The 17th Annual
Southwestern Rail Conference

The 17th Annual Southwestern Rail Conference was held online on Thursday, January 28, 2021.

Presented by Texas Rail Advocates, a 501(c)3 non-profit that believes in smart development of freight and passenger rail for Texas and the Southwest. Thank you to our 2021 SOUTHWESTERN RAIL CONFERENCE SPONSORS for underwriting the online event.

Presentations on the 17th 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.

Urban and Regional Rail - Headaches, Heartaches and Happiness

Paul Ballard, Bob Baulsir

Join Paul Ballard, former CEO of Trinity Metro/TEXRail and recent Interim CEO of Denver RTD along with Bob Baulsir, President/CEO Trinty Metro.

A New Administration in Washington - What Does It Mean For Passenger Rail?

Jim Mathews

Join Jim Mathews, President/CEO of the nation’s largest passenger rail advocacy organization, based in the nation’s capitol. There’s a new Secretary of Transportation and a President that rode Amtrak for years. What will it mean in a new Congress?

We're in the 21st Century So Where’s My Freight Car Right Now?

Jim Blaze

Jim Blaze is a columnist for FreightWaves. He’s a rail economist that has worked for CONRAIL, the State of Illinois and Zeta Tech. Truckers have been doing it for over a decade, so when will shippers get real-time data on their rail car movements?

Mobility and Innovation in the DFW Metroplex

Megan Shea

Join BNSF Railway's Megan Shea, Assistant Director of Public Projects and Systems Designs. Megan leads regional rail projects, strategies and public agency engagement across the network. BNSF is working on several important projects in North Texas that are designed to keep both freight traffic and passenger trains moving.

Conceptual Engineering Level of Detail for Environmental Review – The Texas Central Experience

Christopher Taylor

Building the first high-speed rail line in Texas required a lengthy environmental clearance. Christopher Taylor from ARUP walks us through the intensive engineering efforts required to support the environmental analysis process.

Brown Bag Lunch Hour with Invited Guests

Karl Ziebarth, Terry Canales, Celia Israel, Anthony "Tony" Hatch

Enjoy lunch while you listen to government and industry leaders discuss topics of interest. We know you’ll miss our traditional Tex-Mex luncheon buffet but we’ll bring it back next year when we can all meet in person.

Our "Voice In Austin", Texas Rail Advocates Political Consultant Mackenna Head Wehmeyer looks at the current legislative session now underway.

Texas House of Representatives Transportation Committee Chairman Terry Canales joins us to talk transportation "Under the Dome".

She calls herself the Transportation Chick. State Representative Celia Israel is a staunch supporter for public transportation options and Chair of Austin’s Alliance for Public Transportation. She was the driving force in organizing 20 other state lawmakers asking for an interim charge on regional rail between Austin and San Antonio.

When Anthony “Tony” Hatch speaks, railroad executives listen. Tony, named 2019 North American Rail Shippers Association "Person Of The Year" and former Wall Street analyst talks about the direction the rail industry is heading.

Union Pacific - Overview and Public Projects Around Rail Right of Way

Richard A. Zientek, Tyson Moeller

The Texas State Rail Plan (plus Oklahoma, plus Louisiana) – Panel

Kevin Keller, Dean Goodell, Peter Espy, Jared Schwennesen

Your Department of Transportation needs one if it wants to qualify for federal cost-sharing programs. But it means a lot more than that. You’ll hear what goes into the TxDOT Rail Plan and also peek at those from nearby states. A Five-Star panel discussion moderated by Kevin Keller, VP at HDR Engineering.

Moderator – Kevin Keller . Vice President and Senior Professional Associate at HDR

Panelist – Dean Goodell, Program Director for Freight and Passenger Rail, Louisiana Department of Transportation

Panelist – Peter Espy, Rail Division Director, Texas Department of Transportation

Panelist – Jared Schwennesen, Rail Programs Manager, Oklahoma Department of Transportation

Success Story: A Texas COG That Is A Tiger In Transportation Planning

Michael Morris

Mention the North Central Texas Council of Governments and the words Transportation and you have an agency that is a class act planning for all modes of transport. It’s leader, Transportation Director Michael Morris lets us know what’s next for freight rail, passenger rail, high-speed rail and other transportation options.

TexasPacifico Is Connecting The Railroad Dots in Deep Southwest Texas

Stan Meador

It's rugged territory with a lot of potential. Stan Meador, VP of Sales/Marketing for GrupoMexico Transportes’ TexasPacifico-South Orient Railroad, talks about bringing a railroad and the economy of cities and towns back to life along its 376 winding miles from West Texas to the Mexican border at Presidio.

PROJECT CONNECT – Changing The Face Of Transportation in Austin

Sam Sargent

After enduring years of gridlock in Austin, capital city voters approved a $7 BILLION dollar transportation mega-project this past November. Capitol Metro Deputy Chief of Staff Sam Sargent rolls out the details.

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.