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June 2021

Rail News: MOW

NRC Chairman’s Column: NRC Railroad Equipment Auction is one for the record books

NRC Chairman Jim Hansen


The annual NRC Railroad Equipment Auction on May 13, 2021, was a big winner by all metrics and accounts.

The 2021 auction came roaring back after taking off last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pent-up demand for equipment that makes our industry go primed sellers and buyers for this year’s virtual event. 

Two dozen sellers listed more than 130 items — everything from tampers, excavators, grapple trucks and all sorts of hi-rail vehicles. Rather than shipping items to a designated auction site, sellers saved on shipping expenses and coordinated through Blackmon Auctions to post equipment details and photos online. Buyers avoided the cost and time to bid in person and instead sized up opportunities conveniently at their fingertips.

To all of us who have attended past auctions, it was a little disheartening to once again miss connecting in person. But any sense of disappointment about meeting together this year was overshadowed by enthusiastic participation among both sellers and buyers. The results — vigorous sales with record revenue and tens of thousands of dollars for the NRC — indicate our mission was more than accomplished.

Earnings from the annual auction generate invaluable funding to improve safety across the entire industry. Since we held our first auction in 2004, the NRC has invested more than $250,000 in safety training resources. Thanks to broad participation this year, our safety training development efforts are infused with new funding for these primary resources:

Videos. NRC members have access to 30 safety training videos covering a wide range of work practices, including the proper use of hand tools, working with continuous welded rail, safety on production gangs and battling fatigue. Our contractor and supplier members tell us these videos are high quality and invaluable in training their field forces.

Part 243 Minimum Training Standards Templates. Through 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 243, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) requires each railroad or contractor that employs one or more safety-related railroad employee to develop and submit a safety training program to the FRA by May 1, 2021, for approval. A subsequent deadline of January 1, 2022, is in place for contractors to begin implementation of the FRA minimum training standards.

The NRC has developed 10 FRA-approved minimum training standards templates that help our members comply with FRA Part 243. Additionally, the NRC offers help complying with Roadway Worker Protection training requirements. If you have questions about these requirements or the resources provided by the NRC, please contact us at or access our website at

There’s nothing more important than staying safe on the jobsite. That’s why I am particularly grateful to everyone who made this year’s annual auction a big success. On behalf of the entire NRC community, I’d like to extend a special thanks to the NRC Auction Committee, led by Danny Brown, chief operating officer with RELAM, Inc., who also serves on our Board of Directors. Shifting to a virtual auction presented a whole range of unknowns. Your planning, collaboration and industry contacts paid off bigtime and will make our industry a safer place to work.

“Building a Safer and Stronger Railway Construction Industry Together!”

Jim Hansen, NRC Chairman
The National Railroad Construction & Maintenance Association Inc.
80 M Street, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003


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