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Allan Zarembski - University of Delaware. Newark, DE, US

Allan Zarembski

Professor of Practice Civil and Environmental Engineering; Director, Railway Engineering and Safety Program | University of Delaware


Prof. Zarembski has expertise in railroad track engineering and railroad safety.



Allan Zarembski Publication Allan Zarembski Publication



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RAS Session. Railroad Maintenance. Allan M. Zarembski Coffee with Mr. IoT - How IoT Saves the Environment & Railroads with Dr. Allan Zarembski




Dr. Allan M Zarembski is an internationally recognized authority in fields of railroad track engineering and vehicle/track system analysis. Dr. Zarembski has expertise in railroad track engineering and railroad safety, derailment analysis, wheel-rail interaction, rail problems and maintenance including rail inspection and grinding.

He is Professor of Practice and Director of Railroad Engineering and Safety Program at University of Delaware. He was President of ZETA-TECH, an independent railway technical consulting company, from 1984 through 2007 when it was acquired by Harsco Rail. He was also Director R&D for Pandrol and Speno Rail Services and Manager, Track Research for AAR.

Dr. Zarembski has a PhD in Civil Engineering from Princeton University, and M.S. and B.S. from NYU. He is a registered Professional Engineer in five states. He is an Honorary Member of AREMA a Fellow of ASME and a member of the International Heavy Haul Railway Association “Hall of Fame”. He received the ASME's Rail Transportation Award in 1992, the FRA’s Special Act Award in 2001 and the the Fumio Tatsuoka Best Paper Award in 2017 (Journal of Transportation Infrastructure Geotechnology).
He has authored over 240 technical papers and two books.

Industry Expertise (1)


Areas of Expertise (6)

Railroad Track Engineering

Railroad Safety

Derailment Analysis

Wheel-Rail Interaction

Rail Inspection

Rail Grinding

Media Appearances (8)

Why can’t America have high-speed rail? Because our investment is a ‘rounding error’ compared with Europe’s, says Amtrak’s CEO



High-speed rail in the U.S. has to contend with genuine geographical considerations that make it more difficult to execute than in other countries, said Allan Zarembski, director of UD's Railway Engineering and Safety Program.

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After getting billions in federal funding, Amtrak is ‘trying to claw 19th century and 20th century assets and pull them into the 21st century,’ CEO says

Forbes  online


“If you have to buy new equipment or do major infrastructure moves, you have to allocate money from the government to do that,” says Allan Zarembski, director of the Railway Engineering and Safety Program. “That's what the rest of the world does."

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BNSF says rail line inspected day of fatal derailment



Colorado TV station interviewed Allan Zarembski, director of UD's Railway Engineering and Safety Program, who said it’s possible workers inspected the line near Pueblo, Colo., and missed the broken rail for a variety of technical reasons. "I am sure that NTSB and BNSF are right now looking at all those possibilities," he said.

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Train derailments in Ohio, Michigan have similar risks, different outcomes

The Detroit News  online


“That's one of those classes of accidents that happen basically with no warning – when the train is moving at normal operating speeds, there's no notice to the crew, no opportunity to slow the train down or reduce the energy associated with derailments,” said Allan Zarembski, a University of Delaware railroad engineering professor. When axles break at high speed, he said, “it's a pretty significant event.”

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Ask PolitiFact: We’ve seen reports of three train derailments this month. Is this normal?

PolitiFact  online


The Federal Railroad Administration requires a derailment be reported if it causes more than $12,000 of damage to the track or equipment, said Allan Zarembski, director of the University of Delaware’s Railway Engineering and Safety Program.

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Railway Labor Unions reach deal

Fox News  online


Professor Allan Zarembski is the Director of Railway Engineering at The University of Delaware. He says the railway plays a major role in U.S. transport. "If we were to look worldwide, we see railroads always playing a key role in the movement of passengers and movement of goods," Zarembski said.

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Are trains safe for travel? Experts say yes

USA Today  online


Allan Zarembski, a professor at the University of Delaware and director of its Railway Engineering and Safety Program, told USA TODAY that of "ground transportation modes," trains are the safest.

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Data gathering: University of Delaware’s virtual Big Data conference convened experts on emerging analysis techniques

Progressive Railroading  online


The event aims to review emerging and practical data science approaches that railroads can use to manage large volumes of “usable and actionable data,” said Allan Zarembski, the conference’s director. The approaches apply to track and right-of-way inspection data, as well as information gathered on rolling stock and equipment conditions, grade crossings, trespassing, operations and safety.

