Railroad Day on Capitol Hill

Capitol_at_Dusk_2

In a few short weeks, advocates and representatives of the Railroad Industry will make their annual journey to Washington DC to make their messages heard by lawmakers. This important annual event, Railroad Day on Capitol Hill, is taking place on March 2nd, 2017, at the Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown, 999 9th St, NW, Washington, DC.

With the ever-shifting political climate, it’s more important than ever to be heard.  As anyone who has taken part in the event before knows, it’s the most effective way for the railroad industry’s message to be reached by Congress and can only succeed if everyone turns out in order to present a unified industry.

New Dome Railroad Day Logo - 2017

The event takes place over the course of one day with appointments, meetings, and events all organized in order to communicate the important role that the railroad industry plays in America’s economy, improving our country’s role in global marketplace, and our ongoing success in helping the environment.

Attendees of Railroad Day will have the opportunity to speak directly with decision makers and help promote real change. “Railroad Day is our single most impactful day of the year with Congressional leaders,” said Linda Darr, president of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, of 2016’s Railroad Day. “We had the opportunity to address issues of importance to our industry and the shipper customers we serve.”

Attendance is open to all Class I, II, and III railroad personnel, shippers, state and local government representatives, as well as members from the supplier community with an interest in furthering the political goals of the railroad industry. To learn more, please visit www.aslrra.org.

Photo Credit: By Martin Falbisoner – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, www.commons.wikimedia.org

NRC-REMSA 2017 Wrap Up

NRC-REMSA2017

Photo Source: REMSA Twitter

Last month, a team from Willamette Valley Company’s Railroad Division had the privilege of traveling to Boca Raton, Florida to meet with industry representatives and officials at the NRC-REMSA 2017 Conference and Exhibition. This year’s event proved once again to be an unparalleled opportunity for WVCO and other railway businesses to connect directly with professionals representing all segments of the industry. We appreciated the opportunity to listen to your questions and concerns about the growing number of challenges this industry faces and introduce you to our wood-tie remediation and other repair products.

NRC-REMSA

The annual NRC Conference and NRC-REMSA Exhibition encompassed more than 1,000 attendees, 150 exhibitors and over 25,000 square-feet of meeting space. It was a pleasure to join the many other members of the railroad industry; including service firms, manufacturers, suppliers and contractors to answer questions about our railroad products and POLYQuik Roadway Repair materials, Joint Fillers and Light-Rail Grout. Other participants of the conference/exhibition included: Union Pacific, SANDAG (San Diego), Genesee and Wyoming, Caltrans, CSX, California Rail, LA Metro, Alaska Railroad, Norfolk Southern, Canadian National, New York MTA, Watco, OmniTRAX and many others.

Speakers

Event-goers had the chance to take in seminars from key individuals in the railway and transportation industry. Rob Castiglione, the Staff Director of Human Performance Program for the Office of Railroad Safety FRA presented “Overview of FRA Part 243 Minimum Training Standards Final Rule,” where he expanded on training requirements for all railroad employees and contractors who perform safety related work, the history of the rule, and the role of associations like NRC.

John Zuspan of Track Guy Consultants presented “Means and Methods for Direct Fixation, Low Vibration Track & Embedded Track,” a seminar on the means and methods for embedded track construction.

Jerry Power’s seminar on “Overview of FRA Part 219 Drug & Alcohol Regulation for Maintenance-of-Way Workers Final Rule”  covered  the scope of FRA’s alcohol and drug regulations to cover employees who work in railroad maintenance.

Lastly, Lesa Forbes, Senior International Trade Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service, spoke on new opportunities abroad and how US Commercial Services can help your firm expand your international business.

HallOfFame

Photo Source RT&S

The event also saw the induction of new members into the NRC Hall of Fame, Ron Brown, John Zuspan, and Rick Ebersold. The three were honored for their work in NRC, REMSA, and the railway industry as a whole.

Below are some photos of NRC-REMSA 2017, courtesy of REMSA’s Twitter page.

NRC-REMSA2017

Photo Source: REMSA 2017

NRC-REMSA2017

Photo Source: REMSA Twitter

WVCO was proud to take a part in NRC-REMSA 2017 and look forward to taking part once again next year!

Sources:

Railway News

NCRMA

RT & S

Railway Supply Community to Law Makers: Don’t Impose Regulations

Rail Supply IndustryThe Willamette Valley Company has joined a growing group of industry leaders within the railway supply community and prominent rail industry trade associations to speak out against the Surface Transportation Board‘s proposal on reregulatory efforts, including so called “reciprocal switching” and commodity reregulation.

Congressional leaders John Thune, Chairman, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and Bill Nelson, Ranking Member; and Bill Shuster, Chairman, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Peter DeFazio, Ranking Member, have received a letter signed by dozens of suppliers and contractors pointing out the STB’s “recent trend of imposing regulations first, and discovering the consequences later.”

