Short Lines & Regionals

Baker to Congress: Short Lines Have “The Right Stuff”

Chuck Baker, President of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA), on Dec. 5 testified before a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing entitled “Where’s My Stuff?: Examining the Economic, Environmental, and Societal Impacts of Freight Transportation.” Two subcommittees—Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials and Highways and Transit—jointly hosted the hearing.

STB: Heed Seriously the Yak Fat Ghost

On 74 acres in central Virginia, there graze for commercial production some two-dozen Himalayan yaks—a largely fat-free, shaggy, handlebar-horned and oft cantankerous animal first imported to North America during the 19th century. If the connection of yak and its fat to transportation economic regulation is not obvious, blame your youth, as more than half a century has passed since the Great Yak Fat Caper of 1965 entered railroad lore—a dirty-trickster’s fraud now indelibly stained on the Interstate Commerce Commission’s (ICC) reputation, and, by association, its Surface Transportation Board (STB) successor.

FTS Opens New Headquarters

Focused Technology Solutions, Inc. (a Marmon/Berkshire Hathaway Company) has relocated to a brand new executive office and manufacturing facility in Hackettstown, N.J. The new headquarters is described as “a cutting-edge research and development site instrumental for the company as it looks to expand and reach manufacturing goals in 2020 and beyond.”

Railway Age 10 Under 40 Awards Open for Entries

Railway Age is now accepting entries for its fourth annual “Fast Trackers” 10 Under 40 awards, in which we will profile ten individuals under the age of 40 who have made an impact in their respective fields or within their company. Nick Little, Director of Railway Education at Michigan State University’s Center for Railway Research and Education, will judge the entries. Those that represent the “best of the best” will be featured in Railway Age’s February 2020 issue and recognized at our Railroader of the Year Dinner, March 10, 2020, at the Union League Club of Chicago.

FRA: PTC at 92.4%

Based on self-reported Third Quarter 2019 (Q3) PTC (Positive Train Control) Progress Reports, which were due to the Federal Railroad Administration by Oct. 31, 2019, the majority of the 42 railroads subject to the statutory implementation requirement are operating PTC systems in revenue service or in advanced field testing known as a revenue service demonstration (RSD).

STB Needs To Get Real

Dr. William Huneke, Consulting Economist, offered his opinion in the Railway Age report STB “Whack a Mole.” As he pointed out, the Surface Transportation Board in the past rarely had time or staff to do more than react to the latest rate case, stakeholder petition or Congressional request. He described a sense of Whack a Mole in the flurry of STB regulatory reform proposals, particularly STB’s tinkering with the industry cost of capital calculation.