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American Association of
Railroad Superintendents

Derailment Investigation Seminars Led by Industry Expert Gary Wolf Announced for 2018!

April 23-24 in Philly and May 8-9 in Los Angeles

AARS announces two Derailment Investigation Seminars to be held in 2018

Gary Wolf, President, Wolf Railway Consulting, offers valuable derailment investigation information you can’t get elsewhere. 

Railroad managers, superintendents, engineers, trainmasters and others gain a working knowledge of basic track structure, performance, causes of common problems; examination of detail on axle loads, traffic density, operating speeds; optimal learning potential with presentations on railroad turnouts, crossings with details handling spots and much more.

Participants of the two-day seminar will receive a certificate of completion along with a binder full of course content to share with colleagues.

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 Jun 2022
    • 5:00 PM (CDT)
    • 23 Jun 2022
    • 11:00 AM (CDT)
    • Chicago, IL

    Save the date for the AARS 124th Annual Meeting, June 20-21, 2022 in Chicago right on Wacker Dr. near Michigan Ave. at the Swissotel!

    NOTE:  Due to issues related to COVID-19, the 2020-21 Annual Meeting has been canceled.

    The 2022 meeting will open with a reception on June 20 at 5:00 p.m.

    AARS will host the Progressive Railroading Rising Stars Award Dinner as part of the AARS Annual Meeting on June 20 at 6:30 p.m.

    Registration to the AARS Annual Meeting includes a ticket to the Rising Stars dinner.  For more information about the Rising Stars dinner, visit http://www.progressiverailroading.com/risingstars/about.asp

    The meeting program will continue June 21 at 8:00 a.m. and will conclude on June 22 at 11:00 a.m. 

    Registration will open in January, 2022.

    Golf Outing:  On June 22 the AARS will hold its annual golf outing to benefit the AARS Scholarship Fund.  More information to come.

    Hotel Information

    The meeting will be held in downtown Chicago at the Swissotel.  Reservation information to come.


    The agenda for the 124th Annual Meeting is to be published beginning in January, 2022.  

    Below is the agenda from the 123rd Annual Meeting in Norfolk, VA to provide you with an idea of a typical AARS Annual Meeting.  Learn more about the 2019 meeting proceedings by viewing our AARS Journal coverage of the meeting by clicking here.

    Monday, July 22

    Industry Tour of Norfolk Harbor! 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.

    Tour Sponsored by:  

    5:00 pm Opening Reception and Technical Showcase

    6:30 pm Progressive Railroading Rising Stars Awards and Dinner

    Tuesday, July 23

    7:00 am Continental Breakfast and Technical Showcase sponsored by 

    8:00 am Keynote Speaker

    Jim Squires, President, CEO & Executive Chairman, Norfolk Southern

    9:00 am Break in Technical Showcase

    9:30 am Regional Perspective

    David Gooden, Division Superintendent, Norfolk Southern

    10:15 am Rising Stars Panel: Achieving Success in the Rail Industry

    Kelley Carr, Sr. Manager – Positive Train Control, Safety, Compliance & Training, Amtrak

    Scott Schiemann, Chief Engineer, Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad

    James Schwichtenberg, Vice President, Chief Safety Officer, CSX

    11:45 am Break in Technical Showcase 

    12:00 Annual Industry Luncheon & Lantern Awards 

    Charge to Superintendents

    Ed Harris, EVP Operations, CSX

    1:30  Onboarding a Shortline

    Stefan Loeb, EVP and Chief Commercial Officer, Watco Companies

    John Rickoff – President & CEO Lake State Railway

    Mark Rosner – President & CEO Carload Express

    2:30  Break in Technical Showcase 

    3:15 pm 

    Panel Presentation: Precision Scheduled Railroading

    -          Dave Ferryman, VP Commercial & Technology, EVRAZ N.A. (confirmed)

    -          Brian Murray, Regional Superintendent, CSX

    4:15 p.m. Update on the “Railroad Renaissance” Tony Hatch, ABH Consulting

    Wednesday, July 24

    7:00 am Continental Breakfast and Technical Showcase in Great Room, 6th floor

     8:00 am   Attracting & Retaining New Employees

    Bill Fountain, Director of Recruitment, Genesee & Wyoming

    Rachael Peterson, EVP People Services, Watco Companies

    Dan MacKay, AVP Human Resources, Norfolk Southern

    9:00 a.m.  Enhancing Your Safety Culture within Your Railroad – Panel

    Darrell Snyder, VP Mechanical, Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad

    Clay Smith,  Manager of Safety & Training, Florida East Coast Railway

    Ken Glover, VP Safety, Genesee & Wyoming

    10:30 am Business Session

    11:00 am Adjourn

    11:30 pm Bus Loads for Annual Golf Outing, departing at 11:45 a.m.

    Bus departs  for the AARS Annual Golf Outing to benefit the Frank J. Richter Scholarship

    1:15 p.m. Shotgun Start at River Front Golf Club, Suffolk, VA

Past events

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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