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June 14, 2017

ASLRRA Congratulates Jake Award Winners

The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) has posted the names of the 308 railroad recipients of its annual Jake Awards.  To be honored with a Jake Award, an ASLRRA member railroad must  perform better than the Class II and III industry average injury frequency rate as reported by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) during the prior year.  Of the 308 Jake Award recipients, 272 railroads will be honored with a Jake with Distinction designation, recognizing their FRA reportable injury-free performance in 2016. The Jake Awards will be presented at ASLRRA’s Regional Meetings this fall. 

Legislative Update

RSTAC Supports BRACE Act!

The Rail-Shipper Transportation Advisory Council (RSTAC) provides advice on regulatory, policy and legislative matters, as appropriate, to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) Chairman, the Secretary of Transportation, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The RSTAC has resolved to support the BRACE Act and continuation of the Short Line Tax Credit.  Please click here to read the resolution, which calls on Congress and the President to enact this important legislation.  

BRACE Act Closing in on 50% of  House and Senate Co-Sponsors!

Our industry has secured 48 Co-sponsors for the BRACE Act in the Senate (S. 407), and 190 Co-sponsors in the House (H.R. 721). Both chambers will be back home all of this week for the Memorial Day holiday. Please visit our website for plenty of information, handouts, and maps and contact our Washington team member Fred Oelsner for tips on how to reach out to your representatives today!

Senate Committee Advances Administration’s Nominees

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee advanced the President’s nomination of Derek Kan as USDOT undersecretary for policy, and Robert Sumwalt for another five-year term as a member of the National Transportation Safety Board. The Senate committee also is considering the nomination of Adam Sullivan as assistant secretary of transportation for government affairs.

Regulatory Update

FRA Issues Guidance on New Drug & Alcohol Testing Rules

The Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) final rule on Coverage of Maintenance of Way (MOW) Employees in FRA’s drug and alcohol regulations in 49 CFR part 219, became effective on June 12, 2017. Due to the high volume of plans submitted FRA has issued additional guidance. Plans are subject to review and approval by FRA prior to commencement of testing programs. Please contact ASLRRA’s JR Gelnar with any questions or concerns.

FRA Delays Effective Date for System Safety Program Rule

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has postponed the effective date of the System Safety Program final rule to December 4, 2017. Please read the announcement here . FRA advises that, since the rule is stayed, the previous compliance dates, such as the date for a preliminary meeting with Labor, and the date that the SSP must be submitted, will be reviewed and updated. FRA will issue new compliance dates when the agency responds to the petitions for reconsideration later this year.

DOT Invites Stakeholders And The Public To Identify Requirements That Should Be Removed Or


The Department of Transportation (DOT) is reviewing its existing policy statements, guidance documents, and regulations to identify unnecessary obstacles to transportation infrastructure projects. As part of this review, the Department invites affected stakeholders and the public to identify non-statutory requirements that should be removed or revised, particularly with regard to regulatory and administrative burdens that impede transportation infrastructure projects. Please click here to read the notice and find out how to submit your comments.

NSBA Seeks Small Businesses to Respond to Important Labor & Workforce Survey

The National Small Business Association (NSBA) seeks responses to its 2017 Labor & Workforce Survey, which will take no more than 10 minutes to complete. NSBA surveys small-business owners on topics ranging from immigration and worker verification to unions and supplier relationships. Answers will provide a wealth of valuable information to assist NSBA in representing the interests of small businesses. Please click here to take the survey today.

New OSHA Walking and Working Surfaces  Regulations will Impact Some  Railroads

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced changes to rules concerning Walking and Working Surfaces regulation and support information. It is a new regulation that safety professionals will want to review and understand especially in its application at railroads,  for example in mechanical shops.   Please click here to read more.

Railroad Retirement Board Updates Website for Improved User Experience

The Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) has rolled out extensive changes to its website. While may look and feel completely different to frequent visitors, all relevant content and functionality remains intact. Users will still be able to access popular pages from the home page, including the railroad job vacancy list, recent updates, and news releases. Railroad employees and retirees can login to Benefit Online Services directly by clicking “Login” at the upper right corner of the screen. The new design also introduces Field Office Locator, which combines the zip locator and field office index into one channel and includes an interactive map showing where RRB field offices are located throughout the country. Please visit the website soon!

