Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Latest News

AAR Updates

Updates from Hurricane Sandy

Many railroads on the East Coast were affected by the recent landfall of Hurricane Sandy. Here are updates from affected AAR Members:

Auto-Train (Lorton, Virginia, to Sanford, Florida) has resumed service as of November 1. Acela Express & Northeast Regional modified service into New York-Penn Station were restored on November 2. Northeast Corridor trains continue to operate with reduced frequency at the time of publication. Long distance trains are operating normally with the exception of a few lines. At the time of publication, no hurricane-related service interruptions appeared on the Amtrak alert webpage.

No significant damage from the storm has been reported. Minor impacts have included downed trees blocking rail lines, flooding of some track structures and facilities, washouts, and power outages impacting signaling systems and highway-railroad grade crossings. All problems are being addressed in accordance with the railroad’s standing plans and by staged resources. CSX has been communicating with the American Red Cross on disaster assistance efforts.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority:
Long Island Rail Road: Limited commuter rail service resumed as of 2:00 pm, Wednesday, October 31. LIRR continues to operate on a modified schedule. As of November 8, The LIRR has restored train service between Greenport and Ronkonkoma and has resumed its modified schedule on all branches, except the Long Beach Branch.

Metro-North Railroad: Limited commuter rail service resumed as of 2:00 pm, Wednesday, October 31. Service has since been restored on Metro-North Railroad’s branch lines.

New York City Transit:Service resumed on Thursday morning, November 1, in the New York City Subway on 20 of 23 lines with some level of adjusted service. At this time, subway service is operating normally on most lines. Full service restoration efforts are still ongoing. A subway recovery map is available on MTA’s website.

Ongoing MTA Service Updates

Norfolk Southern:
Train operations in the Mid-Atlantic region were reported as restored on November 1 with most locations operating about one day behind schedule

Norfolk Southern aids in Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts

NJ Transit:
NJ Transit instituted a gradual system-wide shut-down beginning at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 28 in anticipation of the storm. Flooding from the storm disrupted equipment at the Rail Operations Center as well as access to rail maintenance centers. Three stations were submerged in salt water. At Hoboken Terminal, 60 locomotives and 243 passenger coaches were damaged. Numerous downed trees and washouts occurred across the system. Morgan Drawbridge on the North Jersey Coast Line in South Amboy also sustained damage.

A majority of all bus service lines were restored on Thursday, November 1. Service to four rail lines was restored on Sunday, November 4. Very limited rail service and other emergency bus and ferry Trans-Hudson services remain implemented at the time of publication. Restoration efforts are still ongoing.

Slideshow of NJT Sandy Damage
Ongoing NJT Service Updates

Associate Advisory Board Election Conclusion

The votes have been counted and results from the final at-large seat on Associate Advisory Board are in. Please join the AAR in congratulating Trinity Industries Leasing Company for its election for three-year terms on the AAB. This concludes the election process for the AAB for this year. The following four companies have been chosen by the associate membership to serve three-year terms on the AAB from 2013-2015:
  • Chicago Freight Car Leasing Company (elected by the Car Owner & Lessor category)
  • Progress Rail Services (elected by the Mechanical & Rolling Stock Manufacturing category)
  • Harsco Rail (elected by the Track, Bridge, Signal, and Engineering category)
  • Trinity Industries Leasing Company (elected as an at-large member by all categories)
The AAR would like to thank the associate members for participating is this election process. Contact information for your new AAB representatives will be published in the 2013 edition of the AAR Member Directory.

Affiliate & Associate Member Committee Seat Nominations Have Opened

The nomination period for AAR Committee seats has officially opened. Nomination application materials were delivered to primary member contacts for each Railroad Affiliate Member & Gold Associate Member company by e-mail on Friday, November 2. AAR will receive all applications from now until the close of the business day on Friday, November 16. After nominations close, those nominations will go to the Affiliate Executive Board and the Associate Advisory Board who will decide who to appoint from the pool of nominees for each seat. All Railroad Affiliate Members & Gold Associate Members are welcome and encouraged to submit qualified nominees to these openings.

