May 2020 NRC Bulletin
May 28, 2020
NRC Updates and Announcements
NRC Names RailPros’ Erika Bruhnke to Board of Directors

The NRC has appointed Erika Bruhnke, Vice President of Training Services with RailPros, to its Board of Directors. Ms. Bruhnke brings to the NRC board invaluable railroad safety and training expertise. She currently serves as Vice President of Training Services at RailPros, where she leads its training and media services divisions.

"Erika Bruhnke is a tremendous addition to the NRC board,” says James. R. Hansen, chairman of the NRC Board of Directors. Hansen continued, "Her passion for safety will be particularly valuable as the NRC strives to provide our member contractors and suppliers with impactful resources to enhance safety in our industry." Bruhnke began her career with BNSF Railway as a management trainee and over the course of her 12-year rail career has progressed from trainmaster into safety positions, recently serving as Director of Safety Information, prior to joining RailPros in 2018.
NRC COVID-19 member resources and impact survey results

NRC members, railway contractors and suppliers across the North America continue to be hard at work, even with the COVID-19 pandemic and its disruption of day-to-day life. As North America begins to reopen and in spirit of our commitment to safety, NRC Staff has compiled valuable resources for those in the industry. Please visit the NRC COVID-19 resource page by clicking here. This page will be updated as new information becomes available. If you need any additional assistance or would like more information, please contact NRC Staff at

In April, NRC staff sent a survey to NRC member companies to gauge the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. A follow-up survey to NRC membership gauging the impact of COVID-19 on NRC member companies and their outlook on planning for the remainder of 2020 and 2021 will go out soon to membership. We would like to thank all who submitted feedback that better helps staff understand the situation members and the industry face.

The information and anecdotes anonymously shared will help NRC staff more effectively communicate our member's stories during our frequent communications with Congress and federal agencies. If you would like to offer feedback, please email NRC staff at with the subject line 'NRC Member COVID-19 Feedback.'
FRA awards more than $302 million in passenger rail grants

On May 27 the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Railroad Administration awarded more than $302 million in grants through the Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Program. The program's goal is to fund capital projects to repair, replace or rehabilitate public and/or Amtrak-owned railroad assets to reduce the backlog of projects these passenger rail programs face.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao on the awards, "This $302.6 million federal investment will update rail infrastructure and enahnce safety on the tracks and at railroad crossings in rural and urban communities across America." FRA Administrator Ron Batory echoed Chao's sentiments and said, “This funding will go a long way in addressing passenger rail capital project needs in communities around the country." To view the official press release, please click here .
OSHA Notice of Funding Opportunity for Susan Harwood Training Grant Program announced

On May 19 the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Healthy Administartion (OSHA) announced its Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program. Up to $11.5 million is available in funding this year. Applications for funding under this solicitation are due no later than 11:59pm ET on July 20, 2020. To view the NOFO please click here.

OSHA awards grants to nonprofits on a competitive basis through the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program. "Grants are awarded to provide training and education programs for employers and workers on the recognition, avoidance, and prevention of safety and health hazards in their workplaces and to inform workers of their rights and employers of their responsibilities" stated the OSHA website. Grants that have been solicited vary year over year and in the past include Capacity Building grants,Targeted Topic, and Training Materials Development and are selected year to year based on fatal statistics, pending regulations, and national emphasis programs. For more information, please click here .

Applications must be submitted via , and only applicants who comply with all submission requirements will be eligible for the award. For further project or progra-related information about the notice, please contact Donna Robertson at or by telephone at 847-725-7805.
Secretary Chao thanks the railroad industry for COVID-19 response

Like many other critical infrastructure industries and their employees, railroads, railroad contractors, suppliers, and the whole industry have continued operating during this historical and deadly pandemic. The rail network and those who play a role in helping it stay safe, effective, and reliable are great examples of how to continue working hard in the face of adversity.

To thank the industry, the U.S. Department of Transportation and Secretary Elaine Chao created a video conveying how grateful the nation is for the hard work this industry is putting forth and how much of a positive impact it provides. Please click here to view the video.
Southern California Regional Rail Authority RFP

The Southern California Regional Rail Authority is requesting proposals for the provision of rail operator services for its commuter rail service commonly known as Metrolink. The Authority plans to conduct a virtual pre-proposal conference and facilities tour at 8:00am pt on June 4, 2020.

