ASLRRA Names JR Sampson Coordinator for Short Line Safety Institute

Industry Veteran to Coordinate Creation of Safety Culture Assessment Project

WASHINGTON, DC – American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) Chairman, Ed McKechnie, announced today the selection of JR Sampson, former OmniTRAX executive and ASLRRA Safety Professional of the Year, to serve in a key role helping to create the Pilot Project for as the first step to establishing the Short Line Safety Institute, an undertaking made possible by a grant from the Federal Rail Administration (FRA).

Sampson, former Vice President- Safety and Rules at Denver, CO based OmniTRAX, will head up an initial assignment in coordination with the ASLRRA, the FRA, the University of Connecticut and the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, resulting in both the creation of a training module and selection and training of safety assessment professionals for the Pilot Project. This will be a critical step toward the longer-range goal of developing a comprehensive industry-wide safety culture and safety compliance assessment program that will serve as the core of the Short Line Safety Institute.

The Safety Institute is the direct result of a proposal the ASLRRA presented to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, in January 2014 as a step toward improving safety for crude oil shipments by rail.

In making the announcement, Chairman McKechnie said, “The Safety Institute is a top line priority for ASLRRA and reflects the short line industry’s dedication and leadership on an issue of critical importance to communities, shippers and railroads. We look forward to working with JR on this critical initial assignment.”

“Safety is our number priority and as the chief safety regulator for the rail industry, I know the regulations and enforcement alone cannot be the sole driver of continuous safety improvement,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo. “Through this partnership with the Short Line Safety Institute we will forge a pro-active approach to safety — from the ground up – that will transform the safety culture of railroads.”