DEDICATED BNSF CREW
BNSF’s greatest assets are its employees who successfully do their jobs safely and efficiently
Scott Corr, conductor; Gerald Gompert, brakeman; and Howard Jensen, locomotive engineer,
are three such assets. They make up the road/switch crew in Scottsbluff helping further strengthen
BNSF and Western Sugar’s partnership.
“I rarely receive calls from Western Sugar and when I do, it is to thank me for the good service
we provide,” said Eldon Offutt, Angora Valley Subdivision trainmaster. “This crew really takes great
ownership and pride in what they do to provide outstanding customer service.”
The Scottsbluff facility, which boasts BNSF’s greatest volume among Scottsbluff industries,
requires a daily switch. Corr conducts a daily yard check on the Scottsbluff facility’s outbound track
and switches when needed.
Of the Scottsbluff facility’s eight industry tracks, able to hold approximately 100 cars, three
tracks are used for coal storage, one to load and unload coal and the remaining are used for other
ABOVE: Since Scott commodities.
C o r r, c o n d u c t o r, On Tuesday and Thursday, the crew
switches the Mitchell Plant and on Wednesday
joined the Scottsbluff
ro a d/s w i t c h c rew
Jan. 21, they have and Friday they switch the Bayard Plant.
remained injury free
through constant com-
Corr said if the industry needs something, they
munication and by do what they can to address and resolve the issue
following the rules. immediately.
RIGHT: Howard Jens-
en, left, locomotive “We have good communication with them — let-
engineer, and Jerry ting each other know if and when freight is coming,”
Corr said. “Without the communication some cars
S c o t t s b l u f f ro a d/
switc h c rew mem - would be left sitting without the proper handling and
bers, reliably perform
regular, daily freight
switches and provide Just as important, since at least Jan. 21, when Corr
qualit y customer joined the group, they have remained injury free. He
ser vice at Western
Sugar’s Scottsbluff said they strive to elude complacency through daily
facility. job briefings and by following the rules.
new double main TO THE RESCUE RFEs APLENTY
for the love of animals
4-5 12 22-23
Pg. Pg. Pg.
Powder River Reflection
A Sweet Partnership
As one of BNSF’s biggest clients in Scottsbluff, Western The Western Sugar Cooperative has 135,000 base acres
Sugar knows they can depend on BNSF to get the job done spread across four states with additional facilities in Lovell,
safely and efficiently. BNSF transports Western Sugar’s Wyo., Billings, Mont., and Fort Morgan, Colo.
products throughout the nation. The company originated in 1901 in Loveland as the Great
“Our sugar cars go everywhere — Utah, California — it Western Sugar Company. In 2002, it was bought by more than
is endless,” said Randy Taylor, Western Sugar Cooperative. 1,000 sugar beet growers in Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming
“We ship wherever our customers are and wherever sugar is and Montana to form The Western Sugar Cooperative.
The relationship requires coordination, good communica-
tion, dedicated service and timely, calculated movements.
According to Taylor, during campaign season, September
to February, BNSF transports between 50 and 75 coal cars
per week from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin to Nebraska’s
Scottsbluff plant. The coal is used to power the cooperative’s
That is only one facet of the partnership.
BNSF delivers cars of limestone, which Western Sugar
uses in the sugar beet refining process. BNSF transports raw
and finished products from the Scottsbluff plant to warehouse
facilities in Bayard, Neb., and Mitchell, S.D.
BNSF also ships loads of raw molasses to the Scottsbluff
facility and redistributes loads of refined molasses.
“We are absolutely pleased with the customer service
BNSF provides,” Taylor said. “We couldn’t have built a
stronger relationship based on customer service. I have con-
tacts with BNSF on all levels and they consistently
do a great job.”
BNSF and Western Sugar Cooperative in
Scottsbluff work closely to further strength-
en their already thriving relationship.
Powder River Reflection
In TSS Xpress Success
Months after implementing a new Transportation
Support System in Guernsey, the program receives rave
reviews. Yardmasters agree it is an improvement on the
Todd Kauffman, Guernsey trainmaster, said yardmas-
ters have been instrumental in making the new systems
a success. To make it work, he said, Barney Barthel,
Michelle Barthel, Cody Conner, Mike Klipstine and
Larry Sydow have enacted useful and innovative policies.
“It has to be a team effort by everybody,” Barney
Barney has a 100 percent utilization rate for the new
system, Kauffman said, and the other yardmasters are close.
Likewise, Michelle and Conner, who come from a greater Yardmasters Mike Klipstine, left, and Cody Conner
computer background, have been helpful in making the
transition smooth as everyone adjusts, he said.
The new system computerizes information into an
easily accessible format that allows users to provide more
information than they might have with the previous system,
Klipstine said the new system allows for more infor-
mation storage, which has improved communication.
“It’s simpler and more user-friendly,” he said.
Sydow said he and colleagues have noticed improve-
ments with the new system. Since implementation, he said
there has been an 80 percent increase in crews on time and Yardmasters Michelle Barthel, left, and Larry Sydow
a 50 percent improvement in crews on train time within
There is also a 15 percent increase in freight and 10
percent overall increase in coal train performance goals,
Sydow attributes the success to the yardmasters’ ac-
ceptance of the system change with a good attitude and
setting goals to reach along the way.
Yardmaster Barney Barthel
Locomotive Engineer Certification
Powder River Division recently engineer when the program was of- injury free by being aware of his
welcomed three new locomotive en- fered at his home terminal. He looks surroundings.
gineers, as Roger Buchleiter, Kenneth forward to the responsibility. Sherman joined the railroad in
Linn and James Sherman finished 20 Linn has been a conductor since March 2006. He has served as an
weeks of training. May 2005. After time spent in engineer several times since complet-
Buchleiter, a four-year conductor, Denver, he wanted to get back to his ing certification. He has worked two
jumped at the chance to become an hometown of Sterling. Linn stays years injury free by following rules.
Truck Driver Chris Bradford, standing left, and Sectionmen
Ryan Murphy, Roberto Villalpando, Javier Lara, Park Apo-
P o w d e r R i v e r R e f l e c t i o n daca, kneeling left, and Tyrone Hooks.
