The Iowa Northern Railway Company (IANR) has entered the final planning phase for the development of a comprehensive safety education and training program for short line railroads, supported by a FY20 Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Program (CRISI) grant.
The $6.7M grant will provide for the development and deployment of computer-based training courses delivered via a Learning Management System (LMS) as well as in-person training courses offered at the IANR’s Training Center, located in Waterloo, Iowa, at the small railroad’s location, or another remote location. These programs will be made available to short line railroads with the goal of enhancing the safety of railroad operations across the industry.
The courses will focus on compliance with FRA safety and operating regulations as well as industry best practices and will cover areas such as 49 CFR Part 243 training, leadership and development, operating rules, mechanical and MOW training. Locomotive simulator training will also be available to short line railroads at the Iowa Northern’ s training center or delivered directly at individual railroad locations via a mobile simulator and classroom trailer.
“We are excited to begin this project in earnest, following more than a year of preparation, working with the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) and our short line industry peers,” said Dan Sabin, President, IANR. “Class III railroads are challenged to provide financial resources, expertise, and personnel to undertake education and training of their workforces, and their rural locations can make it difficult to travel to education. Additionally, our railroaders wear many hats, making a ‘one size fits all’ education program nearly impossible. The grant will enable a wide variety of critical safety training to be made available for all small business railroads, either in-person or virtually. We firmly believe that this program has the potential to have a wide and lasting positive safety impact on our industry.”
Final program delivery and outcomes are focused on three objectives:
- Improving railroad safety and compliance with FRA regulations;
- enhancing and expanding work force development; and
- boosting the efficiency of rail operations.
“We anticipate that this training will be very favorably received by our more than 500 railroad members,” said Chuck Baker, President of the ASLRRA. “Flexibility of multiple course delivery formats will allow railroad employees access to professional and compliant training programs while eliminating the company cost burden including travel costs and lost productivity when key personnel leave the workplace for extended training time.”
The ASLRRA will be providing staff, training and administration expertise to the IANR during the development of the program. Program rollout is expected to begin in summer of 2021.