When consideration is given to track engineering and maintenance, many newcomers to the railroad industry don’t realize what massive amount of effort is put forward to properly manage thermal rail stress by track engineering and track maintenance professionals. A concept even more difficult to grasp is the relationship of thermal rail stress to undergrade bridges.
Norfolk Southern on Aug. 14 announced promotions for two senior-level managers, effective Aug. 16: Vanessa Allen Sutherland and Michael Farrell. Allen Sutherland, previously Vice President Law, is now SVP Government Relations and Chief Legal Officer. Farrell, previously Senior Vice President Transportation, is now SVP Operations and Mechanical.
The news on July 26, 2019 of the derailment at speed of Amtrak 393 at University Park, Ill., due to a careless truck driver created a PTSD-like reaction for me. Instantaneously, I thought back to the derailment of Amtrak 59 at Bourbonnais, Ill., the night of March 15, 1999. Despite denials, this wreck was due to the overt negligence of a driver attempting to beat fully functional grade crossing warning devices with a truck loaded with 22 tons of steel pipe. Regrettably, the driver’s reckless behavior resulted in 11 people killed; much equipment was destroyed in the ensuing fire.
Railway Equipment Co. (RECO) has named Russ Gehl as Chief Operating Officer, with leadership responsibility for all operations at the company’s headquarters in Minnesota. He rejoins RECO after serving as Vice President of Maintenance-of-Way Sales at Holland Company, “where he drove consistent growth for Class I and International,” the company said.
Stanley M. Herzog, President of William E. Herzog Enterprises, died August 2, 2019, surrounded by friends and family. He was 70.
Commuter Rail Coalition chair and Metra CEO Jim Derwinski recently testified before the Senate Commerce Committee, where he requested a new grant program specifically for commuter railroads that are struggling to meet the resource demands of implementing Positive Train Control (PTC).
Karl Alexy has been named the Associate Administrator for Railroad Safety and Chief Safety Officer of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). He was most recently the FRA’s Deputy Associate Administrator for Railroad Safety and had responsibility for the Office of Safety Analysis, the Office of Technical Oversight and the Office of Regional Operations.
The League of Railway Women (LRW) has opened nominations for the 2019 “Outstanding Member of the Year” award. The recipient will be recognized during the LRW Annual Membership Meeting to be held on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at Railway Interchange in Minneapolis. LRW corporate partners and individual members are eligible.
The Short Line Safety Institute (SLSI) recently announced the launch of its Leadership Development Program, which was created to “address soft skills in railroad management with a focus on communication, mentoring and coaching.”
As Amtrak, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, approaches its golden anniversary in 2021, it is quite apparent that it has squandered opportunities to mature into a stable and useful transportation entity, given the plethora of internal issues that have historically crippled Amtrak operating under the federal umbrella as a state-owned enterprise. Adding to this position is the impact from a shortage of experienced senior management.