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NRC Bulletin - March 9, 2015 
Welcome New NRC Members
Bridging the Gap for Minorities  
Browning Engineering
Houston Engineering 
S & J Crosstie Constructors 
NRC Toolbox Talks


The NRC Safety Committee has revised and updated the NRC's Toolbox Talks. They are available for download at:


A version is available in PDF format as well as in Microsoft Word so that NRC member companies can make company or job specific changes.


Member-Get-A-Member Campaign   
Help Grow the NRC and Strengthen our Voice


Three options to help recruit new members:


1. Reply to this email with names and contact information of potential members and we'll send them a membership information package.


2. Make a quick introductory call and follow up using the "E-Kit" found here.


3. Direct a potential new member to where they can learn more about the NRC and join online. 


Visit the NRC Bid Notifications page on the NRC website at:


Publicize your Rail Industry Event on

Visit: to submit an event

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TopTable of Contents 

Save the Date: NRC Auction on April 17, 2015 in Little Rock, AR

Save the Date: Railroad Day on Capitol Hill is June 4, 2015

New Member Profiles: Bridging the Gap for Minorities, S & J Crosstie Construction, Webber, MF Wirth Rail Corporation, and Houston Engineering

U.S. Congressman Jeff Denham Tours Colton Crossing Rail-to-Rail Grade Separation Project


NRC Legislative and Regulatory Update


M-1 Rail Issues RFP for System Operator


FRA Issues Clarification on PTC Safety Plan Approval Process 


Wabtec Acquires Railroad Controls


Harsco Acquires Transportation Safety Systems Provider Protran


RT&S Article Summarizes Class I Planned 2015 Capital Expenditures


BNSF Further Details Planned 2015 Capex Program


FTA Grants $29M to Promote Transit Safety


NCDOT Allocates $3.7M for Rail Improvements


USDOT Highlights Durham-Orange Light Rail in Transportation Investment Tour


Rick Bakke from Houston Rail Passes Away


Kentucky Transportation Center Releases At-Grade Crossing Management Construction Report


 AuctionNRC Auction is April 17, 2015 in Little Rock, AR


The 2015 NRC Rail Construction and Maintenance Equipment Auction will take place this April in Little Rock, Arkansas. It begins at 8:00am on Friday, April 17, 2015 and is expected finish by 3pm.


Location: Blackmon Auctions facility, 425 Blackmon Road, Lonoke, Arkansas 72086.


Equipment inspection available: 9am-5pm, April 16, 2015.


Before the auction there will be a Happy Hour on April 16, 2015, 5:00pm to close at the Wyndham Riverfront Little Rock.


Hotel: Discounted room block available at Wyndham Riverfront Little Rock, 2 Riverfront Place, North Little Rock, AR 72114. Call 1-866-657-4458 and refer to the "NRC - National Railroad Construction & Maintenance Assn." when making your reservation. To reserve a room at the NRC room rate, click here: 


For more information including how to donate or consign equipment please visit: 


Typical equipment available at NRC auctions includes adzers/cribbers, air compressors, backhoes, ballast regulators and compactors, clip applicators and removers, cranes, excavators and gradalls, hi-rail trucks, Mark I, II and III Tampers, rail heaters, rail manipulators, rail saws, rotary scarifiers, speed swings, spike drivers and pullers, tie handlers, tie removers/inserters, track liners, and track undercutters.

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RRdaySave the Date: Railroad Day on Capitol Hill is June 4, 2015 


The next Railroad Day on the Hill is June 4, 2015. Railroad Day on the Hill is an industry event that encompasses meetings with Congressional members throughout the day and a reception and dinner in the evening.


NRC members are strongly encouraged to participate. Railroad Day on the Hill is an annual tradition, held in conjunction with the ASLRRA, AAR, REMSA, RSI, RSSI and the RTA. The event provides railroaders, railroad contractors, and suppliers an opportunity to tell our story about why railroads and rail infrastructure are important for your Members of Congress to focus on. It's also a great opportunity for contractors and suppliers to spend a day with your railroad customers, helping them on issues that are crucially important to their business. We will be advocating for railroad infrastructure investment tax credits, arguing against increases in the size and weight of trucks allowed on highways which would hurt railroads, fighting against harmful industry regulation, and discussing many others issues of importance to the industry. Railroad Day will be very timely this year - there are dozens of new Representatives and Senators to meet, and both the House and the Senate are planning to start work shortly on multiple pieces of rail and surface transportation legislation. This event can't be successful without your active participation.


