American railroads date back to 1825—but in terms of our transportation system, the rail industry is far from history. In this issue of Fast Forward, we’re featuring modern careers in rail transportation that are packed with exciting opportunities for 21st century students. So check your ticket, head to the station, and get ready to hop on board—this is one train you don’t want to miss.

Image of a streamlined train rushing speedily down the tracks. The image is slightly motion-blurred.

Building the Future: America’s First High-Speed Rail System

Have you ever watched a train rumble by on the tracks and wished it would go faster? Well, if you live in California, you’re in luck. There, a group of amazing people are working on building the nation’s first ever high-speed railway system.

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A red and white bullet train races along a track. The background is heavily blurred with the motion.

CSI: Railroad

If you thought railroad careers were all about driving trains, think again. Monique Ferguson works for the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

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Collage image of students graduating college, with a shot of a trainyard between them.

Get to Know the NU Rail Center

Considering a career in the railroad industry? There are two words you need to know: NU Rail. The National University Rail Center (NU Rail) is a partnership of seven U.S. colleges and universities that promote and support railroad research, education, and innovation.

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A railyard stretches towards the horizon. It’s evening and there’s a rainbow arcing over the sky.

How History Informs the Future: Working on the Railroad with Allison Phillips

If you think working on the railroad is just about running the engines or maintaining the track, you might change your mind after hearing what Allison Phillips has to say about her experiences.

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Collage image, with a welder on a track, a derailed train, and a rail yard worker.

Q and A with Stephen Klejst, National Transportation Safety Board

In a Q and A with Fast Forward, industry expert Stephen Klejst shared his advice for students who might be considering a future in the railroad industry.

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Collage image of different railroad bridges, some during construction and others after completion.

Railroad Industry: Help Wanted

According to railroad industry veteran Don McCammon, now is the perfect time to start exploring careers in railroad transportation.

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Collage image featuring images of trains and train yards.

You’ll Be Working on the Railroad with These Fun Summer Programs

Whether you are ages 7-17 or over the age of 18, there are summer programs available to experience the rail industry first-hand.

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A high-speed train races along a track

Featured Careers - Rail

There are lots of careers to choose from in Rail. Here are just a few to get you started.

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Graphical image of a train with the words 'Ten Cool Facts About Rail' worked into the image.

Ten Cool Facts About Rail

Today 40% of world’s freight cargo is transported via trains, and that number continues to grow each year.

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Fast Forward: Volume 2: Issue 6 - Rail