October 2022 NRC Bulletin

November 1, 2022

NRC Updates and Announcements

President of Genesee & Wyoming North American Operations Michael Miller announced as Fireside Chat Keynote

The NRC is pleased to announce that Michael O. Miller, President of G&W’s North American operations, will be the keynote speaker for the Fireside Chat at the upcoming conference!

Miller was appointed President of G&W’s North American operations in October 2018. He joined the company as Chief Commercial Officer for North America in September 2010 and was previously General Manager of Norfolk Southern’s Modalgistics Supply Chain Solutions, where he improved customers’ supply chain efficiencies through rail, transload and intermodal service. Prior to that, he served as Vice President of Strategic Development for Derivion Corp and held logistics-related positions with Georgia-Pacific and Roadway Express. 

Interested in seeing what the NRC Conference and NRC-REMSA Exhibition is all about? Take a look at the Conference highlights video below:

The NRC Conference has confirmed the following speakers for the general session, with more speakers to be announced in the coming weeks:

  • Michael Miller, President, G&W North American Operations ***Fireside Chat Keynote***
  • Brent Laing, VP of Engineering, CN
  • Brian Reilly, Specialist, FRA
  • Cory Johnson, Specialist, Railroad Safety Partnerships, FRA
  • Craig Rasmussen, AVP Engineering Services & Structures, BNSF
  • Dave Dech, Executive Director, SFTRA
  • Ed Boyle, VP of Engineering, NS
  • Ed Sparks, Chief Engineer - Bridges, Design & Construction, CSX
  • Janice R. Thomas, Deputy Executive Director, External Affairs, Metra
  • Kari Gonzales, President & CEO, MvX Rail
  • Kristine Storm, VP of Purchasing, G&W
  • Michael Cegelis, EVP, Development & Construction, Brightline
  • Rob Castiglione, Staff Director, Railroad Safety Partnerships, FRA
  • Scott Bannwart, VP of Engineering, Patriot Rail
  • Shane Keller, VP of Engineering, UP
  • Tom Holmes, Vice President – Purchasing & Materials, Watco
  • Tony Hatch, Senior Transportation Analyst, ABH Consulting
  • Trent M. Hudak PE, Director of Engineering Services, BNSF and AREMA

Additionally, the NRC Conference general session will feature the following panels:

  • Signals and Communications Panel featuring:
  • Carl Walker, Chief Engineer C&S, CSX
  • Jay McAndrew, General Director Signal, UP
  • Rob Dickson, AVP S&C, NS
  • Steven Vant, Assistant Chief Engineer - Signal Maintenance and Construction, Conrail
  • Tom Hilliard, Chief S&C, CN
  • Rail Sustainability Panel featuring:
  • Clark Ponthier, SVP – Supply Chain & Continuous Improvement, UP
  • Janet Drysdale, VP Sustainability, CN
  • Kayden Howard, VP Health, Safety & Environmental, KCS
  • Laura McNichol, SVP Government and Industry Relations, Watco
  • Raghu Chatrathi, Senior Director PSHE, CSX
  • Rail Government Affairs Panel featuring:
  • Arielle Giordano, Managing Director US Gov't Affairs, CP 
  • David Woodruff, AVP, Head U.S. Public & Government Affairs, CN
  • Laura McNichol, SVP Government and Industry Relations, Watco

NRC 2023 Conference registration fees:

NRC-REMSA 2023 Exhibition booth rates:

Exhibit Hall early-bird rate ends TODAY: Click the below links for more details:

Each booth comes with one complimentary conference registration. For questions regarding the NRC-REMSA Exhibition and reserving your booth, please contact Heidi Baker at (202) 844-6126 or by email at baker@remsa.org.

