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The Association of American Railroads (AAR) announced yesterday that the Indiana Rail Road Co. (INRD) and Pan Am Railways Inc. have joined the association as full members.The 500-mile INRD employs about 200 and hauls various consumer, energy and industrial products throughout central and southwest Indiana, and central Illinois. The 27-year-old regional also has connections to the North American rail network in Chicago, Indianapolis, Louisville, Ky., and Newton, Ill."Given the steady growth and diversification of our traffic in recent years, along with the challenges and incredible opportunities I foresee for Indiana Rail Road and the industry as a whole, I felt it was time for INRD to join the AAR and participate in industry dialogue at another level," said INRD President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Hoback in a press release. "The AAR does an outstanding job in rail advocacy, delivering real-time economic data, technological advancement and safety, and getting involved in AAR's various technical working groups will help us to stay at the forefront of this growing, ever-changing industry."Pan Am Railways is a regional freight-rail system based in North Billerica, Mass., that operates 2,000 miles of track, connects with four Class Is and 20 short lines, and employs more than 950. Pan Am's routes extend from Saint John and Saint-Leonard, New Brunswick, to Rotterdam Junction, N.Y., and Derby, Conn."Pan Am's priority is to operate a safe, cost-effective and service-oriented railroad, therefore it only makes sense to become a member of an association with that same commitment," said Pan Am President David Fink.Both railroads will participate in the association's Safety and Operations Management and Policy and Advocacy Management committees, which develop policies and practices to enhance safety, promote solid business practices and public policies, and provide quality customer service, AAR officials said.