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A word from
GoRail Board Chair
Evan Bell

Head of Procurement, CSX

I am honored to take up the chairmanship of the GoRail Board of Directors as we head into 2020.

These are exciting and challenging times for freight railroads. We’re in the midst of transformational changes that are taking the industry to new heights in terms of safety, service, and efficiency even as we face trade uncertainties, softness in important markets, and headwinds in the broader economy.

Read The Letter

A word from GoRail Board Chair Evan Bell

Head of Procurement, CSX

I am honored to take up the chairmanship of the GoRail Board of Directors as we head into 2020.

These are exciting and challenging times for freight railroads. We’re in the midst of transformational changes that are taking the industry to new heights in terms of safety, service and efficiency even as we face trade uncertainties, softness in important markets, and headwinds in the broader economy.

GoRail plays an important role – serving as a crucial bridge between communities all across the nation that recognize the benefits of strong and thriving freight railroads, and the policymakers in Washington, D.C., who will be making key decisions that could profoundly impact our ability to reinvest in the rail network.

Thank you to the rail suppliers and contractors who help make it possible for GoRail to do its important work, and to the thousands of community leaders and other Americans helping to educate Congress about the importance of freight rail to our economy and our quality of life.

Better policy decisions are made through better citizen advocacy.

In “Citizen-Centric Advocacy: The Untapped Power of Constituent Engagement” the Congressional Management Foundation outlines four key findings guiding today’s citizen-Congress relationship. We wanted to walk you through how GoRail's work is founded on these advocacy principles.


Congressional Management Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to improving the relationship between citizens and Congress

#1: Direct constituent interactions have more influence on lawmakers’ decisions than other advocacy strategies.


Embracing the power of in-person, we make lawmaker-advocate connections by organizing district meetings and rail facility and supplier tours. Events in 2019 convened constituents and six new members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Focus: District Meetings

#3: Citizen advocates are more influential and contribute to better public policy when they provide personalized and local information to Congress.


As the 116th Congress began its work in January, GoRail similarly set out to educate a new crop of lawmakers, prioritizing meetings with the constituents of new members on the House Transportation & Infrastructure and Senate Commerce committees. Personalized, local constituent letters to lawmakers—935 of which were sent in 2019—are just some of the deliverables generated by these meetings.

Focus: March Madness

#2: Congress places a high value on groups and citizens who have built relationships with the legislator and staff.


Railroad Day on Capitol Hill is an opportunity for GoRail to bring citizen advocates to Washington to conduct dozens of meetings across an action-packed day of rail advocacy. These advocates are community leaders and many have existing relationships with members and their staffs, helping our message reach and resonate with Congress on a local and personal level.

Focus: Railroad Day on Capitol Hill

#4: Citizens have significant potential to enhance their advocacy skills and influence Congress.


Our education of Congress begins with advocate education. When a community leader can visit a freight rail facility and get firsthand experience with rail’s culture of safety, or internalize rail economic impact stats and have the knowledge to explain why rail helps taxpayers, it makes them stronger voices before Congress. In addition to hundreds of one-on-one meetings, we reached 1,400 community leaders through public presentations in 2019.

Focus: NACo at TTCI

On the Road
A window into our 2019 journeys

Our team traveled to 27 states this year, meeting with over 2,695 community leaders to tell the freight rail story, build relationships and help mobilize rail advocates in support of a strong freight rail network. See where this mission took us in 2019—from California to Massachusetts, Texas to Minnesota and all corners in-between.

New Team Members Enhance Organizing Efforts

2019 brought two new team members to GoRail. Learn what they enjoy about telling the freight rail story across the Northeast and South Central United States.


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Melissa Knepper

CONNECTICUT, DELAWARE, MARYLAND, NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK, PENNSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA
“As I traveled the East Coast this year sharing important GoRail messaging about the nationwide rail network to community leaders, I also listened and learned. Important connections were made, relationships were created, coalitions were built. I learned that freight rail truly is the ‘engine that keeps America moving forward’—not just a phrase used while organizing. For without the railroad, where would America be as a country?”
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Brett Sebastian

ARIZONA, ARKANSAS, KANSAS, LOUISIANA, MISSOURI, NEBRASKA, OKLAHOMA, TEXAS
“The best way to enact good public policy is to remember that the very name includes the word ‘public.’ I’ve always enjoyed connecting with different people and diving into issues that people might not think about on a day-to-day basis. The issues a mayor in Arizona encounters are typically very different than what a state representative in Missouri might find interesting, but that’s what makes this work exciting. Building those relationships and discussing the many public benefits that the railroads bring to the table is one of the highlights of this position.”
Earned Media
Rail in the Opinion Pages

Elevating citizen voices through earned media continues to be an important piece of GoRail’s advocacy efforts. Whether it’s sharing AskRail information with first responders, pushing back on re-regulation efforts in top papers, or telling rail’s tech story to millions, we continued to shine a light on rail via the opinion pages and relevant publications.

