Ch Ch Ch Ch Changes….

So here we are in a new year. After the year that was 2016, for most this is a good thing. The one thing I think everyone is unsure about is the change that is about to happen in this country. The fact is, this change takes place every time there is a new president. Admittedly, this incoming president is a little (a little?) different than what we have seen before, but it is still a change of government.So what are we facing? Well, for the immediate future, nothing much. Why? First, all of the government appointees have to be approved by the Senate. This means everyone in the cabinet, from the Secretary of Agriculture all the way through the Secretary of Transportation. After that, you have all the directors of all the agencies, such as NASA, CIA, TSA and FRA, ambassadors, and the lot. The sheer number of appointees means that we probably won’t even know who the new FRA Administrator is going to be until April or May. This means that the civil servants will be making sure that it is “business as usual” until the new boss arrives. The down side of this is that we probably won’t see any changes to current regulations or policies for a while.From all I have heard, we, as railroaders, have less to worry about than those who have to deal with other areas of government, like energy for example. We also could be facing a number of good things for us, because the word on the street is that there could be a government investment in infrastructure. It is no secret that traffic has dropped off more than usual over the last year or so, and hopefully we will be looking at growth instead of contraction.On a personal note, I too am facing a change. Due to circumstances that were beyond my control, I find myself looking for a new job. My time at the Mass Central was productive for both myself and the company, but in this case outside forces have caused this to happen. That being said, if you know of something, let me know. Until then, I will be focusing on Short Line Data Systems and its customers, and seeing what the changes in the rest of the world bring.Have a happy and safe New Year!--By Steve Friedland
steven-fb.jpgSteve Friedland 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.