The Class-III railroad at America's Central Port, Port Harbor Railroad Corp., unveiled and dedicated two locomotives honoring first responders and U.S. armed forces veterans.

GP40 No. 8955, a former Milwaukee Road unit, and former Canadian Pacific SD40-2 No. 5730 wear paint schemes designed by conductor/student engineer Dominic Montero. His father, St. Louis Fire Department Lieutenant Mario Montero, joined his son for the dedication.

“I’m very proud of my son, and it’s dear to my heart that he really thinks that highly of our first responders and veterans,” the elder Montero said.

Port Harbor's Dominic Montero, left, designed the paint schemes for the two locomotives. He was joined at the unveiling by his father, Mario, of the St. Louis Fire Department.

Dominic Montero said the locomotives are “our little but still kind of our big way to say thanks to our first responders and our veterans and tell them how much we appreciate them. The cherry on top was seeing how thrilled my Dad was; he was the inspiration behind it. … I am excited that people can drive by and see the locomotives and know we are honoring them.”


The Port Harbor is a Class III railroad that interchanges with the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis and serves industries at America’s Central Port, a former Army supply base in Granite City. Several Port Harbor employees are current or former first responders or veterans.


CEO and Vice president of marketing and customer solutions Carl Yount was a Marine Corps staff sergeant who saw combat in Vietnam. “These are two beautiful locomotives,” Yount said. “We wanted to increase public awareness of our veterans’ service and sacrifices, and our first responders who serve us every day.’’


Dan Walford, a talented railroad fan and photographer, is a 24½-year Navy veteran who served as a flight officer on P3 Orion aircraft. “It’s nice to see that first responders and veterans are appreciated and these folks care enough to spend money showing that.”

The preparation and painting work were done by Quality Rail Service in Madison, Ill., about a mile away from the port. Master painter Kevin Scifres lead the repainting projects on both units, suggesting improvements. “These folks at Quality Rail most definitely live up to their name,’’ said Road Foreman of Engines Eddie Bauer.


Originally published by Steve Smedley on Trains.com.

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FreightWeekSTL continued on May 19 with an engaging panel discussion featuring the directors of four ports in the bi-state St. Louis region and Kansas City, Mo., who enthusiastically affirmed it is their ability to work together and with various other entities that is key to current and future success. Returning for its third consecutive year with a virtual format that honors the current social distancing requirements, FreightWeekSTL’s latest session provided an update on the relationships between the participating ports, significant investments that are fueling growth and the surprisingly minimal impact of COVID-19 on port operations to date.


Opening the session, Dennis Wilmsmeyer, Executive Director of America’s Central Port (ACP), used his own port facility to reinforce the significance of all ports in the midst of this COVID-19 crisis.


“Like many others in the freight industry, we are classified as essential. We have access to six Class I railroads, two multimodal harbors, four interstate highways, and millions of square feet of warehouse space, plus manufacturing areas and developable sites,” said Wilmsmeyer. “With our transportation and logistical advantages, we have attracted 80-plus commercial tenants and our Harbor operators transport more than three million tons of goods valued at more than $1.1 Billion annually.”


He added they are well positioned to handle all products and when the demand for one product wanes, there is usually another right behind to fill the void; something that is helping to keep volumes as usual even as the pandemic results in necessary changes to protect workers and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.


To view the full discussion, see the video below.


Freight Week STL 2020 continues online through May 22 and will feature a variety of additional engaging educational and collaborative sessions with industry experts and leaders in freight, logistics, and transportation. The week-long event being delivered by St. Louis Regional Freightway, The Waterways Journal and Bi-State Development is sponsored by Burns McDonnell and Lochmueller Group, with Arco, Contegra and CMT serving as supporting sponsors. To learn more and view each of sessions for FreightWeekSTL 2020, visit www.freightweekstl.com.

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This story was originally published in the American Journal of Transportation on April 27, 2020. For the full article, click here: (click here).


"As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the movement of goods into, out of and throughout the United States, the consistent response across the freight network in the bi-state St. Louis region has helped to ensure it continues to deliver in these unprecedented times.


America’s Central Port and Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis (TRRA) were swift to implement measures such as social distancing, transitioning most office staff to work from home, having field supervisors alternate work days, increasing sanitation efforts for equipment, work spaces, and job sites, and introducing new procedures, such as having employees report directly to job sites for safety briefings instead of congregating indoors. The port implemented two-person teams in the maintenance department to significantly reduce any potential exposure to the virus, while operators are taking temperature readings of employees entering or leaving their towboats at the beginning and end of their shifts. They also interview each employee about their well being to quickly identify any symptoms.


Dennis Wilmsmeyer, Executive Director of America’s Central Port (ACP), says that even with all these changes, the operators at the port continue to handle a tremendous volume of corn and soybeans, and the by-products, destined to ultimately feed the U.S. and the world.


“It has been business as usual with a tremendous amount of freight still moving to and through the St. Louis area. Everyone has heightened awareness of the need to reduce potential exposure to the virus and are limiting any close contact with other workers, but the food stock and freight continue to move,” said Wilmsmeyer. “The operators here are just as essential to keeping the supply of food on the shelves as the truck driver who makes those daily deliveries.”


... continue reading here: (click here).

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