The host hotel is the Renaissance Washington DC Downtown, 999 Ninth Street NW, Washington, DC 20001.  


All of the necessary info for booking a room, registration, and scheduling is below, or online at 


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NewMembersNRC New Member Profiles


Bridging the Gap for Minorities focuses on railroad construction, tie pickup, spike hole plugging, production tie and rail hanging, and maintenance/heavy equipment operating. In addition, Bridging the Gap for Minorities offers a youth program which provides employment to the less fortunate looking for a better life in the modern day technical industry.


For more information contact Nathaniel Joseph, 888-646-6843.


S & J Crosstie Construction, LLC specializes in the repair and maintenance of existing railroad tracks, as well as, construction of new tracks. S & J Crosstie provides general maintenance, removal of track debris, derailment repairs, rail and crosstie replacement, roadway crossing installations, switch point refurbishing, and various other rail construction needs. S & J also offers pre-job inspections and consultations. S & J is a fully insured company serving Pennsylvania and the surrounding area.   


For more information contact Jason Richter, 814-322-6081, sjcrosstie [at]


Webber is a 50+ year-old construction company based in Houston, Texas with satellite offices located in Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, and North Carolina.  Webber has a work force of approximately 1800 craft workers and 700 pieces of company owned equipment. Webber is one of the largest Design Build Firms in the nation with over 150 Professional Design Engineers on staff. Services offered include: Bridges; Paving (Concrete and Asphalt); Grading; Track Work; Ballast Work; Siding Construction; and Intermodal Facility / Metal Building Construction


For more information contact Curtis Van Cleve, 281-987-8787, curtis.vancleve [at]


MF Wirth Rail Corporation is a distributor of tee and girder rails to mass transit authorities and heavy haul railroads throughout the Americas. In close collaboration with a number of mills in Europe and North America since its incorporation in 1993, Wirth Rail has also specialized in providing less commonly produced rail profiles which are still in use today in LRT lines, in lighter density and short lines as well as for industrial applications. From head-hardened European girder rail to 100ARA-A, from American standards 136RE and 115RE to European standards 60E1 down to 49E1, Wirth Rail is proud to offer a solution for any rail road or transit requirement.


For more information contact Roger Skira, 514-369-7245, roger [at]


Houston Engineering, Inc. (HEI) is a full service civil engineering and consulting firm that first opened its doors in 1968, in Fargo, ND. Houston Engineering is now comprised of seven office locations in North Dakota and Minnesota with more than 150 team members serving clients in the Upper Midwest and nationwide. HEI offers a full range of services that covers water resources, environmental issues, water supply, municipal, transportation, surveying, land and site development, waste management, and GIS. Houston Engineering also provides web page development, mobile applications and information technology services.


For more information contact Houston Engineering online at or by email info [at] 


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DenhamColtonCrossingU.S. Congressman Jeff Denham Tours Colton Crossing Rail-to-Rail Grade Separation Project  

U.S. Congressman and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Jeff Denham joined representatives from HDR, Inc. and the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) for a tour of the Colton Crossing Rail-to-Rail Grade Separation project. The NRC organized the event.


Upon his arrival, Congressman Denham was greeted by representatives from HDR, including Senior Vice President, Global Director of Freight Railroads and NRC Board Member Scott Goehri, Senior Vice President, Transportation Group Area Manager Tom Kim, Federal Government Relations Coordinator Patrick Malone, and Vice President of Client Development Lisa Reece.


Additional attendees included NRC VP of Grassroots Advocacy & Events Ashley Bosch, San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) Board President Dennis Michaels, SANBAG Director of Project Delivery Garry Cohoe, SANBAG Chief of Legislative and Public Affairs Tim Watkins, City of Colton Mayor Richard Delarosa, City of Colton Mayor Pro Tem Frank Navarro, Former City of Colton Mayor Kelly Chastain and California State Assembly member Cheryl Brown.