View list of open AAR committee seats designated for Railroad Affiliate Members
View list of open AAR committee seats designated for Gold Associate Members

If you have any questions about the nomination process, please contact Kelly Donley at 202-629-2343 or or Bill Pzedpelski at 202-639-2138 or Best of luck to all nominees!

Capitol Hill Veteran Joyce Rose Named President and CEO of Operation Lifesaver, Inc.

WASHINGTON, DC, October 31, 2012 – Joyce Rose, staff director for the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, will become President and CEO of Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI), on December 3, 2012, OLI Board Chair Reilly McCarren announced today.

“Joyce’s expertise in railroad, transit, highway and safety policy will be a tremendous asset to Operation Lifesaver as we continue our work educating drivers and pedestrians about safety around tracks and trains,” McCarren said.

Rose is a veteran Congressional staffer with over 20 years of experience in transportation policy. She became staff director for the Railroads Subcommittee in 2008, after serving as a professional staff member on the Highways and Transit Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

As staff director, Rose drafted, negotiated, and helped secure passage of MAP-21, the surface transportation authorization bill covering fiscal years 2013 and 2014. She also worked on the passage of Amtrak authorization and Rail Safety bills in 2008, and helped draft the transit provisions of the 2005 surface transportation authorization bill, SAFETEA-LU. In 2009, she was named one of “10 Staffers to Know” in transportation by Roll Call.

Before joining the House T&I Committee staff, Rose worked for the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations from 1988 to 2001 as the professional staffer responsible for Federal transit and rail funding issues, pipelines and hazardous materials, and transportation research.

Helen M. Sramek, Operation Lifesaver’s President since January, 2007, who had earlier announced her plans to retire, said, “Under Joyce’s leadership, Operation Lifesaver will continue to be a prominent force in rail safety education.”

About Operation Lifesaver:

Operation Lifesaver, Inc. is a national, non-profit safety education group whose goal is to eliminate deaths and injuries at railroad crossings and along railroad rights of way. Operation Lifesaver has programs in all 50 states, with trained volunteers who provide free safety talks to community groups, school bus drivers, truck drivers and student drivers to raise awareness of the dangers around railroad tracks and trains. For more information, or to request a free safety presentation, visit, or follow OLI on Facebook:, Twitter:@olinational, and Pinterest:

The Railroad Research Foundation Receives Two New Grants from the FRA

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oct. 22, 2012 – The Railroad Research Foundation (RRF) announced today that it had received two new federal grants from the Federal Railroad Administration; one related to the transportation of hazardous materials and the other to discourage employee distractions on the job. These grants support the central goals of the RRF to promote safety in the railroad industry.

“The Railroad Research Foundation is pleased to receive funding to further its goals of promoting safety and security for the railroad industry. Through projects like reducing the distractions of electronic devices and developing security strategies for moving hazardous materials between Class I and Class II railroads, the RRF demonstrates its ability to handle a variety of research endeavors on behalf of the industry," said Dr. Sharon Cole, senior program director for the RRF.

Specifically, the project awards are:

A joint project with the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association to assist regulated Class II and Class III short line railroads who transport Rail Security Sensitive Materials (RSSM) to comply with the requirements of the “Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007.” Prior to this point, railroad SSM hazmat related emphasis has been directed towards the much more challenging issues associated with securing the hazmat of large Class I railroads. In terms of both level of effort and funding, federal regulators, industry representatives and Class I railroad companies have prioritized the development and implementation of risk reduction solutions to overcome the complex problems of large multi-route interstate Carriers. This work has resulted in the optimization of RRF’s Federal Railroad Administration funded project entitled “Rail Corridor Risk Management System (RCRMS)” that is capable of assisting Class I and larger Class II railroads to assess their RSSM hazmat vulnerabilities and reduce the risks associated with hazmat transportation on their systems.

