news

2024

June 13, 2024
ASLRRA Testifies to Dire Consequences to Small Railroads of New California Rule

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2024 – Chuck Baker, President of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA), testified today before the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight in a hearing titled “Environmentalism Off the Rails: How CARB Will Cripple the National Rail Network.”

May 29, 2024
ASLRRA Announces Record Number of Jake Safety Award Winners

WASHINGTON, May 29, 2024 – The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) today announced a record number of member railroads (385) qualifying for a Jake Safety Award. Eighty-eight percent (340) of the awardees are noted “with Distinction” for zero reportable injuries in 2023. Nineteen member railroads will be further recognized by ASLRRA as President’s Safety Award winners for the lowest injury frequency rate in a variety of per personhour categories.

March 25, 2024
ASLRRA Honors Career-Spanning Dedication to Railroad Safety

WASHINGTON, March 25, 2024 – The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association recognized career-spanning dedication to safety today at its Annual Conference & Exhibition.  Sam Pederson, Railcar Repairman, Mission Mountain Railroad (MMR) was named Safety Person of the Year, and Albert Manning, Training Program Manager, Florida East Coast Railway (FECR) was named Safety Professional of the Year.

March 25, 2024
Sierra Northern Railway Named ASLRRA's 2024 Environmental Award Winner

WASHINGTON, March 25, 2024 – Sierra Northern Railroad was honored today for its contributions to environmental sustainability and air quality improvements in central California, an area served by the short line’s intermodal port and transload facility.  In 2024, Sierra Northern intends to be the first California short line to put a zero-emission hydrogen locomotive into full testing in revenue service, in a demonstration project funded by the California Energy Commission (CEC). 

March 22, 2024
Watco Recognized by ASLRRA for Exceptional Veterans Engagement Initiatives

WASHINGTON, March 22, 2024 – ASLRRA today announced Watco as the recipient of the 2024 Veterans Engagement Award for their efforts to hire and retain employees that are veterans of any U.S. branch of military service, including spouses and family members. The company will be honored at the ASLRRA Annual Conference & Exhibition in Kansas City, Missouri on March 25.

March 22, 2024
ASLRRA 2024 Business Development Awardees Announced

WASHINGTON, March 22, 2024 – The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) has selected three short line railroads to honor for business development excellence, showcasing the heart of  short line rail operations – commitment to solving customer problems, creating unique opportunities for growth, and ensuring the well-being of the communities that they serve.  Indiana Rail Road, Indiana and Ohio Railway, and Mission Mountain Railroad each demonstrated innovative and successful business-building initiatives crafted to meet the needs of their customers, using the unique capabilities of their railroads. The awards will be presented at the ASLRRA Annual Conference and Exhibition on March 25, 2024 in Kansas City, Missouri.

March 18, 2024
ASLRRA Selects MaxAccel as Member Discount Program Provider

WASHINGTON, March 19, 2024 – Today, the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) announces its newest Member Discount Program provider, MaxAccel. MaxAccel offers a suite of software products available in web and mobile-based solutions to assist small railroads in driving safety, regulatory compliance, operational efficiency and return on investment. Over 220 freight railroads, passenger operations and railroad contractors rely on MaxAccel’s suite of AssetPro™ and SafeTrack™ electronic recordkeeping applications every day making them some of the most widely used in the rail transportation industry. ASLRRA members can choose one application, or several to utilize MaxAccel as their single solution for electronic recordkeeping.

March 7, 2024
ASLRRA's Chuck Baker Calls on Congress to Continue Robust Federal Grant Programs for Short Line Freight Rail Infrastructure

WASHINGTON, March 7, 2024 – Chuck Baker, President of The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA), provided testimony in today's hearing, "Department of Transportation Discretionary Grants: Stakeholder Perspectives," convened by the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

"With the help of federal grants, short lines have revitalized significant sections of the rail network, allowing for greater service volume, elimination of bottlenecks, and reduction of congestion as well as harnessing the measurable environmental benefits of moving freight by rail. Perhaps most important, every dollar invested in improving rail infrastructure is a dollar invested in rail safety," said Chuck Baker.

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Watch video of the testimony here:

January 31, 2024
ASLRRA Honors James A. Bowers for Decades of Service to the Industry

Bowers Named the 2024 Schlosser Distinguished Service Award Winner

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 31, 2024 — The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) has selected James A. “Jim” Bowers, founder of Bowers CPAs & Advisors, as the 2024 Schlosser Distinguished Service Award winner. Jim Bowers has spent decades serving the short line railroad industry through his work as a certified public accountant (CPA) in the accounting firm he founded – Bowers and Company CPAs, now called Bowers CPAs & Advisors, and in service to the ASLRRA, including chairing the Finance & Administration Committee, and many years of presenting at and supporting ASLRRA events. In addition, Bowers has encouraged employees of the firm to participate in the ASLRRA, with several chairing committees such as the Finance Committee and the Young Professional’s Committee, guiding the work of the association.

“Jim has followed the path of many a small railroader, persistently applying his talent, building a one-man shop into a sustainable enterprise that creates value for many,” said ASLRRA President Chuck Baker. “Alongside growing Bowers & Company, Jim has been a willing partner and friend to many in the industry, and most especially to our Association, where his measured counsel has been instrumental in many successful initiatives such as the 45G Tax Credit, to helping our members understand the tax impacts of their actions, particularly during COVID, and to the Finance & Administration Committee. Jim has also had an eye on knowledge transfer in our industry, actively supporting others in his firm in taking committee leadership positions at ASLRRA, ensuring the next generation of railroaders will be similarly well-counseled.”

James A. Bowers – Distinguished Service Award Winner

Before starting Bowers CPAs, Bowers earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting from St. John Fisher University and started working as an accountant at Deloitte, where he eventually was named manager in charge. While at Deloitte Bowers also spent several years as an adjunct professor of accounting at St. John Fisher.

Bowers decided to forge a new path in 1980 as one of the founding partners of the accounting firm Bowers CPAs and Advisors. In the 44 years since its inception, Bowers CPAs and Advisors has now expanded to three office locations in New York and features a staff of over 130. The company’s railroad arm offers short lines assistance in financial reporting, mergers and acquisitions, grant administration, tax planning and compliance, and payroll.

Bowers has also been active with other railroad organizations, such as the Railroads of New York (RONY) where he serves on the Board of Directors as an associate member. He is a member of several professional organizations as well including the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA).

The Schlosser Distinguished Service Award, named for former ASLRRA Chairman Thomas L. Schlosser, is the highest individual honor bestowed by the ASLRRA, recognizing long-term, significant service to the ASLRRA and the short line industry. Bowers will be honored on March 25, 2024 at the ASLRRA Annual Conference and Exhibition in Kansas City, Missouri.

For a video on the background of the Schlosser Distinguished Service Award and past Award recipients, click here.

January 9, 2024
ASLRRA Announces 2024 Short Line Hall of Fame Inductees

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 9, 2024 — The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association has selected Robert Grossman, Jake Jacobson (posthumously), and Rick Webb as 2024 inductees into the Short Line Railroad Industry Hall of Fame. Each of the honorees has made an indelible mark on the short line industry, from creating the industry role of advocate in government and regulatory affairs, to launching an industry-wide emphasis and recognition of safe operating performance, to growing a car repair shop with a single railroad into a multi-service entity operating in four countries by building a team focused on exceptional customer service. The 2024 class will be inducted at the ASLRRA Annual Conference & Exhibition on March 25, 2024 in Kansas City, Missouri.