Transportation Technology Center (TTC)
To provide innovative world class research, development, testing, training, and facilities to ensure safe, secure, reliable, and efficient rail transportation for the Nation.
The Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) Transportation Technology Center (TTC), located in Pueblo, Colorado, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2021. Since its dedication as the High-Speed Ground Test Center in 1971, TTC has played a vital role in the research, development, and testing of rail infrastructure and equipment—including the Acela train prior to revenue service in 2000.
ENSCO Inc. currently manages the day-to-day operations of TTC. As TTC's new custodian, ENSCO continues TTC's legacy of providing services that align with USDOT's vision: advancing rail safety by developing a vibrant, engaging, and modern research facility that drives innovation. For more information, please visit https://ttc-ensco.com. The facility is located at 55500 DOT Road, Pueblo, CO 81001.
TTC offers over 50 miles of test track at its nearly 52-square-mile facility:
- High Tonnage Loop: a 2.7-mile track used primarily to study long-term wear on train components and rail infrastructure
- Railroad Test Track: a 13.5-mile loop equipped with a catenary system for testing trains up to 165 mph and the only one of its kind for testing in the United States
- Transit Test Track: a 9.1-mile loop designed to simulate urban rail settings and featuring a third rail power system and an integrated tight-turn loop
- Precision Test Track: track with purpose-built irregularities that can reproduce the kinds of maximum physical forces (yaw, sway, etc.) a railcar could experience in revenue service
- Wheel/Rail Mechanism Loop: a 3.5-mile loop designed to test a freight car’s ability to safely navigate curves with and without purpose-built track irregularities
TTC is at the forefront of rail vehicle safety and dynamics research. Equipment and facilities include:
- Servo-hydraulic stands for mounting entire railcars:
- The Simuloader, which simulates dynamic loads on railcars and locomotives
- The Vibration Test Unit, which shakes railcars to determine how they respond to dynamic forces
- The Impact Facility, which tests freight and passenger railcars’ crashworthiness and crash energy management to ensure the safest fleet possible
Training and Tenant Organizations at TTC
FRA’s Technical Training Standards Division conducts internal training for safety inspectors and specialists at TTC. Inspectors undergoing training can easily transition from the classroom to field exercises or demonstrations where they can apply recently acquired knowledge. Additionally, co-locating training with FRA's Office of Research, Development, and Technology provides other opportunities for cross-functional, hands-on learning about new and emerging rail technologies.
In recent years, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has created the Surface Technology Security Training Center located at TTC, which provides training to U.S. Department of Homeland Security inspectors and other federal, state, and local security partners. Combining test beds and research from different transportation modes can provide government security agencies such as TSA and the U.S. Department of Defense a controlled environment in which to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities, and a one-stop-shop for training activities.
FRA works with Congress and other government agencies to continue to expand the testing capabilities at TTC.