New Double Main
In June, new construction crews, led by Foremen Brian
Prickett and Randy Shaffer, began transforming 10 miles of
ment detectors and upgraded two control points at
Bridger Junction to gated crossings.
single track, part of the Canyon, Casper and Orin subdivi- Signalmen constantly identify risks such as operating the
sions, into a double main. boom truck, handling oversized bungalows and working on
Maintenance of Way teams installed approximately and adjacent to live track.
100,000 concrete ties, 10 miles of double track, four No. 24 “We use all types of protection and track authority — job
switches and a No. 20 switch. Crews also eliminated three briefings, lookouts, track windows, Form Bs — to remain
No. 20 switches and switches at West Bona, Bridger and East safe,” said Rory Larson, signal foreman.
Upon projected November comple-
tion, formerly bottlenecked traffic travel-
ing on single track, from approximately
Milepost 123.1 to Milepost 133.2, will be
The project involved seven bridges.
One was a highway bridge and a second
was a river bridge, both more than 300 feet
Dave Zaiser ’s destressing crew
destressed rail to 105 degrees to ensure
Two surfacing gangs, several signal
crews and numerous contractors also con-
tributed to make the project a success.
About 30 signalmen installed one
hotbox, eight bungalows, 14 standard
switches, 14 switch heaters, four inter-
mediate signals, four dragging equip-
Powder River Reflection
Kelley Kisser, left, and Ryan Kriz, assistant signalmen, stencil identifying information
on a switch heater.
Dave Zaiser’s destressing crew includes Nic Massine, standing left; Ryan Tucker; Andrew
Hoesche; Ruben Mancias; Dave Zaiser, kneeling left; Shayne Larsen, Scott Woods and
Ryan Kriz, left, and Kelley Kisser, assistant signalmen, stencil identifying information
on a switch heater.
New track construction crew members winterize and clean debris from a switch.
Mike Rodriguez, left, signalman; Ryan Kriz, assistant signalman; Kelley Kisser, assistant 5 Signalmen Stuart Skibicki, standing left; Paco Rodriguez; Ben Harmon; Darrell Winn;
signalman; and Dan Cottrell, assistant signalman. Roy Perrine, kneeling left; Michael Haught and D.J. Hladky.
Powder River Reflection
Powell Passionate About Life, Railroad
Life can change in the blink of “I just have to adapt to a new envi- ment challenges him daily to keep
an eye. ronment,” Powell said. “It is most dif- control of the many facets of the job
That is what happened to Brandon ficult to watch my family deal with my including safety. He advises new hires
Powell, who joined the railroad Feb. 28, new situation. I’ve learned not to take to be ready to learn, use every day as a
2005, as an Alliance carman. life lightly and or get upset over minor new learning experience, keep their eyes
He was involved in a one-car roll- things.” and ears open and take life in stride.
over accident July 30, 2005. After a combined three months Prior to the railroad, Powell worked
Powell was returning home from at Lincoln’s Madonna Rehabilitation small construction jobs as a handyman
carman training in Kansas City, pulling a Center and Denver’s Craig Hospital, he in Lincoln.
trailer behind his vehicle, when a passing returned to BNSF May 7, and qualified He has been married to his wife,
semi-trailer’s winds caused the trailer to as a yardmaster in Alliance Sept. 19. Kristin, since 2001. They have three
sway and Powell to lose control. Although it has been a bumpy road children, Tyler, 15, Neo, 5, and Dax, 3.
He broke his lower back and neck in getting back to work, Powell said the In his free time, Powell likes
multiple places. railroad has always been supportive. designing, engineering, welding and
Powell is now a quadriplegic as all “It is a big relief for me,” he said. “I deer hunting.
four limbs were affected by the accident. am still viable.”
His upper extremities are As Extra Board
weakened and he has third-shift yardmaster,
had several surgeries Powell controls the flow
on his hands as a of inbound and outbound
result. He attends trains through the termi-
physical therapy nal, as well as organizes
once per week, and power modifications, in-
said he will never be spections and switching
done with recovery. of trains.
Despite the life- He said the best as-
changing event, pect of his job is the feel-
Brandon Powell, Extra
Board third shift yard-
master in Alliance Powell’s life is not about ing that something is ac-
his disability, rather complished every day. Brandon Powell, left, new Extra Board third-shift yardmaster in Alliance since
his ability. Powell’s new assign- Sept. 19, receives guidance from Val McCabe, terminal trainmaster.
MOvINg BEYOND THE SPEED OF FIRE
Stu Hissam, Alliance locomotive engineer, and his
wife, Sandy, had to think and act quickly Oct. 5 when
they encountered a sudden car fire.
Without hesitation, the Hissams helped Michael
Campbell and Laura Leininger of Omaha exit the burning
vehicle safely and salvage most of their belongings.
The Hissams were behind the Campbell vehicle
when they spotted fire burning underneath the car and
quickly approached the inhabitants as the fire burst into
The couple, who were uninjured, are grateful for
the Hissam’s kindness and generosity. Campbell and
Leininger were returning from a weekend vaca-
tion in the Black Hills.
It is not every day in Alliance that you drive down the
road and encounter a car fire. Oct. 5, Stu Hissam,
locomotive engineer, and his wife, Sandy,
6 did just that.
Powder River Reflection
In February, Denny Kintner, con-
ductor, not pictured, retired from the
railroad. October retirees John Wood
and Rod Coulter, locomotive engi-
neers, and Linda Stitt, crew hauler, fol-
lowed in Kintner’s footsteps. Powder John Zochol, conductor, made his He joined the Chicago, Burlington
River Division colleagues and friends last trip in a BNSF locomotive Aug. 22 & Quincy Railroad in October 1968
wish them a happy, healthy, fulfilling after nearly four decades of injury-free as a switchman/brakeman. He be-
retirement. service. came a conductor in April 1973. He
He credits his safety record, void of enjoyed the non-routine schedule of
any rules violations or associated service the railroad and variety in his job.
interruptions, to co-workers. In retirement, Zochol plans to spend
“You cannot do it by yourself,” said his time with his nine grandchildren, lo-
Zochol. cated in Rapid City, S.D.; Austin, Texas;
He always remained aware of his and Omaha.
surroundings and accepted advice. He has been married to his wife,
Similarly, he advises new hires to do Rae, since 1970.
the same. Zochol also will fill his days with
“There is a chance they may know woodworking and yard work.
something you don’t and be
able to help you perform your
job easier and keep you safe,”
ABOVE: John Wood, left, Zochol said.
