Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rail Industry Honors Annual Safety Achievements at E.H. Harriman Awards

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America's railroads honored the industry's safety achievements and celebrated railroads with the best employee safety records at the annual E.H. Harriman Awards. According to the Association of American Railroads (AAR), 2009 was the safest year ever for railroads, with significant milestones achieved across the board in reduced train accidents, employee casualties and grade crossing collisions

Compared with 2008, train accidents and accident rates were down 25 percent and 12 percent respectively in 2009. Employee casualties and casualty rates were down 12 and 2 percent respectively last year compared with 2008, while grade crossing collisions and collision rates were down 21 percent and 9 percent respectively

"It is the tremendous dedication and hard work of our employees that makes rail the safest mode of transportation today," said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger. "Our industry continuously invests, innovates, improves and implements systems and technology that make our business ever safer."

The 2009 E.H. Harriman Awards winners are as follows:

In Group A, comprising line-haul railroads whose employees worked 15 million employee-hours or more, Norfolk Southern received the gold award for the 21st year in a row. CSX Transportation won the silver award and Union Pacific the bronze award.

In Group B, line-haul railroads whose employees worked 4 to 15 million employee-hours, the gold award went to Kansas City Southern Railway for the fourth year in a row. The silver award went to Metra, the Chicago commuter railroad, while the bronze went to Canadian National (U.S. Operations).

Group C includes railroads whose employees worked between 250,000 and 4 million employee-hours. The gold award went to the Buffalo and Pittsburgh Railroad, while the BNSF Suburban Operations took the silver and the Paducah and Louisville Railway the bronze.

In Group S&T, for switching and terminal companies with more than 250,000 employee hours, the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad took the gold, while the silver award went to Gary Railway and the Birmingham Southern Railroad received the bronze award.

Certificates of Commendation also were awarded to four railroads with continuous gains in employee safety improvements over a three-year period and showing the most improvement between 2008 and 2009. Certificates went to Union Pacific (Group A), Metra (Group B), BNSF Suburban Operations (Group C) and the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad (S&T).
 
The Harriman Awards were established by the late Mrs. Mary W. Harriman in memory of her husband, Edward H. Harriman, an American legend in railroading. Today, the awards are administered by the E.H. Harriman Memorial Awards Institute, with support from the Mary W. Harriman Foundation. Harriman winners are selected by a committee of representatives from the transportation field and are granted on the basis of the lowest casualty rates per 200,000 employee-hours worked. All data is documented by the Federal Railroad Administration.

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