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Rail Safety Achievements Honored at E.H. Harriman Awards

Industry-Wide Safety Performance Records Again Set in 2011

Washington, D.C., May 8, 2012 – Railroads with the industry’s best safety performance records today were honored at the annual E.H. Harriman Awards ceremony, which also marked the industry’s near century long commitment to safety and innovation with the Centennial Award.

Railroad safety performance records were set in 2011, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR), including significant reductions achieved in both employee casualty and grade crossing collision rates, down 12.4 percent and 4.7 percent respectively compared with 2010. The train accident rate last year was almost flat compared with the record low set in 2010, up just 0.47 percent.

The annual Harriman Awards were established by the late Mrs. Mary W. Harriman in memory of her husband, Edward H. Harriman, an American legend in railroading. Today, the awards are administered by the E.H. Harriman Memorial Awards Institute, with support from the Mary W. Harriman Foundation. Harriman winners are selected by a committee of representatives from the transportation field and are granted on the basis of the lowest casualty rates per 200,000 employee-hours worked. All data is documented by the Federal Railroad Administration.

“For almost a century, the Harriman Awards have long provided an excellent platform to highlight safety achievements throughout the railroad industry,” said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger. “Through innovations in operations, technology and excellence in employee training programs, railroads continue to set safety records across the country.”

The 2011 E.H. Harriman Awards winners are as follows:

  • In Group A, comprising line-haul railroads whose employees worked 15 million employee-hours or more, Norfolk Southern received the gold award for the 23rd year in a row. CSX Transportation won the silver award and Union Pacific Railroad the bronze award.
  • In Group B, line-haul railroads whose employees worked 4 to 15 million employee-hours, the gold award went to Kansas City Southern Railway for the sixth year in a row. The silver award went to Canadian National (U.S. Operations), while the bronze went to Metra.
  • Group C includes railroads whose employees worked between 250,000 and 4 million employee-hours. The gold award went to the Buffalo and Pittsburgh Railroad, while the Portland & Western Railroad took the silver and the Florida East Coast Railway the bronze.
  • In Group S&T, for switching and terminal companies with more than 250,000 employee hours, the Union Railway took the gold, while the silver award went to the Belt Railway of Chicago and the Birmingham Southern Railroad received the bronze award.

One railroad in the various categories was honored for showing the most improvement in lowering injury rates between 2010 and 2011. Awards went to BNSF (Group A); Florida East Coast Railway (Group C), and the Belt Railway of Chicago (S&T). There was no award in Group B.

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For more information contact: Holly Arthur, harthur@aar.org, 202-639-2344 or Nell Callahan, ncallahan@skdknick.com, 202-464-6913.

About AAR: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) is the world's leading railroad policy, research and technology organization focusing on the safety and productivity of rail carriers. AAR members include the major freight railroads of the U.S., Canada and Mexico, as well as Amtrak. Learn more at www.aar.org. Follow us on Twitter: AAR_FreightRail or Facebook: www.facebook.com/freightrail.