He identifies safety as one
Rod Coulter and Linda Stitt
celebrate their October re-
tirements with colleagues of the most positive changes
he has seen in the industry. He
said the industry is much more
Zochol, born and raised in
Alliance, served as an airplane
refueler in the U.S. Air Force
from 1964 to 1968 stationed in
Texas, South Carolina, Alaska, his Aug. 31 retirement. Deb Hunter, right, Alliance trainmaster, presents
John Wood, top, Rod Coulter, left, and Linda Stitt, right, John Zochol, left, conductor, closes the book on his railroad career at
Germany and New Mexico.
receive retirement clocks from Kathy Straight, director
administration, right. Zochol with a retirement clock to commemorate his career.
Cory Knutson’s railroad career began in building and facility work across not only the
Billings as a draftsman. Montana Division, but also the Powder River
He moved around the Montana Division, Division.
and more than 18 years later, a promotion Knutson assumed his new role June 16
to Structures manager brought him back to following 13 years as supervisor of Structures
where he started. in Glendive.
“I’ve made the rounds,” Knutson said. “I’m glad to take on this role and help the
“It’s good to be back in Billings, though. I company accommodate its needs,” Knutson
like the town.” said. “I’m looking forward to working on
As Structures manager, Knutson oversees two divisions to ensure the reliability of our
maintenance capital planning and all bridge, bridges and structures.”
Cory Knutson, Structures manager out of Billings since June 16
will now influence the Powder River and Montana divisions.
Powder River Reflection
Night vision, quick action
The alert, attentive, quick actions of Randy Peterson, “When the trainmen made the report, I was taken
Casper conductor, and Steve Zurn, Casper locomotive aback,” Rickabaugh said. “I kept the spotlight ahead of
engineer, were forefront July 28 in saving a youth’s life. him so he could see, as it was nearly 1:30 a.m. It was
However, their efforts wouldn’t have been successful unbelievable and a relief to find him safe.”
without the presence and teamwork of Ron Rickabaugh, He asked the boy what he was doing by the tracks
Douglas night shift signal maintainer. away from home and the boy said he was “running away
As they headed through Douglas in a poorly-lit, from home.”
sparsely populated area, Peterson and Zurn sounded the He told Rickabaugh he loves trains and likes the
locomotive’s whistle and watched for cars at the crossing tracks.
ahead. However, the child wouldn’t share his personal infor-
Peterson’s alertness paid off. mation, so Rickabaugh called 911.
He saw something fouling the tracks but couldn’t tell All parties involved learned the child was thought to
what it was until the train got closer, still traveling about be secure in his bedroom for the night but found a way to
25 mph. defeat his home’s door alarm and leave.
“There the kid was,” Peterson said. “I experienced the helplessness a train crew knows
“You are focused watching for certain things as you go when they encounter something like this,” Peterson said.
along and to have something like a child show up, it tends “It is amazing the imprint on your mind that occurs when
to get your blood pumping a little faster and compound you have a close call like this. It is surely an instant that
your alertness and awareness,” Peterson said. “I try to sticks in your mind.”
be as alert as possible, as much as possible, as often as
The train crew reported the incident to
Rickabaugh, who pulled up to the crossing on his
nightly rounds moments before.
The child, about 8, was about 200 yards south
of the Robbin Lane crossing squatting on the
end of the ties in the midst of ballast and shrubs,
covering his ears.
“At the last minute, he jumped away,”
Peterson said. “It was real close, within a few
Rickabaugh immediately turned on his signal
When the back end of the train passed,
Ron Rickabaugh, Douglas signal maintainer,
the barefooted youngster was walking toward works the night shift and was in the right place
Rickabaugh and the light, in pajamas. at the right time July 28 for one young boy who stumbled onto the tracks.
Alliance Approximately 100 Alliance
Terminal employees have remained
“I attribute most, if not all, of our
success to our site safety team, to our
injury free throughout 2008. local chairmen and the involvement of
Safety On The Frank Bennet, Alliance superin- scheduled employees,” he said. “We
tendent of operations, boasted of his try to recognize and celebrate our suc-
Right Track team leading the system with a related
frequency ratio of .20.
cesses. We want to share how we are
doing and apply positive pressure.”
Powder River Reflection
Through diligent, dedicated work, Powder River
Division employees are meeting record volume
traffic demands, but not without the vast joint line
and help of southern region train crews.
Added Manpower, Joint Line Boost Operations
In September, 43 temporary transfer helped,” said Frank Bennett, Alliance monthly record of 54.1 trains per day
conductors/switchmen from throughout superintendent operations. was set in November 2007. September’s
southern parts of the system relocated While it is clear the increased man- average gained more than two trains a
to Alliance and Gillette. They assisted power boosted operations, BNSF’s joint day from the 52.4 trains per day loaded
Powder River train crews in meeting line also had a significant impact. in September 2007.
record volume traffic demands for coal BNSF loaded a monthly record Year-to-date through September,
shipments. 24.1 million tons of coal in the Powder BNSF loaded 204 million tons of coal in
The transfers also helped the Powder River Basin in September, breaking the the PRB, up 2.6 percent from the 198.8
River Division make up for lost coal previous record of 24.0 million tons set million tons loaded through the same
shipments during recent floods through- in August. The latest tonnage loaded period in 2007.
out the Midwest. was well ahead of the 23.2 million tons BNSF has loaded a total daily av-
As a result, a record number of 90 loaded in September 2007. erage of 51 trains per day in the PRB
trains moved through the Alliance ter- BNSF also loaded a monthly re- through September 2008, compared with
minal Oct. 4. cord average 54.8 coal trains per day an average of 49.7 trains per day loaded
“The increase in manpower really in the PRB in September; the previous through the same period in 2007.
