Joint Rail Conference

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

April 4 - 7, 2017




2017 Joint Rail Conference Luncheon Speaker
Wednesday, April 5, 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

Symphony Ballroom

Jeffrey D. Knueppel, P.E.
General Manager
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority

Title: "The Rebirth of SEPTA's Media/Elwyn Line"

This presentation will detail the projects underway and completed (including Cobbs Creek) to restore the poster child of SEPTA's infrastructure backlog to a resilient state of good repair.

Jeffrey D. Knueppel is the tenth General Manager to serve the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA).  Prior to being named to this position, he served as Deputy General Manager with an organization of 8700 employees comprised of two Divisions – Operations and Engineering, Maintenance, & Construction (EM&C) as well as several Staff Support Departments.

Mr. Knueppel joined SEPTA as an entry level Structural Engineer focusing on projects to repair old elevated transit structures and bridges and tunnels.  His career path within the organization then led him to manage an in-house construction group before serving as Assistant Chief Engineer and then Chief Engineer at the age of 36.  Before assuming the responsibilities of Deputy General Manager he was Assistant General Manager/Chief Engineer for EM&C from 2006-2012.

Over the course of his twenty-eight year career at SEPTA, Mr. Knueppel has concentrated on improving the reliability, attractiveness, and efficiency of transit services by transforming design, construction, maintenance, and project implementation processes, as well as encouraging work force productivity, innovative thinking, and problem solving while enhancing communications with SEPTA customers and employees.

Mr. Knueppel excels in the strategic management of capital resources – advancing innovative ways to maximize available funds, schedules, and workforce assets.  This approach proved critical during a period when the capital program was 1/3 the size of other peer agencies and allowed the Authority to continue to make critical infrastructure, station, and facility improvements even with constrained budgets. In 2014, with funding from Pennsylvania Act 89, the Authority launched Rebuilding the System - a comprehensive capital investment strategy to tackle the backlog of state of good repair, facility improvement, and fleet upgrade projects.  System Resiliency, an FTA funded program, also provides resources to harden core elements of SEPTA infrastructure to protect against severe weather related impacts.

With a steadfast commitment to safety, Mr. Knueppel was the catalyst for the creation of the Authority's customer outreach program – Make the Safe Choice – and its employee program – Never Too Busy for Safety, and he played a leadership role, ensuring that SEPTA met the federal mandate to install Positive Train Control (PTC) across its Regional Rail network. 

As GM he is committed to concentrating on the fundamentals – customer satisfaction, employee development, safety, investment in infrastructure and vehicles, and business innovation – to focus SEPTA on Building the Future – one that is strong for the region, riders, and employees.  The introduction of SEPTA Key – a new fare payment system that will offer seamless travel across all service modes through the use of a single contactless chip, reloadable card – is a signature initiative designed to enhance customer convenience and attract new riders to public transit. 

A graduate of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York, Mr. Knueppel holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Civil Engineering and is a registered Professional Engineer in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  He sits on the Board of Directors of APTA, the Transportation Learning Center, and the Advisory Board of the Railroad Engineering and Safety Program at the University of Delaware; and is a member of ASCE, AREMA, COMTO, and WTS.  In 2017, SEPTA was the recipient of the Excellence in Community Transportation Award presented by 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania.  Mr. Knueppel is a 2015 WTS Philadelphia Award recipient and he received the ASCE Philadelphia Civil Engineer of the Year Award for 2015.  In 2010 he had the honor of accepting the American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania (ACEC/PA) Client of the Year Award, on behalf of SEPTA, and in 2009 he was the recipient of AMTRAK's State Partner Award.

With a strong belief in the importance of service to the community, Mr. Knueppel has worked tirelessly with the March of Dimes Transportation, Building & Construction Awards Luncheon in Philadelphia and is Honorary Chair for this annual event.  He and his wife Kelly Ann live in Bedminster, PA and have three sons Andrew, Thomas, and Paul.

