The North Shore Railroad Wins Two Major Awards

Photo provided by North Shore Railroad.

NORTHUMBERLAND - This April, the North Shore Railroad (NSHR) will receive two prestigious awards at the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) Annual Short Line Meeting in Grapevine, TX. The two awards are: 2017 Railway Age Short Line Railroad of the Year and 2017 ASLRRA Marketing Award.

Each year, Railway Age (Magazine), the transportation industry’s oldest trade magazine (established in 1856), awards only one of the more than 500 short line railroads in the United States the prestigious title of Short Line Railroad of the Year. This is one of the most significant honors a short line railroad can receive.

Also each year, ASLRRA awards three Marketing Awards. NSHR will be receiving the Marketing Award in 2017. Last year, NSHR’s affiliate, the Nittany & Bald Eagle Railroad, received this award. Since this award was introduced 21 years ago, only three railroad companies have earned this award two years in a row.

In the past year, NSHR handled a substantial volume of high and wide shipments. In fact, in 2016, it handled a total of 60 dimensional shipments across its system (47 were handled on the Northumberland branch alone). This total was greater than all of the combined high and wide shipments the company handled in its 31-year history. Handling these loads by rail took more than 21,000,000 lbs. of components off of Pennsylvania roads, and this number doesn’t include the equipment used to move the loads. In order to handle these shipments, NSHR had to assign more than 60 special train crews (outside of our regularly scheduled train crews). NSHR also had to prepare by measuring track curvatures and clearance points, having bridge ratings completed, and addressing any movable clearance concerns in advance of any movement. Further, most of these special shipments were accompanied by a member of NSHR management, who assured safe and efficient delivery.

The impetus for the need of high and wide loads to Central PA in 2016 stemmed from the building of two Natural Gas Power Plants – one in Berwick and one in Shamokin Dam. These shipments include components such as: transformers, steam drums, stators, generators, heat recovery steam generators, turbines, and boilers.

When planning for the unloading of these components, NSHR sought to: unload from the closest possible location to the destination, unload from a location that would not affect local school buses and schedules, and unload from a site that would not interrupt traffic for local businesses.

Planning for high and wide shipments was not an overnight job. NSHR had to work and collaboratively plan with many parties, including: shippers and logistics providers, other railroads that would have to handle the loads on the shipping end, customers, rigging companies, adjoining land owners, as well as county and local government (such as commissioners, industrial development associations, and boroughs).

Richard Maloyed, Regional Sales Manager of Edwards Moving & Rigging, said, “Edwards has had the opportunity of working with the North Shore Company and Affiliates for several projects in 2016. The components have ranged from heights of 17’, widths of 12’, and weights of 268,800 lbs. to 610,000 lbs. We have found them to be a first class railroad and the ultimate professionals -in every sense of the word. The staff have been a breath of fresh air to work with in every facet of the planning and executing stages of each project.”

There were many obstacles that NSHR had to overcome to make the dimensional handling possible: highway access; clearances, track and bridges; crossing protection; impact on regular railroad operations and customers; and train crew availability.

Despite the amount of time and attention these special deliveries demanded, there was no interruption in service to NSHR’s regularly-served customers.

“When we began consideration of and preparation for these high and wide shipments two years ago, there was never a guarantee that we would see them.” said Todd Hunter, NSHR Chief Marketing Officer. “However, having ‘local boots on the ground’ gave us a leg up in meeting all the criteria to handle these oversized loads.”

Joe Kantz, NSHR Business & Development Manager said, “This was a true team effort as this involves every department from our team, from the clearance department, to the billing department, and everyone in between.” The amount of work was monumental, but the employees rose to the challenge and deserve recognition for their efforts.

In response to hearing about these awards, Pennsylvania State Representative Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-Northumberland/Snyder) stated, “I applaud the commitment and dedication of the employees and leadership of North Shore Railroad for rising to the challenge and meeting and exceeding the needs in the transportation network. North Shore Railroad has been integral for the transportation industry in our area and our state, and I wish them many years of continued success.”

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