NRC Chairman's Column: Looking forward - 2020 NRC Conference and NRC-REMSA Exhibition and the NRC’s ongoing efforts on FRA Part 243

Nov. 11, 2019
The rail contractors association is gearing up for another successful 2020 conference with presentations scheduled from many West Coast agencies.

Thanksgiving is fast approaching and I hope you’ll be spending the upcoming holidays with family and loved ones. And don’t forget safety first--not only on the job, but in your personal and work life, as well.

October has been a stellar month for the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC). The NRC Board of Directors had a very successful Q3 board meeting in Jupiter, Fla., where we discussed the upcoming conference and other programs to better serve our members.

Our NRC 2020 Conference is January 5-8 in San Diego, Calif., at the Hotel Del Coronado. The conference is already lining up to be another great one, with Keith Creel, president and CEO of Canadian Pacific, being the featured speaker at Monday morning’s opening session. Also speaking will be senior engineering and procurement executives from Class 1 railroads, major rail transit agencies and commuter railroads such as Metra, Metrolink, Virgin Train USA; and a California commuter rail panel with ACE, Capitol Corridor and Caltrain, and short line freight rail holding companies such as Watco, G&W and OmniTRAX. These executives will come armed with the latest information on their capital program plans for 2020 and the opportunities that will be available for NRC member contractors and suppliers.

Additionally, the NRC will be hosting the first ever “speed networking” breakout session with Union Pacific's Directors of Bridge and Track Construction and Supply Chain Strategic Sourcing on Monday afternoon at the conference. The goal of the speed networking event is to connect with rail contractors not currently doing business with Union Pacific so they may grow their supplier network and bid solicitation contacts. Please note you must be registered for the NRC Conference to participate in the speed networking event. Each company may sign up for one 10-minute time slot. Time slot sign-ups are on a first come, first serve basis. This session requires pre-registration to attend. Click here to learn more and sign up.

REMSA is continuing to work hard putting together the finishing touches to the NRC-REMSA Exhibition, which is expected to sell out again. There will be more than 150 booths showing off the latest technology and equipment in the rail supply world, making it a compelling exhibition. Your participation will allow you to keep up with the latest information concerning what’s happening in our industry.

This year’s agenda for fun and relaxation will include golf, whale watching and a great spouse program. You would be hard pressed to find a better way to start off the year.

We have already filled up the historic Hotel Del, but will continue to do our best to provide adequate accommodations for all that attend. If you have difficulty and need assistance with any conference matters, please don’t hesitate to call Mike McGonagle on the NRC staff at 202-975-0365. Let’s set another attendance record this year! For more information on the conference, registration, lodging, sponsorships, and exhibiting, please visit

The NRC continues to work to protect its members from burdensome and onerous federal regulations. The NRC filed a joint petition with the ASLRRA to amend 49 C.F.R Part 243 by delaying certain implementation dates for applicable short lines and contractors for an additional two years, or suspending such dates all together. This petition is in an effort to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens for our members, and to give our members greater regulatory flexibility in how they implement training requirements.

Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Rob Castiglione will be presenting at the NRC 2020 Conference on Sunday in the general session and doing a more in-depth breakout session on Monday afternoon regarding the most up-to-date information on complying with FRA’s Part 243 rule. This impacts all rail contractors and vital information will be presented at both of these events -- you won’t want to miss it.

Additionally, in order to help our NRC contractor members comply with the requirements of FRA Part 243, the NRC has produced and received approval from the FRA for 10 separate model programs. These model programs cover the tasks contained in the following FRA Parts: 213, 214, 218, 220, 228, 233, 234, 235, 236 and 237. These model programs are available to NRC member companies free of charge. For more info, visit and login to the NRC website to access the templates.

I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving with their families and I look forward to seeing you in California in early January.