North Shore Railroad Company (NSHR) has taken over Norfolk Southern (NS) operations in Snyder County, Pa. Also, Pittsburg, Kans.-based Watco has been certified as a Most Loved Workplace® by Best Practice Institute (BPI), and Anacostia Rail Holdings Company (ARH) has appointed Herman E. Crosson as Chief Safety and Compliance Officer.
North Shore Railroad—Railway Age’s 2017 Short Line of the Year and the private rail operator for SEDA-COG JRA (Susquehanna Economic Development Association Council of Government Joint Rail Authority)—ran its first train to Kreamer, Pa., on May 4.
SEDA-COG JRA purchased the rail line serving Kreamer, plus those serving Selinsgrove and Shamokin Dam, Pa., from NS in April. NS had been operating the lines since 1999, when it took over service from Conrail. The lines now make up North Shore Railroad’s Selinsgrove Branch, extending its original operation that runs from Northumberland, Pa., through Danville, Bloomsburg, and Berwick to Beach Haven, Pa. (See map above.)
“I am really proud of the team we have here at North Shore,” said Jeb Stotter, President and CEO of North Shore Railroad Company, which comprises six central Pennsylvania short lines: North Shore Railroad, Juniata Valley Railroad, Lycoming Valley Railroad, Nittany & Bald Eagle Railroad, Shamokin Valley Railroad and Union County Industrial Railroad. “They are the reason we look to expand our services. We look forward to serving our new customers and doing everything we can to help their businesses thrive.”
“The mission of the SEDA-COG JRA is to preserve essential rail freight infrastructure, and foster rail-served industrial development,” SEDA-COG JRA Chairman Russ Graham said. “The acquisition of the Selinsgrove branch … fulfills those goals exactly.”
“We are excited that the Joint Rail Authority and North Shore are taking over our rail service,” Kreamer Feed President Jason C. Robinson said.
Watco on May 4 announced its certification as a Most Loved Workplace® by BPI, which is described as a “leadership development center, think tank, solutions provider, peer network, research institute and online learning portal” based in Florida.
“In a global survey of over 150 Fortune 1000 organizations companies, we’ve shown that employees who love their workplace are up to four times more likely to perform at a higher level than those who do not,” BPI reported on its website.
Watco was certified after registering with BPI and having its employees surveyed by BPI, during which they rated “the alignment of their personal values and Watco’s, the level of collaboration at the company, their feelings about respect and career achievement, and the future of the company.” The transportation service and logistics company said it is now qualified for consideration in the annual Top 100 List of America’s Most Loved Workplaces® that’s published in Newsweek magazine. Newsweek’s rankings are expected in October 2022.
“We’re excited to have this official certification from BPI,” said Watco Chief People Officer Rachael Peterson, who was named an honoree of Railway Age’s 20 Under 40 program for 2021. “It’s meaningful because it takes into account more than the benefits Watco offers. The survey results and certification are really a validation of the culture that our team members create and enjoy. This honor is a testament to our team members.”
“We work hard to maintain a culture where people are valued,” said Dan Smith, CEO of Watco, which operates 44 railroads on more than 5,500 miles of track across North America and Australia plus more than 80 ports and terminals across the U.S. and Mexico. “There’s no better compliment than having the team recognize Watco as a Most Loved Workplace. That means that we’re doing our job and creating a workplace where we value people.”
In related developments, Watco on April 22 released its first sustainability report covering Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives, and last year was named a top transportation and logistics company on the Forbes annual list of America’s best employers.
Herman E. Crosson is joining ARH as Chief Safety and Compliance Officer, effective May 9. He succeeds Thomas A. Leopold, who has been with the Chicago, Ill.-based short line holding company since 2006 and will continue to serve part time through his retirement at the end of 2022.
Crosson—the 2021 winner of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association’s Safety Professional of the Year Award—will be responsible for developing safety action plans, maintaining regulatory compliance, managing training and education standards, and integrating safety into all operations.
He served most recently as Vice President at Patriot Rail, leading the Jacksonville, Fla.-based short line holding company in the areas of safety, training, sustainability, and environmental and regulatory compliance. “Among many achievements during his [approximately six-year] tenure, the 13 Patriot railroads recorded 39 months without a reportable injury and 67 months without a reportable derailment,” ARH reported.
Previously, Crosson spent 18 years at CSX, where his last position was manager of training programs for engineers, conductors, and remote-control operators.