Bighorn Sub Consolidated
Approximately 250 employees comprising two tie gangs, focused on the job at hand and operate through teamwork,”
TP08 and TP11; two undercutter gangs, UC05 and UC06; Kinzel said.
and one steel gang, RP11, began maintenance throughout the The project was about halfway complete when crews were
Bighorn Subdivision in June as part of the consolidated main- displaced, including SC30, due to flooding in Iowa, which
tenance program. hindered progress more than a month. During that time, re-
“It was overwhelming and breathtaking to see that many cord traffic traversed the Bighorn Subdivision, Milepost 599
employees and that much equipment in one place,” said Bob to Milepost 829, because of the massive re-routes.
Kinzel, Dickinson roadmaster. “We had to prioritize and stra- Kinzel said other than the reroutes, crews remained on
tegically place support crews accordingly.” schedule and the project was concluded under budget.
Sheridan Roadmaster Stan Alles’ crews successfully in- “All my people have done a phenomenal job,” Alles said.
stalled 27,000 ties, 133,000 feet of rail and undercut 15 miles of “We’ve had to juggle rail detectors as well as our regular work
track, by the scheduled September completion date and without schedules. We have persevered. We have a job to do, so we
major incident or injury. do it.”
The project is expected to have far-reaching impact. Section crews removed detector car defects and completed
“This will solidify our infrastructure, shorten slow orders additional thermite welds.
and increase velocity along the entire Bighorn Sub,” Alles Peripheral crews — a maintenance crew from Essex,
said. Mont., and two switch composite crews responsible for switch
Crews conquered the project’s challenges through com- maintenance — played a large role in the progress.
mitment, persistence and teamwork. Other key players to success were Kinzel, who spearheaded
“You need to keep everyone cut in, make sure they stay Continued on Page 11
Powder River Reflection
Donnie Grein retired as a conductor recovering from June 19 knee reconstruc- doing,” he said
July 1 in Alliance, Neb., after 30 years with tion surgery.
the railroad. “Recovery is going well,” he said. “I’m
Grein remained a conductor through- in the last stages of physical therapy.”
out his career because he enjoyed the After he recuperates, Grein plans to
travel and daily challenges. work on odd jobs around his house in
“There was normally something dif- Chadron.
ferent every day no matter what you did,” He advises new hires to pay attention
he said. to their surroundings to stay safe. Donnie Grein, right, Chadron conductor, bid farewell
July 1 to Larry Snyder, Alliance trainmaster, and his
Since retiring, Grein has been “Keep your mind on what you’re 30-year railroad career.
In August, Douglas track forces and new construction
crews replaced antiquated switches, original swing nose frogs
and installed new crossovers and 1,500 feet of rail at Converse
Junction, Milepost 65.5.
“We can’t maintain these anymore because we can’t get
parts for them,” said Roger Busskohl, track inspector.
Converse Junction Two of the seven turnouts are additions to the control
point, and five are replacement turnouts.
Improvements Effective signal cutover took place Aug. 13, with all
switches independently controlled.
voice Recognition Capabilities In Customers’ Hands
A new Voice Customer Recognition process being imple- customers to pre-release unit coal trains on command through
mented throughout the Powder River Division allows BNSF the Web or via phone with one contact.
Voice recognition capabilities
are in the customers’ hands.
Customers dictate a desig-
nated timeframe to notify pertinent
parties about the availability of
trains for pickup.
BNSF’s goal is to have the
crew at the utility when the train is
ready to be released. Ultimately,
the process will eliminate multiple
calls from the utility to BNSF for
multiple notifications and multiple
calls from BNSF to the utility to
The utility also has the abil-
ity to make changes or cancel the
original pre-release notification,
again with only one contact. With
each update, notifications are
recorded on a distribution list and
immediately visible to BNSF on
the Web in TSS.
Powder River Reflection
BUT TE SUBDIvISION
ENgINEERINg EMPLOYEES Maintenance
Crews led by Chris Yeoman, Butte communication and thanks employees
Continued from Page 9
the project, and various road-
Subdivision roadmaster, strive daily for daily for another safe day. masters including Daryl Braun,
another safe, injury-free day. “I remind them to stay focused, con- Carl Carlson, Bruce Criswell,
Working side by side, the Crawford tinue making safe decisions and take the Sheri Ellis, Terry Gilson, Kent
east and west sections crews, Crawford time necessary to get the job done safely,” Roberts, Bill Shoemake and Pat
lubricator foreman, Butte Sub surfacing he said. “They are a very conscientious Yauney.
gang, three track inspectors, Crawford group. I learn something new from these “It took a lot of planning and
maintenance gang, two groups of frog crews every day.” coordination to make the project
welders and a joint elimination gang, With numerous decades of experi- happen,” Kinzel said. “It took
accumulated 1,959 days injury free as of ence, he said his crews are hard to talk to everyone’s efforts and input to
Oct. 27. about safety. With nearly 31 years service, execute successfully.”
“They make safe decisions, have Yeoman has the lowest seniority. In preparation for the proj-
always had work-safe attitudes and are al- “If I provide the tools to do the job, ect, Kinzel scheduled and con-
ways talking safety,” Yeoman said. “They they take care of themselves,” he said. ducted conference calls and
take care of one another, find safer ways “You can automatically see safety is at ensured equipment, support
to do tasks and mentor new people.” work. This group is special. They are the and personnel were “in the right
To fuel safety, he exercises open best at what they do.” places at the right times.”
Throughout the project, he
What makes you a safe employee?
conducted daily conference call
updates and worked diligently to
“I analyze and assess risks and respond accordingly in order minimize any overstay delays.
to stay safe.” Numerous assistant road-
- Roger Hubregtse, welder since 1991
masters from the Powder River
“I stay alert, attentive and use good communication with all parties involved.
and Montana divisions also
I also try to stay in good physical condition through regular workouts. I even helped with planning and ex-
take safe practices home and share them with my neighbors — wearing ear ecution including Don Davis,
plugs and safety glasses in my personal shop.” Eric Schroedel, J.T. Smith, Scott
- George Schilling, grinder operator since September 1978 Smith and Monte Viall.
