|A message from REMSA regarding COVID-19:
The safety and well-being of the REMSA staff and our members is of the upmost importance to our association, and we want to urge all REMSA members, staff, and their families to take the proper precautions necessary to maintain their health, safety and well-being during this uncertain and unprecedented time. Railroads continue to operate and are critical in transporting essential supplies throughout the country to those in need. Thank you to our railroad operators, the crews maintaining the rails, and all of our member company employees who are taking the measures they need to ensure the well-being of the country and world during this crisis.
COVID Relief Negotiations Continue as Congress Returns to Business
The fourth bill providing relief for fallout from the COVID-19 emergency passed Congress and became law on April 24th. The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act largely added funding to the Paycheck Protection Program ($321 billion), the centerpiece of the Small Business Administration's COVID response. It also provided funding for hospitals, health care providers, and testing capacity.
Negotiations are already underway for another bill with H.R. 6800, the Heroes Act, passing the House last week in the first use of proxy voting in American history. At a massive $3 trillion, it would provide funding for state and local governments, implement additional stimulus payments to Americans, extend increased unemployment benefits, and more. The bill is unlikely to pass the Senate any time soon, and won't do so in its current form, but it represents the beginning of the process for taking the next steps in responding to COVID.
Also coming up in the near future, legislation is expected to be introduced for surface transportation reauthorization. With the five-year FAST Act expiring later this year, the House and Senate will introduce their own versions of a multi-year reauthorization to fund rail, highways, transit, aviation, and more.
On May 21st, the Railroad Rehabilitation and Financing Innovation Act was introduced in the Senate. The bill makes improvements to the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan program by
streamlining the application process,
providing funding for financing costs, and more. Read about the bill here.
If you are interested in learning more about REMSA's government affairs efforts, please reach out to Cooper Ehrendreich
REMSA's webinar series continues with two upcoming webinars in June that you can register for below. REMSA members can view all
of our previous webinars by logging in
on our website
REMSA COVID-19 Federal Government Affairs Update: The Global Trade Environment's Impacts on the Rail Industry with AAR's Jordan Stone
2:00PM EDT, Thursday, June 4
The Secrets of Wildly Productive Remote Workers
2:00PM EDT, Wednesday, June 11
More webinars will be announced soon, so check our website to see the latest!
REMSA 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Program
REMSA is excited to announce its 2020 Undergraduate Scholarship Program. This year REMSA is awarding one President's Scholarship in the amount of $7,500 as well as one $5,000 runner-up scholarship, and one individual scholarship at $2,500.
The deadline for submitting applications is Friday, May 29, 2020.
REMSA Member Spotlight
Brian Hadley, Safety Director
How did you get started in the rail industry?
When my father got out of the U.S. military, he was hired as a Switchman for the Texas & Pacific Railroad (T&P) in New Orleans, LA. Growing up, our lives revolved around the railroad and I always wanted to follow in my father's footsteps. Just shy of 25 years after my father started in the industry, I began my career with T&P's eventual owner, the Union Pacific Railroad (UP). We both worked in and around the same area as locomotive engineers until his retirement. Although I enjoyed being an engineer, I felt that I wanted to have a stronger role in helping others work safely. That lead me to pursue and obtain management positions with the UP and now Herzog.
In my current role as the Safety Director for our rail construction and signals and communications divisions, I am responsible for protecting our most valuable asset - our employees.
What do you love most about your job/the rail industry?
I consider myself extremely fortunate to be employed by Herzog, a family-oriented company, whose founding principles are safety, quality, and innovation. Herzog is unique because we provide a wide array of rail services within track construction, maintenance, and transit operations. I can directly apply the skills and experience I've gained from my past railroad and transit positions to areas such as safety, operations, training, and regulatory compliance. The variability of my job is what gets me up in the morning. Each day is unlike the one before it which makes it truly enjoyable.
What do you find yourself doing most in your downtime? Hobbies outside of work?
Spending time with my family is very important. I am married to an incredibly understanding wife and we have 2 young sons. Our sons are at the age where they keep us busy, but every second is worth it. I would not trade it for the world.
I enjoy working outside in the yard in what seems an endless effort to get it the perfect shade of green. I also like to experiment with photography.
How do you define the "future" of rail? Where do you think the industry is headed?
The future of the rail industry can be summed up in one word: innovation. Positive Train Control (PTC) will continue to improve the safety and efficiency of both freight and passenger train operations. New and exciting ways to perform maintenance-of-way work such as distributing ballast and unloading rail will improve safety and do so with pinpoint accuracy. Those that carry the industry into the next generation will be the ones who embrace emerging technology. Their experience will drive change in existing processes and tools - creating a whole new school of railroaders.
Interested in being highlighted in the REMSA spotlight? Apply to become Member-of-Month.
Contact Madeleine Stern, Membership & Marketing Manager to apply today at:
or (202) 715-2919.
REMSA Grassroots Program
Bring a Member of Congress to Your Company!
