‘Safety First’; ASLRRA Announces Record Number of Jake Safety Awards

Written by Jennifer McLawhorn, Managing Editor
American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association
ASLRRA

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association announced 385 railroads qualify for a Jake Safety Award. 340 of those are noted “with Distinction” for having no reportable injuries in 2023.

Additionally, 19 member railroads will also be recognized as President’s Safety Award winners due to having the lowest injury frequency rate “in a variety of per person-hour categories.” Jake Awards are named after the late Lowell S. “Jake” Jacobson who served as President and General Manager of the Copper Basin Railway. In 1993, after he achieved a perfect safety record for the railway, he observed there was no award for such a safety record. Since the awards’ inception in 1995, close to 7,400 Jake and Jake with Distinction Awards have been awarded. In 1999, the ASLRRA Safety Committee adopted the Jake Awards, and it has “continued Mr. Jacobson’s legacy of rewarding and drawing attention to the high safety standards of the small railroad industry.” 

In order to receive a Jake Award, the ASLRRA member must have a better reportable injury frequency rate than the industry average for Class Is, commuter railroads, and Amtrak. This is shown via the Railroad Injury and Illness Summary Forms that are submitted to the FRA each month in 2023.

The President’s Award Winners will be presented this fall at the 2024 ASLRRA Regional Meetings. From September 30th to October 2nd in Jacksonville, Florida, the Eastern and Southern regions will be presented. From October 28th to 30th in Dallas, Texas, the Central and Pacific regions will be presented. The list of winners for all regions are below:

Central Region Winners 

  • Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Co. – Lowest Frequency Rate: more than 500,000 person-hours 
  • Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. – Lowest Frequency Rate: 250,000 – 500,000 person-hours 
  • PSC Group – Lowest Frequency Rate: 150,000 – 250,000 person-hours 
  • Kiamichi Railroad Co. – Lowest Frequency Rate: 50,000 – 150,000 person-hours 
  • Western Rail Road Company – Lowest Frequency Rate: less than 50,000 person-hours 

Eastern Region Winners 

  • Consolidated Rail Corporation – Lowest Frequency Rate: more than 500,000 person-hours 
  • Union Railroad Company, LLC – Lowest Frequency Rate: 250,000 – 500,000 person-hours 
  • New York, Susquehanna & Western Rwy. – Lowest Frequency Rate: 150,000 – 250,000 person-hours 
  • Allegheny Valley Railroad Company – Lowest Frequency Rate: 50,000 – 150,000 person-hours 
  • Livonia, Avon & Lakeville Railroad Corp. – Lowest Frequency Rate: less than 50,000 person-hours 

Pacific Region Winners 

  • Pacific Harbor Line, Inc. – Lowest Frequency Rate: 250,000 – 500,000 person-hours 
  • Terminal Switching Services – Lowest Frequency Rate: 150,000 – 250,000 person-hours 
  • Clarkdale Arizona Central Railroad, LC – Lowest Frequency Rate: 50,000 – 150,000 person-hours 
  • Texas & New Mexico Railway – Lowest Frequency Rate: less than 50,000 person-hours 

Southern Region Winners 

  • Conrad Yelvington Distributors – Lowest Frequency Rate: more than 500,000 person-hours 
  • Paducah & Louisville Railway – Lowest Frequency Rate: 250,000 – 500,000 person-hours 
  • R.J. Corman Railroad Co./Memphis Line – Lowest Frequency Rate: 150,000 – 250,000 person-hours 
  • Railserve Inc. – Switching – Lowest Frequency Rate: 50,000 – 150,000 person-hours 
  • Georgia Southwestern Railroad – Lowest Frequency Rate: Less than 50,000 person-hours

ASLRRA President Chuck Baker said, “ ‘Safety First’ is the oft-repeated refrain on our nation’s railroads, and it rings true for short lines. Nothing is as important as bringing home every employee safely every day. . . Our Jake Safety Award program is one way we honor and recognize short line railroads that achieve exemplary safety records. Based on FRA-reported performance in 2023, a record 385 of our member short lines have achieved better than industry average injury frequency rate per 200,000 person-hours worked, and 340 of those short lines reported a perfect zero reportable injuries. These numbers are impressive measurements of the industry’s safety improvement, reflecting short lines that live the ‘Safety First’ value each day and the industry’s commitment to investing in infrastructure to improve safety.”

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