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Rail News - september 2012

AAR Updates

Elections for the AAR Associate Advisory Board to begin September 17

Annual elections for Associate Advisory Board members and nominations candidates for AAR committees will begin later this month and run through early December. We invite and encourage all associate member companies to participate in this process. Here is a brief walkthrough of the election process:

Associate Advisory Board Elections (September & October)

The Associate Advisory Board is twelve-member board which serves as a formal structure for the representation of the views of associate members within the AAR and appoints associate members to serve on AAR committees. Associate Advisory Board members are voted on by all gold and silver associate member companies. Only gold member companies are eligible to be elected to serve. Companies are elected to three-year terms.

The 2012 Associate Advisory Board is comprised of these twelve gold member companies:

Car Owner & Lessor Category
Union Tank Car Company (Vice-Chair) – Open for 2013
First Union Rail Corporation*
Flagship Rail Services, LLC*
GATX Corporation
GE Capital Rail Services

Mechanical & Rolling Stock Manufacturer Category
Amsted Rail Company, Inc. (Chair)
The Greenbrier Companies
Progress Rail Services – Open for 2013
Trinity Industries Leasing Company* – Open for 2013

Track, Bridge, Signal & Engineering Category
HDR Engineering, Inc. – Open for 2013
Parsons Brinckerhoff
RailWorks Corporation

*At-large seat

The four open seats in this election cycle are the seats held by HDR Engineering, Inc., Progress Rail, Trinity Industries Leasing Company, & Union Tank Car Company. Both Union Tank Car Company & HDR Engineering, Inc. will have met their term limits by serving out two consecutive three-year terms on the Board and will not eligible for election to the AAB this year. (They will be eligible again next year.)

The elections for these four seats will take place in two rounds:

Round 1 – Elections by Category (September)

In the first round of AAB elections, each of the three member company categories will elect one gold member company from within their own category to serve on the AAB. The three categories are “Car Owner & Lessor,” “Mechanical & Rolling Stock Manufacturer,” and “Track, Bridge, Signal & Engineering”

Please reference the included document (below) to view the breakdown of member companies by category. Category placement is determined by the preference that companies indicate on their membership renewal or application forms and is subject to AAR review.

AAR Company Categories (PDF)

The primary contact person for each gold and silver member company will receive printable ballots by e-mail. In this round, members will only receive the ballot that applies to their company’s category. Gold and silver members will need to make their selection and return their ballot before the established deadline. Once the deadline passes, the votes will be counted and the winners will be announced.

At the end of this round, three of four open seats on the AAB will be filled.

Round 2 – At-large Seat (October)

Voting for the final seat will begin after conclusion of the first round. All remaining eligible gold member companies from all categories will be placed on a single ballot for the remaining “At-large” seat.

The primary contact person for each gold and silver member company will receive a printable ballot by e-mail. Gold and silver members will need to make their selection and return their ballot before the established deadline. Once the deadline passes, the votes will be counted and the winner will be announced.

AAR Committee Nominations (November)

Starting in November, we will invite all gold member companies to submit qualified candidates for AAR committee seats reserved for associate members. These candidates will be reviewed and appointed to the open seats by the Associate Advisory Board at their meeting in early December. Those appointed members will serve as voting members of their AAR committees for two years and will be expected to produce regular reports on their committee’s activities for distribution to all associate members.

You can find information on your current associate member representatives on AAR committees by logging in to the members’ area of the AAR website.

More specific details about open seats and the nomination process will be distributed to the primary contact person for each gold member company in November. We will not be accepting nominations for any AAR committee seats before the official opening of nominations.


Below is the estimated timeline of events in this election process. Dates may change if any runoff elections are required.

