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— by Julie Sneider, senior associate editor
Progressive Railroading hosted its first annual Secure Rail conference Feb. 3-4 in Orlando, Fla., which featured presentations by dozens of security experts and others representing the government, private industry and railroads.
The conference was designed for people responsible for railroad security, emergency preparedness, hazmat transportation, positive train control, information technology and communication, border control, management of bridges and tunnels and capital infrastructure programs.
The content of the presentations focused on protecting rail passengers, employees, technology and assets from man-made and natural threats.
Attendees represented Class Is, regionals, short lines, Amtrak, transit agencies, commuter railroads, consulting and technology companies, government agencies and industry associations.
Session topics included the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) Vision for Rail Security; Amtrak: Moving America Where it Wants to Go, When it Wants to Go; Public-Private Partnerships for Rail Security; Data Security and the Digital Railway; Keeping Flammable-Liquid Shipments Safe and Secure; 360 Degree Portal for Border Protection and Security; Railroad Component Protection Measures; PTC Cyber Security; Port Security; Hazmat Security: Beyond the Tank Car; Best Practices for Transit Security; Tank Car of the Future; Cybersecurity of Rail Transit Control and Communication Systems; Implications of the Rail Routing Rule; Using Drones to Beef Up Network Surveillance; Rail Police Panel Discussion; Passenger Protection: Using Technology to Keep People Secure; Securing Rail: Technology and Networks; TSA Surface Inspectors: 10 Years Later; and Vision Technology in The Rail Vertical.
Day 1 presenters featured Thomas Farmer and Bob Fronczak of the Association of American Railroads (AAR); Scott Gorton, TSA; Jim Metzger, Amtrak; Keith Dierkx, IBM Industry Academy; Felix Krupczynski, Duos Technologies Inc.; Jo Strang, American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA); Chip Greiner, Morristown & Erie Railway; Elliott Shepherd, Dave Blackmore, Mark Hartong and Francisco Gonzalez, Federal Railroad Administration (FRA); Sam Harvill, Port Everglades Department; Richard Flynn, NorthEast Logistics Systems LLC; and Alex Wiggins, Transit Safety & Security Solutions Inc.
During Day 2, attendees heard from David Teumim of Teumim Technical LLC; Joy Thompson, enGenius Consulting Group Inc.; Rich Gent, Hot Rail LLC; Wanda Dunham, Metropolitan Atlanta Regional Transit Authority Police Department; Polly Hanson, Amtrak Police Department; Cheryl Tyler, CLT3 Consulting LLC; Alexander Clark, Fluidmesh Networks LLC; Peter Roe, PROe Secure LLC; and Mark Mills, Communications Concepts.
Presenters and conference attendees also mingled during networking breaks on both days.
Sponsoring the conference were Duos Technologies (Platinum), Harsco Rail and NICE Systems (Silver), and Fluidmesh and Railhead Corp. (Tabletop). Those five companies also exhibited security-related products as part of the conference showcase.
Planning is already underway for Secure Rail 2016, which will be held Feb. 9-10 in Orlando. Information will be updated periodically and posted on the website, www.securerailconference.com.