News Archive 2014-2015

August 4, 2015

President Rudy Husband Welcomes Members to the 2015-2016 Club Year

For our 132nd year the New England Railroad Club will continue our traditional meeting schedule, including the Expo in Worcester and the Scholarship Golf Classic in Danvers. At last year’s Annual Meeting the Club voted in the new Executive Board, consisting of President Rudy Husband from Norfolk Southern Corporation, Vice President Frederick Chidester of the MTA Metro-North Railroad, Secretary David Rutkowski of the Providence & Worcester Railroad, and Assistant Treasurer Michael Thomas of Genesee Valley Transportation. We anticipate another great line-up of guest speakers who will focus on our 2015-2016 theme: New England’s Rail System: Innovation & Growth. As always we welcome your input and ideas. If you have an railroad professional you believe the membership would be interested in hearing from at our Boston meetings, or a supplier or consulting company who can report on an interesting product or projects at our Expo, please let us know. We look forward to seeing you all at the Executive Night meeting in November.


May 23, 2015

Peter Hughes Steps Down as Treasurer of the New England Railroad Club

The New England Railroad Club would like to recognize Mr. Peter Hughes of Atlantic Track & Turnout who stepped down this past year as Treasurer. Peter was elected to the position in 1987, and served as Treasurer to the club for 28 years. He will continue as an emeritus member of the Executive Committee, where his insight and direction will always be welcome as we continue forward in our mission to promote the rail industry. Please join us in thanking Peter for his long service to the New England Railroad Club.


October 9, 2014

Welcome to our new website.

The new design incorporates some great new features and makes it easier to reserve tickets to our meetings. It is still a work in progress, however, so please bear with us as work to bring you a more interactive experience…


May 5, 2014

Annual Meeting and Golf Scholarship Classic to be held on May 22, 2014 at the Ferncroft Country ClubFerncroft Country Club in Middleton, MA

Join us and celebrate the end of a truly long winter with as we gather for the traditional Scholarship Classic golf outing and Annual Meeting. This year will feature a new format: both the Classic and the Annual Meeting will occur at the Ferncroft Country Club, making it easier for our members participating in the Classic to attend the reception and dinner.

If you are thinking about joining us to play a round of golf the Ferncroft Country Club course has been described as a golfers delight. The Robert Trent Jones, Sr. championship golf course has received numerous accolades, both nationally and within Massachusetts. The yardage from the back tees is 6632 and par is 72 for men and 73 for ladies. There will be a single afternoon flight for 2014 with a tee time of 1:00 pm. A deli bar buffet lunch will be served from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM.

The Annual meeting will begin at 6:00 pm with a reception featuring cocktails and light hors d’oeuvres. A New England style Clambake featuring lobster, steamers, and all the fixins’ follows. At the dinner we will also announce the results of the golf outing and introduce the new Executive Committee for 2014-2015.

Visit the Annual Meeting Page for more information and to reserve tickets.

April 17, 2014

In Memoriam: Remembering Marjorie P. Silver and John C. Hunsberger, two New England Railroad Club members who passed away this year.



1926 – 2014Marjorie P. Silver

Our dear friend, mentor, past president and ambassador at large for our industry passed away Sunday, March 9, 2014 at her home in New York City.

Boston born, raised in Yonkers- and a pioneer for women in business, Maggie took the path of her own choosing rather than following the more traditional roles imposed by society and the business world. When her father, Sam Pinsly, passed away in 1977 Maggie rejected the notion that she should sell out and take life easy.Instead she jumped in and led the company through change and growth while staying true to her father’s legacy.

Pioneer, role model, innovator – all good words to describe Maggie. Recognizing the challenges she had faced as a woman in the transportation business she was an early participant in the Women’s Transportation Seminar in Boston – established as a seminar group since women were not allowed to go to business lunches. And consistent with her business philosophy of an intense focus on customer service Maggie developed a range of services to win business to her railroads – and in turn to her connecting carriers.

When Maggie took over as President of Pinsly Railroad Company in 1977 the company included four railroads – all of which have been sold as markets changed and new opportunities emerged. Following Sam Pinsly’s approach Maggie sought and found opportunities where others saw only decline. With carefully planned investments and innovative customer service these new properties were turned around and today continue to meet customer needs. Currently Pinsly operates seven railroads in Massachusetts, Florida and Arkansas.

Recognizing the important role that government can play – in terms of policy and programs, Maggie was a founding member of the Massachusetts Railroad Association and also an active member of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, serving in many roles including as Eastern Region Vice President. In these roles Maggie helped to shape the industry’s approach to governmental relations – one in which open communications was deemed the most effective means to combat the long standing inequities faced by the railroads, both regionally and nationally.

Maggie’s devotion to the industry is matched only by her devotion to family and community. The mother of four and grandmother of seven, Maggie set high standards, but guided with compassion and care. Her summer home on Cape Cod has been the site of both family weddings and business meetings – and a warm and welcoming venue for friends and family.

Maggie has inspired many women to pursue careers in transportation – and has been equally inspiring to many of her male counterparts throughout the industry and nation.

