDonough included classroom space for supervisory and management courses in addition to technical training. Outside, 4 miles of track and a four-track rail yard complete with rolling stock give students opportunity to take their classroom instruction into a real operating environment.