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June 28, 2017

ASLRRA’s Short Line Fact Book is Now Available!

ASLRRA has released the Short Line and Regional Railroad Facts and Figures Booklet, in an all-new format, with detailed information about the short line industry. This publication paints the picture of an American success story, from the industry’s origin as cast-offs of the Class Is, to today’s vibrant, entrepreneurial, customer-focused entities that operate 29% of the U.S. freight rail system, providing the first, or last mile of service for one in five cars moving on the U.S. freight network. ASLRRA President Linda Darr introduced the Fact Book and underscored its usefulness in telling the short line story, particularly of railroads based in rural locations. “These small businesses operate the most vulnerable segments of the railway system, succeed by competing aggressively for business, and invest significant annual revenues (up to 33%) in infrastructure.” For easily downloadable images and an overview of the Facts click here and to order your copy today click here

Amtrak Announces Selection of New CEO

Amtrak has named Richard Anderson, the former chief executive of Delta and Northwest airlines, as its new president and CEO. "We welcome Richard Anderson to his role as President and CEO of Amtrak, and look forward to working with him on issues facing the rail industry," notes ASLRRA President Linda Darr. Charles W. “Wick” Moorman took over as the passenger railroad’s interim chief executive in September 2016. As part of the transition, Anderson and Moorman will serve as co-CEOs from mid-July through Dec. 31 to smooth Anderson's transition from airlines to passenger rail.

Legislative Update

BRACE Act Gains Majority in Senate Co-Sponsors!

Our industry has secured 51 Co-sponsors for the BRACE Act in the Senate (S. 407), and 203 Co-sponsors in the House (H.R. 721). Both chambers will be back home all of this week for the Memorial Day holiday. Even in these uncertain times, 51 Senators are certain of one thing: the 45G short line railroad rehabilitation tax credits works and should be made permanent! 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!

GoRail Adds Animation to Tell the Freight Rail Story

GoRail’s new animation, which highlights the benefits of freight rail for communities around the country, provides an easy way to communicate with Congressmen. Also on the same page, quick links to state by state statistics on the importance of freight rail transportation will simplify your communication efforts. Take a look by clicking on this link

Nevada State Crew Size Bill Defeated by Governor’s Veto

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval has vetoed a bill that called for a mandatory minimum crew of two people on Class I and Class II railroads’ trains transporting freight through Nevada. Sandoval vetoed the legislation on June 8. "There is no evidence that the requirements proposed by the bill will actually result in increased safety for rail crews and the general public," Sandoval wrote, noting that two-person crews on freight railroads already is the standard in Nevada as a result of collective bargaining agreements. 

Regulatory Update

ASLRRA’s FRA Approved Field Vision Testing Program Now Available on our Website

On November 24, 2015, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) released guidance concerning field vision testing of locomotive engineers and conductors. Through the hard work of the Safety and Training Committee and the medical expertise of Dr. Timothy McCormick, ASLRRA has received approval of a field vision testing program to align with FRA’s guidance. Please click here and proceed to Part 240 and 242. ASLRRA’s member railroads can download and start using this program immediately, and do not have to refile their engineer and/or conductor certification programs. If you have any questions, contact ASLRRA’s VP Compliance and Safety, JR Gelnar

FRA Names Heath Hall to Deputy Administrator Position

Mr. Heath Hall has been named deputy administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). He previously served as president of Strategic Marketing Group LLC, a public relations firm. Prior to that, he was vice president of external affairs and marketing at the Mississippi Technology Alliance. Read a short article by clicking here

White House Nominee for TSA Administrator, David Pekoske, Completes Hearings

Confirmation Hearings have been completed by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on the nomination of Vice Admiral David Pekoske (Ret.), Former Vice Commandant U.S. Coast Guard. ASLRRA will follow these developments closely as transportation security is a priority of all railroads. 

Short Lines and Suppliers Invited to Participate at Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtables

The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Advocacy, the independent watchdog for small business within the federal government, will be hosting two Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtables in Boise  and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, on July 11 and 13, respectively. The purpose of these roundtables is to help the Office of Advocacy identify specific regulatory barriers to small business growth through first-hand testimony to assist federal agencies in complying with the President’s directives to revise or eliminate burdensome regulations.  The Office of Advocacy has also established an online form to collect additional comments from small business representatives and advocates.  

