Short Line Rail Industry Reaches Fatality-free Milestone

Washington, DC – November 8, 2017 – The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) today recognizes the significant safety achievement of the industry’s 603 short line railroads – operating for a full year fatality-free.

“Our short line members focus every day on ‘making it a safe one.’ Safe operations are good for our customers, good for the public interest, good for our employees, and good for business,” said Linda Bauer Darr, President of ASLRRA. “ASLRRA is proud to partner with short lines, supporting a safety focus through compliance audits, training opportunities, the Jake Award program, and committees that advance safety initiatives and technology that drives safety.  All of us working in partnership can take pride in today’s industry achievement.”

Short lines operate 47,500 rail miles in 49 states, or 29% of freight rail.  One in five cars are handled by the 603 short lines, providing the first or last mile of the journey.  Particularly in rural America, short lines provide the opportunity for a wide variety of industries to have access to market.

To put this milestone in perspective, fatalities not only still occur, but are on the rise in other transportation segments. 1

Darr also gave a nod to the excellent work of the Short Line Safety Institute (SLSI), and its influence on the industry.  The SLSI focuses on safety culture, or the people side of the safety equation.

“SLSI extends its congratulations to the short line railroad industry as it celebrates one year of fatality-free operations,” said Tom Murta, Executive Director of SLSI.  “Focusing on safety culture, the behaviors surrounding and supporting safe practices, will continually raise the bar in our industry on successful, sustainable, and safe operations.”

1As reported by Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) fatalities for freight transportation rose 5.4% year over year (2015 vs. 2014).  In OneRail’s 2016 report, Rail Safety in the United States, “Looking at freight accidents per 10 billion ton-miles, fatal accidents involving freight rail take place at less than one third the rate of truck accidents (3.6 vs 11).”