March 2023 NRC Bulletin

March 31, 2023

NRC Updates and Announcements

Register today: NRC Annual Equipment Auction begins April 27!

The NRC's annual construction and maintenance equipment auction will be in-person and online starting on April 27. Click here to register for the NRC auction.

A 10% buyer's premium is charged on all items. A percentage of the equipment consigned to sell helps fund the NRC Safety, Training, and Education programs, and the seller keeps the rest. For donated equipment, 100% of the proceeds go to the NRC Safety, Training, and Education programs which helps to fund NRC safety videos and training programs such as Part 243 Templates. To access your member benefits, including the library of NRC safety videos, please login to the NRC website at Not an NRC member and want to access to this and many other membership benefits? Join as an NRC member today!. If you have any questions about joining the NRC, or your organization's current membership status, please simply reply to this email

Auction Details:

Reminder: If you plan on consigning or donating equipment, please submit all equipment information, including up-to-date pictures of the equipment by COB April 3, 2023. Submit your equipment description and pictures to Billy Hartnedy at

Location: Thank you to our host, Maintenance of Way Equipment Services (503 Avenue H, Rosenberg, TX 77471)


  • Happy Hour - April 26, 2023. Join us at the Houston Marriott Sugar Land from 5 to 7 pm. More details about the Happy Hour will be forthcoming. Please register to attend.
  • In-Person Auction with On-Site and Online Bidding - April 27, 2023 at 9 am CDT.
  • Online auction will continue on until Monday, May 1, 2023.

Hotel Info: The NRC room block at the Houston Sugarland Marriott is sold out.

For equipment and bidder registration, equipment inspection and shipment/delivery of equipment, please contact Billy Hartnedy of Blackmon Auctions at 

For the most up-to-date information, visit:

NRC Members: NRC Safety Video #29: Safety and Health - Fitness for Duty Now Available!

Proceeds from consigned or donated equipment at the NRC auction directly support the NRC’s safety programs, including the ongoing safety training video series. The NRC's brand new Safety Video #29 - Safety and Health: Fitness for Duty addresses the timely topic of mental health and is now available for view at

For a sneak peek, please click the NRC icon on the left for a preview. To access your member benefits, including the library of NRC safety videos, please login to the NRC website at Not an NRC member and want to access to this and many other membership benefitsJoin as an NRC member today!. If you have any questions about joining the NRC, or your organization's current membership status, please simply reply to this email.

NRC Members: NRC Membership Renewal Period Now Open!

It is time to renew your company's NRC 2023 membership! NRC staff emailed your organization's primary contact earlier in February with all corresponding information for your organization's renewal. If your organization was a member in 2022, and you would like to renew or have any questions about renewing or joining in please contact NRC staff at Additionally, please click here to take the NRC membership survey, if you have not already done so.

Not an NRC member and want to access to this and many other membership benefitsJoin as an NRC member today!. If you have any questions about joining the NRC, or your organization's current membership status, please simply reply to this email.

NRC Members: Feedback Requested to help NRC Veterans Committee, Education Committee

NRC Members, we would like your feedback to help assist two NRC Committees, The Veterans Committee and Education Committee. In an effort to streamline feedback, we have compiled the below survey:

All of the information gathered in this survey will not be shared widely or disseminated publicly. The survey information is intended only for feedback purposes and to make sure that NRC membership and NRC member benefits are as aligned as possible.

CP-KCS Merger Approved

On March 15, 2023 the Surface Transportation Board conditionally approved a merger between Canadian Pacific Railway and Kansas City Southern. The STB’s decision takes effect on April 14, 2023. The decision authorizes CP to exercise control of KCS as early as April 14 at or after which point CP and KCS would combine to create the new CPKC. The historic combination of the two railroads, will create the first railroad providing single-line service spanning Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

CP and KCS officials announced on March 17, that they expect the Class Is to officially combine on April 14, 2023. Full integration of CP and KCS is expected to happen over the next three years. The decision includes an unprecedented seven-year oversight period and contains many conditions designed to mitigate environmental impacts, preserve competition, protect railroad workers, and promote efficient passenger rail.

President Biden unveils FY 2024 Budget

On March 9, President Biden unveiled the highlights of his FY 2024 Budget. The White House also released detailed appendix and agency justifications on March 15 that will include more official information. Some highlights of President Biden’s FY 2024 budget request include:

  • $4.8 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration including $3.1 billion for Amtrak, which when combined with $4.4 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) advance appropriations, will support Amtrak’s continued operations across the Northeast Corridor and National Network at a total of over $7.5 billion
  • $1.5 billion for rail infrastructure and safety improvements, which would include: $850 million to improve grade crossings and $560 million for intercity passenger rail grants
  • $1.2 billion for the National Infrastructure Project Assistance (Mega) discretionary grant program, which supports large, complex projects that are difficult to fund by other means and presents a unique opportunity for DOT to invest in the Nation’s surface transportation infrastructure. 

The Biden Administration unveiling an FY 2024 budget will begin a process for both the upper and lower chambers Appropriations committees. The appropriations process and discussions for the FY 2024 request will continue to develop over the coming months.

