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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

    • 22 Jul 2018
    • 5:00 PM (CDT)
    • 24 Jul 2018
    • 11:00 AM (CDT)
    • W Lakeshore Hotel, Chicago, IL

    Register now for the AARS 122nd Annual Meeting, July 22-24, 2018 at the W Lakeshore in Chicago.

    Registration is open!

    The meeting will open with a reception on Sunday, July 22 at 5:00 p.m.

    AARS will host the Progressive Railroading Rising Stars Award Dinner as part of the AARS Annual Meeting on Sunday, July 22 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

    The meeting program will continue Monday, July 23 at 8:00 a.m. and will conclude on Tuesday, July 24 at 11:00 a.m. 

    Golf Outing:  On Tuesday, July 24, the AARS will hold its annual golf outing to benefit the AARS Scholarship Fund at the Harborside Golf Course in Chicago.  Click here to visit the Golf Outing page.  

    Hotel Information

    The meeting will be held at the W Lakeshore in Chicago at 644 N. Lake Shore Drive.  http://www.wchicago-lakeshore.com/

    Make your reservation before June 29, 2018 by calling the hotel directly at 312-943-9200 or 888-627-9034 and mention your participation in the American Association of Railroad Superintendents Annual Meeting to receive the special discounted nightly rate of $199/night.  

    You may also make your hotel reservation at this link:  https://www.starwoodmeeting.com/Book/AARS2018    


    Sunday, July 22

    1:00 p.m. Rail Tour:  Tour of Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad's transition to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).  Bus departs the W Lakeshore Hotel at 12:15 p.m. from the W Lakeshore Lobby, return to the hotel by 4:00 p.m.

    3:00 p.m. Meeting Registration Opens in Great Room, 6th floor

    5:00 pm Opening Reception and Technical Showcase in Great Room, 6th floor

    6:30 pm Progressive Railroading Rising Stars Awards and Dinner in Altitude, 33rd floor

    Monday, July 23

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

    8:00 am  Opening Remarks and Charge to Superintendents in Altitude, 33rd floor

     Keith Creel, President and CEO, Canadian Pacific Railway

    9:00 a.m. Break in Technical Showcase in the Great Room, 6th Floor

    9:30 am Regional Perspective:

     Jim Derwinski, CEO and Executive Director, METRA

    10:30 am

    Panel Presentation: 

    Attracting and Retaining Employees Panel

    Kelly Millenbah, Associate Dean & Director, Michigan State University

    Brook Hartzog, GM, Florida East Coast Railway

    Cris Hatcher, Director of Training & Development, Watco Companies

    11:45 am Break in Technical Showcase in Great Room, 6th floor

    12:00 Annual Industry Luncheon in Industry 1&2, 6th floor

    Lantern Awards

    1:15 p.m. Return to Altitude, 33rd floor

    1:15  Performance Metrics

    John Friedmann, VP Network Operations & Strategic Planning, Norfolk Southern Corporation

    2:00   Economic Outlook

    Melissa Peralta, Senior Economist, TTX

    2:45 p.m. Break in Technical Showcase in Great Room, 6th floor

    3:15 pm Rising Stars Panel: Achieving Success in the Rail Industry

    Amy Rice, VP Strategic Planning, CSX

    Jeremy Kramer, Director of Transportation, Louisville & Indiana Railroad

    Clayton Johanson, Terminal Manager, Suburban Operations, BNSF

    4:15 p.m. Update on the “Railroad Renaissance”

    Tony Hatch, Transportation Analyst, ABH Consulting

    5:00 pm Adjourn

    6:00 p.m. Michael A. Paras Foundation Fundraiser at Biggs Mansion Chicago

    Tuesday, July 24

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

     8:00 am Safety Culture Topics

     8: 00 a.m. DOWDuPont Safety Focus

    o    Rail Fleet management & maintenance, 

    o     NAR Prevention

    o    TRANSCAER and ER support

    9:00 a.m.  Developing a Safety Culture within Your Railroad - Panel

    Moe Savoy, Vice President and Deputy Chief Mechanical Yards & Terminals, Amtrak

    David Tarwater, GM at Birmingham Terminal Railway and Alabama Warrior

    Mike Long, Senior Safety and Operations Manager, Short LIne Safety Institute

    10:00 am Transitioning to CNG

    IHBRR representative

    10:30 am Business Session

    11:00 am Adjourn


    11:45 pm Annual Golf Outing

    Harborside Golf Course, 11001 S. Doty Ave., East, Chicago for the AARS Annual Golf Outing to benefit the Frank J. Richter Scholarship

    • 24 Jul 2018
    • 1:00 PM (CDT)
    • Harborside Golf Course, Chicago, IL

    The AARS will host a golf outing during the AARS 122nd Annual Meeting at the Harborside Golf Course in Chicago on Tuesday, July 24, 2018.

    Proceeds from the outing will benefit the Frank J. Richter Scholarship Fund which provides educational scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students. 

    Shotgun start: 1:00 p.m.

    Registration opens at 12:00 p.m.

    Dinner:  6:00 p.m.

     Take advantage of the early bird rate of $140 per player or $560 per foursome before June 15. 

    Additional prize fund:  to contribute funds to for additional prizes, click here.  The additional prize fund contribution link is not on the registration page.  

    The AARS Annual Golf Outing will be held at the conclusion of the AARS 121st Annual Meeting in St. Louis.  Event registration is $140 per person and includes green fees, cart, refreshments, box lunch, dinner after golf, and a prize for every participant. Golf outing registration is NOT included with registration for the 121st Annual Meeting.

    Register as an individual player or as a foursome. 

    Proceeds of the event will benefit the Frank J. Richter Scholarship Fund.

    Need to rent clubs?  Contact the course directly.

    Transportation from the Annual Meeting at the W Lakeshore Hotel to the course and return to the hotel is complimentary with your registration.  You do not need to be an AARS member, nor do you have to register for the Annual Meeting to participate in the golf outing.  Golf outing registration is NOT included with 122nd Annual Meeting registration.


    Contact Carrie Foor at 331-643-3369. 

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