Golf Tournament: The NRC 2023 Golf Tournament will be held Friday, January 6th and located on two courses: the Boca Raton Resort Golf Club located at 501 E Camino Real, Boca Raton, FL 33432 and the award-winning Deer Creek Golf Club located at 2801 DC Country Club Boulevard, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442 (roughly an 18-20 minute drive from the Boca Raton Resort Golf Club.) Due to the historic size of the NRC Golf Tournament and course size constraints, NRC staff secured two memorable and challenging courses for attendees to experience. To register for the 2023 NRC Golf Tournament, please click here. You must be registered for the conference to participate in this event. 

Everglades Tour: Concurrent with the NRC Golf Tournament, an Everglades Tour will be available for those who do not want to golf on Friday, January 6th. Pick-up and drop-off for the event will be at the Boca Raton Resort 501 E Camino Real, Boca Raton, FL 33432. To register for the 2023 NRC Everglades tour, please click here. You must be registered for the conference to participate in this event. 

Questions? Please contact mmcgonagle@nrcma.org or visit https://www.nrcma.org/events/nrc-remsa-annual-conference

2023 NRC Conference and NRC-REMSA Exhibit Sponsorships Still Available!

Event Sponsorships: Sponsorships are filling up fast, and you do not want to miss the opportunity to reserve your organization's sponsorship. Sponsor benefits include:

  • Sponsor ribbon on conference badges
  • Sponsor recognition on the NRC website in lead-up to the Conference
  • Sponsor recognition in NRC Conference emails to attendees, and NRC monthly bulletin
  • Signage with your company logo throughout the venue 
  • Recognition at the event
  • Your company logo featured in the Digital NRC Conference Program Guide.

Please click here to view the most current NRC 2022 Conference Sponsorships

Sponsor up to 2 golf holes per company at the NRC 2022 Conference Golf Tournament on January 7, 2022. Priced at $250 per hole. Golf hole sponsorships are a cost-effective way to sponsor at the NRC 2022 Conference and receive brand recognition at the premier railroad industry golf event.

Thank you to our NRC 2023 Conference Sponsors!

Policy on Entertainment - The NRC Board of Directors has adopted a Policy on Entertainment to provide all NRC Conference and NRC-REMSA Exhibition ("Conference") attendees an equal opportunity to participate in the entertainment of our railroad, transit, commuter, passenger and other customers, speakers, and guests.

The Policy applies to events in connection with the Conference. During this timeframe, private hospitality events on or off the Conference premises are not permitted and no organized private entertainment is permitted while conference proceedings or events are occurring. Attendees are encouraged to participate in the common hospitality events and may not organize events that compete with the conference program.

All Attendees are expected to comply with this Policy. By registering for the Conference, you are certifying that all representatives and associates who are attending the Conference on behalf of your organization have been notified of this Policy and will observe and abide by it.

Scam Alert -We ask conference attendees to be vigilant of scams, including any solicitations via email that offer hotel deals or registration lists on behalf of the NRC. These groups are not affiliated with the NRC. Please check the NRC website or email NRC staff directly for the most up-to-date conference information.

NRC 2023 Conference Updates: Seminars, and Breakout Sessions also announced!

The following seminars and breakout sessions on Thursday, January 5, 2023 in the afternoon have been confirmed for the NRC 2023 Conference:

  • Union Pacific "Speed Networking." More details regarding sign-up's will be announced in the coming weeks
  • Genesee & Wyoming "Speed Networking." More details regarding sign-up's will be announced in the coming weeks
  • "My Brain Made Me Do It: Psychological Drivers of Employee Behavior" presented by Shae Birkey, MS, CSP, Safety Leadership Adviser/Industry Account Manager at Caterpillar Safety Services. 
  • FRA SOFA, FAMES and Part 243 Training Rule Update with Rob Castiglione, Staff Director, Railroad Safety Partnerships, FRA, Brian Reilly, Specialist, FRA and Cory Johnson, Specialist, Railroad Safety Partnerships, FRA
  • Two League of Railway Women (LRW) sessions on Strategies for Inclusion in the Workplace and Focusing on Safety: Operation LifeSaver 

NRC Members: The NRC 2022 Awards deadline extended to December 1!

