The Rail Transportation Division is one of the oldest and most active of ASME's 37 Divisions & Subdivisions. Founded in 1920 as the Railroad Division promoting mechanical engineering applications to railroading, it later became the Rail Transportation Division to reflect its concern with rail rapid transit as well as conventional intercity freight and passenger railroading.
Through over eight decades, the Rail Transportation Division and its members have been in the thick of technological developments that have shaped railroading--the development of super power steam locomotives and their eclipse by the diesel--electrics; experiments with turbine and other new locomotive types; the first streamlined passenger trains of the 30's and the metro-liner trains of the 60's; the present development of larger, heavier freight cars, unit bulk commodity trains, intermodal trains, and the technological problems they have brought.
As the nation becomes more conscious of the value of railroads in the dawning era of energy scarcity, interest in the Rail Transportation Division is growing. The Division encourages technical research and development to improve railroad rolling equipment, to publish technical papers dealing with this work, and to provide a forum where railroad mechanical engineers can exchange ideas and discuss common problems.