Governor Wolf Hires Rail Expert to Focus on Oil Train Safety
April 28, 2015
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Wolf hires rail expert, Dr. Allan M. Zarembski, an internationally recognized expert in the area of railway track and structures, vehicle-track dynamics, failure and risk analysis, safety, railway operations, and maintenance. A University of Delaware research professor and the director of the railroad engineering and safety program, Dr. Zarembski has extensive experience in rail operations including freight operations, transit, commuter and inter-urban rail.
“My administration is focused on the safety of Pennsylvanians and protecting people from the potential disaster resulting from Bakken crude oil train derailments,” said Governor Wolf. “I have expressed grave concern regarding the transportation of crude oil in the commonwealth and have taken several steps to prevent potential disasters. Dr. Zarembski is an internationally recognized rail expert and he has extensive experience with rail safety and risk analysis. Pennsylvania sees some of the largest volume of Bakken crude oil transportation by rail in the United States and the potential for disaster is too great to ignore. I will continue to take steps to ensure the safety of Pennsylvania’s citizens.”
Every week, roughly sixty to seventy trains carrying crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken region travel through Pennsylvania destined for Philadelphia or another East Coast refinery. Dr. Zarembski will evaluate Pennsylvania’s freight rail system and advise Governor Wolf on risk reduction and safety. Dr. Zarembski will also work to identify areas of high risk and make recommendations for crude-by-rail safety measures as well as identify ways to implement those measures as efficiently and cost-effective as possible. His contract will last for three months.
In February, Governor Wolf sent a letter to President Obama urging expedited federal regulatory action in several areas to better ensure safety. In his first full week in office, the governor conducted an emergency table-top planning exercise to model the state’s response in the event of a crude oil train derailment in an urban area. Governor Wolf has personally met with executives from Norfolk Southern and CSX Corporation to discuss safety measures that could lower the risk of derailments. Governor Wolf has also directed the Pennsylvania Office of the Fire Commissioner to examine how an oil train fire could be extinguished to protect public safety, and the Wolf Administration has undertaken a review of the frequency and the procedures associated with rail infrastructure inspections by federal and state inspectors.
Dr. Zarembski is an internationally recognized authority in the fields of track and vehicle/track system analysis, railway component failure analysis, track strength, and maintenance planning. Dr. Zarembski’s areas of research include failure and risk analysis of the track and its key components to include rails, ties, fastener, ballast, and turnouts; safety and derailment prevention; rail failure, fatigue and grinding; improved track inspection technology and applications; vehicle-track dynamic interaction; and track maintenance planning. Dr. Zarembski is currently research professor and director of the railroad engineering and safety program at the University of Delaware’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Prior to that, Dr. Zarembski was president of ZETA-TECH, Associates, Inc., a railway technical consulting and applied technology company that he established in 1984. Dr. Zarembski also served as director of R&D for Pandrol Inc., director of R&D for Speno Rail Services Co. and manager, track research for the Association of American Railroads. Dr. Zarembski has a PhD and M.A. in Civil Engineering from Princeton University, an M.S. in Engineering Mechanics and a B.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from New York University. He is a registered professional engineer in five states. Dr. Zarembski is an honorary member of AREMA, fellow of ASME, and a life member of ASCE. He served as deputy director of the Track Train Dynamics Program and was the recipient of the American Society of Mechanical Engineer’s Rail Transportation Award in 1992 and the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration’s Special Act Award in 2001. Dr. Zarembski has authored or co-authored over 170 technical papers, over 120 technical articles, and two books “The Art and Science of Rail Grinding” and “Tracking R&D” both published by Simmons Boardman Books.
MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Sheridan – 717.783.1116
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