“As the collective voice of businesses that serve railroads and provide the equipment and technologies to enhance the efficiency and safety of their operations, we know…over-involvement of the federal government in the day-to-day business decisions of railroads once pushed this sector and the larger railroad ecosystem of customers and suppliers to the brink of collapse,” the letter states. “Without the wisdom to partially deregulate the industry in 1980, America would have lost a privately owned and maintained economic engine that provides quality jobs to support families and communities, affordable and environmentally friendly options for businesses to move goods and critical infrastructure to support passenger railroads.”

Here are more excerpts from that letter:

“We are deeply concerned that this regulatory effort could greatly cut into capital spending by the railroads. Past analysis by the Association of American Railroads found that a similar proposal could affect an estimated 7.5 million carloads of traffic, placing nearly $8 billion in revenues at risk. Reduced revenues mean reduced money for investment in the rail network and reduced demand for businesses like ours. Continued investments are critical for maintaining a safe and efficient rail network and allow us to provide strong employment opportunities in our communities.

The railroad supply community plays an integral role in maintaining the world’s safest, most efficient and highly competitive freight railroad system. We also provide high-paying and high-skilled manufacturing jobs in our communities.

We support a transparent and efficient STB and believe that the agency maintains an important role in maintaining a proven regulatory structure. But we do not support the STB’s recent trend of imposing regulations first, and discovering the consequences later.”

Click here to read more.

 

 

Innovators We Admire: Dirk Ahlborn

Dirk-Ahlborn

Photo Source CrowdFundInsider.com

“New technologies and new ideas, can create a better passenger experience while solving these issues through new monetization strategies and business models, with the Hyperloop and all other forms of transportation.” – Dirk Ahlborn

Innovation can’t thrive in a vacuum; external factors, opposing views, tools, and resources must come together to create the breakthroughs that propel us forward. Few know that as well as Dirk Ahlborn, Founder and CEO of JumpStarter Inc. which operates JumpStartFund  and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT).

Ahlborn’s mission was to create a new platform for scientific funding and the bringing together of minds. “We already have a process to help create a physical startup. Why not do that online?” asks Ahlborn. “Why not create an online crowdsourced incubator? This way we allow tech-disconnected hubs to connect with the best technology hubs and co-found new companies. It’s all about building communities smarter and faster.” It’s this collaboration of communities and hubs that have lead the way for Hyperloop Transportation Technologies.

Watch as Ahlborn discusses his ideas about the world’s next breakthrough in transportation on the news program, Business Rockstars.

The term Hyperloop, a concept popularized by super innovator Elon Musk (most famous for Telsa), is a system of transportation that uses tubes and air compression to reach incredible speeds. Inspired by this idea, Dirk Ahlborn and Jumpstarter Inc. built HTT, a research crowd collaboration company working to develop a high-speed transportation system.

Hyperloop

Photo Source Hyperloop Transportation Technologies.

HTT aims to create a high speed intercity transport that travels close to 800 miles an hour as well slower, inter-suburban travel. The project would have a capacity of 15 million passengers a year. Putting this into further context, an airplane travels at most at 500mph and most trains at 200mph. Beyond its speed, the Hyperloop boasts many other proposed benefits, such as being self-sufficient through renewable energy, a greater emphasis for safety, lower construction costs, and affordable travel.

This may sound like a far-off fantasy but it’s closer than one may think.  In a partnership with Deustche Bahn, HTT will be working to create an “Innovation Train,” a conventional train powered through the technology of HTT for greater efficiency. One such piece of tech would be the creation and use of Augmented Reality windows, as seen below.

Dirk Ahlborn knows that innovation can’t thrive when it’s isoated, it’s only when great minds come together that breakthroughs occur. This philosophy is already bringing about changes to the transportation industry and will only continue from here. For these reasons and many more, we name Dirk Ahlborn our “Featured Innovator of the Month.”

If you’re looking to hear about more incredible innovators bringing the latest breakthroughs to the transportation industry, be sure to take part in AREMA’s 2016 Expo.

Note: Dirk Ahlborn does not work for Willamette Valley Company nor is he affiliated with our company.

Sources:

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

JumpStartFund

Tech.EU

TechnoBuffalo

Latest SpikeFast® Products to be Unveiled at 2016 AREMA Expo

Railroad SpikeFast It is widely agreed among transportation industry leaders that the WVCO Railroad Division is among the best in providing innovative new products and application systems for today’s railroads. Our proprietary product, SpikeFast®, is considered to be the industry’s most reliable product for plugging spike holes. Other solutions include railroad tie products for wood and concrete ties, and unique application systems.

