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  • Writer's pictureCody Birdwell

LU Partners with Iron Horse Terminals

Updated: Jun 24, 2020

January 28, 2020 -- Lamar University has partnered with Iron Horse Terminals, a Southeast Texas rail transportation company, to develop software to optimize the organization’s strategically located railyard.

The collaboration represents one of the College of Engineering’s critical strategic initiatives to increase and enhance industry/university partnerships and projects.

“We are thrilled to have signed this partnership with Iron Horse Terminals,” said Brian Craig, dean of the College of Engineering. “This project represents the amazing capabilities of our faculty to enhance LU’s impactIron Horseon the Southeast Texas region and our nation’s economy, while supporting the goals of the College of Engineering and the Center for Midstream Management and Science.

Iron Horse Terminals, located approximately seven miles west of Beaumont with connectivity to two major rail lines along major trucking corridors, has access to one of the largest high-density and low-density polyethylene facilities on the Gulf Coast. The company is focused on streamlining processes to supplement strategic Southeast Texas regional growth opportunities, and therefore sought LU to develop tools to optimize its operation.

“To support the current and future needs of Iron Horse Terminals and the region’s rapid expansion, this project will develop a web-based system,” Maryam Hamidi, assistant professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering and lead on the project. “We’ll develop user-interface software using programming skills, database design and optimization techniques to increase efficiency.

Iron Horse Terminals is ideally located for large-scale polyethylene manufacturers, has more than 21 miles of track on the site and more than 1,200-car storage capacity, which makes the company capable of enhancing the growing logistical needs of the region.

“Railyards are hubs of railroad transportation systems, which means they have complex operations,” said Hamidi. “The proposed software has the capability of serving multiple types of users with different levels of access and applications. It will store and aggregate all data including inbound and outbound RFID readers and optimally assign railcars to track spots. This software will further visualize and generate outbound car map/list for dispatchers and yard workers.”

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