With its partner, Norfolk Southern Railway (NS), the RRF has received funding from the Federal Railroad Administration to design a process to assist NS employees in reducing electronic device distraction while on the job and thereby reducing the risk of accidents, incidents, injuries and fatalities. Through education around the dangers of electronic distraction and peer support for appropriate use of electronic devices, this program will facilitate the development of safe habits to avoid distraction and thereby avoid incidents. This project will be located at the Norfolk Sothern’s Inman yard located in Atlanta.

For more information: Dr. Sharon Cole 202-639-2115 or

About the Rail Road Research Foundation: The Railroad Research Foundation was incorporated in 1999. The foundation was established to become a world-class policy research organization devoted to sustaining a safe, secure, technology and marketplace-driven railroad industry. Current research efforts focus on safety, security, technology, efficiency and environmentally friendly passenger and freight rail operations. The RRF results are expected to improve rail infrastructure and operations and advance the state of the art in areas such as train control, wireless communications, suicide prevention, security and highway grade crossings. The systems and tools developed through RRF projects are intended to be interoperable throughout the industry.

Railroad Industry Awards 2012 Professional Environmental Excellence Award to Union Pacific's Lanny Schmid

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oct. 16, 2012 – The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today awarded the 2012 Professional Environmental Excellence Award, the highest honor for environmental professionals in the railroad industry, to Union Pacific (UP) Director of Environmental Affairs Lanny Schmid. Based in Omaha, Neb., Schmid, a 27-year veteran of the railroad industry, works tirelessly to identify environmental trends and initiatives to bring about optimal solutions for both his company and the communities through which it operates. The award was presented at the annual Railroad Environmental Conference at the University of Illinois, Urbana.

“Railroads have a great environmental story to tell from a fuel efficiency and emissions reduction standpoint,” said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger. “But it is employees like Lanny who are dedicated to both their company and to the preservation of our natural environment that are the rail industry's ultimate environmental advantage.”

During his 27-year career with UP, Schmid has held responsibilities in almost all geographic regions and all environmental programs. A great facilitator, his conflict resolution skills have enabled him to bring together federal and state agencies, communities and key personnel from various railroad departments to find workable solutions to environmental issues. For example, in California, he has worked closely with the California Air Resources Board since the mid-1990s to bring the most advanced and environmentally friendly technology to California’s South Coast Air Basin before it was commercially available, leading to a 65 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. In Texas, Schmid brought disparate parties together to introduce the Genset locomotive which reduces particulate matter (PM) and NOx by up to 90 percent. He also recently led a program to explore experimental testing of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) to reduce NOx emissions. Working with the locomotive manufacturer and the Sacramento Metro Air District to test both the new technology and other emissions reducing after-treatment technology, the locomotive more than meets the Tier 3 NOx standard and Tier 4 PM standards. He has also being instrumental in obtaining grants to replace 166 older locomotives with newer ones that reduce emissions.

In addition to the many ways he has helped UP, off the job, Schmid, a committed environmentalist, spends countless hours involved in personal environmental causes. Using sustainable practices such as variable rate fertilizing on his family farm, Schmid has successfully reduced the amount of surface runoff and fertilizer released to groundwater. He has also enrolled more than 100 acres of his land in conservation programs to provide and improve habitat for indigenous wildlife and migratory birds. Schmid serves on the Board of Directors for the Lower Platte North Natural Resources District which is dedicated to the “conservation, preservation, and wise use of natural resources."

Schmid was one of six railroad industry professionals nominated for the award which recognizes an individual who has demonstrated outstanding performance in environmental awareness and responsibility during the year. The five other nominees are as follows (alphabetically):

Michael Avans, manager of environmental controls with Canadian National (CN) in Chicago, Ill. Avans had a strong environmental background even before joining the railroad in 2002, having previously worked in municipal wastewater treatment in Alabama. Initially responsible for storm water, waste water and locomotive fuel system operation, maintenance and repair, Avans has worked continuously to improve his knowledge on groundwater remediation, environmental site assessment and compliance regulations. Recently promoted to assume responsibilities in CN’s busy Chicago Division, his strategic approach to addressing hazmat and environmental issues and spills have protected natural resources and minimized CN’s impact on the environment.