RFPs may be obtained or downloaded at In order to download the RFP, vendors must register on the website to receive the documents, at no cost. Electronic proposals are due by no later than 2:00pm PT on July 3, 2020. For more information please contact Angelos Kastrisianakis, Principal Contract and Compliance Administrator at (213) 452-0215 or email .
Summer internship opportunities in the COVID-19 environment

Part of the NRC mission is to help cultivate the next generation of talent for the railroad industry. As the average age in the industry continues to inch up, it is important to think of the next generation of workers and employees. To help do our part for our members, the NRC has proudly built up the education grant and scholarship program.

With that said, Professor David Nelson of Michigan Tech University and 2019 NRC Education Grant Award Recipient, requested in a letter to AREMA's student chapter network (then forwarded to NRC staff), that if your company or any company you know of that have any internship opportunities please reach out and let him know. To view the letter, please click here. If there are any opportunities you are aware of and you would like to contact Mr. Nelson, please email or call him directly at 906-523-5890.
NRC Members: is your NRC directory listing up to date?

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused numerous issues to companies across the globe. To make sure that NRC staff is doing its part, we wanted to remind you of one benefit to NRC membership in particular is an online directory listing, which is available to the public.

To view your company's listing please view our website at . If you have any questions, would like to correct your company's listing, have trouble accessing the listing or any other questions please contact NRC staff at or by telephone at 202-975-0365.
FTA issues guidance to help transit agencies and transit vehicle with rolling stock procurements

On May 7 the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issued guidance to help transit agencies and transit vehicle manufacturers understand and comply with the prohibitions on FTA-funded rolling stock procurements contained in the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) .

The NDAA compiled a pretty helpful list of frequently asked questions based on inquiries from grantees and transit vehicle manufacturers. The questions include but are not limited to which manufacturers are affected by the restriction, when does the two-year phase-in of the federal funding prohibition end, and how state schedules are treated.
Industry News and Updates
On May 25, Amtrak submitted a letter to Congress seeking an additional $1.475 billion in supplemental funding in FY 2021 to help the railroad operate minimum service levels and continue capital investments. Amtrak President and CEO Bill Flynn said "As the severity and duration of this pandemic and its economic fallout become clearer, we are seeking supplemental funding for the next fiscal year."

InnoTrans show director Kerstin Schulz talks with Mass Transit's Editor Mischa Wanek-Libman about the transition of InnoTrans 2020 to InnoTrans 2021 and the elements they plan to debut April 2021 in Berlin. They discuss several important topics including the growth in attendance over the years (especially in rail transport, notes the article), the effort it took to reschedule a 160,000+ attendee show, and additional safety protocols like maintaining distance and encouragement of washing hands.

On May 12, The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's (MBTA) Fiscal and Management Control Board approved over $158 million contract with NRC member company Skanska DW White joint venture to build the Fall River Secondary Line between Fall River and Boston. The contract includes work on 12 miles of track, eight railroad bridges, an under-grade bridge, 10 grade crossings, siz interlockings, 10 culverts and additional systems infrastructure. The construction is expected to take 30 months and begin summer of 2020.

Companies across the world have felt the impact in one way, shape, or form of the COVID-19 pandemic and never has the need for information been more pressing. Mass Transit's Editor's Notebook highlights the importance of industry associations during the COVID-19 pandemic and how they "become central hubs of information, allowing their members to share best practices, brainstorm on solutions and help ina collective recovery effort."

Staggers Act 40th Anniversary Letter
2020 marks the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act, which de-regulated the railroad industry. This historic Act led to the creation of short line railroads and allowed freight railroads to earn enough revenue to make necessary massive investments into the rail network, which continue to be the life blood of rail contractors and suppliers. GoRail, NRC, and other industry trade associations support, and encourage, the signing of this letter to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) advocating for smart and balanced rail regulation. The letter will be signed by over 1,000 public officials, community leaders, and companies will help support healthy and strong railroads.
The NRC is a trade association representing businesses from across the nation in the rail construction and maintenance field. The NRC’s member companies range in size from small family businesses to the largest companies in the industry. NRC members perform work for transit, commuter, intercity passenger, industrial, and freight rail customers, with services including track construction and maintenance, grade crossings, signal and communications installation, bridge construction and repair, rail yard work, and many more. The NRC strives to put an emphasis on rail safety and quality while proudly serving the rail industry.
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