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Sierra Northern Railway's board has appointed Kennan Beard III chief executive officer of the 75-mile short line.A fifth-generation railroader and seasoned industry executive with more than 20 years of railroad operations experience, Beard will oversee the railroad’s growth and expansion plans across all business divisions, Sierra Northern Railway officials said in a press release. The short line operates in northern California and interchanges with BNSF Railway Co. and Union Pacific Railroad.Beard most recently was chief operating officer of the Modesto & Empire Traction Co. (M&ET) and Beard Land Improvement Co. in Modesto, Calif. His experience includes track design and construction, Genset locomotive design and operation, and intermodal operations.Beard also has overseen industrial development and the construction of a business park, Sierra Northern Railway officials said. In addition, he has served as president of the California Short Line Railroad Association since 2006 and has worked extensively with both federal and state regulators, they said."We look forward to benefitting from his hands-on expertise with making railroads an integral part of a much larger economic development engine," said Mike Hart, CEO of Sierra Northern's parent company. "Ken's experience on the M&ET — where he assisted with the development and management of millions of square feet of space for customers — will be instrumental as we help to develop a plan for our own rail-served customers in Mendocino, Tuolumne, Stanislaus and Yolo counties."Meanwhile, CN announced Friday it negotiated a tentative four-year agreement with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), which represents locomotive engineers and conductors at the Class I's Northern Quebec Internal Short Line.Details of the pact — which would increase wages and improve benefits for 93 employees — are being withheld pending ratification by TCRC members, CN officials said in a press release. The union expects to announce ratification vote results by the end of February 2015.
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