Above: from left to right, Robert Chevez (Westbound Communications), Scott Goehri (HDR), Tom Kim (HDR), Ashley Bosch (NRC), Congressman Jeff Denham, California State Assemblymember Cheryl Brown, Dennis Michaels (SANBAG), City of Colton Mayor Richard Delarosa, Garry Gohoe (SANBAG), City of Colton Mayor Pro Tem Frank Navarro, City of Colton Former Mayor Kelly Chastain, and Patrick Malone (HDR)


The Colton Crossing is located where Union Pacific Railroad's (UPRR's) east/west tracks meet BNSF Railway's (BNSF) north/south tracks in Colton, California. To better serve freight and passenger movement in the region, a flyover structure was constructed to elevate the UPRR mainline tracks approximately 35 feet above the BNSF tracks. The lines serve as a main vein to/from the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles and are used by Amtrak and Metrolink for passenger rail services.


The Congressman had the opportunity to see the flyover structure first-hand and gain insight on the stakeholders' collaborative efforts that helped deliver the project $100 million under budget and 8 months ahead of schedule. The project, as part of a public-private partnership, successfully met the tight schedule to qualify for US Department of Transportation's Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant funding. Other funding sources included state bonds, the railroads, and Caltrans funding for environmental studies.


HDR's Tom Kim discussing aspects of the Colton Crossing project with Congressman Denham


"The success of the Colton Crossing Flyover Project is a result of the superb collaboration among all stakeholders and the project team" said Goehri. "Everyone, locally and nationally, will receive tremendous benefits as a result of this success."


"Colton Crossing's success has made transportation, travel, and goods movement easier on everyone in the region" said Denham. "The project is a great example of using innovative construction methods to deliver projects of national significance ahead of schedule and below predicted costs, and I was pleased to see it firsthand."



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These congressional visits are coordinated and executed by the NRC staff, for more information on NRC Grassroots Events, please visit:  

 LegRegUpdateNRC Legislative and Regulatory Update


A passenger rail/Amtrak reauthorization bill passed out of the U.S. House of Representatives on March 4: The bill is not everything that the NRC had hoped for, but it's an incremental step forward, and it's the best bill that we could have reasonably expected:

  • The good: improves the RRIF loan program, streamlines some environmental permitting for rail projects (both freight and passenger), expresses general support for the concept of federal support of intercity passenger rail, does not include any new restrictions on contracting out of federally supported rail projects or any new mandates pushing some types of contractors to become rail carriers for purposes of Railway Labor Act and Railroad Retirement Act
  • The bad: doesn't increase funding for Amtrak over existing status quo, doesn't create any sort of new contract authority or guaranteed dedicated predictable funding for Amtrak or State DOTs wanting to invest in passenger rail
  • The NRC supported passage of the bill by signing onto a OneRail Coalition letter: 

Senate action will wait for later this spring, and the NRC will to further improve the bill before passage in the Senate.


Legislation to extend the short line railroad tax credit bill has now been introduced in both Houses of Congress. In the House, HR721 ( was introduced in early February and already has 83 co-sponsors. In the Senate, it was just introduced on March 4 ( ) with a bipartisan group of 8 original co-sponsors. Action likely won't be until much later this year. Save the date (June 4) for Railroad Day on the Hill in DC.


The Senate Commerce Committee is expecting to take a variety of action on rail-related items over the next month or so:

  • Introduce a bill to delay the PTC implementation deadline
  • Introduce a bill to reauthorize the Surface Transportation Board (STB)
  • Introduce a bill to streamline environmental permitting for rail projects (freight and

The Surface Transportation Board recently re-affirmed its decision in the Rail-Term case that Rail-Term is indeed a rail carrier. The positive news in the decision was that the STB did distinguish what Rail-Term does (dispatching) from what other types of NRC member contractors do, by pointing out the distinction between activities that directly control and involve the movement of trains (e.g. dispatching), vs more general maintenance and construction. Rail-Term will appeal the case in Federal court. The NRC Board will consider the NRC joining that appeal or filing an amicus brief.