The new Innovation in Technology Award will honor and recognize innovation and unique technologies, or technological services, created or implemented by an NRC member company. Eligible technologies or related services include grade crossings, RWP, contractor safety, freight rail, industrial track, rail transit, commuter rail, intercity passenger rail, rail on port facilities and rail on military facilities. To view the Innovation in Technology Award application please click here


The NRC Railroad Construction Project of the Year Awards recognize exemplary NRC member projects in two categories, the Large Project Category (projects with budgets over $10 million) and the Small Project Category (projects with budgets of $10 million or less). All types of rail construction projects are eligible for the awards and the purpose is to honor innovation, expertise, and quality project management. To view the NRC Rail Construction Project of the Year Award please click here.

The NRC Field Employee of the Year Award recognizes a field employee employed by a contractor member companies who exhibits exemplary performance during the year. The purpose of this award is to recognize and honor the rail contracting employee who has demonstrated the most dedication and excellence in his/her field. To view the NRC Field Employee of the Year Award please click here.

The NRC also encourages members to nominate individuals to the NRC Hall of Fame. The purpose of the NRC Hall of Fame is to recognize and honor those individuals who have made significant contributions to the NRC and the rail construction and maintenance industry. The criteria to be nominated is an individual must be a current or former employee or owner of an NRC member company is eligible for induction to the Hall of Fame. Members will be inducted according to the decision of the NRC Hall of Fame Induction Committee. To view the NRC Hall of Fame application please click here. 

Questions? Please contact mmcgonagle@nrcma.org 

All winners will be recognized at the NRC 2023 Conference in Boca Raton, Florida. 

NRC Awards 2022 Education Grant To Michigan Technological University

The National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) is pleased to announce that the Rail Transportation Program at the Michigan Technological University (Michigan Tech) is the recipient of a 2022 NRC Education Grant. Michigan Tech will receive at $15,000 grant from the NRC. The funds will be used during 2023 for student educational and research purposes rather than administrative, general fund, and institution or program overhead cost. 

“On behalf of the faculty and students in Rail Transportation Department at Michigan Tech, I would like to thank the NRC for this recognition and support,” says Dr. Ricardo Eiris, assistant professor at Michigan Tech’s Transportation Institute (MTTI). “Michigan Tech will use the grant to develop immersive virtual railroad field trips for K-12 and undergraduate education. We believe this education and research effort will help attract young people to careers in the railroad industry.” NRC Education Committee Chairman Daniel Stout, who serves as vice president of STX Railroad Construction Services, thanked all of the programs that applied for the NRC grant this year. "Schools with railroad engineering and construction management programs are vital to preparing the next generation of railway industry workers. The NRC’s Board of Directors and our member companies are committed to supporting the work of these institutions to train and prepare qualified railway employees.”

The NRC awards an education grant each year to a college, university or technical school within the United States with a railway construction, railway engineering or construction management program. The next NRC Education Grant application process will open in the spring of 2023. Check the NRC website for more details. To view more information on the 2022 NRC Education grant, please click here

NRC Members: Part 243 NPRM Update

On October 3, 2022, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on amending its regulation on Training, Qualification, and Oversight for Safety-Related Railroad Employees (Training Rule) to codify agency guidance and clarify existing requirements.

On November 7, 2014, the FRA published a final rule (2014 Final Rule) establishing minimum training standards for safety-related railroad employees and requiring railroad carriers, contractors, and subcontractors to develop and submit certain training programs to FRA for approval. Between 2014 and 2020 the NRC, in conjunction with the ASLRRA, submitted comments, petitions, and conducted several meetings with the FRA to make the rule less onerous to our member contractors all while maintaining the highest standards of safety for the industry. After several extensions, the rule went into effect. This proposed rulemaking published on 10/03/2022 addresses the remaining requests in our 2019 petition, clarifies current requirements, and removes regulatory provisions that are obsolete.

