The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) has selected its annual Jake Award recipients, recognizing 295 member railroads for their above-industry-average safety performance during 2019.
To be honored with a Jake Award, an ASLRRA member railroad must perform better than the Class II and III industry average reportable injury frequency rate (number of incidents per 200,000 employee on-duty hours) as reported by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) during the calendar year, and must have completed all FRA-required Employee-On-Duty reporting for 2019.
Of the 295 Jake Award recipients—named for Lowell S. “Jake” Jacobson, the President and General Manager of the Copper Basin Railway—278 member railroads will be honored “with Distinction,” recognizing their FRA reportable injury-free performance in 2019. This year’s results have shown significant improvement in the performance of ASLRRA members, and the short line industry. Of note:
- For ASLRRA short line members, the incident rate decreased year-over-year by 12%, while the overall Class II and III industry rate fell by 8%.
- Short line industry incident frequency rates have declined during a time when the overall freight industry has experienced a flattening, with rates very slightly up (1.83 to 1.87) in 2019.
- The gap between incident reporting rate of ASLRRA members and the overall FRA reporting rate is narrowing rapidly. In 2018, the gap was .6, and in 2019, the gap was .27, an improvement of 55%.
“Safety is at the forefront of our members’ operations, even more so during these turbulent times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chuck Baker, President of ASLRRA. “The short line industry is continuing to make significant strides toward zero injuries, with ASLRRA members rapidly closing the gap as measured against the entire railroad community. Our member railroads hold themselves accountable, focused not only on compliance, but on a strong safety culture. The declining injury rate in our industry is due in part to this constant focus, to continued strong investment into our infrastructure supported by the Short Line 45G Tax Credit, which enables our railroads to invest more of their revenue into newer, safer, upgraded infrastructure, to the Short Line Safety Institute, which has provided significant leadership in the area of safety culture to short line railroads.”