Views & News - June 12, 2024

Views & News


Issue Highlights:

  • Regulatory – ASLRRA Contributes Perspective to RFI on the National Multimodal Freight Network
  • Legislative – ASLRRA Welcomes Two Summer Interns
  • New Member – Taylor Transportation Search Group
  • Announcements – Leadership Development – Regulatory Module Training is now open for registration
  • Out and About – Jo Strang and Safety & Training Committee work on members-only templates



Short Line Notable News

In this section, we showcase short line industry stories published in local media.

Pinsly Railroads Join Smartway As Rail Partner

Verdigris Southern Railroad is Watco’s 46th

Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern Railroad Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Railroad members! If you want to be featured in this section, please email us the link. You can also tag us (@ASLRRA) in your social media posts. Interested in seeing your railroad showcased in your local newspaper. Contact Amy Krouse for assistance.

ASLRRA’s Chuck Baker to Testify RE: CARB Rule June 13

Thursday, June 13 at 2:00 p.m., the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight will conduct a hearing, titled “ENVIRONMENTALISM OFF THE RAILS: HOW CARB WILL CRIPPLE THE NATIONAL RAIL NETWORK”. The hearing will review the California Air Resource Board (CARB)’s in-use locomotive emissions regulation.  Baker will be joined by Ian Jefferies (President and Chief Executive Officer, Association of American Railroads) and Tyler Dick, (Professor, Texas Railway Analysis & Innovation Node (TRAIN), University of Texas Austin). For the Democrats/minority, the witness will be Alan Abbs (Legislative Officer, Bay Area Air Quality Management District).

Chuck Baker’s comments will cover the serious harm – including the shuttering of short line railroads – to railroads in California as a result of this rule, and ASLRRA’s position that this rule is preempted by federal law, and capricious and arbitrary, with grave consequences for the interconnected rail network, California businesses, and the public.

The hearing can be watched here.


ASLRRA Short Line Training Center



ASLRRA Provides Response to USDOT RFI on National Multimodal Freight Network

On June 10, ASLRRA submitted comments in response to a US DOT Request for Information on “Goals, Criteria, Thresholds, and Measurable Data Sources for Designating the National Multimodal Freight Network” (NMFN). The NMFN was created under the 2015 FAST Act and amended in the 2021 IIJA. There have been several efforts to create and update this designation framework. The NMFN is already a criterion within the INFRA grant program, though not an exclusionary one, and could potentially be integrated into statute or regulation governing other federal assistance programs. ASLRRA expressed concerns that the NMFN, particularly if designation thresholds are set based on national quantitative and objective metrics, as is required, could exclude many if not all short line operations from participation due to our typical inherently smaller scale. We proposed that DOT consider short line inclusion in the NMFN through various dimensions that capture the unique beneficial characteristics of short line services and the value provided by our operations, particularly to rural areas and small communities. DOT intends to publish a new draft of the NMFN this year and there will be a process for states to propose NMFN segments, such as Critical Rural Freight Corridors.


ASLRRA Trainnig Seminars



Welcoming ASLRRA’s Summer Interns to D.C.!

This summer, ASLRRA welcomes two interns, who will support the Legislative and Regulatory Teams in variety of projects. Find out more about our interns below!

Levi Taklacs
Levi Taklacs join us from Reims, France

Levente “Levi” Takacs

Hailing from Ajka, Hungary, Levi is majoring in Politics & Government at SciencesPo, Paris with a focus on U.S.-Europe relations, and economics.

“I am interested in railways from a public policy perspective. Since they are usually more efficient and environmentally friendly than trucks and cars, they represent a better alternative which policy makers should focus on,” he shared. Levi looks forward to learning first-hand about how American politics works, especially lobbying, and taking full advantage of all that DC has to offer from a cultural perspective, as it is his first time in the United States.

His experiences this summer will help support his career objectives in business consulting and foreign policy.

You may find him running in D.C. listening to his favorite playlist, or whipping up some Hungarian cuisine for friends.

Kristine Polija
Kristine Polija joins us from Stockholm, Sweden

Kristine Polija

Although home for Kristine is Jelgava, Latvia, she is currently pursuing a Master's in International Business at the Stockholm School of Economics in Sweden. Kristine hopes to apply her varied work experiences — she has studied or worked in Europe, Asia, Africa and now North America — to providing value in an international organization.

