The COVID-19 virus pandemic has caused an unprecedented experience for our industry, and the communities we serve. Railroads across the country continued to move product, day in and day out as part of our nation’s “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers”.  View a few examples of short line railroad’s responses to the pandemic that were reflected across the 1,000 short line and railroad supplier members here.

As companies grapple with the ongoing impact of the global pandemic and return to office strategies, ASLRRA is working on our members’ behalf in a number of areas, including representing short line needs with regulators such as the FRA, PHMSA and STB, and with Congress to ensure that short lines are able to continue to contribute the economic recovery.

Additional resources for short lines recovering from the economic impact of COVID 19 can be accessed via the Small Business Administration. The SBA can quickly process low-interest loans for small businesses that may need a short-term bridge. Click here to learn more from the SBA directly. Click here for a summary of SBA activities most relevant to short line railroads, produced by our friends at BlankRome and the Seneca Group.
Finally, visit the “Returning to Work” area of the website to access additional resources. 

Emergency Orders Still in Effect

Masks – Effective March 1, 2021, the FRA has issued a Mask Mandate (Emergency Order 32). The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has provided answers to Frequently Asked Questions on its website concerning a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) order requiring the wearing of face masks during conveyance and in transportation hubs.

The questions are divided according to government agency and include a Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) section.

Temporary Regulatory Relief Granted for US Railroads

The FRA has responded to ASLRRA’s request to extend certain temporary waivers through September 21, 2021. Weekly reporting of waivers utilized is still required with the same waiver-specific reporting requirements. ASLRRA has provided an updated summary here. Please visit the Regulatory Waivers page via the link below for additional information on waiver requirements.

Regulatory Waivers         COVID Relief Laws

Return to Work Resources       Short Line Response

Linked here are some additional thoughts and suggestions that may help to minimize disruptions to your ongoing operations, which we have gathered from conversations with dozens of railroads over the past months.

Outlining the Impact of COVID-19 Legislation on Small Businesses & Railroads

ASLRRA has conducted a series of webinars to help members understand how the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) legislation impacts small railroads and industry suppliers. Recorded webinars are available in ASLRRA’s On-Demand Webinars Library.

Learn More

Have something to add? We welcome your suggestions! Please share your COVID-19 resources with ASLRRA by emailing