CSE498, Collaborative Design, Fall 2023
Computer Science and Engineering
Michigan State University

Union Pacific has been building America for more than 160 years. Founded July 1, 1862, they are one of the largest railroad companies in the United States. With over 32,500 miles of track in 23 western states, Union Pacific boasts an impressive lineup of over 8,000 locomotives and a team of over 30,000 employees.

Switches are a core component of railroads that direct the movement of a train. Correctly identifying switch alignment is crucial to ensuring the transportation of resources the country relies on. A misaligned switch — if not identified and corrected — can lead to delays and damages and can pose a danger to personnel.

Our Railroad Switch Alignment Training software consists of courses that train employees to identify the alignment of railroad switches quickly and accurately. Employees get the necessary experience and training in a safe environment.

During a course, a prerecorded video taken from the front of a locomotive plays. As a switch approaches, the user interface displays inputs corresponding to switch identification. The user indicates the alignment of the switch, and the software gives audio-visual feedback to indicate whether the response was correct.

The training software teaches personnel to better identify rail switches in a real-world setting. Each course of the training is its own program, giving management more control over exactly what content employees should complete. Upon completion of a course, feedback is given and a score is reported to Union Pacific’s learning management system. The software is also highly configurable, supporting custom course creation without having to write a line of code.

Our software is developed in Unity 3D and programmed with C#. It follows the SCORM standard for eLearning courses. The software is configured using JSON files and pulls videos from a database to generate a course in real time.