Dreaming of Warmer Times

As I write this, I am sitting in my office at the M&E wearing long johns and heavy socks, in addition to my usual attire.  It is in the single digits outside, and the heater for my office trailer is doing what it can to get the temperature up to 65 degrees. We have been fortunate (so far) in New Jersey to avoid the depths of snow up in New England, and we have a snow pack on the ground that is probably about eight to twelve inches.  We have also been fortunate that we have been able to keep the railroad running with minimal disruption.  This time last year we were in the middle of storm after storm, and at one point it took us ten days to clear one of our lines due to the snow and ice accumulation.Enough talking about another dreary winter. Let’s move on to something that will be in a much warmer place, and the discussion of snow and freezing temperatures will be a thing of the past.What is it, you ask? Of course I am talking about the ASLRRA 2015 Connections, which will take place March 28-31 at the Hilton Orlando in Orlando, Florida. Those of you who have been reading this blog over the years know that I am very involved with the meeting on a number of levels, so my reasons for you at attend come from a completely biased viewpoint.Let me give you the biased reasons to attend first. The meeting is simply the biggest short line railroad event.  There is no other place that you will be able to interact with more people in your industry, no other place that you will be able to get more education about topics that affect your operations, and no other place that you will be able to see the best products and services available for your company.  Everything that has been used to describe this meeting usually includes the words bigger and more, because Meeting Chairman Gary Griswell and the planning committee have created an event that has more exhibitors in the biggest exhibition ever, more educational sessions, and more opportunities for interaction than ever before.Now for the non-biased bit. It should be warmer and greener than just about any place that you are right now (if you are in Hawaii, Mexico, or Miami, you have my apologies).  Orlando in the early spring is not a bad place to be, and you are still at the start of Easter week, so the crowds won’t be too bad.  There won’t be any snow (if there is we have much bigger problems), ice (except in your drink), or bone chilling cold (if you set the air conditioning in your room that low it’s on you).  So make your plans to be in Orlando on March 28-31, and see what ASLRRA Connections is all about.---By Steve Friedland
steven-fb.jpgSteve Friedland is a child of the railroad industry. Following summers and vacations working on the track gang for the family-owned Morristown & Erie Railway, a 42-mile New Jersey short line, he started full-time in 1994. He has worked in all areas of the railroad, including track, mechanical, signals, and operations, and currently is a member of the management team for the company as director of operations in Morristown, N.J. In 1999, he founded Short Line Data Systems, a provider of railroad EDI and dispatching software, AEI hardware, and management consulting to the short line industry. He currently serves as the ASLRRA representative to the AAR's Wireless Communications Committee and is chairman of the joint AAR-ASLRRA Short Line Information Improvement Committee. He also is a member of the ASLRRA's board of directors.