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Articles (5)

Forecasting Track Geometry Degradation Using GPR Based Ballast Condition

ASME/IEEE Joint Rail Conference

2022 The ability to predict track geometry degradation is of critical importance in planning of track maintenance operations. This paper presents results of an FRA sponsored study on the relationship between track geometry degradation and ballast condition as measured by Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). The study examined six different sites on a major Class 1 freight Railroad, with a range of ballast conditions and tie types, and developed a relationship between the rate of degradation of key track geometry parameters, profile (surface), and cross-level, as a function of two GPR measured ballast parameters: Ballast Fouling Index and Fouling Depth Layer (depth of clean ballast layer). The study sites included both fouled and clean ballast conditions that were monitored for track geometry on a very frequent basis (every two to four weeks) and also experienced multiple GPR measurements during that same period.

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Hazard assessment framework for statistical analysis of cut slopes using track inspection videos and geospatial information

Georisk: Assessment and Management of Risk for Engineered Systems and Geohazards

2023 Transportation corridors constructed using through- and side-cuts are susceptible to hazardous slope failures, potentially causing infrastructure damage, operational suspensions and loss of life. To monitor the stability of known geohazards at the local scale, geotechnical investigation of each slope is typically performed to calculate a factor of safety. In many corridors, however, this method is labour-intensive due to the quantity of geohazards and statistical methods are instead used to identify hazardous sections. This paper introduces a new slope failure hazard assessment technique, utilising susceptibility mapping of geospatial information and computer vision-based analysis of right-of-way videos recorded by railroad track inspection vehicles, applied to a section of railroad track near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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The Contribution of Crosstie Condition as Represented by Local Track Stiffness to the Wheel Load Distribution

Transportation Infrastructure Geotechnology

2022 Crossties failure and deterioration can cause major safety issues, including loss of gauge and ability to properly support the rail. Thus, understanding tie degradation behavior is of key importance. Studies have been conducted to assess the degradation behavior of crossties addressing different parameters such as traffic/tonnage, weather and climate conditions, and geometry and degree of curvature. However, very few studies examined the relationship between a crosstie’s condition and that of its adjacent ties. Ties in track have different degradation rates, and correspondingly, different conditions at various points in time. This can lead to an imbalanced load distribution as degraded ties carry less of a given wheel load than expected, making the adjacent ties support more of the wheel load than they are expected to, which may result in accelerated deterioration.

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Landslide Risk Assessment in Cut Locations Using Right of Way Videos and Artificial Intelligence

ASME/IEEE Joint Rail Conference

2022 Sidehill and through cuts are often used in the construction of new rail systems to reduce the length, curvature, and grade of the route to increase operation efficiency. Consequently, rights-of-way that utilize cuts are susceptible to damage from slope failure events such as shallow-rapid landslides and rock-falls. At-risk slopes, or geohazards, are traditionally assigned severity grades using slope stability analysis methods derived from intensive field investigations and historical failures. Anticipating slope failures that may occur due to common weather events in the region helps protect railroad assets and ensure safe operations. This research aimed to create a new slope stability analysis method by processing digital images of the railroad right-of-way recorded by inspection vehicles. Computer vision techniques were used to identify and quantify geohazard features that indicated slope instability.

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Prediction of rail defect development using parametric bootstrapping modified Weibull equations

Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit

2022 The railroad industry has historically used the 2-Parameter Weibull equation to determine the rate of rail fatigue defect occurrences and to forecast the fatigue life of railroad rail. However, the 2-Parameter Weibull equation has significant limitations to include inability to analyze segments of track with limited number of rail defects. These limitations are addressed through modification of the traditional 2-Parameter Weibull equation with a novel approach developed from Parametric Bootstrapping. The result is a Parametric Bootstrapping modified Weibull (PBW) forecasting approach. This methodology is applied to rail segments with insufficient numbers of defects to allow for appropriate defect forecasting analysis. Thus, the PBW method provides reasonable estimates of the rate of defects for track segments that have little or no prior defect history.

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Accomplishments (5)

Elected to the “Heavy Haul Hall of Fame” of the International Heavy Haul Railways Association (IHHA) (professional)


Elected Honorary Member of American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association (AREMA) (professional)


Received Federal Railroad Administration’s SPECIAL ACT AWARD (professional)


Elected Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (professional)


Rail Transportation Award, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (professional)


Education (3)

Princeton University: PhD, Civil Engineering 1975

New York University: MS, Engineering Mechanics 1973

New York University: BS, Aeronautics and Astronautics 1971