News Archive 2012-2013

September 8, 2013
Mr. James Squires, President of Norfolk Southern Corporation to Speak at the Executive Night Dinner

President Thomas and the Executive Board are pleased to announce that our guest speaker for the November 7th Executive Night will be Mr. James Squires, President, Norfolk Southern Corporation. Mr. Squires has extensive experience as a member of the Norfolk Southern upper management team. He joined Norfolk Southern in 1992, and served in several law positions before being named Vice President Law in 2003, Senior Vice President Law in 2004, Senior Vice President Financial Planning in 2006, Executive Vice President Finance in 2007, and Executive Vice President Administration in 2012.

In his role as president, Mr. Squires is responsible for the corporation’s administration, finance, law and corporate relations, and planning and information technology divisions. He is a native of Hollis, N.H., and holds degrees from Amherst College and the University of Chicago.

We are excited to hear his comments on the state of railroading at Norfolk Southern, and his views on eastern railroading in general.

September 1, 2013
Members Encouraged to Pay Dues Before or At the Executive Night Meeting

The annual dues for the New England Railroad Club are likely the lowest dues of any professional society in the industry. Please be sure to stay current with your dues using the online payment feature in the dues section of the website. You can also download a form to pay by check. A large part of the dues we collect helps to fund the scholarships that we award every year.

September 1, 2013
New Meeting Schedule Announced for the 2013/2014 Season

President Thomas and the Executive Board of the New England Railroad Club are in the process of preparing the agenda for next year’s meetings and hope to feature speakers whose topics will include fuel cost and efficiency issues, implementation of emission standards, and what technology lies ahead in the area of promising alternative fuels.

In addition, we are also exploring topics highlighting expansion of passenger services to Worcester and Wachusett, Massachusetts; Rockland, Maine; and along the Northeast Corridor, with a focus on how those expansions may create freight/passenger interaction challenges for certain New England operators. The renewed interest in freight and passenger rail comes at a time when planning for infrastructure improvements are needed for the continued safe and reliable operation of rail services in the region and beyond.

Looking further out, the spring 2014 New England Rail Forum and EXPO will be held on March 25 as a single-day event in Worcester at the DCU Center. Look for further details on the web site and Facebook soon.

The dates for the 2013-2014 meetings are as follows:

Executive Night Meeting – November 7, 2013

Mechanical & Purchasing Night Meeting – January 30, 2014

Engineering & Transit Night and EXPO (in Worcester) – March 25, 2014

New England Railroad Club Scholarship Golf Classic and Annual Meeting – May 2014

The Annual Meeting will be held at the Ferncroft Country Club, and will include the Annual Scholarship Golf Classic and New England Lobster Bake.

The Executive Board encourages our memberships’ participation! If you know about specific topics, speakers, or issues you would like to hear about, as well as other ideas to improve the Club, please let us know using the contact us email on the website or in-person at any of our meetings.

July 20, 2013
New Address for All Railroad Club Correspondence

Mr. John Read, Secretary of the New England Railroad Club, has opened a new P.O. box in Boston to better handle the Club correspondence:

New England Railroad Club

P.O. Box 120173

Boston, MA 02112-0173

Please use the new address for all Club forms including dinner reservations paid by check, new member applications, scholarship applications, and dues forms. Yes, you still must pay your dues! The “I sent the check to Lowell” excuse will not work.

May 16, 2013
New Officers and Members Named to President, Vice President, and Executive Board. Mr. Dennis Coffey retires and Secretary of the New England Railroad Club

In May the members elected Michael Thomas, Director of Genesee Valley Transportation, and Cynthia Scarano, Executive Vice President of Pan Am Railways, to serve as the Club’s President and Vice President for the 2013-2014 program year – the 130th year for the New England Railroad Club. John Read of TranSystems Corporation will be assuming the Secretary position being vacated by Dennis Coffey, who is retiring after 20 years of service to the New England Railroad Club and rail industry in New England. Dennis will continue to serve on the Executive Committee as an Emeritus Member. Congratulations to all.

Peter Hughes of Atlantic Track & Turnout will continue to serve as Treasurer and keep a sharp eye on the books! He will also be ably assisted by David Rutkowski of P&W RR as Assistant Treasurer.

