Rail Security: Are We Safer?

Richard Flynn's assessment of the rail industry's security strengths and vulnerabilities was presented at the 2017 Secure Rail Conference. The rail industry has made significant strides in rail security, particularly with respect to the transportation of hazardous materials while in transit. His presentation reviews the current state of rail security with an emphasis on legislative and voluntary actions to reduce vulnerabilities as they relate to recent terrorist tactics, and offers recommendations to further strengthen the U.S. rail network.


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NELS is hiring!

NELS is searching for a full-time Systems Administrator to join our team in Framingham.

We are looking for an experienced, energetic, technically skilled individual to manage our technical resources and oversee the delivery of our SAAS and data integration capabilities to our customers.

Compensation: commensurate with experience. This is a full-time position - on-site, with flexibility on office hours. We have a down-to-earth work atmosphere and a highly interactive team-oriented management environment.

Core Responsibilities include:
• Overall management of external data sources, connectivity, security and set-up and administration of our web services and FTP client and server software.
• Set up of automation tools to extract and transform data, execute jobs and write scripts utilizing various software utilities and tools in a Windows Server environment.
• Write stored procedures within SQL Server, create new data tables, views and jobs. Manage local and remote database replication.
• Manage our operations and application monitoring and alerting processes.
• Monitor network operations, including redundant ISP connectivity, internal network connectivity, intrusion detection, failover and remote VPN access. Intervene and/or ensure proper notification of service issues to other team members and external entities, as appropriate, to maintain system availability.
• Manage customer access and role-based security, for our various applications and services, working directly with our customers and their IT administrators.
• Manage our web-based customer service ticketing system. Ensure proper assignment and resolution within customer SLA time frames.
• Manage the content of our web portals and web sites utilizing both commercial CMS packages and creating native HTML content.
• Assist in the setup and configuration of web servers utilizing IIS as well as obtaining, installing and configuring security certificates and web.config settings.
• Maintenance of existing MS Access programs and assistance in the migration of these applications is a significant plus.
• Assist team members with the set-up and use of our internal business management systems, including Quickbooks, Salesforce, and BI tools (DBXtra and Tableau.)

Required Qualifications/Skills

• A Bachelor's degree in MIS, IT, mathematics or the sciences preferred. Other disciplines considered with relevant experience.
• A minimum of 2 year's hands-on experience in a technical position within a commercial enterprise.
• Hands-on experience with SQL Server 2008 R2, Microsoft IIS, Visual Studio within a production environment.
• Experience with other ETL and related conversion tools a plus.
• Experience with JavaScript, Python, Visual Studio, MS Access, Visual Basic and .NET.
• The ability to create clear technical documentation.
• Work with GIS web applications also a plus.
• Excellent interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills.
• US citizenship required.
• Must be willing to undergo and pass a government security clearance background check.

Join NELS at the Secure Rail Conference in April 2017

Richard Flynn will be presenting at the Progressive Railroading Secure Rail Conference scheduled for April 5-6, 2017. This is the only rail industry conference wholly focused on security of the nation's railway system.

His session will review the current state of rail security with an emphasis on legislative and voluntary actions to reduce vulnerabilities – particularly with respect to HazMat shipments.

Video of the Cowen Railcar Outlook and Overview Panel

At Cowen and Company’s Eighth Annual Global Transportation Conference, analyst Matt Elkott hosted a railcar outlook and overview discussion panel featuring Railroad Financial Corp. President and Railway Age Financial Editor David Nahass, Northeast Logistics Systems LLC Founder and Principal Richard Flynn, and National Steel Car Senior Vice President Marketing and Sales Bob Pickel.

Watch video of the full panel discussion here !



