Short line rail industry achieves entire year without a fatality

Following a year in which no fatalities were recorded on the nation’s 603 short line railroads, the industry’s focus on safety, compliance audits, and advanced technology was lauded by industry groups on Wednesday.

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Spanning 47,500 miles across 49 states, short rail lines handle 29 percent of the nation’s freight. Short lines serve as an important connector of industries in rural areas to larger markets in particular.

“Our short line members focus every day on ‘making it a safe one,’” Linda Bauer Darr, the president of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA), said. “Safe operations are good for our customers, good for the public interest, good for our employees and good for business. ASLRRA is proud to partner with short lines, supporting a safety focus through compliance audits, training opportunities, the Jake Award program, and committees that advance safety initiatives and technology that drives safety. All of us working in partnership can take pride in today’s industry achievement.”

The Short Line Safety Institute’s (SLSI) has positively influenced the industry, Darr added, as fatalities continue to rise in other transportation segments.

“SLSI extends its congratulations to the short line railroad industry as it celebrates one year of fatality-free operations,” Tom Murta, the executive director of SLSI, said. “Focusing on safety culture, the behaviors surrounding and supporting safe practices will continually raise the bar in our industry on successful, sustainable, and safe operations.”