NARP news release
Railroad Safety Award Presented to Trio of Amtrak Engineers
Release #12-08—April 25, 2012
The 2012 Dr. Gary Burch Memorial Safety Award was presented by the Burch family to three Amtrak employees for their groundbreaking work on the monitoring of track conditions, reducing the risk of accidents and derailments. The award, which honors individuals who have significantly enhanced rail passenger safety, is sponsored by the family of Dr. Burch, who died in a 1991 passenger train derailment in South Carolina. The three members of Amtrak’s engineering department—Michael Trosino (Senior Director, Clearances, Inspections and Tests), Steven Chrismer (Principal Engineer Track Geometry), and Marty Perkins, Sr. (Rail Engineer Stress Management in the Engineering Department)—developed a method of measuring rail temperature to determine when heat slow orders are needed. This has proved more precise than the ambient air temperature that most railroads use.
“Messrs. Trosino, Chrismer and Perkins have demonstrated an extraordinary level of safety commitment to railroad passengers on the NEC and Michigan by implementing this rail temperature monitoring program to reduce the potential for catastrophic risk of track buckles that could result in a serious accident or derailment,” said Amtrak President & CEO Joseph Boardman.
The award was presented at NARP’s Capitol Hill reception under the auspices of Robert VanderClute, Senior Vice President for Safety & Operations at the Association of American Railroads and part of the selection committee. The committee was so impressed by the presentation of the three engineers’ work, they requested that AAR researchers investigate whether this approach should be adopted by the railroad industry, generally.
U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was also in attendance, and congratulated the three Amtrak employees for their dedication to the safety of passengers.
“To [Mr. Trosino, Mr. Chrismer, and Mr. Perkins]: thank you for making sure that passenger rail continues to be very, very important for our country,” said LaHood, who has consistently identified “safety” as the U.S. DOT’s primary goal during his tenure as Secretary.
The Burch family established the $1,000 award in 1994 and has sponsored it ever since. A list of previous winners can be found on NARP’s website.