Trainmasters Brian Gilliam,
“We mentor others and watch out for one other. We don’t cut corners to get out of Sheridan, and Patrick
a job done early. If someone is doing something unsafe, we speak up and Hartman, out of Gillette, were
correct the action. Sometimes you don’t recognize unsafe acts until someone also involved.
points them out.”
Kinzel thanks the Operating
- Lee Miller, section foreman for Crawford East
Department for committing
“Personal and track safety is a high priority. We take our time and use good the needed work windows to
communication. We stay focused on the task at hand and we don’t get dis- complete the work.
tracted or in a hurry. Everybody watches out for everybody. Everybody helps
everybody else.” stay focused on
- Rocky Phipps, track inspector with more than 20 years injury-free service
the job at hand and
“We pay attention to what we are doing at all times and we have good job
briefings. Most of these individuals joined the railroad in 1974 or before. They
are experienced and well trained in what they do. Everything clicks.”
- T.J. Storbeck, who joined the railroad in 1978, has worked as a gang fore-
man since 1988 and is one of the youngest crew members with 30 years - Bob Kinzel
Powder River Reflection
To the Love of Animal
ForSince childhood, sisters Wendie
Henderson, Alliance brakeman/switch-
The horned lark was missing numer-
ous tailfeathers. Although Henderson
of Shelley Lonsdale, a local licensed
wildlife rehabilitator. The animal needed
man, and Lorie Reeh, temporary Alliance consulted a wildlife rehabilitator in 10 staples in its leg. The wound healed
road foreman of engines, have rescued Omaha who said the lark may regrow his and the porcupine was released back into
injured or orphaned wild animals and ne- tailfeathers, the lark was never able to fly the wild.
glected or homeless domestic animals. well enough to be released back to the The burrowing owl was rescued with
“I think I was born with a passion wild. The bird is now in an educational the help of a train crew. Scott Marsteller,
to assist helpless animals,” Reeh said. facility in South Dakota. locomotive engineer, and James Graf III,
“You just get a sense that the animal With the support of her husband, conductor, saw the owl in the tracks as
needs help and you can’t look the other Doug, locomotive engineer, Reeh has they were leaving Sterling.
way.” rescued a porcupine, burrowing owl, The train crew transported the owl
Henderson’s dogs even discovered prairie falcon, king bird, several dis- by train to a location near Sidney, Neb.,
several injured birds, which she rescued, placed young birds and numerous cats where Reeh could assist. The owl was
including a red-tailed hawk. In addition and dogs. diagnosed with a dislocated wing, was
to the red-tailed hawk, she has rescued She was notified of the injured por- treated and lives in a zoo.
two horned larks, turtles and numerous cupine from a concerned resident. Reeh Wendie and Reeh work with vari-
dogs and cats. live-trapped it and sought the expertise ous licensed wildlife rehabilitators to
Lorie Reeh has served the Powder River Division as temporary
road foreman of engines out of Alliance since September.
She said she most likes teaching student engineers because they
are “eager to learn.”
Reeh came from the ranks with more than 15 years of
She joined the railroad in 1990 as brakeman/switchman out of
Alliance. Reeh became an engineer in 1995, where she remained
until her September promotion.
In her latest role, Reeh tries to impress the industry’s inherent
challenges upon student engineers.
Prior to the railroad, she worked as a veterinary assistant at three
clinics and was a heavy equipment operator 13 years.
But heavy equipment operation was a seasonal job and Reeh
sought regular work.
With her experience as a heavy equipment operator, the railroad
seemed a logical choice.
Sisters Lorie Reeh, left, Alliance temporary road foreman of engines, and
Wendie Henderson, Alliance brakeman/switchman, are not only animal lovers,
but they are also animal advocates involved with animal rescue. Outside of work, Reeh likes gardening, landscaping and walking
her two dogs.
Powder River Reflection
Thirteen BNSF photo contest win-
ners captured impressive skylines and
breathtaking views featured in the 2009
calendar, available in November.
diagnose, relocate or release the animals. and neuter their pets to help prevent
The calendar boasts a variety of
Neither of them has ever been injured unwanted domestic animals.
photographs including the Columbia
doing animal rescue. For the health and well-being of
River Gorge, Chicago’s skyline and a
If you need wildlife rescue and/or animals and the community of Alliance,
field of irises in Alliance.
rehabilitation assistance, contact Shelley Henderson, Lorie and Jay Weisgerber,
The latter, featured on the month of
Lonsdale, licensed wildlife rehabilitator locomotive engineer, are trying to start
June, was taken in June by the Powder
at 308-787-9984 or 308-225-0724 or via a dog park. A location has not been
River Division’s Roger Bauer, chief
e-mail at wildwhispers@embarqmail. selected, but the BNSF Foundation rec-
clerk customer support in Alliance.
com. ognized the 501(c) 3 non-profit status
Mark Dinnauer, Gillette conductor
This summer, Lonsdale needed a and has generously agreed to match
on the south pool, earned the same shut-
home for a couple rehabilitated orphaned contributions of $100 or greater from
terbug honors with his wintery image
raccoons. Dave Wells, training coordi- any railroad employee.
of a westbound coal empty stopped
nator and conductor, has adopted them. BNSF will help build and maintain
second out at Cassa.
Henderson and Reeh said the hard- the off-leash dog park of at least one
The images glorify coal trains,
est part of animal rescue is unhappy and a half acres, complete with
grain trains, chemical and intermodal
endings. water, sprinklers, agility equipment
trains and feature thunderstorms, snow-
They remind pet owners to spay and shelter.
storms, lakes and bright skies, from
throughout the nation.
Roger Bauer, chief clerk cus-
tomer support in Alliance
Bauer recalls always wanting “a
In the late 1970s, he purchased his
top-of-the-line Canon AE1 35mm and
has been shooting ever since.