The USDOT issued this release regarding allowing for local hiring preferences in competitive contracting: A possible argument in favor of this change would be that this could boost local investment in rail transit projects by giving a locality more confidence that such an investment would result in local jobs, but that may be outweighed by the skewing of competitive contracting. NRC staff is soliciting NRC member opinions on this question: if you have an opinion, please send to


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 M-1RFPM-1 Rail Issues RFP for System Operator


M-1 Rail has issued a request for proposals for companies interested in operating and maintaining Detroit's future streetcar system. Proposals are due April 16.


The contractor will begin working with the streetcar developer M-1 Rail at least a year in advance of the streetcar's operation. Contractor responsibilities will include hiring operators; scheduling and training team members; developing customer service standards; safety; fare collection; maintaining vehicles, track, switches, signals, platforms, substations, overhead contact systems/charging bars; washing and cleaning vehicles; and report preparation.

The initial contract with the operator will be five years, with M-1 Rail retaining the option to renew it for another two to five years. M-1 Rail officials estimate the cost to operate the streetcar at $5m annually.


For the full RFP pdf click here: 


Source: M-1 Rail, Progressive Railroading

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 FRAPTCSafetyPlanFRA Issues Clarification on PTC Safety Plan Approval Process


In a letter addressed jointly to the AAR, APTA, and ASLRRA, FRA administrators clarified procedures surrounding Positive Train Control Safety Plan (PTCSP) approval.

  • Given the number of PTCSPs, their size, and the need to facilitate timely certification to support the deadline for PTC installation, FRA will only audit critical elements of a railroad's PTCSP submission.
  • FRA will continue preliminary PTCSP reviews to help ensure appropriate regulatory information is included in PTCSP submissions and to gain an understanding of the railroad's intended meaning of the document text. Ultimate responsibility for presenting a complete, consistent, current, and accurate safety case lies with the system developer and the host railroad.
  • In lieu of FRA conducting a full audit, FRA will accept an independent third-party reviewer finding that an integrated PTC system and all of its subsystems, as well as the development and test processes and associated documentation: (1) has no or minimal critical issues; (2) supports the level of cetiification requested by the railroad; and (3) is complete, consistent, current, and accurate.
  • If FRA, or the independent assessor, determines that the safety case provided in a PTCSP does not support certification ofthe system at the originally requested level of functionality, but does support certification at a lower level of functionality, FRA will deny the request for the certification at the submitted level of functionality without prejudice, and may issue a certification at a lower level of functionality.
For the full letter pdf click here: FRA PTC Safety Plan Approval Letter.pdf


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WabtecWabtec Acquires Railroad Controls  


Wabtec Corp. has acquired Railroad Controls LP, a provider of railway signal construction services, which had annual revenue of about $75m in 2014.


Based in Benbrook, Texas, Railroad Controls employs about 500 people and provides railway signal construction services to freight and passenger railroads in North America. It is a subsidiary of RCL Services Group LLC.


Wabtec, which has roots to 1869 and is headquartered in Wilmerding, Pennsylvania, is a global provider of value-added, technology-based products and services for the rail and transit industry. Through its subsidiaries, the company manufactures a range of products for locomotives, freight cars and passenger transit vehicles.


Sources:, CNN Money,


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 HarscoHarsco Acquires Transportation Safety Systems Provider Protran


Harsco announced that it acquired New Jersey-based transportation safety systems provider Protran Technology. The purchase price and other terms of the transaction weren't disclosed.


Protran, whose railway track worker and train operator safety systems are used throughout the world, will be operated as a unit of Harsco Rail, which provides railway track maintenance equipment and services.


Protran and Harsco had already signed a distribution agreement in late 2013. The terms of that pact made Harsco the exclusive worldwide representative and distributor for Protran's products.

Source: Progressive Railroading


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 RTSClassICapexRT&S Article Summarizes Class I Planned 2015 Capital Expenditures   


RT&S summarizes the Class I planned 2015 capital expenditures that have been announced over the past few weeks. The article highlights and presents overall figures from BNSF, Canadian National, Canadian Pacific, CSX, KCS, Norfolk Southern, and Union Pacific's 2015 track construction and maintenance budgets.