Donald L. Camper, regional manager of environmental field services for CSX Transportation in Okeana, Ohio, is a 40-year rail veteran who brings the additional perspective of having been both a trainman and a railroad police officer before he joined the railroad’s environmental department. Recent accomplishments include overseeing the recycling of millions of gallons of treated water, thousands of gallons of used oil, 250,000 pounds of lead acid batteries, hundreds of mercury-containing fluorescent lights, 1.5 million wood crossties and hundreds of tons of steel. His team also reduced fuel spillage by 35 percent. He assisted in researching and installing solar panels at the company’s Cincinnati yard, and helped develop the company’s Environmental Crime Unit. Camper is responsible for CSXT’s Northern Region, which covers 11 states and two Canadian provinces and has environmental responsibilities for dozens of facilities.

Andrew Enzman, senior environmental coordinator for Amtrak’s Environmental Health and Safety Department based primarily in Wilmington, Del. Enzman maintains environmental compliance throughout a territory extending from Philadelphia to Miami, where he also is responsible for major remediation projects at four widely dispersed locations. In Wilmington, for example, he identified a problem area responsible for high levels of polychlorinated biphenyl and devised a solution that drastically reduced the problem. Also in Wilmington, Enzman devised a program using soy-based degreasers that resulted in much lower levels of volatile organic compounds, a program that has since spread to other locations. His knowledge of soil porosity and runoff coefficients has resulted in a decrease in storm water runoff.

Edward P. Phillips, manager environmental operations with BNSF Railway in San Bernardino, Calif. Phillips’ expertise on the many intricacies of California’s environmental regulations has served his company and the community well. For example, in response to one regulation requiring all diesel trucks to have a 2010 compliant engine by 2021, Phillips developed a strategy to successfully meet the requirement while eliminating the need for BNSF to purchase additional vehicles. Another initiative Phillips led eliminated storm water from a BNSF yard from entering Richmond, Calif.’s sewer system, helping to reduce the occurrence of Sanitary Sewer Overflows. Phillips also successfully challenged an initial determination by California that would have required the railroad to send old railroad ties to landfills. By developing a tie sampling plan, Phillips demonstrated to the state that the ties should not be classified as hazardous waste and was able to reduce this potential burden on landfills. Phillips also developed an electronic grade-crossing system that replaced the use of fuses, which can often burn out and pose safety concerns and storm water issues.

Ken A. Roberge, manager of environmental program development in Canadian Pacific Railway’s (CP) Safety, Environment and Hazmat Department in Calgary, Alb. Roberge has a wide range of environmental responsibilities that include air emissions, hazardous waste, regulatory issues and wildlife protection. Recently, he has been involved in a joint effort between CP and Parks Canada to find innovative ways to reduce grizzly bear fatalities on rail lines. One approach he is investigating uses fencing, motion activated cameras and ElectroMats, which provide low amperage shocks to wildlife, deterring them from crossing the tracks. Roberge also manages the railroad’s environmental audit program, and as a result he developed procedures that have greatly reduced the number of locomotive fuel overfills. After Environment Canada issued new regulations, he developed a new storage tank management procedure and is working to develop new training videos that will instruct staff on what to look for during tank inspections.

For more information contact: Holly Arthur, AAR Communications, 202-639-2100,

AAR SVP of Safety and Operations VanderClute Awarded Railway Age 2012 Claytor Award for Distinguished Service to Passenger Transportation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oct. 12, 2012 – The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today proudly announced Senior Vice President of Safety and Operations Robert C. VanderClute received the 2012 W. Graham Claytor Jr. Award for Distinguished Service to Passenger Transportation. Named after the late president of Amtrak now legendary in railroad history, the award was presented by Railway Age at its annual Passenger Trains on Freight Railroads Conference held in Washington, D.C.