The New England Railroad Club honored Maggie with the Vincent R. Terrill Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 for her many good works, her tenacity and her leadership. Maggie leaves her husband, Bob Smith, and her daughter Anne Levine, sons John, Marc and Jim Levine, and stepdaughters Leslie and Lindsey Smith, and seven grandchildren. She will be missed by many, and long remembered.

In fact, and most appropriately, her memorial service was held in New York City on the eve of the annual Railroad Day on the Hill in Washington D.C.

Donations in Maggie’s memory may be made to the Dana Faber Institute, 450 Brookline Ave., Boston, MA 02215



1961 – 2014John Hunsberger

John Hunsberger passed away January 10, 2014 after a valiant battle with pancreatic cancer. A longtime member of the Executive Committee of the New England Railroad Club John actively supported the Club’s many activities designed to enhance the economic strength of our industry and to maintain our rail and transit systems in the best condition possible.

First and foremost a family man, John leaves his wife Clare and daughter Olivia and son Jack, as well as two sisters and a brother. His father-in-law is another longtime member of the Club, and former Secretary, Jim McCoombs.

John was Pandrol’s Manager of Sales, and in that role he touched the lives of so many in the industry. He was always ready to step up to help, to provide information and to listen to customer’s ideas about how to improve products. A mentor and guide to both his co-workers and customers John will be missed and fondly remembered.

John was the organizer of the Club’s hosted reception traditionally held in conjunction with Engineering and Transit Night, and now a mainstay of the New England Railroad Conference & EXPO. Even during his battle with cancer John was manning Pandrol’s booth at last year’s EXPO. He rarely missed the Annual Golf Classic and always encouraged others to join the Club and become active members. John was also an active member of the Metropolitan Railroad Club – and both organizations benefited from his commitment and hard work.

John was born in Springfield, OH, on July 27, 1961, the son of Kay (Packey) Hunsberger Hallford of Montgomery, AL and the late John C. Hunsberger. A Memorial Service was held Wednesday, January 15, 2014 in North East, Maryland, his hometown.

Dr. Beverly A. Scott
March 25, 2014

Dr. Beverly A. Scott, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority General Manager and MassDOT Rail & Transit Administrator Presents Keynote Speech at the 2014 Expo

The New England Railroad Club was pleased to welcome MBTA General Manager Beverly A. Scott, PhD, as the keynote speaker at the 2014 Rail Forum and Expo. Addressing a crowd of over 350 rail industry professionals, Dr. Scott highlighted how infrastructure improvements, both here and abroad, will affect the future of freight and passenger rail growth in this country, and touched upon some of the issues currently faced by the MBTA.

Dr. Scott began her presentation by speaking about the Panama Canal Expansion Project, which was just visited by Governor Patrick and Secretary Davey on a trade mission. This massive infrastructure improvement project could affect the Charles Moran Container Terminal in Boston and the movement of freight in New England. She then discussed how the United States was not making the investments in infrastructure for the future like others in the world, and as a result our grade was a D-.

Using these examples Dr. Scott arrived at the main point of her presentation: that fact that “infrastructure improvements” and their cost (the IT – as she said in her speech) were not what she felt we should focus on. Rather, we needed to focus on (and talk with each other about) the life-changing possibilities that these infrastructure improvements will bring to our communities when they are made. We needed to focus on what is beyond the IT. And she emphasized that “We Can Do This”.

During the question and answer period, she acknowledged that our current funding mechanisms for infrastructure improvements were not working. She believes that we need to develop new funding mechanisms and think outside of the box in creating themDownload Dr. Scott's presentation.

Dr. Scott also talked about the MBTA and its aging workforce. The MBTA workforce totals approximately 6200 people, of which about 1200 are within one year (“short time”) of the point in their careers when they could retire. The training of a new workforce was going to be essential in the near future for the MBTA.

To download the synopsis of Dr. Scott’s speech, along with her biography, click on the link at right.




March 25, 2014

New England Railroad Club Membership and Industry Professionals Gather in Worcester, MA, for the 20Download Abby Swaine's presentation14 Expo

The 2014 New England Rail Forum & Expo and Engineering and Transit Night Dinner was held on March 25th at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA. Over 350 rail industry professionals took part in the day-long event which featured seminars, exhibitor pavilion, equipment display, and the reception and dinner.

One of the highlights of the 2014 was the seminar series. All of this year’s seminars were well attended, with some standing room only. In the morning Abby Swaine discussed the nuances of the EPA’s Locomotive Engine Rule (download her presentation at right), while Eugene Matzan and Mark Goodman followed up on last year’s presentation about how ultrasonic technology can prevent wheel and engine failures. In the afternoon, Luigi Sain led a panel discussion on the Northeast Corridor and PTC systems, while Tom Cahir chaired a panel highlighting the growth of passenger operations in the region.

