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A word from
GoRail Board Chair
Scott D. Moore

Senior Vice President of Corporate Relations and Chief Administrative Officer, Union Pacific

I am proud to assume the chairmanship of the GoRail Board of Directors as freight railroads and the broader economy rebound from the unprecedented challenges of the past year. We’re gearing up for a busy 2021 with a new power structure in Washington, D.C. and action expected on key legislative and regulatory issues.

It is my hope that the new Congress and Administration will approach transportation and infrastructure matters in a more bipartisan fashion than we have experienced recently. Given a tight margin in the House of Representatives and an even split in the Senate, legislators will need to work together to effectively address the many challenges facing the nation.

Read The Letter

A word from GoRail Board Chair
Scott D. Moore

Senior Vice President of Corporate Relations and Chief Administrative Officer, Union Pacific

I am proud to assume the chairmanship of the GoRail Board of Directors as freight railroads and the broader economy rebound from the unprecedented challenges of the past year.

We’re gearing up for a busy 2021 with a new power structure in Washington, D.C. and action expected on key legislative and regulatory issues.

It is my hope that the new Congress and Administration will approach transportation and infrastructure matters in a more bipartisan fashion than we have experienced recently. Given a tight margin in the House of Representatives and an even split in the Senate, legislators will need to work together to effectively address the many challenges facing the nation.

State and local governments also face significant challenges. While funding is always an issue, many states face pandemic-related shortfalls as our economy has been upended – and those shortfalls also affect localities.

GoRail engages local and state leaders on their home ground and helps them develop a better understanding of railroads and how communities benefit when more freight moves by rail. The fact that many of these leaders, in turn, help educate state and federal officials with specific examples demonstrating the importance of freight rail to their communities is what makes GoRail so effective.

GoRail’s work is powerful, showing policymakers how decisions that undermine the ability of freight railroads to invest will also harm their own constituents – the thousands of companies and communities that rely on freight rail, which remains the safest, cleanest, most economical and fuel-efficient way to move freight across the country.

This Annual Report chronicles some of GoRail’s remarkable accomplishments in 2020. Like the rail network it advocates for, GoRail continued to deliver, even as the pandemic was disrupting the lives and livelihoods of millions and shaking our economy to its core.

I look forward to helping advance GoRail’s important mission in the coming year, and I am grateful to the thousands of community leaders, rail suppliers and contractors, and others who join us in support of sound transportation policies that enable a resilient freight rail sector to continue meeting the needs of our nation.

Freight Rail is Fundamental to the Economy

2020 was a year for focusing on the fundamentals. Amid an historic pandemic, the ways we live and work were challenged. And as we all adjusted, we came to appreciate in a new way the fundamental institutions that keep society functioning and the economy moving.


Freight rail is one of those fundamentals. America’s freight railroads quickly adjusted to protect their employees, meet the needs of customers and communities they serve, move critical goods and help retailers keep shelves stocked, all while the pandemic and changes in consumption habits rocked the global supply chain—and unlike many industries, without seeking government financial aid.

Through last spring and early summer, GoRail worked to recognize freight rail #supplychainheroes on social media and with a series of more than 30 letters to editors of local newspapers.

Balanced Regulation is Fundamental to Freight Rail

2020 was also a year for celebrating the fundamental legislation that reversed decades of government overregulation and saved American freight railroading.


The Staggers Rail Act was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter on October 14, 1980. The far-sighted, bipartisan reforms of the Staggers Act enabled U.S. freight railroads to invest, expand and innovate to the ongoing benefit of communities and businesses from coast to coast. Since 1980, freight railroads have collectively spent nearly $740 billion to maintain, build and grow their networks since 1980. These investments directly fuel economic growth at the local level and do so without taxpayer support.

To celebrate Staggers’ dramatic success and remind policymakers of its continued importance to freight railroads today, GoRail embarked on a months-long campaign to recruit 1,000 influential leaders to sign a letter to the Surface Transportation Board and to Congress.

As a result, a national bipartisan coalition including more than 320 mayors, commissioners and local government representatives; over 230 state legislators; more than 200 business leaders, ports and economic development organizations; nearly 90 think tanks and policy groups; nearly 150 rail supply companies and associations; and 25 former administration officials and congressional leaders, including seven former U.S. Secretaries of Transportation, urged national policymakers to consider the industry-saving history of the Staggers Act when approaching rail regulation in the future.

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Organizing in a Pandemic

Like so many organizations across the country, GoRail had to adapt in the face of the pandemic. Unable to rely on in-person meetings—the bread-and-butter of organizing and building relationships—the GoRail team made the most of both new tools and tried-and-true tactics to connect with local leaders in communities across the country.


And despite obstacles, GoRail’s field team had remarkable achievements in 2020, including recruiting more than 1,000 local leaders to sign the Staggers anniversary letter in under 10 months. Here, our state directors reflect on the changed landscape and what it’s like to work in grassroots advocacy during a pandemic.

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Spreading the Word

Educating the broader public about the importance of freight rail is central to the GoRail mission — and this goal took on new importance in a year when the role of the supply chain in our daily lives was brought home more than ever. 


Through dozens of opinion pieces that appeared in newspapers across the country, as well as our own original content, we continued to highlight the essentialness of rail in 2020.

By The Numbers
Freight Rail Education in Action
Pro-Rail Educational Meetings
1,775
Pro-Rail Educational Meetings
Signers on Staggers Anniversary letter
1,005
Signers on Staggers Anniversary letter
Total Number of Advocate Actions
1,512
Total Number of Advocate Actions
Earned Media Publications
57
Earned Media Publications
Stewardship

The vast majority of contributions to GoRail go directly to the people and tools necessary to educate the public and mobilize local leaders on rail issues. We work continuously to improve stewardship of our resources and minimize fundraising and administrative costs to ensure our team is focused on the core task of supporting freight rail in America. In 2020, we significantly cut costs and streamlined operations.

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Thank you.
Russ McGurk, President of GoRail

The past year brought challenges none of us could have foreseen. I am immensely proud of the GoRail team and sincerely grateful to everyone who made it possible for us to effectively continue our work despite a raging pandemic and the resulting economic turmoil and disruptions to daily life.

We at GoRail could not be more optimistic about the ability of freight rail to serve as a solid foundation for a sustainable and robust recovery in 2021 and beyond.

Special thanks to the rail suppliers and contractors listed below, who provided much of the funding that made our work possible in 2020.

2020 GoRail Donors

Cranemasters, Inc.
Ames Construction
Amsted Rail
ArcelorMittal Steelton
American Concrete Products Co.
EVRAZ North America
Herzog Companies
Holland LP
Hulcher Services Inc.
Koppers Inc.
L.B. Foster Company
Loram Maintenance of Way, Inc.
New York Air Brake
Polivka International
Progress Rail Services
RailWorks Corporation
RCL Services Group
REMSA
RJ Corman Railroad Group
Siemens Rail Automation Corporation
Special Fleet Service, Inc.
Standard Steel, LLC
Steel Dynamics, Inc. Structural & Rail Division
Stella-Jones Inc.
Strato, Inc.
TTX Company
Wabtec Corporation
Amerities Holdings LLC
Jay-Reese Contractors, Inc.
Anderzack-Pitzen Construction, Inc.
The Okonite Company
Ferrovia Services, LLC
North American Tie & Timber
Somerville Companies
GATX
IAT International, Inc.
Alstom
HDR
NRCMA
Ragnar Benson Construction
Professional Transportation, Inc.
Cahaba Truck and Equipment
Rail Management Services