Member News

Mississippi Export Railroad Names New President

Mississippi Export Railroad (MSE) has named Kate Luce president and chief executive officer. At 29, Luce is believed to be the youngest female CEO in the railroad industry, according to an MSE press release. "We are at a turning point in the rail industry," says Luce. "I'm most excited about the focus on determining the product and service mix of the future in rail and finding new ways to better serve the customer." Please click here to read the press  release.

Port of New Orleans to Acquire New Orleans Public Belt Railroad

The Port of New Orleans will acquire the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, while in exchange the railroad will transfer the Governor Nicholls Street and Esplanade Avenue wharves to the city of New Orleans. The arrangement is designed to stimulate economic growth of the port and local industries. The Public Belt will continue to serve the port. "It is clear that the Public Belt Railroad is a critical element of the port's competitive advantage, which means it is critical for the future growth potential in trade and commerce and the long-term economic success of the city," says Mayor Landrieu.

G&W Completes Acquisition of Heart of Georgia Railroad

The Heart of Georgia Railroad (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 will be managed as one of G&W’s Coastal Region railroads, led by Senior Vice President Andy Chunko. Please click here to read the press release. 

Hellman Recognized by Progressive Railroading and RailTrends as Railroad Innovator

Progressive Railroading and RailTrends® have named Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W) President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John "Jack" Hellmann the 2017 recipient of the Railroad Innovator Award, which recognizes an individual's outstanding achievement in the rail industry. Read the article by clicking here.

Mott MacDonald Appoints O’Carroll to SVP

Mott MacDonald has appointed Joe O’Carroll as Senior Vice President and Regional Tunnels Practice Leader. O’Carroll has more than 35 years of experience in the heavy civil and underground construction industry, specializing in tunneling with tunnel boring machines and project risk management. Click here to read the press release.

New Railserve Tier 4 DUAL LEAF Locomotive Placed in Service

The first Railserve Tier 4 DUAL LEAF® Gen-Set Locomotive has been placed in service. “Although our Tier 4 DUAL LEAF locomotive looks identical to previous models, users will notice better operating performance and reduced environmental impacts,” said TJ Mahoney, Railserve LEAF program manager. Railserve produces the updated locomotives at the company’s manufacturing facility in Longview, TX. Please click here to read the article.

Alstom to Overhaul 52 LA Metro LRVs

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has awarded a contract worth approximately $140 million to Alstom for the midlife overhaul of 52 P2000 light rail vehicles (LRVs). The LRVs operate on Los Angeles’ Blue, Green and Expo lines. Please click here to read the full article. The overhaul work, including railcar stripping, final assembly, and testing, will take place at Alstom’s Mare Island facility in Vallejo, CA, while Alstom’s Naperville, IL, site will provide the engineering.

Nominate the Next LRIW Outstanding Woman of the Year by July 31, 2017

The League of Railway Industry Women (LRIW) is now accepting nominations for its 2017 Outstanding Woman of the Year Award, co-sponsored by Progressive Railroading. Women working in the North American rail industry are eligible to receive this award. The 2017 recipient will be honored on September 18 at the general session & keynote address of Railway Interchange in conjunction with the LRIW's 2017 Annual Conference. Nomination criteria and the official nomination form can be found on the LRIW website.

Save the Dates!

You’ll find interactive learning activities, networking opportunities, and use-again take-aways at ASLRRA’s Regional Meetings and F&A / General Counsel Symposium. Three convenient locations with plenty of reasonably priced travel options are the hallmarks of our 2017 regional meetings schedule.

Southern Region Meeting
Charleston Marriott
Charleston, South Carolina
September 25 - 27, 2017

Eastern Region Meeting
The Omni Providence Hotel
Providence, Rhode Island
October 23 - 25, 2017

Central/Pacific Region Meeting
Intercontinental Kansas City at the Plaza
Kansas City, Missouri
November 13 - 15, 2017

General Counsel Symposium/Finance & Administration Seminar
Intercontinental Kansas City at the Plaza
Kansas City, Missouri
November 15 - 17, 2017

Views & News is published by the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association. Please contact Elizabeth Sands, Editor,  with any questions or comments.