AAR sends letter to U.S. mayors to stress freight railroads’ local impacts

(Source: Progressive Railroading 06/11/2018)

Ed Hamberger
Photo – AAR

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) on Friday sent a letter to numerous U.S. mayors highlighting the freight-rail industry’s business and external relations efforts, including its economic impact, safety record and technological gains.

The letter cites freight railroads’ ongoing work to install positive train control and references the AskRail app that was developed with the International Association of Fire Chiefs. Available to qualified first responders in the case of an emergency, AskRail can be used to learn the contents of rail cars involved in an accident.

Along with constantly occurring safety training events held throughout the country, AskRail is one of the most tangible ways in which railroads interact with local communities, AAR officials said in a press release.

The letter was sent to the mayors because “they are the vanguard of public policy” and will be critical stakeholders as the freight-rail industry pursues wider deployment of safety-improving technologies, they said.

“A significant portion of the industry’s operations are regulated by the federal government, but our impact is felt strongly in towns and cities across this country,” said AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Hamberger. “We feel it is important to extend our Washington-based dialogue to local policymakers to supplement the tireless work our members do every day in working with not just mayors, but their residents, businesses and safety officials.”