Some of the clarification that has been added includes:

  1. They describe 4 criteria to be a “learning Institution” and it does not mean a fixed building. It can be an individual that travels to the properties site and does training.
  2. OJT can be simulated using technology in the classroom.
  3. A Template is defined as an outline and that is what is submitted.
  4. FRA Audits could mean: and may start 1-2 years after implementation
  5. FRA attending classes
  6. FRA reviewing records

                                                   i.    Oversight

                                                  ii.    Annual reviews

                                                iii.    Employee records

                                                iv.    Evaluation methods

                                                  v.    Confirm employees compliance

                                                vi.    Even possibly employee interviews and/or

                                               vii.    Site visits

  1. No need to submit refresher training or the instructor information.
  2. Instructors DO NOT need to be “qualified” but must understand the subject matter and can be an employee.
  3. Refresher training not to exceed 3 years from employees last training event

Written comments on the proposed rule must be received by December 2, 2022. The NRC plans to file written comments to the NPRM on behalf of membership. 

Questions? Please contact mmcgonagle@nrcma.org

Renew Your NRC Membership or Join Today!

It's time to renew your company's NRC 2022 membership. NRC staff has emailed your organization's primary contact for with all corresponding information for your organization's renewal. If your organization was a member in 2021, and you would like to renew or have any questions about renewing or joining in please contact NRC staff at info@nrcma.org

Not an NRC member and want to access to this and many other membership benefitsJoin as an NRC member today!. If you have any questions about joining the NRC, or your organization's current membership status, please simply reply to this email.

Railroads, Labor Unions Reach Tentative Agreement to Avoid Strike

On September 15, freight railroads and labor unions announced that they reached a tentative agreement to avert a strike that would have gone into effect on 12:01am Friday, September 16. Unionized workers still need to vote to ratify the compromise. The tentative deal pushes off the deadline for several more weeks as union leaders work toward a vote.

The new contracts provide rail employees a 24 percent wage increase during the five-year period from 2020 through 2024, including an immediate payout on average of $11,000 upon ratification, following the recommendations of Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) No. 250. All tentative agreements are subject to ratification by the unions’ membership. As a reminder, NRC co-signed a letter to White House in regards to the PEB for freight/labor relations, encouraging the White House to follow precedent in the process of assembling a PEB and adopting its’ suggestions. 

NRC Member Progress Rail, a Caterpillar Announces Officer Changes

On late October, NRC Member Progress Rail announced that Senior Vice President of Caterpillar Inc. and President and CEO of Progress Rail Marty Haycraft will retire at the end of 2022. John Newman has accepted the position of senior vice president of Caterpillar, Inc. and President and CEO of Progress Rail. 

Marty began his career in the railroad industry in 1990 before joining Progress Rail in 1993 when Corbin Railway Services purchased Steel Processing Services, later to become Progress Rail. He rose through the company, holding several operations, materials management and sales and marketing management positions, including vice president of operations for the company’s wheel and axle shops, parts reclamation, mobile crews, and outside yards. 

John joined Caterpillar in 2011 as an attorney with the Legal Services Division, providing support to Progress Rail. After joining the commercial team in 2012, John served as regional director of Sub-Saharan Africa, based in Pretoria, South Africa, and as the company’s strategic sales director. In 2015, John was promoted to senior vice president of corporate services, with responsibility for various administrative functions, as well as strategic growth, including mergers and acquisitions. He assumed his most recent role with Progress Rail as executive vice president of infrastructure in January 2018. To view a press release, please click here. 

Biden-Harris Administration Announce $703 Million in Port Infrastructure Grants 

On October 28, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced the Biden-Harris administration had awarded $703 million through the Maritime Administration’s Port Infrastructure Development Program. The funding, made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and additional Congressional appropriations, will benefit coastal seaports, Great Lakes ports, and inland river ports, helping improve supply chain reliability through increased port capacity and resilience, more efficient operations, reduced port emissions, and new workforce opportunities. In FY2022, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) appropriated $450 million to the PIDP. An additional $234 million was made available to the program under FY2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act

The Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) supports efforts by ports and industry stakeholders to improve port and related freight infrastructure to meet the nation’s freight transportation needs and ensure our port infrastructure can meet anticipated growth in freight volumes. The program provides planning, capital funding, and project management assistance to improve ports’ capacity and efficiency. The PIDP provides funding to ports in both urban and rural areas for planning and capital projects. It also includes a statutory set-aside for small ports to continue to improve and expand their capacity to move freight reliably and efficiently, and support local and regional economies. To view a full list of the FY 2022 Port Infrastructure Development Grant Awards, please click here. 

