It’s How You Look at It

Who here remembers the Ferrari Testarossa? I’m talking about the one from the late 1980’s early 1990’s, the one that Don Johnson drove on Miami Vice and was a car that many of us of a certain age only dreamed of driving. The Testarossa was considered a super car, and for its time was a rocket ship with a 0-60 time of 5.2 seconds and a price tag approaching $200,000 (and it looked pretty cool too). Fast forward to 2016, and my Ford Edge Sport, which has a price tag far less than $200,000 has a 0-60 time of 5.7 seconds and is 1000 pounds heavier and has 75 less horsepower (not to mention that I can do it with my whole family in the vehicle, which would be a little hard to do in the Ferrari). Now I will agree that my Bronze Fire SUV won’t be on a poster on my kid’s wall any time soon, I know that this is the closest I will be to going as quickly as a Testarossa on public roads in the near future. I think I can live with that half second of difference, especially if you take into consideration that if I were to race that 25-year-old car today, I would give you pretty good odds that it would break down long before my Ford.So where am I going with this? Here we are again with looking at things from a different perspective. In the above case, in 1991, my dream car could do no wrong. It was fast, expensive, and looked like something that I had never seen before. Now, it wasn’t that fast compared to a contemporary vehicle, it’s still kind of expensive (you can buy one for roughly $80-100,000), and even today I think it looks pretty cool (the poster had to come down in the bedroom, though).Last week I was home when the various explosive devices were detonated in Seaside Heights, N.J., and in Chelsea in New York City, and others were found in Elizabeth, N.J. In fact, I was watching the baseball game on TV and basically every time there was a commercial break the news people from the station I was watching would mention that there was both an explosion in Chelsea and another device had been found. What I found interesting was that the reaction by all, whether they were in government or in the media, was serious, but for once there wasn’t the wild speculation and sensationalism that we had seen just 15 years ago during the attacks on the World Trade Center.Have we grown numb to all of this? Do we not care? I don’t think so. While this new normal is far different than what we had dealt with in the past, I truly think that we have all started to realize that the sky isn’t going to immediately fall on us, that information is far better than speculation, and that when it is time for us to have the information, we will get it. In less than four hours after the information about the suspect was sent out, he was captured. We all have access to a lot more information a lot faster than we ever have been able to get it, and taking the proper perspective on the flow of information means that we are better prepared to act, and not run around panicking.--By Steve Friedland
steven-fb.jpgSteve Friedland, vice president and general manager of Massachusetts Central Railroad, is a well-known leader in the short line industry who has devoted more than two decades to railroading. He got his start with the Morristown & Erie Railway, a 42-mile New Jersey short line, where he worked for 22 years in all areas of the railroad, including track, mechanical, signals, and operations. 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 has served as the ASLRRA representative to the AAR’s Wireless Communications Committee and was chairman of the joint AAR-ASLRRA Short Line Information Improvement Committee. He is currently a member of the ASLRRA’s board of directors.