Railroad Passengers Present Golden Spike Award to Joseph Szabo
April 21, 2015
For Immediate Release (15-06) Contact: Ms. Benet J. Wilson
April 21, 2015 443-838-7033
Railroad Passengers Present Golden Spike Award To Joseph Szabo
Washington, D.C.--The National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) presented its Golden Spike Award to Joseph Szabo today at its annual Capitol Hill reception. Szabo, who served as Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) administrator from May 2009 to November 2014, is a fifth-generation railroader who was the first crewman and first union member to head the agency that oversees the U.S. rail system.
NARP President and CEO Jim Mathews said, “In his nearly 40-year career in transportation, Szabo has worked tirelessly to support efforts to create a viable and strong passenger rail system. As someone who began his career as a crewman, he has a unique understanding of the challenges and the opportunities in promoting a safe, efficient and healthy rail industry,” he said. “This, in turn, has made him one of America’s most effective advocates for building and maintaining a strong, well-funded U.S. passenger rail system.”
During his term at FRA, Szabo focused on improving the safety of freight and passenger railroads by implementing rules designed to improve fatigue management and training requirements for workers, change rail inspection procedures and heighten awareness around trains. He also championed the agency’s High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program, attending a groundbreaking ceremony to start construction of California’s high-speed rail just days before leaving FRA.
Before being named FRA administrator, Szabo served as vice president of the Illinois AFL-CIO from 2006 to 2009. He served as mayor of Riverdale, Illinois, was a member of the South Suburban Mayors Transportation Committee and was named vice chairman of the Chicago Area Transportation Study’s executive committee.
He is currently a senior adviser on transportation policy at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.
The association presents the Golden Spike Award to honor individuals, usually public officials, for their support of a fully developed train network and leadership in promoting rail development. Past winners are listed on NARP’s website.
About the National Association of Railroad Passengers
NARP is the largest citizen-based organization advocating for train and rail transit passengers. We have worked since 1967 to expand the quality and quantity of passenger train service in the U.S. Our mission is to work towards a modern, customer-focused national passenger train network that provides a travel choice Americans want. Our work is supported by more than 28,000 individual members nationwide.
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"Saving the Pennsylvanian (New York-Pittsburgh train) was a local effort but it was tremendously useful to have a national organization [NARP] to call upon for information and support. It was the combination of the local and national groups that made this happen."
Michael Alexander, NARP Council Member
April 6, 2013, at the Harrisburg PA membership meeting of NARP