Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
NS photo

NS photo

Norfolk Southern (NS) hosts students at its Decatur Terminal for a behind-the-scenes tour. Also, CN completes the first of two derailment training sites; the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agency suspends BNSF and Union Pacific (UP) from its Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) program; and Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) plans a tour to mirror the monarch biological corridor.


NS recently hosted 21 students at its Decatur Terminal for a behind-the-scenes tour. The students came from high schools across the country and were part of a summer program called “Tracks to the Future: Railroad Transportation and Engineering.”

Hosted by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Rail Transportation and Engineering Center (RailTEC) program and funded by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) at no cost to students, the five-day program included two days of at-home instruction, followed by a two-day visit to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus. The visit included a comprehensive overview of the railroad, facilities, equipment and technology.

NS photo

“It is important that we provide opportunities for students to see how our operations work by working in partnership with institutions such as the University of Illinois,” said Tim Crouch, Manager of Dispatch Compliance and Training at the Network Operations Center. “These types of activities help to inspire the next generation of rail talent we need to fill positions in the future.”

“For many of the students the field trip to NS’s Decatur Terminal was their first opportunity to see rail operations up close and meet rail industry employees,” said Riley Edwards, Assistant Professor and Manager of RailTEC’s Infrastructure Research Program.  “A visit like this creates a memory that we hope will point them toward the rail industry in their future education and career decisions. I am grateful to NS for their willingness to host these students and impact the next generation.”


CN announced Aug. 30 via a LinkedIn post that it has completed the first of two derailment training sites at the Class I railroad’s Campus in Homewood, Ill.

 “CN and our Dangerous Goods team are proud to partner with first responders on the front lines of safety with this new state-of-the-art facility,” the Class I wrote.

Screenshot Courtesy of CN, via LinkedIn


UP and BNSF received a notification on Aug. 22 from CBP that its voluntary participation in the CTPAT program has been temporarily suspended for 90 days. The suspension does not affect cross-border traffic.

CTPAT is a voluntary public-private sector partnership with CBP that works with the trade community to strengthen international supply chains and improve U.S. border security, according to the agency’s website. The program has more than 11,400 certified partners spanning the gamut of the trade community, including U.S. importers/exporters, U.S./Canada highway carriers; U.S./Mexico highway carriers; rail and sea carriers; licensed U.S. Customs brokers; U.S. marine port authority/terminal operators; U.S. freight consolidators; ocean transportation intermediaries and non‐operating common carriers; Mexican and Canadian manufacturers; and Mexican long‐haul carriers, all of whom account for more than 52% (by value) of cargo imported into the U.S., according to the website.

According to a Reuters report, UP said it “does not anticipate any delays from an operations perspective due to the temporary suspension,” adding that it “also plans to appeal CBP’s decision.”

UP provided the following statement to Railway Age:

“Union Pacific continues to follow international supply chain inspection processes and protocols that were established through the partnership with CTPAT and CBP. Union Pacific is working closely with CTPAT and CBP to end the temporary suspension of Union Pacific’s CTPAT certification.”

According to BNSF, customers participating in the program were notified of the Class I railroad’s status change when the suspension was issued.

“This does not impact BNSF customs bond status, required customs documentation, or clearance processes,” the railroad said in a statement on its website. “BNSF will continue to follow our approved security procedures for inspection at borders and ports and we do not anticipate any delays in our operations.”

BNSF did not immediately respond to Railway Age’s request for comment on reason for suspension.

“When an entity joins CTPAT, an agreement is made to work with CBP to protect the supply chain, identify security gaps, and implement specific security measures and best practices. Applicants must address a broad range of security topics and present security profiles that list action plans to align security throughout the supply chain,” according to the agency’s website.

“CTPAT members are considered to be of low risk and are therefore less likely to be examined at a U.S. port of entry.”


CPKC announced Aug. 30 via a LinkedIn post that between August and December, the Class I railroad, along with Rotary International, will tour 16 communities along CPKC’s rail network mirroring the monarch biological corridor, hosting pollinator habitat workshops and raising funds to plant 60,000 oyamel trees in Michoacán, MX, the monarch’s winter sanctuary.

The migration path of the Monarch Butterfly, declared an endangered species, closely follows the alignment of the CPKC network, Railway Age reported in August 2022.

Last year, CP, KCS (then separate railroads), GATX, the Monterrey (Mexico) Metropolitan Rotary Club and NASCO (North American Supply Chain Organization), launched the Save the Monarch Butterfly 60,000 Tree Challenge North American Boxcar Tour to raise $100,000.

In support of the 60,000 Tree Challenge, a crowd-funding QR code was featured on the side of the “Monarch Mariposa Boxcar” (below), prepared by the GATX shop in Hearne, Tex.

The boxcar is a 60-foot exterior-post hi-cube (Plate F) plug-door unit built by TrinityRail. (GATX photo)
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