The Exhibitor Pavilion was one of the best attended ever, and featured a wide range of suppliers, engineering firms, and consulting companies. Exhibitors included: Electro-Wire, Inc., A&K RAILROAD MATERIALS INC., DBi Services, Cambridge Communications & Signal Systems, NRE, S&C Distribution Company, Hatch & Kirk, Inc., Big R Bridge, Vossloh Fastening Systems America, Pandrol CDM Track, MOLTEC INTERNATIONAL, Geismar, Siemens Rail Automation Carborne Systems Inc., Railway Age, RailWorks Corporation, Walco Electric Company, Keolis Commuter Services, PowerRail Distribution, Inc., Oldcastle Precast/StarTrack Rairoad Products, Pandrol USA, Progressive Railroading Magazine, HiRail Corporation, Arthur J. Hurley Co., Inc., The Okonite Company, HNTB Corporation, MRG, Inc. (Maine Rail Group), Flynn Wirkus Young PC, Dennis K Burke Inc., NEARS, CCI Thermal Technologies Inc. – Fastrax®, Dynamic Ticket Solutions, Sunbelt Rentals Inc., NBM Rail Services, UTCRAS, POLYCORP LTD., RailPros, Inc., AerosUSA, Inc., N.E. Bridge Contractors Inc., Protran Technology, LLC., Rails Co, and several more who were walk-ins the day of the show!

The New England Railroad Club would also like to thank the sponsors of the Engineering & Transit Night Reception: Amsted RPS, A&K, Arthur J. Hurley Company, Inc., Atlantic Track & Turnout, DBI Services, GEISMAR/Modern Track Machinery, Inc., GW Peoples, HiRail Corporation, Hatch & Kirk, Inc., HNTB Corporation, L. B. Foster Co., Milton Cat Power Systems, Pandrol USA, LP, Pandrol CDM Track, PowerRail Distribution, Inc., Progressive Railroading Magazine, Rails Company, Railway Age/Railway Track & Structures, Railroad Construction Co South Jersey, Railroad Construction Co, RAILWORKS, Ray’s Transportation, Rocla Concrete Tie, Stanley Railroad Products, Startrack/Oldcastle, Stella- Jones, The OKONITE Company, TranSystems Corporation.


 James Squires of Norfolk Southern

March 1, 2014

Executive Night Minutes and Speech Now Available for Download

The 2013 Executive Night introduction and speech by James Squires of Norfolk Southern is now available in pdf form. To download click on the button at right.

Here is an excerpt from the speech:

Not too long thereafter I was out on the railroad visiting our Central Division in Knoxville, Tennessee. We were deploying another computer-aided system we developed in partnership with General Electric. It is called Precision Dispatch System, also known as Movement Planner. This one is a train-scheduling tool. With it we can compile near-term operating information from every division on our network, and then have it generate an optimized schedule and operating plan. Before Movement Planner our dispatchers were limited to local operating data in making scheduling decisions. Now we can plan and make the best decisions based on current and future decisions across the entire network. It has the potential to save hundreds of millions of dollars in capital and operating expenses.

The problem is Movement Planner’s recommendations are often counter intuitive, or even flat out contrary to what a dispatcher would do. So, as an analogy, remember when in 1997 based on the popular account, the chess player Gary Kasperoff was so flummoxed by a random move by Deep Blue, IBM’s computer, that he supposedly concluded that play must be a sign of superior intelligence. And then he went on to lose the chess match. By the way Deep Blue’s random move has recently been attributed not to superior intelligence but to a bug in IBM’s software.

Anyways the day that I was on the Central Division in Knoxville a few of the dispatchers were very surly and behaving like Gary Kasperoff. Movement Planner’s recommendations just made no sense to them. To them the recommendations were not just counter intuitive, they were just flat out wrong. To make matter worse it felt like Movement Planner had usurped their role, taken away a piece of their identity, the most of which were their responsibility to get trains over the road. So for example Movement Planner’s response to a train delay somewhere out on the network was would be to put a high-priority intermodal onto the siding. That is something that dispatchers are not comfortable with because before Movement Planner came along high-priority trains got high-priority. That is the easily applied rule to what psychologists call the heuristic. The problem with always giving intermodal trains priority is sometimes they cause all the other trains to run late. So we’re giving the intermodal the whole railroad at certain locations even when you don’t need to. Movement Planner can see the whole network and can make recommendations that can appear sub-optimal at the local level, but actually optimize overall network efficiency.

So why won’t engineers log on to LEADER, the system that will help them do their job more effectively? Why won’t dispatcheDownload James Squires's presentationrs use Movement Planner, a system that will help them get trains to move faster? We already mentioned the counter-intuitive aspects of these technologies. It’s also important to recognize that employees look at this as the tools we use are for discipline. So when engineers log on to leader every aspect of what goes on in that cab is recorded. And let’s be honest, how many of would want a system like that in our cars? And then there’s the fact that these technologies are not surface problems, meaning they are not obviously preventing us from being successful. Train derailments, power outages are clear impediments to operations that must be addressed quickly to move ahead. Problems like fuel efficiency and train delays are not as obvious, so a link between corrective actions and benefits is not as easy to see. Lastly, it takes conscious efforts to adopt new technology. Until something becomes a habit or a natural activity our brains have to think harder to think through each step. A certain amount of time and frustration must be invested before a new way of doing things becomes routine. The more conscious effort required to change the more difficult the change is.