September 17 – Ballots distributed for Round 1 of AAB elections
September 27 – Ballots due back for Round 1 of AAB election
October 1 – Ballots distributed for Round 2 of AAB election
October 15 – Ballots due back for Round 2 of AAB election
November 1 – Nominations open for AAR committee seats
November 15 – Deadline for incoming nominations, nominations sent out to AAB for review
December 7 – Associate Advisory Board meets and selects new AAR committee seat holders
January 1 – Terms begin for new AAB members and committee seat holders


If you have any questions about this election process, please feel free to contact Kelly Donley at 202-639-2343 or or Bill Pzedpelski at 202-639-2138.


New AAR Publication Released, Rail Transportation of Chemicals

The AAR Policy & Economics Department has released the latest edition of Rail Transportation of Chemicals Volume 16. This report contains current and past data on the U.S. chemical industry. The data contained in the report is mostly from 2011. Members can access and download PDF copies this publication at no additional charge by logging into the Members Area and following the link labeled "View Publications."

Updates from Committees

You can view the latest reports from key AAR committees submitted by your Associate Member representatives by logging in and visiting the “AAR Committees, Descriptions, and Minutes” section of the Members Area.

The Fall 2012 AAR Committee Meeting Schedule is posted in the Members Area under the “AAR Committees, Descriptions, and Minutes” section.

The following reports were submitted to the AAR in the month of August. These reports will be posted to the Members Area as they become available:

  • Brake Systems Committee
  • Coupling Systems & Truck Castings Committee
  • Equipment Health Management Committee
  • Quality Assurance Committee
  • Specially Equipped Freight Car Committee
  • Technical Services Working Committee 

Associate News

AECOM to expand presence in Africa

Alstom: Signalling Solutions wins about €8 million contract to deliver pilot traffic management system to Network Rail

Amsted RPS highlighted in Progressive Railroading Story on Fasteners via Progressive Railroading

Ansaldo STS wins EUR 40 million contract in Korea

GE Unveils the First Tier 4 Heavy-Haul Locomotive

Hanson selected to provide commissioning services for U.S. Department of State’s Overseas Building Office

HNTB tops "Go-To List" of 2012 Top Design Firms from Roads & Bridges magazine

Pacer Announces Addition of David Boothe as Vice President Global Sales

Parsons Announces Release of New Corporate Brochure

Siemens: Record-breaking rotor: World's largest rotor blade

Southern Company: Testing of new technology marks start of operations at new Water Research Center at Georgia Power's Plant Bowen

T.Y. Lin: New Caribou Connector in Maine Opens to Traffic

Wabtec Signs $45 Million Contract To Repower Locomotives For Toronto’s Metrolinx

Westport: Natural Gas an Important Fuel for the U.S. Transportation Sector: National Petroleum Council Report

Successful Labor Transition Marks New Chapter for Capital Metro

Mineral Range, Inc. to Acquire Lake Superior & Ishpeming RR via Federal Register

Patriot Adds Shoener to Board of Directors

QR National unveils high-tech safety device to coincide with National Rail Safety Week

Monthly Traffic Report

AAR Reports Mixed Rail Traffic for August

Weekly Rail Traffic Mixed

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sept. 6, 2012 – The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail carloads originated in August 2012 totaled 1,461,680, down 1.4 percent compared with August 2011. Intermodal traffic in August 2012 totaled 1,230,992 containers and trailers, up 51,145 units or 4.3 percent compared with August 2011. The August 2012 average weekly intermodal volume of 246,198 units is the second highest average for any August on record. Detailed monthly data charts and tables will be available in the AAR’s Rail Time Indicators report released online tomorrow.

Commodity groups that saw carload gains in August 2012 compared with August 2011 included: petroleum and petroleum products, up 49 percent or 18,007 carloads; motor vehicles and parts, up 13 percent or 8,966 carloads; and crushed stone, sand, and gravel, up 7.3 percent or 6,905 carloads.

Commodities with carload declines in August 2012 were led by coal, down 7.3 percent or 48,493 carloads; metallic ores, down 18.7 percent or 8,757 carloads; and waste and nonferrous scrap, down 15 percent or 2,652 carloads.

