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U.S. lawmakers tour rail facilities in Texas, Iowa


U.S. Reps. Brian Babin (R-Texas) and Rod Blum (R-Iowa) yesterday toured railroad facilities in their home states and met with industry officials to discuss rail-related policy concerns.

Babin is pictured with Richard Stephens (left), division manager for maintenance, and Darrin Pouncy (right), construction manager.

Babin joined GoRail and the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) for a tour of RailWorks Track Systems' facility in Deer Park, Texas. The company provides track and transit systems construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance services for North American rail infrastructure.

RailWorks Track Systems Vice President and General Manager Bob Rolf led the tour, which concluded with a discussion of policy issues affecting rail suppliers and railroads.

"It's a good opportunity to underscore the economic impact of the freight rail industry — including rail supply companies — to our legislators in Washington," said Rolf in a press release issued by GoRail.

Meanwhile, Blum toured HiRAIL Corp.'s plant in Lisbon, Iowa, as part of an event coordinated by the Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA)

(Left to right) Sean Winkler of REMSA, Blum and Schook.

HiRAIL President Erick Schook led the tour, which highlighted the company's rubber grade-crossing systems made on site. The projects utilize recycled rubber from vehicle tires.

Blum, Schook and other attendees at the event discussed economic development in eastern Iowa, grade crossing safety and the need for a strong, efficient and safe freight-rail system to connect Iowa's agriculture producers to the global market.

"Our business and local communities rely on consistent freight and transit investments and grade-crossing safety programs to grow our local economy and protect our families," said Schook. "It is critical we highlight these pressing issues to our policy makers in Washington."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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