Railway Operations and Maintenance

The NSERC Industrial Research Chair for Colleges in Railway Operations and Maintenance in Sept Îles focuses on railway operations involving the use of long, heavy trains in northern areas. The Quebec North Shore offers a unique testing ground as there are three large mining companies operating there and the major infrastructure available for moving mineral resources from mining sites to processing and shipping locations. More than 1,000 kilometers of railway lines are used for this purpose.

Chair Dr. Luc Faucher has four main partners for research — ArcelorMittal Mines Canada, Transport ferroviaire Tshiuetin, Rio Tinto IOC and Cliffs Natural Resources. These partners also supply work to a large pool of subcontracting small and mediumsized enterprises (SMEs) that also benefit from the Chair’s activities. In the first 18 months of activity, five SMEs and eight research centres took part in 16 projects. These companies have contributed more than $250,000 in funds and close to $475,000 in staff time and equipment loans to the research program.

The research advances from these projects have a major impact on training of specialized workers. All professors from the departments of industrial maintenance and electronics take part in initial project meetings. They each contribute their know-how and help draft project estimates. Their experience also sheds light on possible stumbling blocks and helps guide the research toward reliable systems. Three professors were released from teaching duty to work on the research projects, whose new concepts will then be incorporated into the curriculum.

A total of 33 students have participated in the research projects, and 25 attended a seminar on industrial maintenance that included a segment on railway-specific work. Without the Chair, several projects would not have seen the light of day, and students would not have gained this hands-on experience.

Dr. Faucher’s research will improve rail equipment and the monitoring of that equipment. Instrumentation in rail and rolling-stock components will ease maintenance planning and strengthen network reliability. Thanks to research partnerships, the Cégep de Sept-Îles has not only gained access to railway company facilities, but has also strengthened its credibility in this field. When SMEs want to take on new projects with mining companies that operate a railway, they approach Dr. Faucher. The Chair sets the research focus and oversees the projects themselves. The result is better structure and follow-up, along with sound guidance from professors’ experience and more indepth knowledge for all.

Industry: Environmental

About Cégep de Sept-Îles

Le Cégep de Sept-Îles est un acteur important au sein de la ville de Sept-Îles. Cette dernière, située aux abords du fleuve et de la... Learn more