USDOT Raises TIFIA Financing Cap for Transit Projects

On October 4, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT)'s Build America Bureau is launching a new initiative intended to make it easier for transit and transit-oriented development to review financing. The Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program provides credit assistance for qualified projects of regional and national significance. 

The TIFIA 49 initiative authorizes loans of up to 49% of eligible project costs for transit and transit-oriented development projects, up from the 33% cap it is currently set as. “There are countless promising transportation projects with the potential to better connect people to housing, jobs, schools, and more — but that never get off the ground because of a lack of financing,” said DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg, adding that “with TIFIA 49, we’ll be able to support more of them than ever.” 

Industry News and Updates

LRW seeks 'Railway Woman of the Year' nominations

Since 1998, the League of Railway Women (LRW) has been recognizing excellence in the rail industry by awarding the LRW Railway Woman of the Year award. Co-sponsored by Progressive Railroading, this annual award honors a woman who exhibits leadership and excellence while supporting the personal and professional growth of others in the rail industry. The 2022 LRW Railway Woman of the Year award recipient will be notified on or before November 1 and will be presented the award at the NRC 2023 Conference & NRC-REMSAExhibition, January 4–7, 2023 in Boca Raton, FL.

STB sets hearing on Amtrak Gulf Coast service; extends Class I reporting period

On October 28, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) announced it will hold a continuing hearing November 17-18 on Amtrak's application to operate passenger-rail service along the Gulf Coast between New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama. The STB also announced that it will hold a voting conference on December 7. Meanwhile, the board has extended for six months a temporary reporting period of Class Is. In addition, the board is requiring updated information from BNSF Railway Co., CSX, Norfolk Southern Railway and Union Pacific Railroad. The board is directing the four Class Is to continue submitting biweekly service progress reports until May 5, 2023. All Class Is must submit weekly performance data during that period, as well.

Amtrak begins procurement for construction of new Connecticut River bridge

On October 28, Amtrak announced it will be entering into the procurement phase in early 2023 to select a contractor for the construction of a new Connecticut River Bridge, which will be delivered via design-bid-build delivery method.The bridge replacement will allow for better reliability and decreased delays for travelers due to trains traveling on more modern infrastructure. As part of a more than $500 million investment from Amtrak, the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT), and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Amtrak intends to award the contract in late 2023. Construction is expected to start in early 2024“Necessary improvements to Connecticut’s rail infrastructure are on the way,” said U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) “The Connecticut River Bridge is an essential part of the Northeast Corridor’s busy rail line, and in dire need of repairs."

BNSF to build $1.5B rail complex in Southern California

On October 3, BNSF Railway Co. announced plans to invest more than $1.5 billion to construct a state-of-the-art, master-planned rail facility in Southern California. The Barstow International Gateway will be a 4,500-acre integrated rail facility on the west side of Barstow, consisting of a rail yard, intermodal facility and warehouses for transloading freight from international containers to domestic containers. The facility will enable the direct transfer of containers from ships at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to trains for transport through the Alameda Corridor onto BNSF's mainline to Barstow. Once the containers reach the Barstow International Gateway, they will be processed using clean energy-powered cargo-handling equipment, and then staged and built into trains moving east via BNSF’s network across the nation. The Barstow International Gateway is expected to create 20,000 direct and indirect jobs and is the first such facility to be built by a Class I, BNSF officials said.

The NRC is a trade association representing businesses from across the nation in the rail construction and maintenance field. NRC members 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