He said it is a hobby that could
easily develop into something more.
“I shoot whenever I see something
interesting,” Bauer said. “I enjoy it
Lorie Reeh, Alliance temporary road foreman of engines, for the pride and satisfaction. I enjoy
rescued an injured porcupine that needed 10 staples in its
leg. The wound healed and the porcupine was released
looking for that magical shot good
enough to enlarge. It is nice to look at
Lorie Reeh, Alliance temporary road foreman of engines,
back to the wild. rescued a burrowing owl ailed by a dislocated wing
with the help of Scott Marsteller, locomotive engineer, a good picture and say,
and James Graf III, conductor. The owl was treated and
Continued on Page 15
lives in a zoo.
Lorie Reeh, Alliance tem-
porar y road foreman
of engines, has rescued
several displaced young
birds, numerous cats and
dogs and various wild
animals including a prai-
13 rie falcon.
Powder River Reflection Results
It is nice to be appreciated. BNSF In preparation, a tent was set up the
shows appreciation for its employees in preceding Friday. Despite more than 10 W367, a seven-member, four-
many ways. inches of snow, the meal was served. truck welding gang makes a habit
An Employee Appreciation Day Breakfast burritos were served to of working safely.
took place Oct. 13-14 to recognize approximately 200 employees. Their safety record speaks for
Gillette employees’ day-to-day efforts Employees present received a BNSF itself — 2,776 days injury free and
to work safe. insulated mug. counting since Oct. 19.
They’ve found safety success
through constant communication.
“Communication is key,” said
Doug Kerner, welder. “We start
each day with a good briefing and
re-brief periodically throughout the
day as situations change.”
Fay Hughes, W367 welding
foreman, hands out a daily safety
briefing information sheet, which
includes work location, track au-
thority, what type of authority
and weather conditions. Just as
important, the bottom of the sheet
Trainmasters Scott Mobley, left, and Pete Carlson, receive accolades from Jim Schafer, senior special agent, for
their quick-witted actions Oct. 4 to apprehend trespassers on BNSF property. Their efforts earned them On Guard
honors. says “watch out for your fellow
On Guard! Carlson, Mobley “We generally have two people
to a truck on our gang, so you
Trainmasters Pete Carlson and Scott Mobley helped the BNSF Resource Protection get used to working closely with
Solutions Team protect BNSF’s resources, people and facilities Oct. 4 with rapid re- one person,” said Forest Hughes,
sponse and quick thinking. welder.
Carlson and Mobley overheard a radio conversation between a UP train crew and Fay said crew W367 is com-
a dispatcher regarding suspicious activity north of Bill, Wyo. posed of conscientious workers.
The train crew reported a suspicious vehicle on BNSF property with the headlights Crew members watch out for
off. Then they witnessed two subjects walking around with flashlights. each other and do not let any col-
Carlson and Mobley were in the area and responded without hesitation. league lift equipment that requires
Upon arrival, they saw a male subject digging in a salvage dumpster containing two people to lift.
scrap copper wire and ordered the subject to climb out and lay prone on the ground. “Keep doing what you are
A female subject was also spotted and ordered to lie prone on the ground. doing, working safely every day,”
The Converse County Sheriff’s Department was contacted, responded and ar- Fay said. “We don’t want anyone
rested both subjects, who were charged with criminal trespass and going home hurt. Any injury is not
misdemeanor larceny. Both subjects pled guilty. good.”
The BNSF Resource Protection Team officially In addition to Kerner and
thanked Carlson and Mobley for their actions awarding Fay and Forest Hughes, W367
them On Guard certificates, cups and pins. includes Welders Vernon Scarrow
Remember, whenever you see suspicious activ- and Dewey Maring and Grinders
ity, individuals or trespassers, please be safe and call Ken Davis and Lucas Young.
the Resource Operations Command Center at 8-593-7200
Powder River Reflection
Continued from Page 13
I took that.” of colorfully painted consists. His fa-
Most often Bauer pho- ther frequently rode passenger trains.
tographs scenery — “I get excited about trains in gen-
mainly mountains eral,” said Dinnauer. “I like the feeling
and lakes. of all the power moving down the rails Roger Bauer, chief clerk, is a longtime photographer. In June,
“ Yo u s e e a and I like to recreate the real world Bauer photographed this loaded BNSF coal train led by locomo-
tive 6233 amidst a field of irises, which earned him showing in
scene and think that trains into a miniature train scale.” the 2009 BNSF calendar.
would be a good pic- He has a large collection of 187th-
ture,” he said. “A lot scale model trains, consisting of 400
Ro g e r B a u e r, of times you don’t have locomotives and 3,000 pieces of rolling
Alliance chief clerk a camera, but it is sure stock.
nice when you do. That Although Dinnauer estimates he
is when you go back to the spot and began photography about 20 years ago,
duplicate an image.” he can’t recall the first time.
That is exactly what Bauer did on “I started getting better the more I
two visits to capture his contest-winning did it,” Dinnauer said. “I try to keep
image for BNSF’s 2009 calendar. my camera with me quite often.”
He said he pulled a line up that He finds unique, unusual consists to Mark Dinnauer, conductor, is passionate about photography,
charted a Dash 9 locomotive. photograph by looking at BNSF’s local and trains. He was leaving Guernsey aboard a westbound
“I knew in order to get the shot, I train tracker. train, and successfully captured this wintry landscape of BNSF
locomotive 6147, which is featured in BNSF’s 2009 calendar for
needed to get the right angle and late One winter day, Dinnauer was in the month of December.
afternoon lighting to reduce shadows,” Guernsey aboard a westbound, out-
Bauer said. bound train, and saw a picturesque
He took the image specifically to landscape he desired. With his Canon
submit for the contest. EOS 35mm camera on hand, he capi-
Bauer joined the railroad in talized on the moment and produced a
September 1974 with the track de- contest-winning photo featured on the
partment out of Alliance. As chief month of December.
clerk since 2003, he handles customer Dinnauer said he was excited to be
billing, customer support relative to selected for the calendar.
coal traffic and coordinates with off- His images have also been pub-
property car shops. lished in the BN Historical Society and Mark Dinnauer, conductor, finds unique, unusual consists to
Bauer has been married to Jill since CTC Board. photograph by looking at BNSFs local train tracker and keeping
September 2007. He has three children, Dinnauer joined the railroad May 2, his camera close.