In just over a month, team members from our WVCO Railroad Division will arrive in Orlando, Florida to demonstrate our railroad products and POLYQuik Roadway Repair materials to railway engineering professionals representing all segments of the industry, at the AREMA 2016 Annual Conference & Exposition August 28-31, 2016.

This annual event attracts generations of leaders in the railroad industry who go there to network, attend technical presentations, seminars and more. This is a unique opportunity for us to see and hear all that is new and innovative across the entire rail supply industry while developing solutions to some of the many challenges facing the transportation industry.

The American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA) is one of the outstanding organizations WVCO has partnered with; thus enabling us to better serve our customers by giving us access to the latest technologies, methodologies, and resources. The 5,500+ members that comprise AREMA include a diverse group of railway and transit engineers, consultants, contractors, suppliers, academicians, federal and state governmental employees and others.

If you are attending this year’s expo, please be on the lookout for our team at Booth #301 on the interactive expo floor!

About AREMA
The American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA) was formed as the result of a merger of three engineering support associations, namely the American Railway Bridge and Building Association, the American Railway Engineering Association and the Roadmaster’s and Maintenance of Way Association, along with functions of the Communications and Signals Division of the Association of American Railroads. The rich history of the predecessor organizations, each having over 100 years of service to the rail industry, is the legacy of AREMA.

The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act or “FAST Act” is Signed Into Law

FASTAct2America has always been a nation on the move. But an aging and crumbling transportation system is not only slowing Americans down, it’s reducing productivity, undermining our ability to move products across the country and around the world, and increasing congestion and air pollution. It’s time to get America moving again! – U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Last month, the first law providing long-term funding certainty for surface transportation in over a decade was signed into law. The implementation of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or “FAST Act” States means that local governments should be able to move forward with critical transportation projects, like new highways and transit lines, more easily. “After hundreds of Congressional meetings, two bus tours, visits to 43 states, and so much uncertainty – and 36 short term extensions – it has been a long and bumpy ride to a long-term transportation bill,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx. “It’s not perfect, and there is still more left to do, but it reflects a bipartisan compromise I always knew was possible.”

The deteriorating condition of America’s roads, bridges and rail lines have been an area for concern for some time.  According to US Department of Transportation, sixty five percent of America’s major roads are rated “less than good” condition, while one in four bridges require significant repair or cannot handle today’s traffic and 45 percent of Americans do not have access to transit.

The FAST Act is considered by many to be a good start, as it increases funding by 11 percent over five years. “This is far short of the amount needed to reduce congestion on our roads and meet the increasing demands on our transportation systems,” states the U.S. Department of Transportation. “In comparison, the Administration’s proposal, the GROW AMERICA Act, increases funding by 45 percent”.

The law also makes changes and reforms to many Federal transportation programs, including streamlining the approval processes for new transportation projects, providing new safety tools, and establishing new programs to advance critical freight projects.

For a more detailed summary of some FAST Act provisions, visit www.transportation.gov/fastact.

 

WVCO to Present Railroad Repair Products and FastPatch at the Railway Interchange 2015

Railway Interchange

Railroad SpikeFast

Willamette Valley Company is looking forward to exhibiting our Railroad products and FastPatch products at Railway Interchange, the largest U.S.-based technical conference and trade show for the railroad industry! The combined railway industry event, sponsored by AREMA, RSI, REMSA and RSSI, takes place October 4th-7th in Minneapolis, MN at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

An estimated 7,000+ attendees and hundreds of exhibitors from all over the world are expected to attend this world-class rail industry event. The event combines the technical conferences of AREMA (American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association) and CMA (Coordinated Mechanical Associations) and the exhibits of RSI (Railway Supply Institute), REMSA (Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association) and RSSI (Railway Systems Suppliers, Inc.)

Photo @ Railway Interchange 2013

Railway Interchange is an ideal venue for our Railroad Division to share it’s leading-edge systems and products for plugging spike holes in both concrete ties and wood ties as well as unique application systems to accurately apply them. Our team will meet with railroad professionals from around the world as they seize the opportunity to see and hear all that is new and innovative across the entire rail supply industry.

The demand for WVCO’s railroad maintenance and repair products continue to grow steadily, but it’s our proprietary product, SpikeFast, that is becoming known by most railroads as the industry standard.

SpikeFast, a non-foam polyurethane product, was created in 1999 as an alternative to wood plugs and other plugging materials. The result was a more reliable and efficient system of wood-tie remediation. Performance tests commissioned by national railroads indicate that SpikeFast outperforms wood plugs, polymeric foam and epoxy foam.

We hope you’ll stop by Booth 4509 to learn more about these and other repair and maintenance products.

US DOT Unveils Beyond Traffic: Trends and Choices

 U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx examines the aging infrasture in our country. Photo via instagram.com/usdot.

