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February 22, 2017

Railroad Day 2017 will Begin with a BOOM!

Railroad Day is just one week away! Nearly 500 attendees will ‘storm the hill’ to meet with over 300 Congressional Offices.  Don’t miss out on supporting our message, even if you will not be in attendance!We encourage you to make your voices heard on March 2nd via our Thunderclap Campaign. Thunderclap enables a simultaneously delivered message from thousands of people.  Social Media is influencing Legislative Assistants and Members of Congress.  It is how they become informed on issues, and measure how strongly their constituents feel about those issues.  They are tracking messages that are trending! 

Railroad Day participants will be talking to our members of Congress about issues including opposing Truck Size and Weight, calling for Fair and Balanced Legislation, and pushing for a Tax Code Built for Growth including supporting Permanency to the 45G tax credit via the BRACE Act (H.R. 721 and S. 407).  You can make your voice heard on March 2nd via Thunderclap.  Sign up is easy! You can support our efforts with the freight rail message we’ve provided – or one of your own - delivered simultaneously at 10am on March 2. Messaging can be delivered via your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or all three! Please distribute this initiative widely – to customers, and employees - and encourage participation. For more information on Twitter participation and other Railroad Day messages, visit our Railroad Day 2017 Social Media Webpage.

Nominations Sought for RAILWAY AGE 2017 Short Line/Regional Railroad of the Year

Railway Age is now accepting entries for its annual Short Line/Regional Railroad of the Year competition. Short lines and regionals are invited to submit entries describing outstanding achievement in one or a combination of areas. Contact Railway Age Senior Editor Stuart Chirls for your application packet today! Small railroads in Mexico, the U.S., and Canada are eligible for an award (and railroads can even nominate themselves). The entry deadline is Friday, March 3, 2017, so don’t delay.

Entries will include a 500-word description of the achievement(s) of the nominated railroad. Winners will be recognized at the 2017 CONNECTIONS Convention in Grapevine, TX. Articles describing the short lines’ achievements will appear in Railway Age’s April 2017 issue, which will be distributed at the convention. “Small railroads have done their part and then some to shape and even shift North America’s economic picture,” says Railway Age Senior Editor Stuart Chirls. “Short lines and regional railroads are innovators when it comes to turnaround situations, consistent excellence, streamlined operations, efficient maintenance, marketing, customer service, enhanced productivity, community relations, and safety improvement. Award winners in years past have ranged from large regionals spanning several states to small short lines with single-digit mileage. In most years, separate awards have been given for regional and short line carriers.”

ASLRRA Veterans Hiring Survey Due Friday February 24th

The LTG Richard F. Timmons Award recognizes Railroad and Associate members of our Association who have demonstrated a commitment to hiring veterans. The annual Veterans Hiring survey, sent out to all of our members, asks for your responses to 10 questions and constitutes your company’s application for this prestigious award. The Award is named for LTG (USA Ret) Richard F. Timmons in honor of his more than 30 years’ service in the U.S. Army and more than 20 years’ service in the railroad industry, and was developed by the ASLRRA Veterans Recruitment Committee to recognize our members’ outstanding commitment to hiring veterans. Those selected to receive the Award will be recognized at the 2017 CONNECTIONS Convention in Grapevine, TX.  We look forward to an enthusiastic response and participation rate. Please click on the link to begin. The deadline for completing the survey is Friday, February 24th at close of business (PST).

Register Today for 2017 CONNECTIONS!

Join us April 22 - 25 at the Gaylord Texan Resort for ASLRRA 2017 CONNECTIONS Convention, the premier annual event for the railroad industry! The ASLRRA's Marketing and Engineering Committees have put together outstanding education breakout sessions for each of their tracks at the 2017 CONNECTIONS Convention. From Data Mining for New Customers to Using Social Media as a Business Tool, or from Autonomous Geometry Testing to Internal Rail Flaw Testing and Head Wear, you don't want to miss out. The ASLRRA 2017 CONNECTIONS Convention is a must-attend event for everyone in the railroad industry - and the hotel room block is selling fast.

Plenty of Options for Suppliers at 2017 CONNECTIONS!

ASLRRA members looking to make an impression at our CONNECTIONS convention have plenty of options. They include purchasing a booth, sponsoring an event or function, or providing general sponsorship support. ASLRRA CONNECTIONS features a wide range of sponsorship opportunities to fit nearly every budget. Please contact Kathy Keeney, VP-Member Engagement & Sales at 202-585-3439, for more information. We hope to see you in Grapevine this April.