The Executive Committee will have two new members – Al Smith of GATX and Rudy Husband of Norfolk Southern Corporation. Mr. Robert Bass of Metro North Commuter Railroad has stepped down after providing outstanding service to the Club. We welcome our new Executive Committee members and thank Bob for his service.

March 1, 2013
Federal Railroad Administrator to Give Keynote Speech at the Engineering & Transit Night Dinner

The New England Railroad Club is pleased to welcome Joseph C. Szabo, Federal Railroad Administrator, as the keynote speaker for the 2013 Eastern Region Rail Crossing Conference & Expo in Worcester, Massachusetts. Mr. Szabo will speak at the Engineering and Transit Night Dinner on Tuesday, April 16, 2013.

Nominated March 20, 2009, and confirmed by the United States Senate on April 29, 2009, Joseph C. Szabo is the twelfth Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Administrator, responsible for overseeing the operations for the eight hundred plus person organization; managing a comprehensive railroad safety assurance program and regulatory initiatives; enforcing railroad safety laws and regulations; developing and implementing national freight and passenger rail policy and financial assistance programs including the High Speed Rail program; and overseeing wide-ranging advanced research and development projects in support improved railroad safety.

Szabo is a fifth generation railroader who, between 2006 and 2009, was Vice President of the Illinois AFL-CIO. He has served as mayor of Riverdale, Illinois, a member of the South Suburban Mayors Transportation Committee, and Vice Chairman of the Chicago Area Transportation Study’s Executive Committee. In 2002, he chaired the Governor’s Freight Rail Sub-Committee and, in 2005, was assigned by the United Transportation Union International to the FRA’s Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC), where he participated in the development of rail-safety regulations.

Szabo has served on the Executive Council of Chicago Metropolis 2020, focusing on Land Use Planning and Transportation issues and the Board for the Historic Pullman Foundation. He was a member of the Chicagoland Metropolitan Planning Council. He holds a baccalaureate degree in Labor Relations from Governors State University and is the recipient of an honorary doctorate from Lewis University for his lifetime commitment to public service.

To join us at the dinner visit the Attendee Registration section of our Expo page to see ticket options and to purchase tickets online.

February 2, 2013
2013 Academic Scholarship Awards Forms Available Online

The New England Railroad Club members are pleased to continue our scholarship awards program.


1. Scholarships awarded annually, subject to approval of Executive Committee.

2. Eligible applicants are the children, grandchildren or spouses of New England Railroad Club members in good standing. (Paid up dues)

3. Applications considered from high school seniors who will attend an accredited institution of higher learning leading to a bachelor’s level or associate level degree, or from students already enrolled and attending such institutions.

4. Previous applicants are encouraged to apply.


1. Funds will be disbursed, payable to the student, upon receipt of proof of registration for the Fall, 2013 academic semester.

Application Process

1. Student must complete and submit application form and supporting materials to

P.O. Box 82, Lowell, Ma 01853 no later than April 20, 2013

2. The following supporting materials are required (failure to submit may affect application): Academic transcripts; One letter of recommendation from teachers or academic advisors; and A brief (1-2 page) essay describing career goals and personal history.

The applicant may wish to submit a resume, which includes academic, work, and extracurricular activities.

Forms for the 2013 Awards are available at our Scholarship page.

January 28, 2013
MBCR General Manager Hugh J. Kiley, Jr. Speaks at the January Mechanical & Purchasing Night Dinner

Over one hundred members of the Club gathered at the Copley Fairmont on Tuesday, January 28, 2013, for Engineering and Transit Night. The guest speaker for the meeting was Hugh Kiley, General Manager of the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad (MBCR). The head table was comprised of Chief Mechanical Officers and representatives from many of the region’s railroads: NECR/G&W, PanAm Railways, MBCR, P&W RR, CSX, and the FRA.

Secretary Coffey. I call the meeting to order and ask President Scott Howland to come to the podium.

