Iowa Northern Wins $6.7 Million Grant to Improve Short Line Safety

By Railfan & Railroad Staff

WATERLOO, Iowa — The Iowa Northern Railway has secured a $6.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop a comprehensive education and training program that will be used to improve safety on short lines across the country. The training courses will be administered online and in-person and will be available to any short line railroad in the country. It will cover topics like operating rules, mechanical rules and maintenance-of-way best practices. The railroad will also develop a locomotive simulator in a trailer that can be taken to railroads across the country. 

The grant is being supported by the DOT’s Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Program.

“We are excited to begin this project in earnest, following more than a year of preparation, working with the ASLRRA and our short line industry peers,” said Iowa Northern President Dan Sabin.  “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.”

The ASLRRA will provide staff, training and administration expertise to the IANR during the development of the program. The program is expected to begin this summer. 

“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.”

This article was posted on: March 15, 2021