2017 Joint Rail Conference Luncheon Speaker
Thursday, April 6, 12:15 PM – 1:15 PM

Symphony Ballroom

Devin Rouse
Staff Director
Passenger Rail Division
Office of Safety, Federal Railroad Administration

Title: "The Implementation of Positive Train Control Technology within the U.S., its Current Application on U.S. Passenger and Freight Railroads, and Considerations for the Future"

Devin Rouse is the Director of the Passenger Rail Division within the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) Office of Railroad Safety.  Mr. Rouse is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Virginia, and holds a Master's degree in Civil and Transportation Engineering, and a bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering, both from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). He has extensive experience in rail transportation engineering and construction including the areas of locomotive and rolling stock design, trackwork design and engineering, traction power distribution, railway facility design, train control, and high-speed rail safety and engineering.

Mr. Rouse has served in various capacities within the Office of Railroad Safety for the FRA, with a primary focus on issues relating to high-speed rail, passenger rail equipment safety and engineering, and Positive Train Control (PTC). He leads a division that works with passenger rail entities to ensure compliance and provide technical assistance regarding issues such as System Safety, Emergency Preparedness (EPREP), requirements for new start passenger rail projects, and guidance and compliance assurance for passenger rail equipment procurements.

Since 2012, Mr. Rouse has served as the chair for FRA's Engineering Task Force (ETF), part of the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC). This task force is comprised of various industry experts from suppliers, railroads, consultants, and labor representatives, and is the primary vehicle for the development (and revision) of safety regulations for passenger rolling stock and equipment. Through the efforts of this Task Force, the FRA is currently working towards the publication of two new rulemakings that will encompass major milestones for US passenger rail in both the incorporation of new crashworthiness standards for passenger rolling stock that incorporates Crash Energy Management (CEM) features, as well as the adoption of requirements for the next generation of high-speed rail equipment capable of 220 mph operations.

In 2015, Mr. Rouse was tasked with the additional role of leading FRA's PTC Task Force, as well as serving as Program Manager for PTC implementation. With this role, Mr. Rouse reports directly to the FRA Administrator to assist in the development and execution of key strategies related to oversight of PTC implementation throughout the US.

Prior to joining FRA, Mr. Rouse served in numerous roles for Bechtel Corporation in the design, engineering, and construction of railway infrastructure. Working on projects such as the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, his responsibilities included the design, specification, and engineering review for various systems including trackwork, traction power distribution, maintenance and yard design, automatic train control, and mechanical systems for stations and shop facilities. Among his various project roles, Mr. Rouse served time as the lead trackwork design engineer, and lead engineer for shop facilities.

Mr. Rouse began his railroading career with Norfolk Southern Corporation in their historic "East End" Roanoke Locomotive Shops working on modifications for diesel locomotives and various shop and facility improvements.

2017 Joint Rail Conference Banquet & Keynote Speaker
Thursday, April 6, 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Symphony Ballroom

Andrew Wood
Executive Project Director
Amtrak's Tier III Trainset Project Management Office

Title: "Amtrak's Program to Acquire New Tier III-compliant High-speed Trainsets to Replace the Existing Acela Fleet"

This talk will outline the multiple steps that will bring this project from concept to reality and discuss the decisions that have been taken along the way.

Andrew Wood is Executive Project Director, Tier III Next Generation Trainsets Project Office in the NEC Business Development group with Amtrak. He is based in Philadelphia. He led the team that developed the NEC Finance and Business Plan in the 2012 Vision Update having joined Amtrak as Assistant Vice President High Speed Rail in 2011.  Previously, as Deputy Director Rail with Washington State DOT, his team was successful in gaining an $800 million ARRA award for the Amtrak Cascades service.  Andrew joined British Rail from college, was an Operations Management Trainee and progressed through many operational management positions which included Area Management, Regional Management and Board HQ. Andrew has worked in 18 countries around the world, has a BA in Mathematics, qualified as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport, a Project Management Professional (PMP) and is a Life Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA).