SMART-TD hosts Kansas legislators on excursion train ride

May 17, 2024

SMART Transportation Division representatives and Kansas legislators took part in an excursion train ride.

On a beautiful Kansas spring day, legislators, their families, and community members gathered for a special train ride hosted by SMART Transportation Division (SMART-TD) and the Rock Island Railroad.

Kansas State Legislative Director Ty Dragoo speaks at Baldwin train depot before the excursion trip.

The event provided an opportunity for advocacy and education on rail safety legislation, community involvement and the development of industry partnerships.

SMART-TD Kansas State Legislative Director Ty Dragoo spoke with the legislators at the historic Baldwin city train depot and a safety briefing by the train crew followed before everyone came aboard.

As the train rolled through the scenic countryside, legislators engaged in discussions with TD representatives, learning about the importance of rail safety and the need for comprehensive legislation. The SMART-TD team shared their firsthand experiences and emphasized the crucial role of rail safety in protecting both workers and the public.

Kansas State Legislative Director Ty Dragoo speaks with a fellow passenger during the Kansas excursion trip.

The train ride also showcased the strong community involvement in rail safety. Leaders from statewide organizations representing first responders and firefighters attended and demonstrated their readiness to respond to any emergency situation. Their presence highlighted the importance of collaboration between rail workers and emergency services to ensure the safety of everyone involved and the need for common-sense minimum rail safety legislation.

SLD Dragoo gives a passenger an assist.

Key to the event was the partnership between SMART-TD’s Kansas contingent and the Rock Island Railroad in Baldwin City.

“Rock Island provided the historic train and the tracks, creating a unique and memorable experience for all participants,” Dragoo said. “The partnership demonstrated the commitment of both organizations to rail safety community engagement and a shared interest in advancing rail safety legislation.

“It was an awesome event. Special thanks go to the crew members and Robert Riley, CEO of the Rock Island Railroad, for their dedication and hard work in making the legislative train ride a success. Their contributions ensured a safe and enjoyable event for everyone involved.”

Dragoo said that he hopes that the excursion becomes a regular event because it can educate and strengthen understanding among legislators about the industry in a practical way.