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What is difference between rail industry orgs.- AAR and USRA?

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What is difference between rail industry orgs.- AAR and USRA?
Posted by roundstick on Monday, December 27, 2021 2:55 PM

I see equipment on tracks that goes behind my shop that says AAR and USRA registered. The AAR could be on Couplers and USRA could be on Rail Trucks and running gear. Then you have FRA,STB,RRB,USDOT,FTA,NMRA, ect. about a dozen or more alphabet agencies that regulate rail and intermodal transport in North America alone.Geeked that perhaps keep minions of wonks employed.

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Posted by cv_acr on Tuesday, December 28, 2021 10:00 AM

NMRA is National MODEL Railroad Association and RRB is Railroad Retirement Board, neither of these have anything to do with regulating anything.

The USRA (United States Railroad Administration) was created to control and coordinate American railways during World War I and was dissolved by 1920.

The AAR (Association of American Railroads) is the main industry organization in North America.

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Posted by Convicted One on Tuesday, December 28, 2021 11:29 AM

cv_acr
The USRA (United States Railroad Administration) was created to control and coordinate American railways during World War I and was dissolved by 1920.

 

Wasn't there also a United States Railway Association created in conjunction with Conrail?

 

Seems as though I recall from the first round of post Penn-Central abandonments, "USRA" was listed as the parent road.

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, December 28, 2021 1:03 PM

I sincerely doubt anything he sees behind his shop has anything to do with McAdoo's USRA unless it's in a museum collection.  The modern USRA was an 'association', not an 'administration'; it came into being with the '4R act' in the early 1970s and was wound up after the 1986 Conrail IPO.  I suspect Don Oltmann remembers much of this firsthand.

The AAR came into being in 1934, successor to the American Railway Association, which itself came out of timetable-harmonizing efforts starting in the 1870s.

Likewise, AREMA has only been around as such since 1997; before that, the 'trackwork association' was called AREA.

STB is the Surface Transportation Board.  Many Canadians are now acutely aware of what they do and why they say they do it. Wink

An organization more relevant to regular railroading than FTA would be PHMSA, which came into great prominence in the exploding oil-train years (their regulations on degassing crude to be shipped by rail essentially ended the Blast Zone kerfuffle).  It was highly likely that any ECP mandate would originate here, not a 'safety' concerned agency like FRA (successor to ICC), or the United States DOT.

We've had whole threads about the NTSB's participation in rail accident investigation.  I'd rather not open up a new can of worms about that in this thread, though...  Whistling

 

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Posted by roundstick on Tuesday, December 28, 2021 3:08 PM
JOURNAL ARTICLE

USRA Freight Cars: An Experiment in Standardization

 

James E. Lane
Railroad History
No. 128 (Spring 1973), pp. 5-33 (29 pages)
Published By: Railway & Locomotive Historical Society (R&LHS)
Railroad History
https://www.jstor.org/stable/43525265

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USRA_standard

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railroad_Safety_Appliance_Act 

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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, December 28, 2021 8:34 PM

Overmod
...not a 'safety' concerned agency like FRA (successor to ICC)

Adding a little more context, rail saftey functions were spun off from the ICC to the FRA in the 1960s/70s.  STB picked up remaining regulatory functions when the ICC was dissolved in the 1990s.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, January 4, 2022 10:14 AM

Also keep in mind that the several states also have various agencies that perform a regulatory function over intrastate (within one state) commerce and related issues.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul

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