Media Advisory | Jan. 26, 2011

Engineering students design safer, faster freight trains

Event:                     MECH 223 Design Competition
Date/ Time:           Thursday, Jan 27, 2011, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Location:               Room 1180 Kaiser Bldg, 2332 Main Mall, UBC Vancouver
                                 For a map and closest parking, visit

Preventing train derailment while increasing transportation efficiency is the aim of a head-to-head competition among UBC Mechanical Engineering students.

As part of an engineering design course, the competition will see 125 second-year students in 20 teams showcase the freight train concepts they have spent the past four weeks designing, building and testing. 

The teams will pit their designs – part freight train and part roller coaster – against one another on a track that will be revealed only hours before the competition.

Measuring 2.5 metres x 5 metres, the competition table will hold four interweaving “coaster tracks.” To win, student teams must explore designs that push the limits of rail travel on treacherous terrain, while still delivering the cargo safely and on time.

“Railway is generally regarded as an economical and environmentally friendly means of transportation,” says course instructor Peter Ostafichuk. “But industry-wide demand for faster delivery times, reduced environmental impact and increased safety remind us there is room for improvement.”

“The project encourages students to come up with innovative engineering solutions to real-world problems,” says Ostafichuk.

NB: Space is limited. To attend the competition, please contact Erinrose Handy at 604.822.1524,

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ErinRose Handy
Faculty of Applied Science
Tel: 604.822.1524



Rail Coaster from 2007 MECH 223 design competition. Photo courtesy of Peter Ostafichuk

Rail Coaster from 2007 MECH 223 design competition. Photo courtesy of Peter Ostafichuk

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