“Bob VanderClute is a very deserving recipient not only for his service at Amtrak, but also for his work at AAR on critical safety initiatives with both freight and passenger rail operators,” said Railway Age Editor-in-Chief William C. Vantuono.

The award is given annually, as determined by the Railway Age publisher and editors, based largely on a lifetime of achievement by individuals who have contributed to the advancement of passenger rail in America.

“Bob has tremendous leadership and experience that has helped advance major rail industry safety, security and operational initiatives critical to keeping our nation’s railroads the best in the world,” said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger.

VanderClute has more than 40 years in railroading, and since 2003 has been the SVP of Operations at AAR. In this role, he oversees the railroad industry’s homeland security plan, equipment interchange standards, car service rules, quality assurance programs, safety initiatives and issues in environmental, hazardous materials, communication and signals as well as tank car safety and design standards. He also serves as the industry liaison with the federal government, including the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Railroad Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, The Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Communications Commission and other regulatory bodies.

Prior to joining AAR, he was with Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) where he led the company’s international passenger rail activities, including major high-speed projects in the U.K. and China. Prior to his position with PB, VanderClute was Vice President of Operations and Chief Operating Officer of Amtrak, where he oversaw day-to-day operations of the entire passenger rail network. While with Amtrak, the corporation implemented high-speed rail, embarked on a $6 billion infrastructure improvement program, replaced virtually its entire motive power and car fleet and became the largest contract carrier of commuter services in North America. VanderClute got into railroads first at the New York Central Railroad after graduating with a degree in transportation from the University of Tennessee.


For more information contact: Holly Arthur,, 202-639-2344.

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 “Associate & Affiliate Members” section of the Members Area and then clicking on “Committee Reports & Descriptions” link under the “Associate Member Representatives on AAR Committees” heading.

The following committees submitted new reports in the month of October. These reports are currently posted on the website:
  • Intermodal Car Performance Committee
  • Technical Services Working Committee
  • Technology Scanning Committee

Associate News

AECOM joint venture awarded multiyear contract to renew the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill

Alstom to Modernize Two Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Rail Fleets

ARINC Direct(SM) Introduces ARINC Direct ConnectOnboard Communications System

GATX Corporation Reports 2012 Third Quarter Results

GATX Corporation Announces Quarterly Dividend

Greenbrier hires Jack Isselmann as Director of Corporate Relations and Communications

Hanson: “Pink Steel” Breast Cancer Awareness Event Announced

HDR: Tammy Dow Receives 2012 Nathalie Provost Award

Pacer and Union Pacific Railroad Enter New Agreement to Service Cross Border Automotive Parts Business

Parker Signs Licensing Agreement with Vanderbilt for Exoskeleton Technology and Targets Commercial Launch in 2014

Parsons Brinckerhoff To Analyze Alternatives For Transit Corridor Near Detroit

QR National appoints global railway executives

Southern Company: Idea Power: Carbon Capture 101 (via MNN)

T.Y. Lin: Lowry Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis Opens to Traffic

Wabtec Acquires LH Group,A UK-Based Provider Of Maintenance, Overhaul Services

Westport Signs Development Agreement with Tata Motors

Cummins Westport Announces New Mid-Range Natural Gas Engine::ISB6.7 G Natural Gas Engine Targets School Bus, Medium-Duty Truck and Vocational Vehicle Markets

URS Awarded TRICARE Management Activity Enterprise Infrastructure Contract

Monthly Traffic Report

AAR Reports Mixed Rail Traffic for October
Hurricane Sandy Impacts Seen in Week 44 Data with Traffic Down

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Nov. 8, 2012 – The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reports U.S. rail traffic continues to show mixed results in monthly rail data, and that impacts from Hurricane Sandy can be seen in decreased traffic for week 44.

“The fundamentals of U.S. rail traffic remained roughly the same in October as in recent months: weakness in coal, remarkable growth in petroleum and petroleum products, a slight slowing of growth in intermodal and autos, and mixed results for everything else,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray.