In 30 years, how will you travel? That is the question the U.S. Dept. of Transportation wants us to ask ourselves. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx was joined recently by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt to unveil US DOT’s 30 Year Framework for the Future, Beyond Traffic: Trends and Choices.

Beyond Traffic looks at the latest data and anticipates the trends and choices facing our transportation system over the next three decades. If we do not make significant changes, the US DOT predicts our country will face a grim future which will include extreme gridlock, higher costs, and more devastation to our already aging infrastructure.

Secretary Foxx’s draft framework for the future of transportation encourages us to ask ourselves the tough questions, look at the trends, and – hopefully – inspire some innovative thinkers to come up with solutions. “For too long, our national dialogue about transportation has been focused on recreating the past. Instead, we need to focus on the trends that are shaping our future,” he says.

How will we build a transportation system to accommodate a growing population and changing travel patterns?

How will we move things? By 2045, freight volume will increase 45 percent.

How will we build a transportation system that doesn’t just let a growing population travel – but lets them travel SAFER than ever?

How do we make our infrastructure more resilient for a time when weather events like Hurricane Sandy will occur with increasing frequency?

How can we invest the trillions of dollars our transportation needs in the smartest way possible?

These are the questions the US DOT wants us to tackle. So how can advances in robotics, research, and automation help us overcome the dramatic challenges the American transportation network is facing and change the future transportation?

Be a part of this important conversation and share your ideas at www.dot.gov/beyondtraffic.

More about Beyond Traffic: Trends and Choices
Beyond Traffic: Trends and Choices is structured in three parts. The first part discusses the major trends shaping our changing transportation system. The second part discusses the implications of these trends for each mode of transportation: highways, transit, pedestrian and bicycle, aviation, intercity and freight rail, maritime and pipeline. The third part presents a description of a possible future scenario based on the trends analyzed in the previous section.

All Aboard and Ready for the 2015 NRC Conference!

Rail Industry As the rail industry continues to grow and evolve, so does our selection of innovative rail maintenance and repair products. The WVCO team is always eager to connect directly with railway engineering professional representing all segments of the industry to introduce them to new products and ideas. We also appreciate the opportunity to listen to their questions and concerns about the growing number of challenges this industry faces.

This is one of the primary reasons we will be exhibiting products and services from our Railroad Division at the 2015 National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Conference in Hollywood, Florida January 7-10, 2015. The NRC is a trade association serving the needs of railroad contractors and suppliers. This annual event attracts some of the leading professionals in the industry who are there to network, attend technical presentations, seminars and more.

The WVCO Railroad Division team will join other members of the railroad industry including service firms, manufacturers, suppliers and contractors to exhibit our railroad products and POLYQuik Roadway Repair materials, Joint Fillers and Light-Rail Grout.

The annual NRC Conference and NRC-REMSA Exhibition will encompass more than 1,000 attendees, 150 exhibitors and over 25,000 square-feet of meeting space. We have a unique program agenda lined up with chief engineers from the major freight railroads, and other key speakers covering topics on:

2015 Class 1 and Regional Railroad Capital Spending Plans
Florida Rail Projects
Commuter Rail and Transit Contracting
Financial View of the Rail Industry
High Speed Rail Updates
Rail Infrastructure Legislation
Rail Projects of National Significance
Railroad Construction Safety

Please be sure to stop by the WVCO booth!

photo credit: Timothy Wildey via photopin cc

Spotlight on SpikeFast®, the Signature Product of the WVCO Railroad Division!

For nearly two centuries, the railroad industry has played a vital role in our economy and continues to grow throughout the world.  Why?  Railroads are one of the most economical and efficient modes of transportation resulting in more jobs and billions of dollars saved annually. As the industry continues to grow, so do the challenges; prompting the Willamette Valley Company Railroad Division to create successful solutions for railroad maintenance.

Our Railroad Division is continuously developing leading-edge systems and products for plugging spike holes in both concrete ties and wood ties as well as unique application systems to accurately apply them. The demand for WVCO’s railroad maintenance and repair products continue to grow steadily, but it’s our proprietary product, SpikeFast®, that is becoming known by most railroads as the industry standard.

Performance tests results show that SpikeFast® is the leading spike-hole filler in the railroad industry.

SpikeFast®, a non-foam polyurethane product, was created in 1999 as an alternative to wood plugs and other plugging materials. The result was a more reliable and efficient system of wood-tie remediation. Performance tests commissioned by national railroads indicate that SpikeFast® outperforms wood plugs, polymeric foam and epoxy foam.

Here’s how it works:

Headed to to the 2014 American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association in Chicago? Be sure to visit us at booth #401 to learn more about how we can serve you!

top photo credit: ecstaticist via photopin cc