Turn-key railroad start-up services, a service that did not exist 15 years ago, is offered by TCS. TCS has been successful in implementing a complete package for start-up railroad operations for many U.S. railroads. A number of factors generated a need for this service.
As Class I railroads began to spin off marginally profitable branch lines or “feeder lines”, Class III railroads have been created in an attempt to operate these lines with lower operating costs. The majority of these branch/feeder lines involve Class I Railroad operating conditions with the preexisting sophistication of train operating systems that were in place prior to the spin-off. The Class I railroads require the new Short line to have their engineers and conductors trained to the same level of proficiency that existed on the railroad prior to the Class III takeover of operations. This is necessary for joint trackage situations which usually still exist between the new Short line and the Class I. More extensive training also ensures a higher degree of professionalism for the Short line as well as customer assurance that the service will be performed as well, if not better, after the spin-off. TCS' reputation of professional training and certification, leads the larger railroads to recommend TCS to the new Short line with the assurance it will meet everyone's expectations.
The second set of factors in meeting the certification regulations for railroad startup are the levels of performance expectations for locomotive engineers and conductors. This certification regulation is one of the most complicated in the FRA regulations, and as such, it is daunting for a start-up railroad to meet these requirements without expert guidance. TCS comes highly recommended to the new railroad for utilization in successfully meeting regulatory expectations.
Prior to beginning a start-up operation, TCS is contracted by the new Short line to discuss strategic planning of its railroad operations. TCS considers the Short line’s parameters of operation and then TCS prepares an entire operating plan to fit their needs. This plan encompasses the following elements:
1.) Preparing 49 CFR Part 240 Submission and Submitting it to the FRA
2.) Classroom Training
3.) Supplying Instructors
4.) On-the-Job Training
5.) Licensing of Engineers
6.) Final Skills Evaluation
7.) Ongoing administration of the 49 CFR Part 240 program.
In many cases, TCS personnel may assist in the operation of trains for the client (through our sister company Rail Temps, Inc.) immediately from the date of operational start-up and continue day-to-day operation of the railroad until the railroad's students are promoted and deemed proficient for solo operation. In addition, TCS may be called to assist in completion of the Short line's Drug and Alcohol Policy (240.219) and implementation of Railroad Operating Rules, Testing, Inspections & Instruction (240.217); both of which are mandated by the Federal Railroad Administration.
Finally, TCS may be asked to prepare the Short line’s timetable, air brake rules, mechanical rules, general code of operating rules, or other operations-related manuals and other published materials.
Transportation Certification Services adds 50th Shortline Railroad