CSE498, Collaborative Design, Fall 2019
Computer Science and Engineering
Michigan State University

Union Pacific was founded in 1862 and is now the leading railroad transportation company in America. With over 32,000 miles of track in 23 states, 8,600 locomotives, and 43,000 employees, Union Pacific plays an important part in the transportation of goods in the nation.

Derailments cost transportation companies millions of dollars every year due to missed deliveries, additional employee time, and equipment repairs. Union Pacific uses simulations to analyze such incidents and diagnose causes. These simulations record data such as speed and buff/draft forces, and this information is output as a raw data file.

Our Railroad Physics Data Visualization platform provides a web-based user interface that converts a simulation’s raw data files into clean, readable, and intuitive graphical output. These interactive graphs aid in the analysis of derailment simulations.

After a successful simulation, the raw data file is uploaded to our system via a web dashboard page. A user can then access the web dashboard to analyze a file.

Graphical output from our Railroad Physics Data Visualization platform can be viewed on our web UI (shown on the right) or downloaded as a generated Excel file.

In addition to static graphs and charts, our platform produces animated graphs that visualize train elevation, as well as the forces between train cars over time.

Using our system, Union Pacific employees can more quickly and accurately determine the cause of derailments and accidents, saving Union Pacific valuable time and money.

Our Railroad Physics Data Visualization project has a front-end web UI that uses the Angular framework and is written in TypeScript and CSS. Our back end is written in Java, runs in a Tomcat environment, and communicates with an Oracle MySQL database.