Hotel Room Block Selling Out for ASLRRA’s Upcoming Drug & Alcohol Seminars

Hosted by ASLRRA, and presented by Sam Noe, FRA, Mitch Harris, Rio Grande Pacific and JR Gelnar, ASLRRA’s Drug & Alcohol / DER Training Seminar will take place on July 26-28 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Nashville Airport in Nashville, TN.  Designated Employer Representative’s (DER’s) will be provided with a review of the Federal regulations pertaining to their duties, and a clear understanding of their responsibilities as required by 49 CFR Parts 40, 219, 240, and 242. Register today by clicking here. Hotel rooms at the venue with preferred rates are selling out fast, but there are other available hotel rooms nearby. Don’t hesitate to call JR Gelnar with any questions about conference registration. 

Railroad Retirement Board Maintains Railroad Jobs List

Did you know that the Railroad Retirement Board frequently updates its Jobs Board? Employers are encouraged to send in their vacancies, and job seekers are encouraged to check the website frequently. Please consider sharing this resource with your local Veterans Transition Assistance Office and your local community college as well. Click here to read more. 

Member News

Pacific Harbor Line Honored for Guard, Reserve Support

Pacific Harbor Line (PHL), an ASLRRA member short line, was recently recognized by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve with a Patriotic Employer Award. “In honor of the brave service members who have served their country, PHL accepted a challenge issued by former First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden,” Cliatt said. “The challenge to the railroad industry was simply to make a commitment to hire veterans. Since 2010, PHL has made hiring veterans a permanent part of its hiring program and retains an average of 25 percent veterans. The state of California recognized PHL and awarded them with 2013 California Employer of the Year for its hiring of veterans practices.” Read the press release here

Eight Watco Short Lines Recognized by NS

Last month at the NS Short Line Conference, eight Watco Short Lines (all ASLRRA members) received awards during the closing ceremony. The Grand Elk Railroad and the Blue Ridge Southern Railroad both received General Manager Operating Awards. The Kanawha River Railroad was recognized y the Coal Business Group Marketing Achievement Award. The Alabama Southern Railroad brought home the 2502 Business Initiative Bronze Award, and the Ann Arbor, Wisconsin & Southern, Alabama Warrior, Birmingham Terminal Railway and the Blue Ridge Southern all received a 2502 Business Initiative Platinum Award. Read more in the Watco newsletter

R.J. Corman Railroad Company Celebrates 30 Years

R. J. Corman Railroad Company, LLC, a holding company of 10 ASLRRA member short line railroads, is commemorating its thirtieth anniversary. Rick Corman began the company with the acquisition of the Bardstown Line in January of 1987 and purchased a second 100-mile short line, the Memphis Line, that same year. The company currently operates approximately 1,000 miles of track, including the Pennsylvania Lines, the Tennessee Terminal Railroad, and the Central Kentucky Lines. In additional, it owns more than 100 locomotives and nearly 475 railcars. Please read more here

BLET Ratifies Pact with Indiana and Ohio Railway

Members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) working at ASLRRA member Indiana and Ohio Railway recently ratified a new five-year contract. The agreement covers wages, work rules and health/welfare benefits for the 50 engineers, conductors and trainees in the unit.  Members will see wage increases of 28.6 percent over the life of the agreement. Please click here to read more. 

Belt Railway Co. of Chicago Contracts with Wabtec for PTC

ASLRRA member, the Belt Railway Company of Chicago (BRC) has signed a $22 million contract with Wabtec, an ASLRRA associate business member, for the design, installation, testing and commission of Positive Train Control (PTC) which will be completed in 2018. Belt Railway’s PTC system will be interoperable with PTC systems currently being operated by Metra (Chicago commuter rail), Amtrak, and all Class I freight railways. Please click here to read more. 

Atlantic & Western Railway Announces Opening of Bulk Terminal

ASLRRA member Atlantic and Western Railway L.P. (ATW), a subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W), has announced the opening of a Choice Terminal™ bulk transload facility in Sanford, N.C. Choice Terminals transfers bulk materials between railcars and trucks, allowing customers not located directly on the railroad to use rail transportation. Please click hereto find out more. 

RailPros Field Services Names Terry Tate VP Rail Operations

ASLRRA associate business member RailPros Field Services has named Terry Tate as Assistant Vice President of Rail Operations. Tate has more than 35 years of experience in transportation operations management with Union Pacific and Southern Pacific. Please read a press release here.

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.