Lindsey, Rylan and Sarah. 2005, out of Gillette as a conductor.
For fun, Bauer likes to garden, golf, Prior to the railroad, he worked at
fish, pheasant hunt and walk his black a medical distribution site and for a
Labrador named Coal. grocery distributor.
Mark Dinnauer, Gillette B e f o r e j o i n i n g B N S F,
south pool conductor D i n n a u e r, a M i l w a u k e e ,
Dinnauer has been pas- Wis., native, traveled to
sionate about trains since Montana, Wyoming and
childhood and about pho- North Dakota frequently
tography about as long. to capture images of BNSF
A s a s m a l l b o y, trains — one reason he was couldn’t stop Dinnauer from arriving in
Dinnauer visited the Amtrak extremely excited to join Gillette.
and Milwaukee Road passen- BNSF. “I just like being around the rail-
ger terminals with his father to Mark Dinnauer, conduc- Even two blizzards, an road,” he said “It is quite a satisfying
job. I really enjoy it.”
tor out of Gillette since
watch arrivals and departures 2005 ice storm and prevalent winds
Powder River Reflection
Electrically Charged For Safety
Powder River Division system electricians working out about going home the same way they came to work — injury
of Alliance, Guernsey and Gillette use teamwork to achieve free.
safety. The group worked 2,743 days injury free as of “Our goal is zero injuries, but working injury free is a
Oct. 20. work in progress all the time,” he said.
“My crews are extremely knowledge-
able professionals,” said Jim Hartman,
Alliance electrical supervisor. “They
have a constant awareness of their sur-
roundings and the work they do. They
work together as a team and look out for
each other’s safety in the field. Nobody
out there does this type of work any better
than they do.”
Electrical employees ensure they
work safe while completing duties such
as transporting heavy loads, operating
and working around heavy equipment,
and constructing and maintaining electri-
cal systems involving energized electrical
circuits from 50 volts to 19,900 volts.
Hartman said they do regular, thor-
ough job briefings and frequently talk Powder River Division electricians supervised by Jim Hartman make safety the top priority. Kneeling:
Roger Bakkehaug, left, and Dick Owens. Second row: Larry Wells, left, Phil Schmitt, Kohl Johnson, Jim Manley,
Mike Hope, Rick Arrants, Rick Lewis, Glen Rupp, Dale Sherfey, Ted Bohlen and Jim Hartman.
What makes you a safe
employee “We exercise good overall communication, good job
briefings and an overall positive attitude toward our
jobs. Employees working for Jim really enjoy their
“Good communication amongst the workers is the work and their jobs. Our department as a whole enjoys
biggest key. We take our time to complete the task at our work. We have good overall supervision in Jim
hand. We also take a lot of time to do good, thorough Hartman, Ed Ferguson and Cory Knutson.”
job briefings and identify all possible hazards.” - Philip Schmitt, Alliance electrical inspector and team
- Rick Lewis, Alliance system electrical foreman safety representative
ANNOuNCEMENTS: GILLETTE TERMINAL
With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season quickly Susie Cooper, division admin, at the Gillette Depot.
approaching, here are a few important reminders of events to fill • Nov. 4, 2009, the Orin Line will complete 30 years serving
you with holiday cheer that you won’t want to miss. the Powder River Basin. If you have any photos, informa-
• Santa Claus will make his annual holiday visit to the Gillette tion or memorabilia of the Orin Line opening and would
Depot for employees’ children and grandchildren. He will be like to share the items for a display in the Gillette Depot’s
visiting on Saturday, Dec. 6 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. front-entry display case, please submit the items to Kathy
• The annual Secret Santa Auction in Gillette brings smiles to Straight, director administration, at the Gillette Depot. The
those in need. Individuals may make monetary donations items will be locked up, duplicates will be made and originals
or donate items for silent auction no later than Nov. 19 to will be returned to the owners.
Powder River Reflection
Members of the Powder River Division structures crew, supervised by Teri Lake, structures supervisor, keep safety at the forefront in everything they do. Pictured
are Teri Lake, BJ Taylor, Brent Ferguson, Jim DeMott, Ken Reeves, Tim Lewis and Joe Walters, Scott DeFoe, Bill DeWitt, Phil Rodriquez, Leo Garniss, Roy Bennett,
Pat Sherlock, Chris Duvall, John Branson, Rick Broberg, Steve Bickford, Clyde Blue, Rod Green, Steve Childs, Clarence Schouboe, Cameron Cutlers,
Gary Pfortmiller, Tracy Wondercheck, Brian Debus, Dave Lohr, Andy Peterson, Marty McLaughlin, John Breen, Cory Barker, Chuck Mader, John Linn,
Rowland Busskohl, Russ Frahm and Paul Bratt. Rob Grantham is not pictured but also contributed to the success.
Structures Crew Safe
Powder River Division Structures employees, su- safety gear, tools for the job and anything to make our
pervised by Teri Lake, achieved 446 days injury free jobs easier and safer,” Linn said.
Oct. 23. Pfortmiller said Lake’s positive attitude projects
“Teri and his employees’ positive attitudes toward the safety of his crews.
safety and commitments to safety are evident in their “He consistently builds morale and works hard to
current safety streak,” said Cory Knutson, manager maintain good morale amongst his crews,” Pfortmiller
Structures. said. He goes the extra mile for his crews.”