East Palestine, Ohio Derailment Update

On March 22, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee held a hearing titled “Improving Rail Safety in Response to the East Palestine Derailment.” Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw, and NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy were key witnesses. The hearing began with a panel of Senators Sherrod Brown, JD Vance, and Governor of Ohio Mike DeWine. Brown and Vance highlighted their proposed Railway Safety Act of 2023. Chair Homendy opened by expressing her deep sympathy to those impacted by the East Palestine derailment and assuring them that the NTSB is committed to a thorough investigation and the development of safety recommendations to prevent future accidents. Shaw stated he was deeply sorry for the impact the derailment in East Palestine has had on communities. 

This hearing followed a March 9 hearing the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Hearing held titled “Protecting Public Health and the Environment in the Wake of the Norfolk Southern Train Derailment and Chemical Release in East Palestine, Ohio.” NS CEO Alan Shaw was a key witness on the panel. Shaw began his testimony by apologizing and reiterating that NS will make this situation right and are committed to being on the ground and involved as long as it takes.

On March 1, Senators JD Vance (R-OH), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), along with Marco Rubio (R-FL), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Jon Fetterman (D-PA) introduced legislation, The Railway Safety Act of 2023. The bill will take a number of key steps to improve rail safety protocols, such as enhancing safety procedures for trains carrying hazardous materials, establishing requirements for wayside defect detectors, creating a permanent requirement for railroads to operate with at least two-person crews, increasing fines for wrongdoing committed by rail carriers, and more. The bill is expected to have a markup sometime this April. To read the full bill, please click here.

FRA 2022 Safety Data Reflects Industry’s Safety Commitment

On March 3, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) announced in a press release that newly released Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) data confirms, in thanks to railroad employee commitment to safety and ongoing industry investments, that U.S. railroads continue to maintain a strong safety record. Notable statistics, calculated per million train miles using data released in March 2023 by FRA, include:

  • Class I railroads’ mainline accident rate is at an all-time low and down 49 percent since 2000. For all railroads, that rate has declined 44 percent since 2000
  • For all railroads, the derailment rate is down 31 percent since 2000, but despite that longer-term positive trend, it was up by 5 percent year-over-year.
  • Track-caused accidents are down 55 percent since 2000 and are at their lowest-ever rate across the entire rail industry.
  • Per Class I railroad employee, the casualty rate has dropped 63 percent since 2000 and is at an all-time low

The newly released FRA data also demonstrated areas where additional work is necessary to drive down risk and enhance safety, such as equipment-caused accidents noted previously. Additionally, while human factor-caused incidents are down 15 percent compared to 2000, the rate of these types of accidents increased 13 percent compared to last year, which also drove the yard accident rate up year-over-year. Over 95% of rail-related fatalities are trespassers or grade crossing users. For more information, please click here.

Key NOFO's and Deadlines now on USDOT Website

In January of 2023, the US Department of Transportation (USDOT), in order to provide stakeholders with more visibility into upcoming funding opportunities, published a list of anticipated dates for upcoming Notices of Funding Opportunity (NOFOs) for key programs within the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), as well as adjacent programs that support BIL and IRA objectives. This list is not comprehensive and will be updated periodically with additional programs and revised dates as appropriate. To view that list, please click here.

Industry News and Updates

Gulf & Atlantic Railways to acquire three short lines

On March 28, Gulf & Atlantic Railways (G&AR) agreed to acquire three railroads from Midwest & Bluegrass Rail. The three short lines are Camp Chase Railroad (CAMY), Chesapeake & Indiana Railroad (CKIN) and Vermilion Valley Railroad (VVRR). The short lines are located in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, respectively. The acquisition will expand G&AR’s existing portfolio to five railroads from two. "We look forward to continuing the safe, customer-focused operations of these railroads, which we believe are complementary to our existing business," said G&AR CEO Ryan Ratledge.

UP, SMART-TD reach agreement to keep two-person crews

On March 27, Union Pacific Railroad (UP) and its largest union announced the sides had reached a tentative agreement that would maintain two-person crews. The agreement with the General Committee 953 of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART-TD), makes no changes to the current conductor position staffing each train as part of a two-person crew, provides long-term job protection to current employees and gives the railroad more flexibility to deploy brake or switch persons to work either in or outside the yard, UP officials said.

NS taps Loeb to oversee first-and-last-mile markets

On March 23, Norfolk Southern Railway announced that Stefan Loeb will join the railroad as vice president of first-and-last-mile markets. Loeb, comes to NS from Watco Cos., where he is the executive vice president and chief commercial officer. Loeb’s new role at NS is prompting a leadership shuffle at the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA), where Loeb has been serving as the association’s chairman. ASLRRA officials announced yesterday that Matt Walsh, executive VP of global corporate development at Genesee & Wyoming Railroad Services Inc., will succeed Loeb as chair.

FTA: $212.3MM Available for Emergency Relief Funding

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced March 27 that $212,301,048 in grants are available to apply for under the Public Transportation Emergency Relief Program (Emergency Relief Program) for states, territories, local government authorities, Indian tribes, and other FTA recipients affected by major declared disasters in calendar years 2017, 2020, 2021 and 2022. Recipients are strongly encouraged to review FTA’s Emergency Relief Manual, found here, and FTA’s Emergency Relief FAQs found here, to assist in the identification of potentially eligible projects and emergency expenses. Applications may be accessed and must be submitted electronically through the GRANTS.GOV “APPLY” function by May 26, 2023.

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