Salem, OR — Tim Atkinson, president of the Pacific Northwest Association of Rail Shippers and vice president of sales at Stimson Lumber, urged policymakers to reject crew size mandates that could undercut rail innovation in a recent op-ed for the Statesman Journal.
“Oregon’s storied timber remains one of our state’s most important economic drivers. At the center of this success is freight rail, which is essential for delivering Oregon lumber and wood products to markets throughout the country and overseas. But some in Washington, D.C., are threatening to hinder the rail industry’s ability to invest and innovate for the future, which would deal a serious blow to forestry businesses and workers here in Oregon.”
Pointing to a lack of evidence to justify the claim that two-person crews are safer than one-person crews, Atkinson highlights some of the technologies that are making railroads safer and more efficient.
“Railroads are using sensors, big data, drones, acoustical monitoring, LIDAR, machine learning and other technologies to spot issues before they arise, avoiding disruptions and safety threats. They’re even installing a system of technologies that can stop a train remotely to prevent human-error accidents. Freight rail investment and innovation is critical for Oregon’s economic future —extending far beyond our timber industry.”