Crossties

MAY-JUN 2018

Crossties is published for users and producers of treated wood crossties.

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CONTACT RTA WEBSITE BECOME A MEMBER BECOME A MEMBER RTA WEBSITE CONTACT Cahaba Pressure Treated Forest Products Eagle Metal Products East Coast Railroad Gross & Janes Co. Hurdle Machine Works Koppers Inc. CROSSTIES • MAY/JUNE 2018 16 Women, Moving Railroads & RTA Down The Line orses, bandanas, coal smoke and desert landscape best illustrate the immediate imagery most Americans conjure up when the word "railroad" comes into conversation. To a certain extent, this cinematic feel adds a little romanticism to an industry that is quietly experiencing a fast and furious expansion into futuristic technology. The rough and tumble man's world of conducting, building and operating railroads has moved seamlessly into a scene where women are playing a bigger role and the industry is welcoming the innovation of next generation vision. Railroading is experienc- ing a rejuvenating shift that will blow you aside like tumbleweed if you don't keep up. As railroading has evolved, efficiency and scope of service has expanded. In the 80s there were 12 Class 1 railroads. Today, seven Class 1's now stand connect- ing to over 550 short line railroads that operate more than 50,000 miles of track in the United States. Today's challenges have moved past navigating regulations to how to deliver materials in a safe, fast and efficient manner. "The long hauls are the most competitive in pricing, so now we must work on making transloading facilities more efficient and diversified for shorter runs," said Travis Gross, VP of commercial sales for Koppers Inc. By using transloading facilities (places that specialize in the process of transferring shipment from one mode of transportation to another) to move materials from the railroad to the mode of transportation that will take the materials to their ultimate destination, you are minimizing handling, improving safety and increasing efficiency. With rail traffic predicted to increase, improved transloading technology will not be the only thing appreciated by tomorrow's conductors. Many systems are beginning to adapt big data technology (electronic gather- ing of large data sets for analysis) that can handle the complex needs of rail transport. Gone are the days of the caboose and the printed train schedule. As seen at the recent American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) CONNECTIONS conference in Nashville, Tenn., compa- nies can now track each and every rail car detail—from what they are carrying to where they are—with the click of a mouse. Big data also allows the collection of trip elements such as how long it takes a train pulling specific materials to get from point A to point B, locating track anomalies, etc. This data allows for making informed future decisions that can positively impact safety and efficiency. As with most innovation, this technology invites new and innovative employees. "The challenge now is embracing the opportunity to harness the knowledge of tenured staff and close the gap between them and the next railroading generation," said Kristine Storm, VP of purchasing for Genesee & Wyoming Inc. and a member of the Railway Tie Association's Executive Committee. Beyond big data, we are seeing improve- ments that carefully and thoroughly enhance safety for employees and communities such as Positive Train Control (PTC). PTC is an advanced system designed to automatically stop a train before certain accidents occur. "PTC is a major player in railroad growth, helping to eliminate human error," said Jim Raines, regional sales manager for Stella-Jones Inc. PTC is designed to prevent train-to-train collisions, derailments caused by excessive train speed, train movement through misaligned track switches and unau- thorized train entry into work zones. Historically, the rough and tumble rail- road world has been male-dominated. However, women are inexorably making a significant impact in the railroad industry. The number of management positions held by women in this industry is growing at a rapid pace. Kathy Keeny, VP of ASLRRA, said at her first conference 30 years ago that there were only about 10 women in attend- ance. But, at the 2018 CONNECTIONS conference, approximately 360 of the 1,800 registrants were female. "I would love to see a woman run a Class 1 railroad; it's time," said Linda Darr, outgoing ASLRRA President. And she is right. Women are demonstrating their expertise, adaptability and mettle going heel-to-wingtip with the best of them. All in all, the coal dust has settled, and the future looks bright for railroads, with railroad employees and consumers benefit- ting from them. As population rises and consumerism grows, the need for even more efficient, faster modes of transporting goods will create the need for further change and adaptation. In 50 years, another writer will be looking back on our time, perhaps giving it a gritty, cinematic feel as they describe rail car graf- fiti and diesel power in contrast to their solar powered, automated and streamlined rail cars, but it will be a sign of progress in an ever-changing universe. SPECIAL MEMBER REPORT: WOMEN IN RRs Special To Crossties By Linde Mills H Judy Petry, president of short line hold- ing company Farmrail System Inc. and Board Chair for ASLRRA, participated in the 2017 RTA Conference in San Diego as a presenter. She shared her insight on the importance of the short line rail- road industry to the U.S. economy and described how Farmrail has made a dif- ference in the communities it serves. This special member report was filed by Linde Mills. Mills is Public Relations & Social Media Coordinator for Nisus Corporation. New to the railroad industry, Linde joined the Nisus team in January 2017. Her role is to create public communications and social media strategies to keep customers informed of any company developments. She also works with the Nisus team to serve as a resource for customers in support of their social media teams.

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