August 2023 NRC Bulletin

August 31, 2023

NRC Updates and Announcements

Fireside Chat Keynote Announced:

President & CEO of Norfolk Southern Alan Shaw


Join the NRC Chair and Vice Chair for a industry discussion with Alan Shaw, President & CEO of Norfolk Southern at the NRC Conference on Thursday, January 4, 2024. Full conference program will be announced in the coming weeks.


Mr. Shaw has been Chief Executive Officer of Norfolk Southern Corporation since May 1, 2022, and President since December 1, 2021. Mr. Shaw previously served as Norfolk Southern’s Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Vice President Intermodal Operations, and has been with Norfolk Southern in various positions since 1994.

Schedule-At-A-Glance

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Registration: 8 am – 7:30 pm

Exhibitor Set-up: 8 am – 4:30 pm

Reception in Exhibit Hall: 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Thursday, January 4, 2024

General Session: 7 am - 8:45 am; 10:15 am - 12:15 pm

Exhibits: 8:45 am - 10:15 am, 12:15 pm - 1:45 pm; 5 pm - 7 pm

Seminars: 2 pm – 4 pm

Friday, January 5, 2024

General Session: 7:30 am - 11 am

Exhibits Tear Down: 7:30 am - 12 pm

Golf and Trap Shooting (additional registration required): 12 pm – 5 pm

Saturday, January 6, 2024

General Session: 7:30 am - 12:15 pm

Finale Reception: 5 pm - 7 pm

L.B Foster Sports Party - 7 pm to 10 pm

Register for the NRC 2024 Conference

NRC members receive a discount on NRC conference registration. Were you an NRC member in previous years and are unsure of your current status, or are you currently not a member? Then please visit https://www.nrcma.org/join-nrc for more information on how to join and renew your membership. If you have any questions about registration or your membership status, please contact Mike McGonagle at mmcgonagle@nrcma.org.

Exhibit Hall: Exhibit space for the 2024 NRC-REMSA Exhibition is on sale now. There are still booths available, but they are going fast! Click the below links for more details:


For questions regarding the NRC-REMSA Exhibition and reserving your booth, please contact Heidi Baker at (202) 844-6126 or by email at baker@remsa.org


An exhibit booth fee table can be found by clicking here

Lodging: The NRC 2024 Conference will take place at the Fairmont Princess in Scottsdale, AZ. The NRC room block rate is $289.00/night++. All rooms must be guaranteed with a non-refundable deposit for the first night’s room and tax. Once you register for the NRC Conference, you will receive a confirmation email with information on how to book your room in the block. .


Golf Tournament: The NRC 2024 Golf Tournament will be held on Friday, January 5th at the TPC Scottsdale Stadium (home to the PGA Tour's famous Waste Management Open) and Champion courses. At this time, we are SOLD OUT at the Stadium Course. As note, due to course constraints, we are limited to only 256 players. To register for the 2023 NRC Golf Tournament, please click here. You must be registered for the conference to participate in this event. 


Trap Shooting Event: The NRC’s 2024 Trap Shooting Event will be held on Friday, January 5th at the world-renowned Ben Avery Shooting Facility from 1pm to 3pm. The Trap Shooting Event registration fee includes roundtrip bus transportation, water/snacks, firearm rentals, ammo, eye and ear protection, and a licensed professional at each stand. This event is open to all experience levels. To register for the 2024 NRC Trap Shooting Event, please click here. You must be registered for the conference to participate in this event. 


Questions? Please contact mmcgonagle@nrcma.org or visit https://www.nrcma.org/events/nrc-remsa-annual-conference

Policy on Entertainment - The NRC Board of Directors has adopted a Policy on Entertainment to provide all NRC Conference and NRC-REMSA Exhibition ("Conference") attendees an equal opportunity to participate in the entertainment of our railroad, transit, commuter, passenger and other customers, speakers, and guests.

The Policy applies to events in connection with the Conference. During this timeframe, private hospitality events on or off the Conference premises are not permitted and no organized private entertainment is permitted while conference proceedings or events are occurring. Attendees are encouraged to participate in the common hospitality events and may not organize events that compete with the conference program.

All Attendees are expected to comply with this Policy. By registering for the Conference, you are certifying that all representatives and associates who are attending the Conference on behalf of your organization have been notified of this Policy and will observe and abide by it.


Scam Alert -We ask conference attendees to be vigilant of scams, including any solicitations via email that offer hotel deals or registration lists on behalf of the NRC. These groups are not affiliated with the NRC. Please check the NRC website or email NRC staff directly for the most up-to-date conference information.

NRC Members: Innovation in Technology Award now open, The NRC Safety and Special Awards will open soon!


