Posts Tagged ‘American Short Line and Regional Railroads Association’

ASLRRA Honors Carriers in Pa., Indiana

April 6, 2023

Regional and short line railroads operating in Pennsylvania and Indiana were recently honored during the American Short Line and Regional Railroads Association convention.

Pennsylvania-based regional railroad Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern received a Business Development Award for “demonstrating innovative and successful business-building initiatives that will lead to significant increases in shipping volume and additional benefits for the customer and commodity.”

Also known as the Reading & Northern, the carrier was honored for developing a transload facility in Tunkhannock Township.

Construction began in August 2021 and the facility began full operation in early 2022. The facility has a capacity of 34 car spots and areas for trucking and transloading and offices.

Another Pennsylvania railroad, the Strasburg Rail Road, was recognized for opening this year a a new six-track freight yard in Paradise that can handle almost 500 cars a year, up from 10, and is poised to grow its freight business “dramatically” in the coming years.

Austin Milton of the Indiana Rail Road was recognized with a Safety Person and Safety Professional of the Year Award.

Milton is INRD’s director of safety and training. The citation issued by ASLRRA noted that he was en route to visit INRD’s car department when he spotted, from more than 200 feet away, an employee making a critical safety error.

He stopped to talk with the worker for more than 20 minutes with the individual about the matter.

2 Pa. Short Lines Receive ASLRRA Awards

August 10, 2022

Two Pennsylvania-based short line railroads have been awarded business development awards by the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.

In a statement ASLRRA President Chuck Baker said the awards are about honoring carriers that get one more carload or one more customer at a time.

“It’s the first thing they think about in the morning and the last thing they think about going to bed,” he said. “It’s the existential imperative to grow the business, and you can’t do that by just sitting there. You’ve got to conjure up new business.” 

Honored with the 2022 awards were the Allegheny Valley Railroad and the North Shore Railroad’s Union County Industrial Railroad. North Shore previously won the award in 2004 and 2017.

The AVE operates 77 miles of track in the greater Pittsburgh area and was recognized for establishing a Pittsburgh-area transload facility that has served the local steel industry since January 2021.  

The facility is located on four acres in Glenwood Yard and has an overhead gantry crane and a more than 1,000-foot side track. It serves Pittsburgh and surrounding markets in Ohio and West Virginia. 

AVR is owned by Carload Express, which describes itself as seeking to either add business with existing customers by diverting trucks, adding new business through industrial development or providing transload services to reach shippers who aren’t otherwise rail accessible.

“Pittsburgh is known as a steel-producing mecca, but raw steelmaking no longer is a big thing there. Now, there are lots of processing facilities in the area. We saw a demand for a transload facility in the area,” said Mike Filoni, chief marketing officer.

The Union County Industrial Railroad operates over 18.2 miles of track in central Pennsylvania and serves eight customers.

Its marketing efforts enabled it to increase carloads 300 percent over a recent 10-year period with no Federal Railroad Administration-reportable injuries. 

Railroad officials said it achieved this by providing customer service, customizing business processes to meet customers’ needs, fostering trust from shippers and deepening customer relationships.

UCIR was able to land a new customer in Country View Family Farms, which is constructing a $47.3 million, 100-plus-acre feed mill expansion plant in New Columbia, Pennsylvania,

That facility is expected to open in 2024 or 205 and support Country View’s hog production business. 

Ohio Railroad Receives Jake Award for Safety

July 1, 2022

An Ohio railroad has received a Jake Safety Award from the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.

Honored was the Columbus & Ohio River Rail Road for its above-industry average safety performance during 2021.

ASLRRA gave Jake Awards to 364 member railroads. To receive a Jake Award, an ASLRRA member must “perform better than the industry average reportable injury frequency rate for railroads other than Class Is, commuter railroads and Amtrak based on date reported to the FRA during the calendar year and must have completed all FRA-required employee-on-duty reporting for 2021.”

The awards are named for the late Lowell S. “Jake” Jacobson, president and general manager of the Copper Basin Railway.

Also winning a Jake award were Indiana-based Gary Railway Company and Kentucky-based Paducah & Louisville Railway

Groups Want USDOT to Use IIJA Funds to Help Ease Supply Chain Congestion Problems

May 15, 2022

Organizations representing the transportation, manufacturing and construction industries have asked U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to use funding in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to help untangle supply chain congestion.

They sent a letter to Buttigieg requesting that USDOT “dedicate as much as allowable by law in discretionary grants for FY 2022 to support projects that will facilitate and ease the movement of goods.”

The groups want USDOT to use $18 billion for various grant programs over the next five years.

Among the signers of the letter were the Association of American Railroads, and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.

During a Senate hearing earlier this month Buttigieg said the proposed federal year 2023 budget for USDOT includes $36.8 billion in advance appropriations provided by the infrastructure law.

Cleveland Rail Executive Honored by ASLRRA

May 4, 2022

A Cleveland railroad executive was recently honored at the annual conference of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association held in St. Louis.

Nathaniel Mazo received the organization’s Safety Person of the Year award.

Mazo is general manager for four OmniTRAX properties in Ohio, including the Cleveland & Cuyahoga Railroad, Cleveland Harbor Belt Railroad, Northern Ohio & Western Railroad, and the Newburg & South Shore Railroad.

