Short Line Education Fund

Support for Industry Education, Training and Certification Programs

Running a railroad requires understanding of and compliance with a laundry list of federal and state regulations, all of which are necessary for safe, efficient operations. Still, for many small railroads with limited resources and staff, keeping ahead of these requirements can be difficult.

Recognizing the need within the short line industry for relevant education, training and certification programs, resources and funding opportunities, ASLRRA established the Short Line Education Fund to pursue projects that provide critical support for high-priority industry education and training initiatives; and award scholarships that enable employees of small railroads to attend industry training and access educational resources.

Make a tax-deductible contribution to the Short Line Education Fund

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History of the Short Line Education Fund

The Short Line Education Fund got its start in 2017. In its early years, the Short Line Education Fund generated donations largely through an annual silent auction fundraiser held in conjunction with ASLRRA’s annual convention. More recently, the Association has transitioned away from the silent auction and now relies primarily on charitable donations from private foundations and individual donors to help fund its important work.

Scholarships Help Railroaders Attend Training

Helping employees of small railroads access essential industry training is a key component of the Short Line Education Fund’s mission and has been since the fund was established. Scholarships were initially granted to enable employees of small railroads to attend ASLRRA’s annual conference and benefit from its many educational offerings. More recently, thanks to generous annual donations from the Doug Golden – Mary Cullen Charitable Fund and other individuals and organizations, scholarships are now available to small-railroad employees for industry-specific training on track and locomotive inspection and maintenance, regulatory compliance, and more.

ASLRRA began awarding Golden Scholarships in 2021 with a goal of distributing up to ten annual scholarships of $1,200 each to employees of small railroads. The family of the late Lowell “Jake” Jacobson also recently donated to the Short Line Education Fund, making additional scholarship funds available to small-railroad employees for important industry training.

Supporting the Short Line Education Fund

A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, the Short Line Education Fund accepts donations from individuals and corporations, and any donations made to the fund are fully tax-deductible. ASLRRA is grateful for the generosity of the short line railroad community and is excited to expand efforts to enable industry professionals to access top-notch training and resources.

For additional information on the fund, or to discuss making a tax-deductible contribution, please contact Sabrina Waiss at or 202-585-3434.


Programs Powered by the Education Fund

ASLRRA’s Leadership Development Training Program - Regulatory Module was one of the first seminars made possible by the Short Line Education Fund. Nearly 100 attendees have participated in the regulatory leadership seminar and their training and insights have benefitted colleagues and impacted operations at dozens of small railroads across the country.

The Short Line Education Fund has also helped seed training seminars on Advanced Designated Supervisor of Locomotive Engineers (DSLE), General Code of Operating Rules (GCOR), and programs focusing on specific Parts of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

Going forward, the Fund will support the development and launch of additional modules of ASLRRA’s Leadership Development Program as well as targeted seminars addressing industry regulations and compliance practices.

ASLRRA Congratulates All Scholarship Recipients

Scholarships are available to employees of small railroads throughout the U.S. Click here to learn more about the scholarship program and submit an online scholarship application.


Matt Barkley

Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad

Jodie Brantley

Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

Kim Fisher

B&H Rail Corp.


Ross Harrison

Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad

Jonathan Marshall

Iron Horse Terminals

Desiree Miller

Atlantic Railways


Mike Poncil

Klamath Railway

Quinton Swank

Goose Lake Railway

Lionel Thompson

Florida Central Railroad