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American Association of
Railroad Superintendents

AARS Announces 3 new Train Accident Prevention (TAP) and Investigation Seminars in 2022! 

April 26-27 in Jacksonville, FL - August 2-3 in Hammond, IN - October 20-21 in Nicholasville, KY

Led by former Class 1 Directors of Accident Prevention Bruce Rose and Jimmy Grupposo, attendees will gain hands-on experience in key methods to prevent accidents and how to investigate after an accident.

Railroad managers, superintendents, engineers, trainmasters and others will learn valuable information about train/track dynamics, human factors, root causes, equipment and engineering fact finding.

Participants will participate for 2 days -- one day in the classroom and one day in the field.

Visit the Meetings and Seminars page to learn more.

Dates Announced for AARS 2018 Conference Events!

Industry leading speakers, real world insight, Rising Stars Awards, golf on the lake,  scotch and cigar fundraiser and more!

The following events have been scheduled during the AARS 122nd Annual Meeting at the W Lakeshore, Chicago, IL July 22-24, 2018

- Sunday, July 22, 2018 1 p.m.  AARS Rail Tour:  Tour of Indiana Harbor Belt Railway's system using new Compressed Natural Gas engines.  

- Sunday, July 22, 2018 5 p.m. AARS 122nd Annual Meeting Opening Reception and Progressive Railroading Rising Stars Award dinner.

- Monday and Tuesday, July 23-24, 2018 7 a.m. AARS 122nd Annual Meeting at the W Lakeshore

- Monday, July 23 6 p.m. Michael A. Paras Foundation Scotch Tasting and Cigar Fundraising Event at Biggs Mansion, Chicago, IL

- Tuesday, July 24, 2018 1 p.m. AARS Annual Golf Outing at the Harborside Golfcourse, Chicago, IL

Congratulations to the AARS 2017 Lantern Award Winners

On Monday, July 24, 2017, the American Association of Railroad Superintendents awarded its 2017 Lantern Awards to three award recipients. 

The AARS "Ones to Watch" Award was awarded to Jason Engle, Asst. General Foreman, BNSF and to Rob Garofolo, Terminal Supt., CSX.  

The AARS Michael A. Paras Leadership Award was awarded to Rick Webb, CEO of Watco Companies.  

Congratulations to the award recipients!

Sustained Attention Research & Training to

Reduce Human Factor Caused Train Accidents

by Ron Robusto

The railroad industry is beginning to see the benefits of the Federal Railroad Administration’s partnership with Transdev (formerly Veolia Transportation) in a recently completed research and development project on cognitive distraction and reducing major rule violations in commuter rail operations. As a result of the study’s conclusive findings, the Sustained Attention Training Program was developed by Transdev with the objective of offering training across the industry to reduce human factor caused train accidents.

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers partnered with Transdev for the research portion of the project. The BLE provided thirty-six locomotive engineers who operated the locomotive simulator that is part of the FRA’s Cab Technology Integration Laboratory in Cambridge, MA. The research included testing and analyzing locomotive engineers under various scenarios. A control group of locomotive engineers was provided basic training on everything required to operate the simulator safely and effectively. A second group of locomotive engineers was provided the same basic training PLUS a short module on the science of distraction and how it affects performance.

The results were significant and meaningful for our industry. The second group performed better by a margin ranging from 7.1% to 11.2% in the various subjectively measured areas that were analyzed. The research clearly validated the effectiveness of minimal training on the science of distraction. However, we expect an even higher level of performance of locomotive engineers, as well as other safety critical employees, with a more structured and recurring training approach.

This research reveals real opportunityto improve safety in our industry. I strongly believe Transdev’s Sustained Attention Training program will make a significant and positive difference in reducing human factor caused train accidents. The training consists of four key modules: Your Safety Culture; The Science of Cognitive Distraction; Signs and Symptoms of Loss of Attentiveness; and Solutions and Strategies for Fighting Distraction. The curriculum is designed to fully engage students in all four modules and will be reinforced with additional tools and processes. We currently are piloting the training program within our company over the course of this year, and intend to roll it out and make it available to the entire rail industry in 2016.

For more information about the progress of this study and training initiative, please contact Ron Robusto, COO and VP Safety and Compliance, TransDev, at ron.robusto@transdev.com. 

This blog was authored by by Ron Robusto, Chief Operating Officer and VP Safety and Compliance- Rail Division, TransDev, and 2nd Vice President of AARS


Upcoming events

    • 20 Oct 2022
    • 9:00 AM (EDT)
    • 21 Oct 2022
    • 5:00 PM (EDT)
    • RJ Corman, Nicholasville, KY
    • 15

    Join us for this 2-day Field Train Accident Prevention & Investigation Seminar which features one day in the field and one in the classroom. 