Intermodal traffic in October saw an increase for the 35th straight month, totaling 1,233,475 containers and trailers, up 1.5 percent (18,710 units) compared with October of 2011. Carloads originated in October totaled 1,422,654 carloads, down 6.1 percent (92,601 carloads) compared with the same month last year. Carloads excluding coal were up 1.9 percent for the month, or 15,609 carloads, compared with the same month last year.

Commodity groups that saw carload gains in October 2012 compared with the same month last year included: petroleum and petroleum products, up 54.5 percent or 20,906 carloads; crushed stone, sand, and gravel, up 11.9 percent or 11,290 carloads, and motor vehicles and parts, up 5.5 percent or 4,238 carloads. Commodities with carload declines in October were led by coal, down 16 percent or 108,210 carloads; iron and steel scrap, down 24.9 percent or 5,889 carloads, and metallic ores, down 13.3 percent or 5,501 carloads.

Detailed monthly data charts and tables will be available in the AAR’s Rail Time Indicators report released online later today.

AAR today also reported declines in rail traffic for the week ending Nov. 3, 2012, which included impacts from Hurricane Sandy. Last week U.S. railroads originated 278,230 carloads, down 6.8 percent compared with the same week last year, while intermodal volume for the week totaled 224,467 trailers and containers, down 6.2 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 61.5 percent; farm products excluding grain, up 46.4 percent, and lumber and wood products, up 24 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic included iron and steel scrap, down 25.8 percent; metallic ores, down 22.9, and nonmetallic minerals, down 22.5 percent.

Weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was down 12.7 percent compared with the same week last year. In the West, weekly carload volume was down 3 percent compared with the same week in 2011.

For the first 44 weeks of 2012, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 12,465,059 carloads, down 3 percent from the same point last year, and 10,444,739 trailers and containers, up 3.5 percent from last year.

Canadian railroads reported 77,904 carloads for the week, down 3.1 percent compared with the same week last year, and 50,705 trailers and containers, down 2.3 percent compared with 2011. For the first 44 weeks of 2012, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 3,399,244 carloads, up 2.2 percent from the same point last year, and 2,276,667 trailers and containers, up 6.9 percent from last year.

Mexican railroads reported 14,465 carloads for the week, up 0.7 percent compared with the same week last year, and 10,488 trailers and containers, up 18 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 44 weeks of 2012 is 633,081 carloads, up 0.3 percent from the same point last year, and 440,580 trailers and containers, up 19.9 percent from last year.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 44 weeks of 2012 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 16,497,384 carloads, down 1.8 percent compared with the same point last year, and 13,161,986 trailers and containers, up 4.5 percent compared with last year.


For more information contact: Nell Callahan, 202-464-6913, or Abigail Gardner, 202-464-6603, at, or Holly Arthur,, 202-639-2344.

Spotlight On

This month's spotlight is on our newest Silver Associate Member. Please join the AAR in welcoming Practicing Perfection Institute, Inc., a brand new Silver Associate Member for 2012.

Practicing Perfection Institute, Inc.
Mark Hefner
Director, Transportation Services
877-832-9492 - Phone

The Practicing Perfection Institute offers training programs which aim to make the world a better and safer place by eliminating human error. In 2005, Tim Autrey founded the institute to take the strategies and tools that have proven extremely successful within the US commercial nuclear power industry and couple them with next-level deployment and worker involvement methods in pursuit of a vision: Event-free, world-wide- one life at a time. Since the founding of the Institute, organizations of all types have seen tremendous success at reducing human error and increasing efficiencies through the culture change brought on by the strategies and tools employed. For more information, please visit

Upcoming Events

  • December 7, 2012 (Washington, DC) AAR Associate Advisory Board Meeting
  • March 5-6, 2013 (Pueblo, CO) 18th Annual AAR Research Review - Pueblo Convention Center
  • March 18-21, 2013 (Atlanta, GA) North American Rail Mechanical Operations Seminar (NARMO)
  • September 12-14, 2013 (Banff, Alberta, Canada) Railroad Insurance Management Association Meeting (RIMA)