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Five Ways Freight Rail Moves our Cities Forward

Article by Michael Gaynor published November 11in the National League of Cities’ Cities Speak blog.

Read More
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Freight railroads key to NJ’s transportation future

Op-ed by Chip Hallock, president and CEO of the Newark Regional Business Partnership, published October 29 on MyCentralJersey.com and NorthJersey.com.

Read More
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Texas needs smart freight rules

Op-ed by Bob Mitchell, president of the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, published August 18 in the San Antonio Express-News and Laredo Morning Times.

Read More
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Railroad Tech Impresses, Helps Southern California Economic Engines

Op-ed by FuturePorts Executive Director Marnie Primmer published August 12 in the Voice of OC.

Read More
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Freight rail can be a model for the infrastructure of the future

Op-ed by Florida State Rep. Brad Drake published May 8 in the Tallahassee Democrat.

Read More
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First responders better prepared with rail app

Op-ed by Wisconsin State Rep. Jesse James, also the former fire chief of Altoona, Wis., published on January 18 in the La Crosse Tribune.

Read More
By The Numbers
Freight Rail Education in Action
Educational Meetings
2,695
Educational Meetings
Total Number of Advocate Actions
1,290
Total Number of Advocate Actions
Earned Media Publications
49
Earned Media Publications
Social Media Impressions
1.9+ M
Social Media Impressions
Letters to Congress
935
Letters to Congress
Stewardship

The bulk of contributions to GoRail are funneled directly to the people and tools necessary to effectively tell the freight rail story. Administrative and fundraising costs are minimized while the largest portion of our budget supports our dedicated team and the tools they use to educate, recruit and mobilize local leaders across the country on behalf of a healthy freight rail network.

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Industry engagement is central to what we do. Thank you.

Russ McGurk

Every ton of freight moved by rail strengthens the economy, supports jobs, mitigates pollution and saves taxpayers money. With strong support for that idea from community leaders all across the nation, as well as the railroads themselves and the rail suppliers and contractors listed below, we head into 2020 confident in our ability to meet the challenges ahead.

Thank you for helping to make 2019 productive and successful for GoRail, and best wishes for a safe, prosperous, and happy new year.

2019 GoRail Donors

Polivka International
The Timken Company
RCL Services Group
Anderzack-Pitzen Construction, Inc.
Steel Dynamics, Inc. Structural & Rail Division
National Salvage and Service
Phoenix Sales and Services
FreightCar America
Optimization Associates Inc.
Alstom
MSI Lodging Systems
Western-Cullen-Hayes, Inc.
ACS Solutions
Special Fleet Service, Inc.
Greenbrier Companies
SEMA Construction, Inc.
Ferrovia Services, LLC
Wabtec Corporation
IAT International, Inc.
ArcelorMittal Steelton
Amsted Rail
The Okonite Company
EVRAZ North America
Herzog Companies
Standard Steel, LLC
Loram Maintenance of Way, Inc.
Railway Supply Institute
Stella-Jones Inc.
GATX
American Concrete Products Co.
TrinityRail
Cranemasters, Inc.
New York Air Brake
U.S. Intermodal Inc.
Arkansas Steel Associates
Koppers Inc.
Hulcher Services Inc.
Sperry Rail
Progress Rail Services
RailWorks Corporation
ITS ConGlobal
Parsec, Inc.
Omega Industries, Inc.
RJ Corman Railroad Group
Siemens Rail Automation Corporation
Strato, Inc.
HDR
Somerville Companies
North American Tie & Timber
Automotive Resources International
Holland LP
Jay-Reese Contractors, Inc.
Ames Construction
Vossloh North America
Hitachi Rail STS
NRCMA
REMSA
TTX Company
Amerities Holdings LLC
MPL Innovations, Inc.
BSM Technologies
L.B. Foster Company