The 15th Annual
Southwestern Rail Conference

The 15th Annual Southwestern Rail Conference was held January 24-25, 2019.

The Premiere Freight & Passenger Rail Conference in Texas

Thanks for attending the 15th Annual Southwestern Rail Conference at the Magnolia Hotel, Dallas. Please scroll down for video presentations and slide decks from selected speakers and panels.

Presentations on the 15th Annual Southwestern Rail Conference may be viewed for personal use only. Any other use of the presentations require pre-approval from Texas Rail Advocates and must be identified as 17th Annual Southwestern Rail Conference hosted by Texas Rail Advocates. Email for authorization.

Transportation Reporters Roundtable

Bob Johnson, Gordon Dickson, Dug Begley

Get updated with the latest inside information on national and state rail issues from a trio of national and state transportation writers.

Bob Johnston – Bob has been writing and photographing passenger rail features and news accounts for Trains Magazine since 1991, and previously wrote for Passenger Train Journal. He has ridden almost every current North American passenger rail route and many pre-Amtrak lines that have since been abandoned. Bob has also traveled extensively on rail networks in China, Japan, and Europe to gain a worldwide perspective.

Gordon Dickson – covers transportation for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for the last 12 years. He is interested in all things mobility-related, including highways, city streets, toll roads, commuter rail, light rail, subways, cycling and old-fashioned walking. Eventually, he hopes to incorporate teleportation into the beat.

Dug Begley – transportation reporter for the Houston Chronicle since 2012. Reporter/blogger on transportation issues related to commuting and movement in one of the fastest-growing, diverse and complex infrastructure areas of the country. Coverage of Houston’s funding challenges pertaining to explosive growth and future economic investment in roads and rail lines.

DART continues in the build mode

Robbie H. Brownell, Robert Grant

North Texas has led the way in development of a regional passenger rail network using both heavy and light rail to accomplish the goal of becoming multi-modal.

Gary Thomas, the President and Executive Director of Dallas Area Rapid Transit discussed building the new cross-county Cotton Belt Line while at the same time expanding DART’s light rail presence downtown and with other exciting projects. He is responsible for a 13-city transit system covering 700-square mile service area with bus, light rail, commuter rail, and paratransit services. Under his leadership DART has doubled its light rail system – twice – to become the nation’s longest at 93 miles. The agency has been recognized for innovation in developing a progressive clean fuels program for its bus fleet, advancing new models for local bus and paratransit service and customer-facing communication technology and service. DART is also a recognized leader in the global advancement of the Mobility as a Service (MaaS) movement with its use of targeted demand-response transit service matched with new customer tools for fare payment and trip planning.

The Virtual Railroad

Ron Lindsey

Technology is a driving factor in railroading today on many levels. Ron Lindsey‘s career spans Conrail, CSX and working technology magic on Positive Train Control and on other technology platforms. He is a Contributing Editor for Railway Age and has been published in Progressive Railroading and Journal of Transportation. Ron published his own quarterly journal, Full Spectrum, for 15 years that was subscribed to by ail railroads, suppliers, and the FRA.

The Texas Department of Transportation’s Rail Division Director, Peter Espy

Peter Espy

Peter Espy covered various topics such as the Texas State Rail Plan, which is in the process of being updated and TxDOT’s rail-highway program. TxDOT Rail Division’s Mark Werner also explains the state rail plan.

At Amtrak, Espy held various management positions leading numerous technical and economic studies, ultimately serving as superintendent of Crew Management Services, responsible for the day-to-day staffing of all Amtrak trains in the Northeast Corridor. He served as general manager and chief executive officer for a privatized 1,000-mile freight railroad in northern Chile and served as general manager of PeruRail, a 600-mile freight and passenger railroad in southern Peru.

Union Pacific Railroad Update

Brenda Mainwaring

Brenda Mainwaring is AVP of Public Affairs for nine states in Union Pacific Railroad’s twenty-three state network. She and her team manage political, community and media outreach in UP’s southern tier, including interchange points with Mexico. In her twenty years with Union Pacific, Mainwaring has managed legislative affairs, historical assets, trademark licensing, and special activities including UP’s role as supplier to the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. In 2007, she was appointed the first public affairs director in UP’s headquarters state of Nebraska. Prior to coming to UP, Mainwaring was an intelligence analyst in Washington, D.C. Mainwaring serves in an advisory role on Texas Transportation Institute, Public Affairs Council, Texas Business Leadership Council, Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Transportation Advocacy Group of Houston and the North Houston Association, and is a member of TxDOT’s Freight Advisory Committee. She was honored as WTS-Houston’s 2016 “Transportation Woman of the Year,” Houston Woman Magazine “50 Most Influential Women of 2016,” and GHWCC’s “Breakthrough Woman.”

