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BLE International President Clarence Monin recently joined rail industry officials and civic leaders for a ride on an Operation Lifesaver Workshop Train from Cleveland to Toledo, Ohio.
The 1950s-era diesel which pulled the Operation Lifesaver work train comes to a hault in downtown Cleveland's Amtrak station.
The passenger train was provided by Conrail and volunteer Operation Lifesaver presenters served as hosts. BLE Cleveland Division 3 Member Curtis McElroy was among the OL presenters.
During the six-hour train ride, President Monin discussed safety issues with FRA Administrator Jolene Molitoris and Cleveland-area Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH).
Also on the train was BLE Political Affairs Coordinator Brent Boggs of the BLE's Washington office. ·
President Monin and FRA Administrator Jolene Molitoris discuss safety issues during the trip. She recognized President Monin during her press conference prior to the train's departure, saying "There is no more passionate spokesman for rail safety than Clarence Monin."
BLE Division 3 Member Henry Gray, left, was locomotive engineer during the trip. He is pictured here with BLE Political Affairs Coordinator Brent Boggs. Gray is a 24-year BLE member who celebrated his 30th anniversary in the rail industry that day.
BLE International President Clarence Monin attended a public hearing on September 21 in Lakewood, Ohio, to assist the community's residents and businesses in opposing the acquisition of Conrail by Norfolk Southern and CSX.
Cleveland democrat congressman Dennis Kucinich and FRA Administrator Jolene Molitoris invited President Monin to provide testimony on behalf of BLE members in connection with the proposed buy-out.
Labor and civic leaders, businessmen and citizens publicly stated their concerns for safety. Their comments will be considered by the Surface Transportation Board, the government body that will decide on the merger by June of 1998.
"It is possible that such an organized effort could spread to other communities that will also be affected by this acquisition," Monin said.
NS issued a statement saying the merger "would nearly triple the number of freight trains through the West Shore suburbs" in the Cleveland area.
CSX said the merger would mean "more economic development for communities along the rails."
If approved by the federal STB, the number of trains passing through the communities is expected to increase from 14 to 38 each day.
The main concern of citizens is that train traffic could delay police, fire and ambulance vehicles in the event of an emergency.
Parents of Lakewood school children also voiced their fears. The city has no school bus service, forcing nearly 10,000 students to walk, ride bikes or find other ways to get to school.
"I am confident my remarks at this hearing will assist the community effort in opposing the acquisition," President Monin said. ·
The BLE's monthly publication, the Locomotive Engineer newsletter, was given a first place distinguished achievement award by the Association of Railway Communicators at its annual conference in Tucson, Ariz.
The BLE newsletter topped four other competitors in the category for "Best Newsletter," including several Class I railroad companies.
All aspects of the publication were judged, including content, writing and design.
Some of the remarks by judges were, "Good news content," "Efficient but still engaging," and "Highly professional writing techniques and cohesive design."
The Association of Railway Communicators in the nation's oldest industrial editor's organization, celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.
Other winners of ARC Distinguished Achievement Awards include:
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