Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Harriman Awards bestowed for railroad safety

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Railroads with the industry's best safety performance records Tuesday were honored at the annual E.H. Harriman Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., with the event also marking the industry's nearly 100 year commitment to safety and innovation with the Centennial Award.

Railroad safety performance records were set in 2011, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR), including significant reductions achieved in both employee casualty and grade crossing collision rates, down 12.4% and 4.7%, respectively, compared with 2010. The train accident rate last year rose a scant 0.47% compared with the record low set in 2010.

"For almost a century, the Harriman Awards have long provided an excellent platform to highlight safety achievements throughout the railroad industry," said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger. "Through innovations in operations, technology and excellence in employee training programs, railroads continue to set safety records across the country."

The 2011 E.H. Harriman Awards winners were identified as follows:

In Group A, comprising line-haul railroads whose employees worked 15 million employee-hours or more, Norfolk Southern received the gold award for the 23rd year in a row. CSX Transportation won the silver award, and Union Pacific Railroad acquired the bronze award.

In Group B, line-haul railroads whose employees worked 4 to 15 million employee-hours, the gold award went to Kansas City Southern Railway for the sixth year in a row. The silver award went to Canadian National (U.S. operations), while the bronze went to Chicagoland's Metra regional rail service.

Group C includes railroads whose employees worked between 250,000 and 4 million employee-hours. The gold award went to the Buffalo and Pittsburgh Railroad, while the Portland & Western Railroad took the silver and the Florida East Coast Railway the bronze.

In Group S&T, for switching and terminal companies with more than 250,000 employee hours, the Union Railway took the gold, while the silver award went to the Belt Railway of Chicago and the Birmingham Southern Railroad received the bronze award.

The annual Harriman Awards were established by the late Mrs. Mary W. Harriman in memory of her husband, Edward H. Harriman, an American legend in railroading. Today, the awards are administered by the E.H. Harriman Memorial Awards Institute, with support from the Mary W. Harriman Foundation. Harriman winners are selected by a committee of representatives from the transportation field and are granted on the basis of the lowest casualty rates per 200,000 employee-hours worked. All data is documented by the Federal Railroad Administration.