NELS' response to proposed Eversource use of MBTA Rail Corridor

NorthEast Logistics Systems, LLC (NELS) an independent consulting firm in
Framingham, MA recently completed a study on the proposed use of the Central
Massachusetts Rail ROW as part of the Hudson-Sudbury Transmission Reliability
Project. The goal of the study was to identify alternative routes that would meet
Eversource’s needs for transmission line improvements, while causing the least
disruption to the communities involved -- particularly Sudbury, Stowe and Hudson.
As an outcome of the study, NELS identified and evaluated seven specific alternative
transmission line routes. It also assessed Eversource’s “Preferred Route”, which if
approved, would use a highly-valued portion of the rail-banked MBTA Massachusetts
Central Rail ROW and likely preempt future use as a transportation corridor, mid-term
and long-term.

“The original land-taking for the railroad was for transportation purposes. Using the
ROW for high voltage transmission lines, which would inhibit, in any way, future
transportation possibilities violates the provisions of rail-banking and the rights of the
landowners who originally succumbed to the land-taking." said Richard Flynn,
President of NELS.

“While transportation development may not materialize until 30 or 40 years from now,
no action should preempt future transportation use”. “Next generation, green,
transportation solutions will be needed along the Route 20 corridor at some point.”
Flynn said. “It could be new technology providing personal transportation.

“Advancements in on-demand driverless vehicles powered by fuel-cells or electric
technologies will be mainstream in coming years."
An example of successful rail-banking in Eastern Massachusetts is Cape Rail. A key
ROW between Stoughton and Taunton remained dormant from 1959, though preserved
and now the key connector in the extension of MBTA service to Fall River and New

Short-term, towns along the ROW from Sterling to Waltham, including Hudson, Stowe,
Marlboro, Sudbury, Wayland and Weston need to understand the once in a generation
chance to preserve a valuable transportation asset. “There are mixed feelings about
commuter rail”, Flynn added, – “particularly in its current form, but if there is a
consensus that there is no need for transportation on this corridor, rightfully, the land
should return to private owners. You can’t just reassign its use for power transmission”

NELS President to Present at Petroleum Transportation Summit


Company President, Richard Flynn will be a featured speaker this year at The 3rd North American Petroleum Transportation Summit in Houston, TX.

This year's summit aims to bring together the entire petroleum supply chain to discuss major challenges,
opportunities, increasing profitability and operational efficiencies.

Register now at argusmedia.com/NA-Petroleum-Transport !

NELS Team Presenting at Crude By Rail West

Moving Crude Supplies to West End Markets
December 3-4, 2014
Los Angeles, CA

Hyatt Regency Century Plaza
2025 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, CA 90067



Wednesday, December 3
3:30-4:30 PM


Panelist for this session:
• How are railroads working to accommodate the increase in crude by rail?
• Where is rapidly-expanding production creating the most need for rail loading terminals?
• Expanding access to terminals by multiple transport modes
• Ongoing expansion of rail access to terminals to facilitate movement of crude
• What new infrastructure needs to get built but to avoid bottlenecks and maximize efficiencies?
• Where are routes being upgraded? Where are the pressures most severe?
• What limitations need to be considered in assessing connectivity between various production areas and corresponding downstream markets?

NELS Founder Presenting at Secure Rail Conference

Secure Rail Conference
February 2-3, 2015
Orlando, FL

Sheraton Lake Buena Vista
12205 S Apopka Vineland Rd, Orlando, FL 32836




Tuesday, February 3


"Hazmat Security: Beyond the Tank Car" by Richard Flynn, Principal, NorthEast Logistics Systems LLC

As concerns over crude-oil train derailments rise, federal regulators are focusing on how to improve the safety of tank cars. But when it comes to crude oil transport, tank cars aren't the only consideration. Railroads need to determine ways to manage and mitigate risk, minimize liability insurance costs and address public concerns about hazmat trains operating through communities.

1. Examine lessons learned from similar cases involving PIH/TIH transportation, such as chlorine.
2. Determine ways railroads can minimize the risks involved with transporting crude oil.
3. Identify insurance companies' concerns about crude oil transport.
4. Improve communication and cooperation with federal regulators.