The 116th Congress has more than 100 new members in the House of Representatives and 10 new Senators, making 2020 a terrific opportunity to host a REMSA grassroots event at your company.
REMSA hosted 12 grassroots events with member companies in 9 states in 2019 and has several scheduled for the first few months of 2020. Press releases detailing past events can be found
REMSA's Grassroots Program connects our association's membership with members of Congress to host tours and site visits of company facilities and ongoing projects. It's a terrific way to showcase the positive impact that your company has in the local community, while also building strong personal relationships with your elected representatives. We will also take the initiative to engage with local and regional media outlets to highlight your company and maximize the visibility of the great work that you are doing.
Are you interested in growing your network and highlighting your products and services to the rail industry?
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is giving transit agencies more time to certify they've established a compliant Agency Safety Plan. At the end of April, the FTA issued a notice of enforcement discretion for the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (PTASP) regulation, which would have required agencies to meet compliance by July 20. The FTA's notice gives agencies until Dec. 31 to comply with and certify the requirements in the regulation. (Progressive Railroading)
Amtrak announces June 1 return for some Acela service
Amtrak will begin restoration of Acela Express service on the Northeast Corridor as of June 1, with three Acela round trips between Washington and New York, as well as an increase of Northeast Regional service from eight to 10 frequencies daily. "We are dedicated to doing everything possible to return service safely, Amtrak President and CEO Bill Flynn said in a news release. "We want everyone to feel comfortable as they navigate this new normal." (Trains Magazine)
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has 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 fiscal-year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Under the new restrictions, the federal funding could not be used to procure rolling stock from any manufacturer that is "owned, controlled by, is a subsidiary of or is otherwise related legally or financially to a corporation based in" certain foreign countries, FTA officials said in a press release.
Economists will tell you that when a major industry's business is suffering, it can be devastating to that industry. North American railroads are suffering. Economists will also tell you that when one industry suffers a significant decline, the downstream effects on industries that support other industries is equally devastating. (RT&S)
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) yesterday announced grant awards to five transit-rail agencies as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to address the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Progressive Railroading)
STB open to 'informal discussions' with interested parties to discuss proposed rules
The Surface Transportation Board announced that it will permit informal discussions with stakeholders on the Board's proposed rule in Final Offer Rate Review, Docket No. EP 755 and comments received in that docket regarding arbitration and other rate review options for smaller cases. The Board is waiving the general prohibition on ex parte communications in that docket and will permit informal communications with the Board Members and staff between June 1, 2020, and July 15, 2020. (Trains Magazine)
RTA is excited to announce the hiring of Ashley Goodin as the new Executive Director, effective May 1st. He took over the position, previously held by Jim Gauntt, who will work alongside Ashley in a consulting capacity. Mr. Goodin most recently served as the Technical Director for the Architectural Woodwork Institute. He began his career in association management with the AWI Quality Certification Program in early 2009 after owning and operating a small construction and millwork company for ten years. (RT&S)
The LB Foster Flood Monitoring System is far more sophisticated than it looks at first glance. The simple design of the inline flood pole makes the technology appear more like a depth pole than what it truly is inside and out - a powerful, revolutionary wireless remote system. The LB Foster system system is designed to detect water levels in flood-prone areas and eliminate derailments due to flooding. It is unique in many ways, starting with the ability to identify exact water levels down to the inch. The battery-powered pole offers the ability to set alarms at varied depths up to 36 inches. (RT&S)
Hanson Professional Services Inc. named Mat Fletcher a senior vice president and the firm's railway market principal. He will lead Hanson's railroad market operations and business development, serving as a client liaison. Fletcher joined the firm in 1999, and since then has provided services for more than 200 projects, including for BNSF Railway Co., CN, Norfolk Southern Corp. and Alaska Railroad Corp. (Progressive Railroading)
Product roundup: Special trackwork 2020
Progressive Railroading last month reached out to a sampling of suppliers of special trackwork to share information on some of their newest products and systems - from partial flange bearing turnouts and crossings to insulated rail joints and more. Emailed responses from six suppliers follow. (Progressive Railroading)
Superheroes of Rail
There's a reason why Superman is referred to as the Man of Steel. The high-tensile alloy is strong yet modifiable. It serves as the foundation of Clark Kent's alter ego, as well as the foundation of the rail industry. So it doesn't take a railroader X-Ray vision to see that extending the life of steel rail by as much as 10 times is a solid idea. Rail grinding, milling and welding all can do just that. In addition, they're excellent ways to reduce surface defects, increase fuel savings, move heavier loads and support faster train speeds. (Railway Age)
R. J. Corman Railroad Group, LLC Senior Vice President Noel Rush is retiring after more than 23 years with the company. Rush joined R. J. Corman in 1997 and has held many positions at the company. He served as President of the Derailment Services Company, Vice President of Finance & Administration, Vice President of Risk Management, and Senior Vice President of Commercial Development before taking on the position of Senior Vice President. Prior to serving R. J. Corman, Rush was the Vice President and Director of Railroad Finance for National City Bank of Kentucky. (Railway Age)