The NRC's annual Innovation in Technology Award is now open. This award honors and recognizes innovation and unique technologies, or technological services, created or implemented by an NRC member company. Eligible technologies or related services include grade crossings, RWP, contractor safety, freight rail, industrial track, rail transit, commuter rail, intercity passenger rail, rail on port facilities and rail on military facilities. To view the Innovation in Technology Award application please click here

 

The NRC Railroad Construction Project of the Year Awards recognize exemplary NRC member projects in two categories, the Large Project Category (projects with budgets over $10 million) and the Small Project Category (projects with budgets of $10 million or less). All types of rail construction projects are eligible for the awards and the purpose is to honor innovation, expertise, and quality project management. Please click here to access and submit the NRC Railroad Construction Project of the Year Award.


The NRC Field Employee of the Year Award recognizes a field employee employed by a contractor member companies who exhibits exemplary performance during the year. The purpose of this award is to recognize and honor the rail contracting employee who has demonstrated the most dedication and excellence in his/her field. Please click here to access and submit the NRC Field Employee of the Year Award.


The annual NRC Safety Award Award recognizes NRC member organizations and their continued commitment to safety and safe practices. The purpose of this award is to recognize and honor that safety commitment that NRC Members continually practice on a daily basis. This application will be open to membership soon, and will be announced in the coming weeks.


The NRC also encourages members to nominate individuals to the NRC Hall of Fame. The purpose of the NRC Hall of Fame is to recognize and honor those individuals who have made significant contributions to the NRC and the rail construction and maintenance industry. The criteria to be nominated is an individual must be a current or former employee or owner of an NRC member company is eligible for induction to the Hall of Fame. Members will be inducted according to the decision of the NRC Hall of Fame Induction Committee. To nominate someone for the NRC Hall of Fame, please click here


All winners will be recognized at the NRC 2024 Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.

NRC Members: Publicize Your NRC Membership!


Now there’s a way to let others know that you and your company are NRC members. Here are four smart ways to show off your affiliation with the NRC, the U.S. trade association representing the interests of railway contractors and suppliers.


1.     Use it at the bottom of your email signature.

2.     Put it on your LinkedIn page in the interests/groups section.

3.     Print it on the back of your business card.

4.     Feature it on digital or electronic letterhead.


The graphic is available in three sizes to fit all the options noted above. Find the graphic on the NRC website in the member portal under “Membership.” You will have to log in and provide your membership credentials. Or simply email your request for the graphic to info@nrcma.org.

NRC Chairman's Column: Don’t Overlook Opportunities to Celebrate Exceptional Accomplishments


NRC Members, ICYMI: Check out NRC Chairman Steve Bolte’s column in the August issue of Progressive Railroading magazine. Chairman Bolte reminds readers about all the value-adds of NRC membership. If your boss has ever asked you what benefit the company gets for its membership in the NRC, check out this column for a helpful reminder. To read the Chairman's Column, please click here.

DC Update: NRC sends Truck Size and Weight Letter to Congress, House Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on East Palestine in September


Over the month of August, NRC and industry partners sent over a dozen letters urging lawmakers to oppose heavier trucks. In partnership with NRC, the Railway Engineering Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA), Railway Supply Institute (RSI), and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) highlighted to Members of Congress the threats that heavier and longer trucks pose to the Nation's infrastructure. To read the NRC's letter, please click here.


The letters and outreach mentioned that as Congress looks to address significant issues in the coming months, specifically THUD appropriations, the farm bill and the supply chain, that these bills be free of any language to increase truck size or weight. Of particular concern, H.R. 3372, H.R. 2948 and H.R. 2493, would cause significant damage to our nation’s infrastructure. All the letters urged Congress to oppose these, and any other increases for bigger trucks, that would come up in Committee action or on the House floor.


On August 28, the House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (D-WA) and Environment Subcommittee Chair Rep. Bill Johnson (D-OH, who also represents East Palestine, OH) announced a field hearing on September 22, 2023 in East Palestine, OH. The hearing is titled "Life After the Train Derailment: Ensuring Transparency and Accountability for the People of East Palestine." The focus of the hearing will be on the progress made in the mitigation and cleanup effort following the February 3, 2023 derailment. To view the press release from the committee, please click here.

FRA, FAMES Release a Fatality Notice and Alerts on Inaccessible Track, Importance of On-Track Safety Briefings


On August 7, the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) Fatality Analysis of Maintenance-of-way Employees and Signalmen (FAMES) Committee released a fatality notice for an August 4 incident that resulted in the loss-of-life for a roadway worker. At approximately 11:00am et a Roadway Maintenance Machine (RMM) was traveling in a north direction when it struck and seriously injured a roadway worker. The injured employee was transported to the hospital, and unfortunately succumbed to his injuries later that day. To read this alert and take-aways from this unfortunate incident, please click here.