President Howland. Hello and welcome. I would like to welcome you all to Mechanical & Purchasing Night. At the head table tonight I would like to present from left to right (introduction of the head table). I am also pleased to introduce our guest speaker, Mr. Hugh Kiley. In his capacity as General Manager of MBCR, Hugh Kiley oversees a workforce of over 1900 people operating 480 trains each day. Under his leadership on-time performance has risen to 95%, a new program to reduce injuries was initiated leading to MBCR having the second best injury rate in the industry, and new e-ticketing and informational program have been launched to provide better customer service. Hugh has over 40 years in the rail industry, working at PennCentral, Conrail, and Norfolk Southern. He is a native of East Providence, Rhode Island and a graduate of the University of Rhode Island.

I would like to inform the membership that the Executive Committee has authorized the scholarship program for 2013 and that applications would be mailed out and were also available online. The next meeting of the Club will take place in Worcester, Massachusetts, and is the new 2 ½ day conference and expo held in conjunction with MassDOT and the FRA. I hope you can all make it to what looks like a very good event. I would like to thank the members of the expo committee for the work done so far in the planning of the event. More information will be mailed to all members soon and it will also be available online by the end of the month. I would now like to call on the Secretary to announce the new members

Secretary Coffey. The following new member applications were approved at the Executive Session held earlier this evening (names). If you are here please stand and be recognized (applause). Welcome and enjoy your dinner.

President Howland. I would now like to introduce Hugh Kiley, General Manger of the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad.

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Mr. Hugh Kiley. Thank you all for the welcome. I am privileged to be here tonight with you. I was also privileged to start my railroad career as a brakeman at PennCentral just two days into its bankruptcy. After the reorganization of PennCentral into Conrail, I found my working for a company with over 12,000 employees. Conrail was one of the most successful turnarounds in the history of the industry. I held 20 different positions at the company including being the head of the national customer service department. Following Conrail I spent twelve years at Norfolk Southern where I rose to be Vice President overseeing Operations and Transportation Services. NS was, and is, known for their safety culture and strives to achieve 0 injuries and 0 accidents. I was then asked to come and take charge of the commuter rail operations in Boston by MBCR.

The MBTA commuter rail system is a large and complicated network. Recent strategic acquisitions, like the Worcester line, have further enlarged territory we serve. From Rockport in the north to Wickford, Rhode Island, in the south, it is a growing network running 480 trains each day and transporting 150,000 people to and from Boston. MBCR provides operations of all the trains and also maintains all the facilities, stations, and track.

When I joined MBCR the three partners in the joint venture stressed several key elements that they are guided by: integrity, accountability, mutual respect, and teamwork. Management especially focuses on teamwork to help provide the level of service that T customers demand – which is flawless service – while doing it safely. At MBCR we have a saying: we are only as good as our last rush hour.

As a result of our efforts our company is 2nd place in the nation when compared to other commuter rail agencies in number of reportable employee accidents and 4th in the number of reportable passenger injuries. Our injuries for both employees and passengers have been significantly reduced since I started at MBCR and we are looking to reduce them even further.

We have made significant investments in maintenance to provide a safer and better service. We are excited about the new locomotives and coaches on order by the MBTA. 2012 was a benchmark year for MBCR. As you can see we had our best on time performance since 2006, with performance above 90% for all twelve months.

The MBTA and MBCR are partners in success. In my time at the company we have rehabbed the Greenbush Line, and introduced new service to Rhode Island. The acquisition of the Worcester Line has just been completed, and was very strategic operationally. We will be running 40 trains to Worcester by the end of October. We are also expanding the Fitchburg Line and Haverhill line on the North Side.

As I stand here I know that our metrics could not have been achieved without the help of people in this room. We work daily with Amtrak on our Northeast Corridor operations. CSX has been our partner with the Worcester Line. And PanAm has been a flawless partner in ensuring our smooth operations on the North Side. We also work with the P&W and will we working with them even more in the future. I can’t say enough about these partners or how they have helped us in our efforts to improve service.

Our Mechanical Forces were able to record the best record for air conditioning performance in 2012 and we honored them for that achievement. 2012 was also the 3rd warmest winter in recent history and we challenged our workforce to make it the best winter ever operationally. The winter of 2011 was one of the worst winters weather-wise, and we learned a great deal from what went wrong that year. With David Fink, who is seated here in front of me, we were able to make an arrangement where we acquired snow jets from PanAm that could blow snow away from switches and other parts of the right-of-way. We found out from Metro North that it was possible to shrinkwrap 480 cables. This keeps the HVAC working and results in less damage caused by built up snow and ice.