Education and Webinars

Ask the Assessors: Safety and Safety Culture

On Thursday, February 23, from 2:00pm - 3:00pm EST, please join JR Sampson, Lead Safety Culture Assessor, SLSI; Robert E. Lee, Safety Culture Assessor, SLSI; Mike Long, Senior Safety and Operations Manager, SLSI; and Michele Malski, Safety Programs Manager, SLSI for a live webinar discussion about the assessment process. The SLSI assessors have traveled across the country visiting and assessing short line railroads, and they are prepared to discuss frequently asked questions as well as address inquiries from live webinar participants. Click here to register. There is no cost to attend.

Hazardous Materials & NARs Guidelines for Railcar Inspection

 
On Tuesday, February 28, from 2:00pm - 3:00pm EST, please join Jeffery Moore, US DOT/Federal Railroad Administration, Railroad Safety Specialist and L.  Mel Massaro, US DOT/Federal Railroad Administration, Radioactive Materials/Hazardous Materials, for a deeper look at NARs and how to manage the safe transportation of hazardous material by rail. We will help viewers infer whether or not hazardous materials rules apply to them and provide information on how to properly adhere to the regulation. Click here to register. There is no cost to attend.

Short Line Safety Institute Announces Safety Tip Tuesday Program

The Short Line Safety Institute (SLSI) has announced its Safety Tip Tuesday program, providing seasonal tips for small railroads to post in breakrooms, and discuss during daily safety briefings.  Each Tuesday, a new tip is made available on the Institute’s website and Facebook page.  The colorful and creative tips are easily downloadable and printable. “The Safety Tip Tuesday program was created in response to an industry need uncovered during Safety Culture Assessments,” said Michele Malski, Safety Program Manager.  “Discussions with railroad leaders at recent training sessions confirmed that the railroads would like to have more Short Line Safety Institute materials to provide at safety briefings. We hope that our Safety Tip Tuesday program will engage and assist our industry in continuously improving their safety culture.” A collection of ‘Top 10 Safety Tips’ list for winter 2017 can be found on the Institute’s website.

Legislative Update

Railroad Day on Capitol Hill Is March 2, 2017 - We Can't Do This Without You!

Please ensure now that you are registered for Railroad Day on Capitol Hill on March 2. Railroad Day is your chance to practice your First Amendment right to petition your government!  This initiative is critical to our ongoing success as an industry that requires significant private investment in order to provide safe and efficient transportation benefitting American industry and agriculture. Click here and plan your trip to Washington DC! Please join us on March 2.

Regulatory Update

FRA Grants Five Year Extension to ASLRRA’s Hours of Service Waiver

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has granted a five year extension to the ASLRRA hours of service waiver. This waiver grants participating railroads relief from the regulation requiring “a train employee to receive 48 hours off duty after initiating an on-duty period for six consecutive days.” Instead, employees working assignments “resulting in 6 consecutive days of initiating on-duty periods… may receive 24, rather than 48, hours off duty.” FRA has “determined that an extension of ASLRRA’s waiver for its member railroads is in the public interest and consistent with railroad safety.” The waiver has been automatically extended to all railroads currently participating in the active waiver. If you have a question about your railroad’s coverage, please contact ASLRRA’s Dave Whorton at 202-585-3430.

Department of Transportation Announces Grant Funding to Prepare Small Businesses

The U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of the Secretary, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, has announced an opportunity for certain tax exempt, local community groups, institutions of higher learning and trade organizations to apply for grant funding to provide technical assistance and outreach to their region’s small business community. The purpose of the funding is to better prepare small, disadvantaged or women, minority, veteran owned businesses to manage transportation projects. If you have any questions, please contact ASLRRA’s Jo Strang or JR Gelnar

FRA Releases Current Contact Information for Regional and Field Offices

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has released an updated map of the Regional Offices at as well as an updated listing of contact information for Regional Administrators. Recent field operating employee changes and promotions were made due to vacancies. Region 6 Regional Administrator Steven Fender is currently the Acting Director of Regional Operations.  Region 2 Regional Administrator Brain Hontz has retired, and  David Kannenberg has been promoted to Regional Administrator of Region 2.  Mike Turnbull was promoted to Regional Administrator in Region 4. 

Chief Safety Officer and Associate Administrator for Safety:  Robert (Bob) Lauby;
Acting Director of Regional Operations:  Steven Fender, steven.fender@dot.gov;
Region 1 (CT, ME, MA, NH, NJ, NY, RI and VT):, Les Fiorenzo, les.fiorenzo@dot.gov;
Region 2 (DE, DC, MD, OH, PA, VA and WV): David Kannenberg, david.kannenberg@dot.gov;
Region 3 (AL, FL, GA, KY, MS, NC, SC, TN):  Carmen Patriarca Jr, carmen.patriarca@dot.gov;
Region 4 (Northern IL, IN, MI, MN, WI): Michael Turnbull,  michael.turnbull@dot.gov;
Region 5 (AR, LA, NM, OK, TX): Vence Haggard, vence.haggard@dot.gov;
Region 6 (CO, IA, KS, MO, NE, SE WY, Sou. IL): Steven Fender, steven.fender@dot.gov;
Region 7 (AZ, CA, NV, UT): James Jordan, james.jordan@dot.gov;
Region 8 (AK, ID, MT, ND, SD, OR, WA, rest of WY): Mark Daniels, mark.daniels@dot.gov.

Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation Issues RFP for Atlantic Gateway Projects

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) has issued a request for proposals (RFP) from firms or a team interested in managing the rail infrastructure projects under the Atlantic Gateway program. Final responses to the document are due March 15. Virginia's Atlantic Gateway is a $1.4 billion, multimodal collection of rail and highway projects designed to address bottlenecks and reduce travel times on the Interstate-95 corridor between Washington, D.C., and Fredericksburg, VA. In September, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced the Atlantic Gateway infrastructure projects qualified for a $165 million grant under the federal Fostering Advancements in Shipping and Transportation for the Long-term Achievement of National Efficiencies (FASTLANE) program.

Maryland State Delegates Receive a Visit from Short Lines and CSX on Maryland’s Crew Size Bill

Industry efforts to discourage state laws mandating crew size requirements included visits this month to Maryland State Delegates by ASLRRA’s Jo Strang and Brian Hammock, Regional Vice President for Maryland and Delaware CSX. With her extensive experience in rail safety at the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and with National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigations, Strang effectively communicated to the delegates that there was no supporting safety case or relevant data to support a crew size requirement. Representatives of industries in the Port of Baltimore and ASLRRA short line member Trade Point Atlantic testified at a February hearing on the same topic to good effect.

White House Releases Additional Guidance on Regulatory Freeze

In addition to the memorandum from White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, dated January 20, a guidance document was released on January 24 from Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Mark Sandy.  Agencies are directed to identify regulations that have been published in the Federal Register but have not yet taken effect, and postpone the effective dates for 60 days or longer. Regulations include regulatory actions, such as notices of inquiry, advance notices of proposed rulemaking, and notices of proposed rulemaking, as well as agency policy statements and guidance documents. Regulations that have been sent to the Federal Register but not yet published are to be withdrawn subject to certain exceptions. These exceptions include regulations subject to statutory or judicial deadlines, and regulations related to emergency situations or other urgent circumstances related to health, safety, financial, or national security matters. ASLRRA is keeping a close watch on postponements, withdrawals, and publication of announcements so that we can keep our members informed of the latest developments. If you have any questions or concerns about a particular announcement or rule, please contact ASLRRA’s Jo Strang.

Member News

Alaska Railroad Announces Reduction in Workforce Due to Year over Year Drop in Traffic

 The Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC) announced the elimination of 49 positions as part of a major corporate restructuring effort. Its year-round workforce is about 609, increasing to approximately 760 employees to address seasonal operating needs. “Hard decisions had to be made to ensure the Alaska Railroad can continue to provide critical transportation services to the State,” said ARRC Board Chair Jon Cook. “Our management team, along with the Railroad Board of Directors, focused on safety, customer service and meeting regulatory requirements as decisions were made. Of utmost importance is our ongoing commitment to provide exemplary service to our passengers, freight and real estate customers.” Please click here to read the press release.

Patriot Rail Announces Appointments of CCO and of VP Commercial Strategy

Patriot Rail Co. LLC has announced two promotions. Justin Broyles, former vice president of sales, has been named chief commercial officer; and Alin Campian, former assistant VP of pricing and yield management, has been appointed VP commercial strategy. Broyles has more than 16 years of experience in the rail transportation and services industry. Prior to joining Patriot Rail, he held business development positions at R. J. Corman Railroad Group, including assistant VP, sales and marketing. In his most recent position at Patriot Rail, he led the company's commercial efforts for the transportation and service divisions. Campion worked in finance roles at CSX and Florida East Coast Railway before he joined Patriot Rail. Since 2015, Campian as a VP spearheaded the effort to professionalize and standardize pricing and yield management for the company and its 18 affiliates.

Fort Worth & Western Railroad Company Recognized for Hiring Veterans

The Texas Veterans Commission recently recognized ASLRRA member Fort Worth & Western Railroad Company for their remarkable efforts in hiring Veterans as the Medium Employer of the Year. During this nomination and selection process, Fort Worth & Western Railroad Company competed against employers throughout the state of Texas, and has been chosen as the employer most worthy of recognition!