Railroad Focus for 86th Texas Legislative Session

Michael Grimes

Michael Grimes is the founding partner of Imperium Public Affairs and represents the Texas Short Line and Regional Railroad Association. He discussed the legislative focus in the upcoming session in Austin and how concerned parties can support efforts for rail.

Grimes served under Governor George W> Bush in the division of Budget and Planning as well as Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for a senior Senate office holder where he supervised media relations that included the development and implementation of public policy efforts.

2019 – The year for high speed rail in Texas

Tim Keith

2019 is when the Federal Railroad Administration is expected to announce its Record of Decision for the path of the nation’s first truly high speed line to be built by the private company known as Texas Central Railway.

A number of high profile companies are involved in this massive Texas project to bring high speed rail to the Lone Star state. Trains will cover the 240 mile Dallas to Houston corridor in 90 minutes.

Friday, January 25th Keynote Luncheon Speaker

Anthony Hatch

Anthony “Tony” Hatch is a leading national rail analyst. As a Senior Transportation Analyst on Wall Street for over thirty years at major financial institutions prior to starting his independent analyst/consultancy in 1999 Mr. Hatch’s coverage has been focused on the freight transportation segment, particularly surface transportation.

Mr. Hatch is known for his knowledge of the intermodal industry and has held several dozen specialized conferences. His services have been provided for institutional transport research projects as well as for private equity, infrastructure and hedge funds in areas of intermodal, rail maintenance and construction, railcars and 3P’s. When Tony Hatch speaks, railroad presidents listen.

Highway-Rail Grade Crossing State Action Plan (SAP) Model

Allan Rutter

For more than 30 years, Mr. Rutter has worked with and for public sector transportation agencies in multiple modes and governmental levels. He currently serves as the Freight Practice Leader for the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), leveraging multimodal expertise of dozens of researchers working for federal, state, regional and private sector sponsors. Mr. Rutter served as Federal Railroad Administrator for President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2004, serving as chief executive of the 800 employees of the FRA at US DOT. Mr. Rutter led or participated in State Rail Plans in eight states, including California and Texas. Mr. Rutter was chief executive of the North Texas Tollway Authority, a regional toll road agency in five counties in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, as the Authority began a dramatic expansion of facilities and funding. He also worked for four different Governors in Texas, and was involved in the first incarnation of high-speed rail in Texas in 1990.

Guidebook for Intercity Passenger Rail Planning and Development

Curtis Morgan

TTI recently led a national team in the development of the Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) National Cooperative Rail Research Program (NCRRP) Report 6: Guidebook for Intercity Passenger Rail Service and Development. This report describes the resources, strategies, analytical tools, and techniques to support all phases of planning and decision making in the development of intercity passenger rail service at state, regional, or multistate levels.

Trinity Metro unveils TEXRail

Richey Thompson, P.E.

TrinityMetro’s TEXRail line from downtown Fort Worth to DFW International Airport began service in January, just days before our conference. TEXRail Chief Engineer Richey Thompson, P.E., describes how it was all put together.

Putting together a national Positive Train Control network

Amtrak’s Chris Jagodzinski, spearheads the installation of Positive Train Control. He furnishes insight on what it takes to make PTC compatible between passenger and freight movements on the company owned track and with host railroads over which Amtrak operates throughout the country.

Chris is AVP – Operations for Amtrak and is based out of Amtrak’s 30th Street Station located in Philadelphia, PA. He is currently Amtrak’s PTC Program Sponsor overseeing the implementation of PTC across Amtrak’s 21,000 mile national network. He has been with Amtrak for 29 years, mostly in the Transportation Department with some additional experience working in both the Mechanical and Engineering departments. Prior positions at Amtrak include the General Manager – East, as well as the Senior Director System Operations for 8 years managing Amtrak’s Consolidated National Operations Center. Prior to Amtrak he has worked for both New Jersey Transit Rail erations and SEPTA’s commuter rail division in Philadelphia.

Planning and Designing the Perfect Transportation System and Stations

Chris Taylor

We have a great number of wonderful possibilities for passenger rail success in the Southwest region in the coming years. On-request transportation services and new technologies will increase expectations among users. Lets make sure opportunities for rail projects being planned exceed those expectations. Speaker Chris Taylor from ARUP returns to talk about delivering high performance.

Mr. Taylor is an Associate Principal with Arup and serves as a project manager and lead engineer for railroad right-of-way and station projects. Chris has played a key role in many major railroad infrastructure planning and environmental studies as the lead engineer. His understanding of planning, design, construction, and the environmental approvals process allows him to identify potential project hurdles early in the development phase and to develop designs that avoid or mitigate impacts to streamline the approvals process.

TRA is a 501(c)3 not for profit. Our continuing work of educating and informing the pubic and private sector on the benefits of freight and passenger rail come from conference registrations, sponsorships and financial contributions from private citizens and the business community.