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DOT Secretary LaHood Honors Rail Safety Record at E.H. Harriman Awards

Washington, D.C. - May 20, 2009
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Thirty-five Norfolk Southern employees attended the annual E.H. Harriman Awards in Washington, D.C., on May 20. For the 20th consecutive year, NS won the Harriman Gold Medal Award for employee safety. CSX Transportation won the silver medal, and Union Pacific Railroad received the bronze medal.
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Steve Tobias, retired NS Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer, right, was presented with a lifetime achievement award for his role in promoting safety in the rail industry. Also pictured is AAR President and CEO Ed Hamberger.
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From left to right: NS Executive Vice President and COO Mark Manion, CEO Wick Moorman, and retired Vice Chairman and COO Steve Tobias accepted Norfolk Southern’s 20th Harriman Award with AAR President and CEO Ed Hamberger. During 2008, the rail industry had both the lowest train accident rate in history and the lowest employee injury rate in history.
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Norfolk Southern’s Hammond Award nominee, Engineer Jerry Bean, with CEO Wick Moorman, left, and AAR President and CEO Ed Hamberger.

12 Railroads Honored, Safety Records Set in Three Categories

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood today lauded the record setting safety achievements made by the nation’s freight railroads at the annual E.H. Harriman Awards honoring railroads with the best employee safety records for the previous year.

"Our nation’s railroads and their employees can be proud of their safety record," said Secretary LaHood. "Our freight rail industry is the envy of the world, as the cleanest, safest, most efficient way to keep America’s freight moving."

The Harriman Awards once a year celebrate the achievements of railroads with the best employee safety records by awarding 12 gold, silver and bronze awards in four categories.

"Safety is the railroad industry’s top priority," said Edward R. Hamberger, president and CEO of the Association of American Railroads (AAR). "Railroads are the safest form of freight transportation today and such attention to safety has produced an enviable track record."

"I am delighted to report that this continuous emphasis on safety paid dividends last year in producing both the lowest train accident rate in history and the lowest employee injury rate in history," Hamberger added.

Hamberger credited the industry's more than 230,000 dedicated employees as being responsible for the industry's extraordinary safety record.

The 2008 E.H. Harriman Awards winners are as follows:

  • In Group A, comprising line-haul railroads whose employees worked 15 million employee-hours or more each year, Norfolk Southern received the gold award for the 20th year in a row. CSX Transportation won the silver and Union Pacific Railroad the bronze.
  • In Group B, line-haul railroads whose employees worked 4 to 15 million employee-hours annually, the gold award went to Kansas City Southern Railway for the third year in a row. Silver went to Canadian Pacific Railway (U.S. Operations) while the bronze medal went to Metra, the Chicago commuter railroad.
  • Group C includes railroads whose employees worked less than 4 million employee-hours during the award period. The gold award went to the Willamette & Pacific Railroad, while the Florida East Coast Railway took the silver and the Wheeling and Lake Erie the bronze.
  • In Group S&T, for switching and terminal companies, the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis took the award for gold for the second consecutive year. The silver award went to the Birmingham Southern Railroad while Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail) 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 2007 and 2008. Certificates went to CSX Transportation (Group A), Metro-North Railroad (Group B), Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway (Group C) and the Belt Railway of Chicago (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.


Editors Note: The Association of American Railroads is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association whose members include the major freight railroads, or Class I railroads, of the U.S., Canada and Mexico, as well as Amtrak. Class I railroads represent 67 percent of the U.S. freight rail mileage and 90 percent of freight railroad industry employees. Railroads account for 43 percent of intercity freight volume — more than any other mode of transportation. To learn more about how freight rail works for America, the environment and for you, please visit: www.freightrailworks.org.

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