Carloads excluding coal were up 3.3 percent or 27,443 carloads in August 2012 compared with August 2011. Carloads excluding coal and grain were up 3.5 percent or 25,889 carloads in August 2012 compared with August 2011.

As of September 1, 2012, 311,226 freight cars were in storage, a decrease of 3,745 cars from August 1, 2012, and equal to 20.3 percent of the North American fleet.

“U.S rail traffic in August was pretty much same song, different verse,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “Weakness in coal carloadings was largely but not entirely offset by increases in carloads of petroleum and petroleum products, autos, lumber, and several other commodities, with intermodal showing continued strength.”

AAR today also announced mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending September 1, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 292,732 carloads, down 3.4 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 249,113 trailers and containers, up 6.5 percent compared with the same week last year.

Ten of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, with petroleum products, up 44.1 percent; farm products excluding grain, up 22 percent, and lumber and wood products, up 20.7 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic included metallic ores, down 17.2 percent, and waste and nonferrous scrap, down 16.6 percent.

Weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was down 7.1 percent compared with the same week last year. In the West, weekly carload volume was down 1.1 percent compared with the same week in 2011.

For the first 35 weeks of 2012, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 9,890,231 carloads, down 2.4 percent from the same point last year, and 8,226,793 trailers and containers, up 3.7 percent from last year.

Canadian railroads reported 79,510 carloads for the week, up .1 percent compared with the same week last year, and 54,839 trailers and containers, up 3.9 percent compared with 2011. For the first 35 weeks of 2012, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 2,683,533 carloads, up 2.8 percent from the same point last year, and 1,788,902 trailers and containers, up 6.9 percent from last year.

Mexican railroads reported 14,722 carloads for the week, up 2.3 percent compared with the same week last year, and 11,230 trailers and containers, up 12.6 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 35 weeks of 2012 is 499,977 carloads, down .5 percent compared with the same point last year, and 338,901 trailers and containers, up 18.5 percent from last year.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 35 weeks of 2012 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 13,073,741 carloads, down 1.3 percent compared with the same point last year, and 10,354,596 trailers and containers, up 4.7 percent compared with last year.

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For more information contact: Holly Arthur,, 202-639-2344 or Nell Callahan,, 202-464-6913.

Spotlight On

This month’s spotlight is on our newest member of the AAR. Please join the AAR in welcoming our newest Silver Associate Member, Railserve, Inc.

Railserve, Inc.
Martin Hutchison
Quality Manager
2173 FM 2087
N. Longview, TX 75603

Railserve is the leading provider of in-plant rail switching and associated services — operating over 70 locations in the US and Canada. We use our own locomotives and employees to safely move railcars within industrial, manufacturing and production plants. But we're not just rail car movers, we also provide a number of other services which include: rail car loading, rail car unloading, track maintenance, inspection or repair and many others. Railserve is a member company of The Marmon Group, an association of over 100 autonomous member companies engaged in manufacturing and industrial businesses. The Marmon Group is a Berkshire Hathaway Company. For more information, please visit

Upcoming Events

  • September 19-21, 2012 (Chicago, IL) Railroad Insurance Management Association (RIMA) Meeting – Sofitel Chicago Water Tower
  • September 25-27, 2012 (Washington, DC) 2012 Annual AAR General Claims Conference – Omni Shoreham Hotel
  • September 25-27, 2012 (Hilton Head Island, SC) Southeast Association of Rail Shippers Fall Meeting - Sonesta Resort
  • October 10-12, 2012 (Washington, DC) 19th Annual Passenger Trains on Freight Railroads Conference – Washington Marriot Hotel
  • October 16-17, 2012 (Urbana, IL) 2012 Railroad Environmental Conference - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • October 17-18, 2012 (Atlanta, GA) AAR Tank Car Committee Meeting
  • December 7, 2012 (Washington, DC) AAR Associate Advisory Board Meeting