In late July the FAMES Committee released two alerts highlighting important safety items pertinent to NRC membership. On July 26, the FAMES Committee released an alert highlighting the importance of effective on-track- safety briefings. The reasoning is in light of recent fatalities involving roadway workers, and because of those recent incidents, the FAMES committee re-issued on-track safety briefings recommendations as a reminder to all roadway workers of their responsibilities and rights. To view that alert, please click here.


On July 17, the FAMES Committee released a safety alert on inaccessible track. The alert highlights that according to FAMES data, eight fatalities have involved inaccessible track protection. FRA and available Class I data further indicate roadway workers often use improper controls when utilizing inaccessible track protection. Furthermore, FAMES offered key recommendations to prevent these incidents and highlighted what to do before starting any of this work. To view this alert, please click here.

USDOT Releases Information on Restoration and Enhancement Grant Program


In August the US Department of Transportation (DOT) released information for the Restoration and Enhancement Grant Program. This program funds operating assistance grants for initiating, restoring, or enhancing intercity passenger rail transportation. Projects eligible for funding under this grant program include: additional frequency of current service, offering new on-board services, establishing new service, extension of current service, and restoration of previously operated service. For more information, please click here.

EPA Opens 2022-2023 DERA National Grants NOFO


In August, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the 2022-2023 Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA). In summary, EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality is soliciting applications nationwide for projects that achieve significant reductions in diesel emissions. 


Priority for funding will also be given to projects that engage and benefit local communities already overburdened by air pollution, protect grant funded investments from severe weather events caused by climate change, and applicants that demonstrate their ability to promote and continue efforts to reduce emissions after the project has ended. EPA anticipates awarding approximately $115 million under this NOFO. Awards will be selected and managed by EPA’s ten regional offices. EPA anticipates 4-10 cooperative agreements awards per EPA region, subject to the availability of funds, the quality of applications received, and other considerations. To view more information on the NOFO, please click here.

Industry News and Updates

NRC Member Martinus North America Enters Agreement to Purchase NRC Member Bottom Line Co. LLC.

In late August, NRC Member Martinus North America Inc., a rail systems and infrastructure specialist, announced it had entered into a purchase agreement to acquire NRC Member company Bottom Line Co. LLC, headquartered in Lee's Summit, MO. Bottom Line specializes in track construction, bridge construction and maintenance, on-track safety and emergency derailment services. The acquisition will be the first of its kind in North America for Martinus, which has operations in Australia, New Zealand, and South America. The newly formed company will operate as Martinus Bottom Line and serve the Class I, short line and industrial markets. Martinus North America will provide the platform to grow into major projects in transit, high-speed and material supply in North America.


Brightline Delays Miami-Orlando Service Start Again

Brightline has delayed the start of its much-anticipated Miami to Orlando Service. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the railroad announced that additional crew certification and train testing remain, and the arrival of Hurricane Idalia was a factor in the decision to delay. Brightline is offering refunds to passengers who purchased tickets on the route between September 7 and September 21 and is providing reduced rates on Avis rental cars and upgrades to premium fares in an effort to allay the issues faced by customers who purchased tickets.


Amtrak Might Bring 200+ MPH Japanese Bullet Trains to Texas

For two decades, Amtrak's Acela Service from Washington, D.C. to Boston, MA via New York City, NY has been the only high-speed rail in the United States. There are several independent projects to establish new lines, and Amtrak seems set on accelerating expansion in Texas. Amtrak is exploring a potential partnership with Texas Central, a private venture aiming to build a high-speed rail line between Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston. Texas Central currently plans to operate Japanese N700S Series Shinkansen trainsets, capable of reaching speeds over 200 miles per hour. The travel time along the proposed 240-mile route would be less than 90 minutes.


NS agrees to settlement in worker health, safety investigations at East Palestine

Norfolk Southern Railway has entered into a settlement agreement with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division - International Brotherhood of Teamsters over workplace safety issues related to the February 3, 2023 derailment in East Palestine, OH. Under terms of the settlement, NS has agreed to: implement a medical surveillance program for all affected employees who worked at the derailment site, provide union employees with 40 house of Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response training for future derailments, among other stipulations.

The NRC is a trade association representing businesses from across the nation in the rail construction and maintenance field. NRC members range in size from small family businesses to the largest companies in the industry. NRC members perform work for transit, commuter, intercity passenger, industrial, and freight rail customers, with services including track construction and maintenance, grade crossings, signal and communications installation, bridge construction and repair, rail yard work, and many more. The NRC strives to put an emphasis on rail safety and quality while proudly serving the rail industry