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NS' gold Harriman streak reaches 19 years; CSXT conductor takes home the Hammond

And the winner is … Norfolk Southern Railway — again. For the 19th-straight year, the Class I has won the E.H. Harriman Memorial Safety Awards' Group A gold. The Association of American Railroads (AAR) presented Harrimans to NS and 11 other railroads yesterday at a luncheon in Washington, D.C.

CSX Transportation took the silver award for the second-straight year and Union Pacific Railroad grabbed the bronze in the Group A category, which recognizes railroads whose employees work a combined 15 million or more manhours.

In Group B, honoring railroads whose employees worked between 4 million and 15 million manhours, Kansas City Southern Railway Co. (KCSR) won gold for the second-consecutive year. Metra took silver and Canadian Pacific Railway grabbed the bronze.

In Group C, which honors railroads whose employees worked less than 4 million manhours, Iowa Interstate Railroad Ltd. took home the gold, the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway Co. landed silver and Florida East Coast Railway L.L.C. won bronze.

Finally, in Group S&T (switching and terminal companies), the gold went to the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis, silver to Union Railroad and bronze to Birmingham Southern Railroad.

The AAR also presented certificates of commendation for continuous safety performance improvements to Amtrak (Group A), MTA Long Island Rail Road (Group B), the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. (Group C) and Union Railroad (Group S&T).

Harrimans are based on the lowest casualty rates per 200,000 manhours worked — a formula that takes into account the volume of work performed, as well as the number of fatalities, injuries and occupational illnesses confirmed by the Federal Railroad Administration.

The late Mary W. Harriman founded the awards in 1913 to memorialize her husband, railroad pioneer Edward H. Harriman. The awards currently are administered by the E.H. Harriman Memorial Awards Institute, with support from the Mary W. Harriman Foundation.

Meanwhile, the AAR also presented the 2007 Harold F. Hammond Award for railroad safety to CSXT conductor James "J.T." Wilson, who has never suffered an injury during his 34-year railroading career, the association said.

A full-time divisional safety coordinator since 2001, Wilson developed a "Switching for Success" program to provide new employees advanced switching and safety training. Since the program began in the Florence Division in 2005, human-factor derailments have dropped by 50 percent. The program now is being adopted by other CSXT divisions. Wilson also became an advocate for a formal counseling program for crews involved in serious accidents.

The AAR also honored the following with Hammond certificates of commendation for enhancing safety: Amtrak Assistant Mechanical Superintendent Bernard Campbell; Montana Rail Link Electrician Ben Hampson; KCSR Carman David Hill; NS Carman Edward "Mike" Kline; BNSF Railway Co. Locomotive Engineer James McGovern; UP Locomotive Engineer Mark Saurage; and CPR Locomotive Engineer Jeff Terry.

Established in 1986, the Hammond award is named after the late Harold F. Hammond, who served as president of the Transportation Association of America and chairman of the E.H. Harriman Memorial Safety Awards selection committee.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/15/2008