For the full article, please click here: 


Source: RT&S


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 BNSFCapExBNSF Further Details Planned 2015 Capex Program   


Throughout February, BNSF outlined in detail its 2015 capital expenditure program in 13 states:

Sources: BNSF, RT&S


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 FTATransitSafetyGrantsFTA Grants $29M to Promote Transit Safety


Thirteen organizations in nine states will receive a share of $29m in grant funding through the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Innovative Safety, Resiliency and All-Hazards Emergency Response and Recovery Demonstration funding opportunity. The grants will support cutting-edge developments in mass transit, utilizing state-of-the-art technology to help transit agencies improve track worker and passenger safety, better withstand natural disasters and respond more effectively to emergencies.


Examples of the types of projects selected include track intrusion detection systems that will alert rail operators and transit officials to stop trains if a person or object is detected on the track; prototype equipment such as front-end bumpers for light-rail vehicles that operate in mixed traffic to minimize the impact of collisions and planning tools to help transit agencies protect equipment and infrastructure and deploy services during emergencies and natural disasters.


Five rail-related projects will see nearly $17m in grants to go towards safety improvements.

  • The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) will receive $1.7m to install and test a Platform Track Intrusion Detection System (PTIDS) at select light rail and heavy rail stations to reduce injuries, fatalities and other track intrusion incidents.
  • The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District will receive $5m to develop and demonstrate innovative safety technologies that will improve track worker safety and help prevent accidents involving trains and track workers.
  • The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) will receive $4.2m to install and demonstrate Bombardier's TrackSafe system along six miles of MARTA's rail system to improve track worker safety and reduce hazards associated with track inspection, maintenance and repair.
  • The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, in partnership with multiple public transit providers across the country, will receive $2.3m to develop and deploy prototype concrete crossties and fastening systems for light rail, heavy rail and commuter rail transit infrastructure to increase the life cycle of critical components and help maintain rail infrastructure in a state of good repair during normal operations and natural disasters.
  • New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will receive $3.6m to research and demonstrate an automated, data-based information collection system to measure and monitor the condition of subway railcar wheels and rail infrastructure to enhance safety, increase energy efficiency and ensure reliable subway service.

Source: FTA, Progressive Railroading

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 NCDOTNCDOT Allocates $3.7M for Rail Improvements


The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) announced that it would allocate $3.7m to fund 15 projects as part of the Freight Rail and Rail Crossing Safety Improvement (FRRCSI) program for fiscal-year 2015.

The 2015 FRRCSI projects include:

  • $2.83m to fund 11 projects that will improve short line railroads by adding capacity, increasing operating efficiency and enhancing safety on these critical rural development corridors; and
  • $500k to fund two projects which will modernize rail crossing signals.
  • $411k to fund two projects that will improve rail access for new and existing businesses and enhance the ability to move freight via the rail network;

For the full project list and map of the FRRCSI Projects click here:   


Sources: Progressive Railroading, NCDOT

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 DurhamOrangeLightRailUSDOT Highlights Durham-Orange Light Rail in Transportation Investment Tour


U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Feb. 19 was joined by Rep. G.K. Butterfield and Durham, N.C., Mayor William Bell at an event to highlight the proposed Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit (LRT) Project.


The secretary's visit was part of a four-day, five state bus tour, The GROW AMERICA Express, highlighting the importance of investing in America's infrastructure and encouraging Congress to act on a long-term transportation bill.


The planned 17.1-mile light-rail line would connect the city of Durham and the town of Chapel Hill, providing a critical link between two central business districts, as well as large medical facilities and universities that serve as major employers for the region.


Triangle Transit is currently conducting planning and environmental review activities for the light-rail line. The agency expects to seek $910.3m in federal funding from the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Capital Investment Grant Program toward the estimated total project cost of $1.8b.


Source: RT&S

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 HoustonRailRick Bakke from Houston Rail Passes Away


Rick Bakke, Director of Operations for Houston's division of Birmingham Rail and Locomotive headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, passed away on January 31, 2015. His memorial service took place at the Atascocita United Methodist Church in the Wesley Sanctuary on Saturday February 7, 2015.


For Rick's full obituary, please visit:


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 KYGradeCrossingReportKentucky Transportation Center Releases At-Grade Crossing Management Construction Report


Drawing on data from across the US, the University of Kentucky has released a report that describes the features of a successful railway/highway at-grade crossing management programs.


The full report in pdf format is available at 


Source: University of Kentucky, Transportation Research Board

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