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Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief


Federal Railroad Administration Associate Administrator for Railroad Safety/Chief Safety Officer Jo Strang on Monday accepted the League of Railway Industry Women “Outstanding Woman of the Year” Award. Strang (right), who provides regulatory oversight for U.S. rail safety by overseeing development and enforcement of safety regulations and programs, is pictured here with LRIW President Araceli Martinez, Sales and Marketing Director-Mexico and South America, Progress Rail Services (a Caterpillar Company).

araceli_and_jo.jpg“Good business follows ‘safety first,’” Strang said in her acceptance speech at the LRIW annual luncheon at Railway Interchange 2011 in Minneapolis. “Investment in new rail capacity cannot wait.” She highlighted some of the programs that have been implemented since passage of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, which she referred to as a “risk reduction program.”

The guest luncheon speaker was the Association of American Railroads’ Jim Grady (bottom), who gave a presentation on technology issues facing the railroad industry. He described the AAR’s ATSI (Advanced Technology Safety Initiative), conducted by TTCI—34 projects into which some $12 million in research and development funds have been invested. The cornerstone of ATSI is Technology Driven Train Inspection, the goal of which is increasing asset utilization and reducing derailments by 50% over the next 15 years. An economic audit of this program has so far identified about $132 million in benefits to railroads. Advanced-technology wayside detectors (hot and cold wheels, warm bearing trending, WILD, etc.) alone, Grady said, offer a cost-benefit ratio of 3:1.

jim_grady_aar.jpgThe LRIW presented two $3,000 scholarships: to Stephanie Terleski, a business administration major at Carthage University, and Rachel Holowicki, a psychology major at Loyola University. The organization’s Member of the Year is Barbara Tomlin, of Trinity Parts & Components. The LRIW also recognized the organization’s corporate sponsors. Among them are CANAC, BRG Railroad, Power Systems International, Hotstart, RES Data Services, McConway & Torley, Loram Maintenance of Way, Miner, Burns White LLC, Trinity Parts & Components, Progress Rail Services, Western Rail, TTX, The Pocket List of Railroad Officials, Chicago Freight Car Leasing, and Railway Age/Railway Track & Structures magazines.