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4/14/2004



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

ASLRRA announces marketing award winners, safety person of the year



Yesterday, the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) announced 2004 Marketing Award winners and named the 2003 Safety Person of the Year.

Marketing award winners are the 545-mile Providence and Worcester Railroad Co. (PWRR), 312-mile San Joaquin Valley Railroad Co. (SJVR) and short-line holding firm North Shore Railroad Co., which will receive their awards April 23 at ASLRRA's annual meeting in St. Louis.

The association recognized PWRR for its efforts to move imported coal from the Port of Providence, R.I., to a Northeast Utilities plant in Mt. Tom, Mass. In 2002, PWRR added capacity and worked with Guilford Rail System to develop service to the plant, which now receives coal within 24 hours. The railroads currently are moving test loads of coal to the utility's Merrimack, N.H., plant. The Northeast Utilities move also has helped PWRR obtain other coal business.

ASLRRA recognized SJVR for revitalizing its Sunset Subdivision, which was heading for abandonment when the railroad took over the line in 1993. The short line increased the line's traffic 18 percent within the first few years, and since has more than doubled the line's carloads and customer base. SJVR — which recently built an 1,800-foot spur to serve several shippers — expects to triple the line's carloads next year, diverting about 30,000 truckloads to rail.

Finally, the association honored North Shore because of the company's growing short-haul business involving its eight railroads. Currently, North Shore provides more than 10 short-haul moves of food, lumber and stone, ranging from five to 100 miles and generating more than 6,000 annual carloads.

"All three winners demonstrate the creativity, flexibility and persistence of short line railroads in creating new business," said ASLRRA President Richard Timmons in a prepared statement.

Meanwhile, the association named Montana Rail Link (MRL) engineer David Roth the 2003 Safety Person of the Year. Also chosen as ASLRRA's first-ever safety person of the year in 2001, Roth will receive the award April 22 in St. Louis.

The safety person selection committee comprises representatives from the Association of American Railroads, Federal Railroad Administration, National Industrial Transportation League, Railway Progress Institute and United Transportation Union.

"It's highly unusual to select one individual for this honor twice in three years, but the committee felt [he] was such an exceptional leader that he deserved to repeat the honor," said Timmons.

With more than 25 years' experience in railroading, Roth recently has studied underlying human factors that can lead to accidents and injuries. He offered presentations to system-wide MRL workers in 1999, 2000 and 2002 to promote awareness of such factors as attitude, hunger, anger, loneliness and fatigue.

Roth also serves as an instructor and safety mentor for newly hired switchmen, and safety mentor for remote-control locomotive operators.


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