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Fresno State Transportation Institute

K-12 Railroad Model Competition

About the Competition

The Fresno State Transportation Institute designed the Railroad Model Competition to be an accessible and enjoyable educational experience, helping students and teachers to build a better future in transportation sciences.

This competition is divided into 3 grade levels; Upper Elementary, Middle, and High schools. Each grade level will have 10 teams per grade and teams of up to 10 students and at least one faculty member or club advisor. This competition will also show the creativity of the teams in designing their own railroad track models in a way that is fuel and cost efficient and minimum time travelled. However, for this to happen, we would need coaches and mentors to devote at least an hour per week in working with other schools. Those who are transportation professional will be assigned as coaches. Those who are railroad modelers will be assigned as mentors. 

The competition work has already started and the competition day is scheduled for Saturday, April 29, 2023 at Fresno State's Satellite Student Union. Please keep checking this webpage for updates. The deadline for registration and payment is Tuesday, February 28, 2023.



Accordion Menu

Information Sessions will be held on the dates and times shown below for schools and for coaches and mentors. This will be a time to briefly discuss the competition and for Q&A. The meetings will be held via Zoom, click on the hyperlinked times to attend any one session preferred.

Info session video for schools:

Info Session

Info session video for coaches and mentors:

Coming soon...

The manuals are divided into three categories; Upper Elementary, Middle School, and High School. They are complete guides with rules and regulations for the competition. Please click the image under your school's category to view the manual.

Upper Elementary SchoolElementary Manual
Middle SchoolMiddle School Manual
High SchoolHigh School Manual


The guidebooks below guide teams through every step of the design, building, and cost estimation process. Videos of the FSTI team creating the track plan from scratch have been distributed, and the track plan creation booklet provides step-by-step instructions with links to each related video of the building process.

Track Plan Creation

K-12 Railroad Competition Track Plan Creation Booklet

K-12 RR Track Plan Creation Booklet

The Track Plan Creation Booklet provides step-by-step instructions on the assembly of the entire track plan. Each step is accompanied by a video link and timestamp referring to videos on the assembly process.

Watch the Track Plan Creation Videos (10 videos)


K-12 Railroad Competition Soldering Manual

K-12 RR Soldering Guidebook (PDF)

The Soldering Manual provides in-depth information on materials, safety recommendations, and instructions for students and teachers to complete the soldering process safely. These steps can also be viewed through the track plan creation videos on the left.

Cost Estimation

K-12 Railroad Competition Cost Estimation Manual

Upper-Elem. Cost Estimation Guide (PDF)

Middle School Cost-Estimation Guide (PDF)

High School Cost Estimation Guide (PDF)

The Cost Estimation Manuals provide a step-by-step guide on how to complete the cost estimation portion of the project. Descriptions for each step are accompanied by relevant pictures and calculations examples or equations for better understanding. Be sure to view the one that is appropriate for your school's grade level.

A kit includes all the supplies you will need to build a competitive train model. It costs almost $1000 but is free for the first thirty registered schools.


There are several basic videos to help with building models, attaching components, understanding the function of each component, and other things.

Tutorial 1

Tutorial 1

Tutorial 2

Tutorial 2

Tutorial 3

Informational Session

Track Plan Creation Videos

10 videos of the FSTI team's construction process, with guidance from Dr. Mizuno, are also available for teams to refer to in order to gain a better understand of the track plan creation process. Please refer to the track plan creation booklet under the "Manuals" section or the button below for more information on the step-by-step assembly process and what is relevant in each video.




We thank our current sponsors
Diamond Sponsors:

California High-Speed Rail Authority


Caltrans Logo
How to become a sponsor?

Please click on the Sponsorship Packet link to learn how you can become a sponsor and help Fresno County schools participate in the FSTI K-12 Railroad Model Competition.

100% of your sponsorship will provide schools with a full Railroad Model Kit (value of $1000), including T-shirts for the teams, organization of the competition events, and awards for the schools.

Sponsorship Package

Click on the icons to see our recent updates or live broadcasting on social media platforms.

Q1) Do you have any coaches?
We are gethering all the list of schools and from that we will finalize the list the coaches and mentors.

Q2) Which day is the competition and what time?
The competition work has already started and the competition day is tentatively scheduled for a Saturday in April 2023.

Q3) Are we going to get some transportation support?
Unfortunately, transportation to get to the venue isn't provided by the FSTI.

Q4) What if our students weren't able to meet with the competition deadline or timing?
They should present what they have done because to win this competition everything is counted.

Q5) Where is the venue?
There isn't any confirmed venue yet but most probably it will be at FresnoState Campus.

Q6) Are we supposed to build it there on the competition day?
It is highly recommended to build everything before the competition.

Q7) How will the presentation be like?
There will be presentation booth/booths depending on the venue and there will be 1-2 judges and every team will present for 10 minutes.

Q8) Will lunch be provided?
Yes, lunch will be provided during the competition.

Q9) Are schools allowed to use materials other than what is provided in the kits?
Yes, as long as they notify us of what they are using.

Q10) If all students are not able to attend, could other students go in their place?
Yes, as long as we are notified, and there is valid reasoning.

Q11) If teachers are unable to attend, could another teacher go in their place?
Yes, as long as we are notified, and there is valid reasoning.

Q12) When connecting the track to the cities, should it touch the inner circle or could it touch anywhere within the irregular shaped city bound?
The track should touch anywhere within the irregular shaped city bound. Please refer to the image link here for an example of what is expected.

Q13) What is the expected format requirements for the report? (e.g. line spacing, font type, font size, etc.)
For the report, please follow the following format:
Line Spacing = 1.5; Font Type = Times New Roman; Font Size = 12; Margins = 1 inch (all sides); Page Number in the Top Right
Bibliography/Citation Format: MLA

Q14) What is the due date of the literature review report?
The due date of the report and presentation is Monday, April 24th.


For any further questions, please contact us at .


Contact to inquire about Railroad Model Competition

Rebbeca Kaaz
Admin at Fresno State Transportation Institute (FSTI)

Contact to inquire about Railroad Model Competition

Harman Kaur
Student Assistant and Competition Leader at FSTI