“What interests me about the rail industry is the significant impact it has on connecting communities and economies. Through this internship, I hope to gain experience in seeing how a small organization takes a BIG responsibility in representing 600 railroads and to understand the unique process of lobbying within the U.S. government, which is unlike anything I have encountered before,” said Kristine.

Kristine is also a first-time visitor to the United States, and is looking forward to seeing the iconic landmarks of D.C. and making meaningful connections with the diverse cultural landscape in the city where ASLRRA is headquartered.

In her spare time, she enjoys exploring nature, dancing, and working for community-focused initiatives.


New Members

Know a company that would benefit from joining and participating in ASLRRA? Please contact ASLRRA’s Senior Vice President of Membership and Business Development Kathy Keeney at (202) 585-3439.

ASLRRA Welcomes Taylor Transportation Search Group

Taylor Transportation Search Group LLC, based in Chicago, Illinois, is a newly launched transportation executive search firm laser focused on helping clients find and incorporate talented people who fit and enhance their culture. Their motto is: Elevating Transportation Talent in North America: Our Mission, Your Future. Our primary contact is Founder/CEO Debbie Taylor, who can be reached at (847) 295-7097.



ASLRRA Training Seminars Are Filling Fast — Register Today!

ASLRRA’s training seminars have been extremely popular this year, with all selling out, and posting wait lists. Don’t delay in registering for upcoming sessions.

Registration is now open for the Regulatory Module of ASLRRA’s Leadership Development Program, the only industry training of its kind, covering a broad selection of topics in a single setting! The two-day training program provides an overview of the federal agencies that regulate railroads and, in addition to Federal Regulations 101 and Leadership Qualities for Managers, covers Part 217, Part 218, Part 219, Part 225, Part 228, and Part 243.

This seminar is organized by ASLRRA and presented by industry regulatory expert JR Gelnar, ASLRRA’s Vice President of Safety & Compliance and Mitch Harris, Vice President, Safety & Compliance, Rio Grande Pacific Corporation and ASLRRA Safety & Training Committee Chair. Attendees will gain an in-depth understanding of regulations that govern railroad operations and participate in facilitated, interactive dialogue with expert instructors and peers. Space is limited – visit the website to learn more and register today!

Scholarships are available — click here for more information.


Short Line Training Center Delivers Online and In Person Regulatory Training

Developed by ASLRRA in partnership with Iowa Northern Railway Company, the Short Line Training Center provides essential regulatory, compliance and safety training program and materials to short line railroads throughout the US. The project combines an online Learning Management System (LMS), accessible 24-7 at the click of a mouse, with in-person classroom seminars and locomotive simulator training delivered on site to railroad employees.

With the online LMS, short line railroads may access custom-built railroad industry training programs, interactive coursework, and assessment materials, including ASLRRA’s 22 Part 243 model programs and industry-developed training videos, plus technical training courses currently in development.

Railroads may also schedule in person training with the Mobile Technical Training Center, equipped with two FRA Type II locomotive simulators and classroom space for 6 students. The mobile training center delivers personalized, instructor-led seminars and locomotive simulator training to railroad employees on site and can address a range of requirements from basic train handling to positive train control and distributed power operations.

Learn more about industry training and resources available from the Short Line Training Center or contact ASLRRA SVP, Education and Business Services, Sabrina Waiss for more information and pricing.



Preferred Provider Hub Offers ASLRRA Members a Health Plan Designed for Small Railroads


The Coalition Health Plan is specifically designed for ASLRRA members looking for a solution to reduce their medical premiums and simplify the healthcare experience for their employees. As the 5th largest broker in the world with over 500 locations in North America, HUB International is well equipped to provide ASLRRA members with a vast network of benefits experts and best-in-class resources no matter where you are in the US. When you partner with HUB, you're at the center of a vast network of experts who will help you reach your goals through risk services, claims management, and compliance support. Visit and select Employee Health Insurance to start saving today!

All ASLRRA Member Discount Program Preferred Providers are carefully vetted companies committed to providing discounted pricing, special offers and guaranteed exceptional services on a range of industry-specific products and services. Visit the Member Discount Program page to view all Preferred Providers.


Out and About

Out and About: Staff Shorts

Jo Strang traveled to Jacksonville Florida to work with members of the Safety & Training Committee on certification templates for Dispatchers and Signal Employees. When final, these templates will be made available to ASLRRA members only. Thank you to Genesee & Wyoming, Inc. for hosting this meeting.


Industry News and Events

Click here for a calendar of industry events.


Views & News is published by American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.
Please contact Mariel Takamura, associate editor, with questions or comments.