As part of our ongoing performance management we instituted a program of additional cleaning for the fleet. We also replaced the floors on 53 coaches. Our traction motor overhaul program was able to improve the reliability of 48 locomotives. We also set up a dedicated truck shop in BET, reducing out of service time by an average of 9 days.

We have also have been leading the way in innovation. We were able to take an off the shelf product make by a local Boston company – a thermo imaging camera – and use it to track down components in our equipment that has failed and needs to be replaced. As you can see here the device was able to track down a burned out circuit on one of our coaches.

The other big aspect of innovation has been the growth of social media in our operations. We are active on Twitter and Facebook to help keep passengers informed. And, if you want to know what the #1 posting of 2012 was on social media it was this: it is a turtle that was found on one of our trains. The story became a huge hit with everyone following the efforts to find the owner of the turtle. It did eventually find it a good home.

Our new effort is in mobile ticketing. This is being launched using the latest applications for smartphones. Passengers can now buy tickets on line using their mobile devices. In parallel with this initiative we are introducing the conductor companion. This is being tested by 24 conductors across the system. It is approved by the FRA and allows our conductors real-time access to information for our passengers. The response from the 24 conductors has so far been overwhelming in support of the program.

At MBCR we also strive to have good corporate citizenship. This past December we ran Polar Express trains for over 600 needy kids. This was only one component. We also run Haunted Happenings trains to Salem for Halloween, and Patriots trains to home games in Foxboro. All of these efforts are well received by the community.

This image shows the Gold Star Memorial Coach, a specially wrapped MBCR coach recognizing soldiers from Massachusetts who gave their lives in the recent conflicts in the Mideast. There are 235 stars on the coach. This is a fitting end for my speech. I can’t tell you how much appreciation was expressed to us by employees and onlookers regarding this coach. The unveiling was an honorable but sad day.

I am happy to be back in Boston after all these years and proud to be with MBCR. We are committed to safety and service. As we like to say when making the point about safety: machinery has no conscience. Thank you.

President Howland. Thank you Mr. Kiley. Are there any questions? If there are no questions then I thank you all for coming tonight and wish you all a safe trip home. See you at our next meeting in Worcester.

November 6, 2012
Our Expo is Growing! Introducing the 2013 Eastern Region Rail Crossing Conference and Expo

The New England Rail Forum and Expo has become one of the most popular industry events in the region. This year we are excited to announce that the Expo is partnering with another highly anticipated and well attended event: The FRA Eastern Region Rail Crossing Conference. The new conference and expo will be held on April 16, 17, and 18, 2013 at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts. The Club, with our partners Massachusetts Department of Transportation and Federal Railroad Administration, looks forward to bringing to the industry a series of informative and timely presentations dealing with rail crossing safety, technology, practices, and policies. To see the latest news and updates visit our Expo page.

November 6, 2012
Scholarship Recipients Announced

Congratulations to our scholarship recipients for 2012! Once again the task of choosing was difficult because of the excellent group of candidates that applied this year. The recipients were:- Molly Breen (Dan Breen, Jacobs);- Stephanie Bass (Bob Bass, Metro North RR);- Emily Hatchouel (granddaughter, John O’Keefe, B&M RR);- Emily Travis (granddaughter, Arnold Travis (Maine Central RR).

May 17, 2012
Golf Outing and Annual Meeting Ends Another Successful Year – New Officers Elected

The 2012 meeting at the Ferncroft Country Club and Crowne Plaza Hotel was a success and we thank all of the members and sponsors who joined us for a day spent with friends and co-workers. The new officers for the 2012-2013 Club Year were announced at dinner:
President: Scott Howland, AmtrakVice President: Bernard McCall, MBCRTreasurer; Peter Hughes, Atlantic TrackSecretary: Dennis Coffey, HNTB Corp.And the following new members of the Executive Committee:Cynthia Scarano, Pan Am RailwaysMichael Thomas, Genesee Valley Transportation

Thanks also go out to outgoing officers President Gordon Mott and Executive Committee member Ed Jeffrey. Both have left the Board after many years of helpful service to the Club.