ASLRRA Applauds Safety Legislation

Washington, DC – The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) applauds the introduction of legislation by Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington) authorizing the Secretary of Transportation to make grants for short line safety to enable research, development, evaluation and training efforts to enhance the safety practices and safety culture of short line railroads.

ASLRRA President Richard Timmons said the legislation “will do much to bring a continuous and active focus on safety with the objective of assisting individual short lines to improve their safety performance. Senators Collins and Murray are creating a very important tool for a very important task and the entire short line industry will be an enthusiastic partner in this effort.”

The nation’s 550 short line railroads operate over 50,000 miles of track or nearly one third of the national railroad network. They must generally follow the same rules and regulations as the nation’s major Class I railroads. “But railroad safety is about more than just following the rules,” said Timmons. “Railroad management must continually work with their employees using the most up to date methods to ensure safe operations. They have to be knowledgeable on all the best practices in the industry. Working closely with their employees, they have to lead in a way that creates an authentic culture of safety throughout the entire company.”

Timmons noted that the Class I railroads are huge corporations that can and do devote significant manpower and substantial resources to safety. “Short lines are small businesses with far fewer employees, most of whom have multiple responsibilities,” said Timmons. “A large percentage of their revenue goes to track rehabilitation, which itself is a driver of safety. The Collins/Murray initiative will help short lines to do much more and to do it much better.”