G&W to Acquire Heart of Georgia Railroad Parent

Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W) has announced that it has agreed to acquire Atlantic Western Transportation Inc., the parent of ASLRRA member Heart of Georgia Railroad Inc. (HOG). The acquisition is subject to U.S. Surface Transportation Board approval, and is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2017. HOG was founded in 1999 and operates across the state of Georgia on 219 miles of track leased from the Georgia Department of Transportation. It connects with G&W’s Georgia Southwestern Railroad at Americus, GA and with G&W’s Georgia Central Railway at Vidalia, GA. HOG serves an inland intermodal terminal at Cordele, GA, providing five-day/week, direct rail service via the Georgia Central Railway to the Port of Savannah for auto, agricultural products and other merchandise customers. HOG has Class I railroad connections with CSX at Cordele and with Norfolk Southern at Americus and Helena, GA. Read the press release here.

Burlington Junction Railway to Provide Direct Service to New Sugar Facility

United Sugars Corp. and American Crystal Sugar Co. have unveiled plans to develop a $44 million bulk sugar storage and transfer facility on the BNSF Railway Co. network in Montgomery, IL. About 12 percent of U.S. confectionery shipments originate in the Chicagoland area, where there are more than 6,000 workers are involved in the candy industry. ASLRRA member Burlington Junction Railway (BJRY) provides direct service into the facility. “The short line collaborated with BNSF's economic development team to develop a rail service plan for the facility,” said BJRY Director of Operations and Marketing Jonathon Wingate, who spoke at the 2016 MARS conference. The two railroads worked to ensure they'd have the capacity to handle the additional traffic, he added.

Ohio Grade Crossing Improvements Get a Green Light

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has approved construction authorization for grade crossing improvements in five counties. ASLRRA member Indiana & Ohio Railway will install lights and gates at crossings in Clinton and Hamilton counties. Federal funding for these projects is provided through the Ohio Rail Development Commission. The commission is responsible for evaluating Ohio's public grade crossings to determine the need for active warning devices.

The Honorable Linda J. Morgan (L'76) Endowed Memorial Opportunity Scholarship Announced

The family of Linda J. Morgan, prominent Washington attorney and former Surface Transportation Board chairman who passed away in November 2015, has established a scholarship in her memory at Georgetown University Law Center. This fund will be part of a broader Georgetown Law scholarship initiative directed at students with the highest financial need, according to her husband, Michael E. Karam. Those interested in contributing to the fund may click here. When directing your gift, please mention The Hon. Linda J. Morgan (L'76) Opportunity Scholarship Fund in the "other designation" box.

Greenbrier Companies Appoints Director of Global Security

The Greenbrier Companies Inc., parent company to ASLRRA Associate Business Members Greenbrier Railcar Services and Greenbrier Rail Services, has announced the appointment of Greg Bretzing to the new position of director of global security and special projects. A 22-year FBI veteran, Bretzing will oversee physical security measures at all facilities Greenbrier owns or occupies. He will also manage security for the company's business travelers outside of the United States. Additionally, Bretzing will help drive Greenbrier's cybersecurity efforts and play an active role in the company's public policy and international business activities. Bretzing will report directly to Greenbrier Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bill Furman.

ASLRRA Welcomes Four New Members

Advanced Rail Systems, LLC, based in Kosse, TX, is a manufacturer and supplier of yard automation technology. It has specific expertise in the design, integration and continued support of control systems, protection systems, communications systems and its YM-16 Switch Machine. Ron Martin, Vice President of Marketing & Sales, is our primary contact and can be reached on r.martin@advancedrailsystems.com or (817) 291-3478.

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. , with offices in 33 countries around the globe, is one of the world’s largest full-service insurance brokers and risk management firms that understand the unique dynamics of railroading. Our primary contact is Kevin Woods, Director-Railroad Services, who can be reached at Kevin_Woods@ajg.com or (318) 322-2999. Many thanks to Bob Parker from East Penn Railroad for connecting Gallagher with ASLRRA. Please look for Gallagher in booth #1013 at our CONNECTIONS convention in Grapevine, TX.

CW Rail Service, based in South Lake Tahoe, CA, is a provider of rail switching services. General Manager Seth M. Adams is our primary contact and can be reached on seth.adams@ssnry.com or (775) 224-5016.

Southwestern Scale Co., Inc., based in Phoeniz, AZ, describes itself as the most-comprehensive and full-service weighing solutions and services company in the southwestern U.S. It brings leading edge technology to the rail industry with portable and in-motion train weighing systems and proximity warning solutions. Our primary contact is Mark Murdza, Sales & Business Development Manager, who can be reached at mmurdza@swscale.com or (602) 595-3042. Please look for them in booth #1033 at our CONNECTIONS convention in Grapevine, TX.

ASLRRA's Upcoming Events

Railroad Day on Capitol Hill is March 2, 2017
ASLRRA 2017 CONNECTIONS is April 22-25, 2017 
Views & News is published by the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association. Please contact Elizabeth Sands, Editor,  with any questions or comments.