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AAR hands out annual Harriman, Hammond safety awards


For Norfolk Southern Corp., the E.H. Harriman safety award is golden again. Yesterday, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) announced NS won the 2009 Harriman gold award in Group A, stretching the Class I’s winning streak to 21-straight years.

Other winners in Group A — or railroads whose employees worked 15 million or more manhours the previous year — include CSX Transportation, which took silver, and Union Pacific Railroad, which grabbed the bronze.

In Group B, which recognizes railroads whose employees worked 4 to 15 million manhours, Kansas City Southern Railway Co won gold for the fourth-consecutive year; Metra took silver; and CN’s U.S. operations received the bronze.

Winners in Group C, or railroads whose employees worked between 250,000 and 4 million manhours, include the Buffalo and Pittsburgh Railroad with gold, BNSF Railway Co.’s suburban operations with silver and the Paducah and Louisville Railway with bronze.

Finally, in Group S&T (for switching and terminal companies logging more than 250,000 manhours), the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Co. took gold, Gary Railway won silver and Birmingham Southern Railroad obtained bronze.

The AAR also awarded certificates of commendation for continuous safety improvements over a three-year period, as well as the most improvement between 2008 and 2009, to UP in Group A, Metra in Group B, BNSF’s suburban operations in Group C and the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad in S&T.

Founded in 1913 by the late Mary W. Harriman in memory of her husband, railroad pioneer Edward H. Harriman, the awards recognize railroads that achieved the lowest casualty rates per 200,000 manhours. The awards are administered by the E.H. Harriman Memorial Awards Institute with support from the Mary W. Harriman Foundation.

Meanwhile, the AAR also named UP’s Willie Sandoval the winner of the 2009 Harold F. Hammond Award to recognize his contributions to locomotive shop safety.

A boilermaker in UP’s mechanical department with nearly 40 years of service, Sandoval “exhibits the highest degree of safety awareness in a highly skilled area that leaves no room for error — working with torches and volatile gases to repair and rebuild locomotives with structural damage,” AAR officials said in a prepared statement. He also serves as the shop’s peer trainer, helped develop UP’s argon gas welding training and led a job safety analysis for boilermakers.

The award is named for the late Harold F. Hammond, a former Transportation Association of America president who had served many years as chairman of the Harriman Awards selection committee.

The AAR also honored seven other rail employees with certificates of commendation for enhancing safety: Ellis Cattan, a Kansas City Southern Railway conductor; Lyle Evans, a Montana Rail Link gang foreman; Jim Ewalt, a Canadian Pacific signal maintainer; Robby Hopkins, a BNSF carman; Carl Lewis Jr., an Amtrak lineman; Frank Sewastynowicz, a CSXT signalman; and John Sobotka, an NS engineer.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/19/2010