He was recognized for instituting regional safety programs designed to ensure that employees understand the safety goals of the company, including training employees on work rules compliance, defining and implementing new employee training, supporting locomotive engineer certification and training, and expanding operational testing for all employees. 

In nominating Mazo, OmniTRAX CEO Dean Piacente said Mazo developed an operating philosophy of open and constant communications in the workplace including conducting daily safety meetings.

Piacente notd that Mazo established a regional safety committee that focuses on maintaining safe operations and looking for ways to improve on an already safe environment.

As a result, the railroads that Mazo oversees exceeded OmniTRAX’s key metrics in operations, safety, and finance.

Two Pennsylvania railroad were honored at the ALSRRA conference with business development awards.

The Allegheny Valley Railroad created a transload facility in Pittsburgh to serve the local steel industry.

The facility was created in Glenwood Yard with work beginning in the first quarter of 2021. AVR moved 500 carloads into this facility that year.

The Union County Industrial Railroad was recognized for creating new and innovative ways of providing customer service.

The short line serves eight shippers over 18.2 miles of track but grew its carload traffic by 300 percent over a 10-year period.

It reopened the Delta Place transload siding to serve agricultural shippers during the COVID-19 pandemic, rehabilitated an unused siding for Winfield Storage, and worked with two new customers to locate along the UCIR.

Shorts Urged to Make a Case on Crew Size

November 20, 2021

A key Federal Railroad Administration manager has invited short line and regional railroads to make the case for having crew sizes below the federal minimum.

As reported by Trains magazine, Amit Bose, FRA’s deputy administrator said during a speech to the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association that the agency is considering creating a rule for minimum crew size that will allow for exceptions.

“If you make a safety case, you will be able to go below the crew size that is minimum,”  he said.

Noting that some short lines already operate below minimum crew sizes, Bose said, “If you have a safety case, make it. FRA will listen to it.”

Other rules that the FRA is considering, he said, will address locomotive recording devices, fatigue risk-management plans, and alcohol and drug testing for maintenance of way workers.

A Railroad Safety Advisory Committee may be revived

Michigan Short Line Honored by ASLRRA

September 3, 2021

A Michigan short line railroad is one of four carriers receiving a business development award for excellence in growing traffic in partnership with customers and local economic development authorities.

The Lake State Railway received the honor from the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.

In a news release, the short line trade association said the award recognizes carriers that have developed a keen understanding of customers’ needs, identified opportunities to grow business, and implemented plans to benefit their customers and communities.

Lake State was recognized for its work in developing transload business at seven sites in Michigan, receiving state grant money for five of them.

House Passes INVEST Act

July 6, 2021

The U.S. House of Representatives approved last week a five year $715 billion surface transportation bill.

Known as Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act,, the legislation would authorize  $95 billion for passenger and freight rail, including $32 billion for Amtrak that could be used to pay for existing and new service.

The Association of American Railroads panned the bill, calling it filled with “misguided, divisive policies.”

AAR instead issued a statement lauding a bi-partisan proposal being considered in the Senate.

The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association in a statement said the House bill contains some beneficial provisions for short lines but also contained some “troubling provisions.”

The American Public Transportation Association was more enthusiastic about the INVEST legislation, noting that it authorizes $109 billion for public transportation, which would enable transit systems to begin to address a $105 billion state-of-good-repair backlog as well as provide funding for capital funding for new projects.

Jake Safety Award Winners Named

June 4, 2021

The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association said this week that 346 railroads will receive a Jake Safety Awards with 19 member railroads being recognized as President’s Safety Award winners.

In a news release, ASLRA said the awards recognize members for above-industry average safety performance during 2020.

An ASLRRA member must perform better than the industry average reportable injury frequency rate for railroads other than Class Is, commuter railroads and Amtrak based on data reported to the Federal Railroad Administration. Railroads must have completed all FRA-required employee-on-duty reporting for 2020.

That average industry reportable injury frequency rate for 2020 was 2.18 per 200,000 employee on-duty hours.

President’s Award winners posted the lowest reportable injury frequency rate per FRA regulations as measured within man-hour categories.

The Jake Awards are named for Lowell S. “Jake” Jacobson, the president and general manager of the Copper Basin Railway who pushed to establish the award program named in his honor.

Among the Jake award winners were the Buffalo & Pittsburgh, Evansville Western, Indiana & Ohio, Gary Railway, Indiana Rail Road, Kanawha River, Paducah & Louisville Terminal, and Union Railroad.

President’s award winners included the Columbus & Ohio River Railroad for 150,000 to 250,000 man hours worked, and Gary Railway Company for 250,000 to 500,000 man hours worked.

Railroads Get Truck Driving Hours of Service Exemption

December 24, 2020

Railroads have received an exemption from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to the hours of service law for truck drivers.

The agency granted the exemption because it was “likely to achieve a level of safety equivalent to or greater than the level of safety that would be obtained in the absence of the exemption.”

The exemption will be effective until Dec. 18, 2025.

The request for the exemption had been made by the Association of American Railroads, and American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.

The trade groups said it was needed to provide flexibility for maintenance workers who need to respond to an emergency