    Led by experienced railroaders Bruce Rose and Jimmy Grupposo, this session is offered as follows:

    October 20-21, 2022 at RJ Corman Nicholasville, KY

    See agenda below.  Lunch is included in the session registration fee of $849 for members and $949 for non-members.

    Questions? Call Carrie Foor at 331-643-3369 or email cfoor54@msn.com


    09:00               Safety Briefing


                            Course Objectives

    10:00               Investigation (TAP) Walk Through

                                        Before Equipment Arrives – Things to Accomplish

                                        Data to Secure

                                        Recording Track Geometry

                                        Identify Point of Derailment (PD)

                                        Reviewing Possible Causes of PD and Wheel Action

                                        Rail Rollover

                                        Wheel Climb

                                        Broken Rail

                                        Finding First Wheel

                                        Site Sketch


    12:00               Lunch

    13:00               Equipment Fact Finding

                                                    Wheel Sets

                                                    3 – Piece Truck

                                                                Side Frame Bottoms

                                                                Warp Resistance

                                                                Vertical Damping

                                                    Truck and Car Body Interface

                                                                Side Bearings

                                                                Bolster Bowl/Center Plate

                                                    Draft Systems

                                                                Coupler Angularity

    14:30               Break

    15:00               Engineering Fact Finding

                                                    Basics of Track Structure

                                                    Rail Identification


                                                    Basic Track Geometry                                               

    Rail Defect

    Track Notes

    FRA Track Safety Standards

    Turnout Derailment Investigation Booklet                                                                                              

    16:30               Close

    (Day 2)

    09:00               Track/Train Dynamics

                                        Air Brakes

                                        Dynamic Brake

                                        Train Handling Issues

                                        Excessive Draft Force

                                        Excessive Buff Force

                                        L/V Ratio

                                        Train Make-Up

                                        Event Recorder Data

    10:30               Break

    10:45               Human Factors                      

    Situational Awareness (SA)

                                        Identify Common Causes of Human Error

                                        Define Situational Awareness (SA)/Strategies to Manage SA

                                        Recognize when SA is Diminished or Lost (Perception)

    11:45               Root Cause Analysis


                                        Using Historical Data                                                     

    12:00               Lunch             

    13:00               Hands-On Training – Field Work (PPE required)

                                        Engineering – Track Notes & Turnout Inspection

                                        Mechanical – Car Inspection

    16:30               Close


Past events

02 Aug 2022 Midwest AARS Field Train Accident Prevention (TAP) & Investigation Training
21 Jun 2022 Night of the Stars
20 Jun 2022 AARS 124th Annual Meeting
26 Apr 2022 AARS Field Train Accident Prevention (TAP) & Investigation Training
11 Nov 2021 Human Factors Seminar ONLY - Nov 2021
09 Nov 2021 NOV 2021 AARS Derailment Investigation Seminar ONLY -- Philly
09 Nov 2021 Registration for BOTH AARS Derailment Investigation & Human Factors Seminar -- Philly
05 Nov 2019 2019 AARS Derailment Investigation Seminar -- Chicago O'Hare
24 Jul 2019 2019 AARS Annual Golf Outing to Benefit the Frank J. Richter Scholarship Fund
22 Jul 2019 AARS 123rd Annual Meeting
05 Jun 2019 2019 Human Factors Seminar
06 Nov 2018 Human Factors Seminar
24 Jul 2018 2018 AARS Annual Golf Outing to Benefit the Frank J. Richter Scholarship Fund
22 Jul 2018 AARS 122nd Annual Meeting
08 May 2018 AARS Derailment Investigation Seminar -- Los Angeles
23 Apr 2018 AARS Derailment Investigation Seminar -- Philadelphia
25 Jul 2017 2017 AARS Annual Golf Outing to Benefit the Frank J. Richter Scholarship Fund
25 Jul 2017 2017 AARS Annual Derailment Investigation Seminar
23 Jul 2017 AARS 121st Annual Meeting
26 Jul 2016 AARS Annual Golf Outing to Benefit the Frank J. Richter Scholarship Fund
24 Jul 2016 AARS 120th Annual Meeting
09 Nov 2015 AARS Annual Derailment Investigation Seminar
21 Jul 2015 AARS Annual Golf Outing to Benefit the Frank J. Richter Scholarship Fund
19 Jul 2015 AARS 119th Annual Meeting
03 Nov 2014 AARS Derailment Investigation Seminar, Nov. 3-4
14 Sep 2014 AARS 2014 Annual Meeting
04 Nov 2013 AARS Derailment Investigation Seminar, Nov. 4-5
21 Jul 2013 117th AARS Anual Meeting Newark, NJ/New York, NY
28 Feb 2013 41st Winter Meeting ATLANTA
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