“We are our brother’s keeper,” said Teri Lake, For safety’s sake, the group participates in thor-
Structures supervisor. “We watch each other’s backs ough weekly conference calls and numerous job brief-
and make sure things go according to the plan by watch- ings throughout each day.
ing out for hazards and not taking any shortcuts.” Lake said during daily safety briefings the group
According to Gary Pfortmiller, Structures safety recognizes hazards, identifies how to correct or protect
facilitator in Scottsbluff who has worked with Lake the hazards and revisits them in weekly conference
more than six years, Lake and his employees have calls to discuss outcomes.
continually improved safety in the department. “Teri gives individual ownership to safety through
Lake and his crews place cones around equipment job briefings, debriefings, conference calls and dis-
to protect themselves and equipment in equipment cussions on how to eliminate risks,” Pfortmiller said.
work zones as an added safety precaution. “He gives timely, regular, seasonal safety tips to boost
“Teri thinks outside the box and develops fresh safety and as a result, employees in the field are com-
ideas,” Pfortmiller said. municating more overall.”
Leadership is important throughout our daily lives, Pfortmiller said everyone participates and
as people often lead by example. functions as a group, which also builds individual
John Linn, Structures mechanic who has worked ownership.
with Lake about 11 years, and Pfortmiller, said crews The Powder River Structures Department is one of
absorb positive attitudes exuded by leadership such two departments across the division to remain injury
as Lake’s. free in 2008. The Alliance Terminal is next best with
“Teri works hard to get us anything we need — 298 days injury free.
Powder River Reflection
BNSF Supports Youth Organizations, Railroaders’ Families
Andrew Kaufman, son of Jeffrey Kaufman, Extra Board fare as well as they did at the state district tournament.
locomotive engineer, is a standout on and off the field, which is Andrew plans to take his skills to the next level — legion
why BNSF chose to support him and his team. ball. He will try out for the traveling AA team next season.
Andrew, a pitcher and first and second baseman, has been Andrew’s efforts off the baseball diamond are also
playing baseball since he was 4. Now 14, Andrew’s 2008 Babe admirable.
Ruth All-Star 13-year-old team from Gillette won first place Jeff said he has “always been a straight-A student” and is
against 10 teams from throughout Wyoming in the July 3-day poised for a 4.0 GPA his eighth grade year at Sage Valley Junior
state district tournament in Green River. The 12-member team High.
was comprised of specially-selected players from eight Gillette Since 2007, Jeff has been vice president of the Babe Ruth
13-year-old teams. board and his wife, Wendy, of 14 years, has organized uniforms
The Devil Rays, Andrew’s regular season team, played 14 and equipment. Both were previously involved with the little
games and finished the season with a 12-2 record. league organization also. They have three children, Samantha,
BNSF donated $500 toward uniforms, equipment, field 18, Andrew, 14, and Tanner, 7.
maintenance, umpires, transportation, travel expenses and general In his younger years, Jeff also played baseball but his main
expenses. Sponsors received a company banner posted on the sport was golf, as a member of the high school golf team.
outfield fence. Jeff joined the railroad Nov. 28, 1994, as a brakeman in Gillette.
“It was really nice and helpful that BNSF was able to sponsor He also has worked as a conductor and engineer since 1997.
us,” Jeff said. “There was no question about it at any time.”
Andrew, a four-year All-Star, entered the team as a 13-year-
old and immediately found himself on the starting roster.
“It was great for him to be able to play with older kids and be
good enough to start,” Jeff said. “He is very athletic. Baseball is
his thing, there is no doubt. He is a natural at baseball although
he plays any sport. If there is a ball involved, he is there.”
The state district tournament championship propelled
them to regionals in Kelso, Wash., for a week. There, the 13-
year-old All-Stars competed against the best of the best players
from throughout the region — Oregon, Washington, Wyoming,
Montana and Ontario. Jeff Kaufman, left, locomotive engineer and father of Andrew Kaufman, right, appreci-
The regional tournament was based first on pool play and ate BNSF’s generosity in donating $500 to support Andrew’s 2008 Babe Ruth All-Star
then teams were seeded for bracket play. But the team didn’t
13-year-old team, which won first place against 10 teams in the three-day state district
tournament in July in Green River.
Levi Spreads Safety Message In Dual Roles
No matter whether acting as Sheridan communicate ideas, problems and so- become a locomotive engineer.
safety representative or BLET engineer, lutions between employees and the Levi has been married to his wife,
Ralph Levi is content as long as he is company. Sandra, since 1991. They have four
serving the railroad. Regardless of his day’s duties, safety children.
“I like the lifestyle,” Levi said. is his responsibility. Outside of work, he likes to golf, fish,
As Sheridan safety representative, “I think, keep a positive, upbeat atti- travel and ride his BMW motorcycle.
he likes to educate people and enjoys the tude and stay focused on the job that I am
challenge of finding formats that will suc- doing,” Levi said. “You must be aware
cessfully educate all employees. of your work area and your surroundings.
Levi has been a member of the safety If you lose that, it is an unforgiving work
committee about 12 years. Also a safety environment.”
committee secretary four years, he takes Born and raised in Sheridan, Levi
meeting minutes, organizes and prepares joined the railroad in 1971 as a laborer
for safety marathons, plans regular with the Sheridan track department. In
safety meetings and maintains associated November 1971, Levi became a brake-
paperwork. man in Sheridan. In 1973, he became a Ralph Levi is proud to serve the railroad as Sheridan safety
representative and BLET engineer. He makes safety a No.
He said the safety committee helps conductor and in 1976 began training to 1 priority every day.
Powder River Reflection
His 36-year railroad re-
sume is long and distinguished.
His name is known throughout
the system in Illinois, Iowa,
Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri,
Nebraska, North Dakota, Texas
Mike Tucker’s railroad
legend ended when he retired
Aug. 30 as division engineer
out of Gillette since 2007.
He started in the ranks
as a section laborer in 1973.
Tucker then promoted to fore-
Mobile welding gang TRWX1000 includes Sam Bunsu, left, Manuel Flores, Scot Stengel, Darrell Craig, Keith Retzlaff,
man, track inspector, supervi-
Doug Kerner, Kevin Weimer, John Heinrich, John Ayres, Jeff Hernandez and Joe Mashek. sor rail maintenance, assistant
roadmaster, roadmaster, man-
ager roadway planning and
assistant director maintenance
production responsible for all
capital gangs on the Powder
River Division North.
One of his greatest achieve-
Striving For PerFection ments was the Hill-Holiday
Award, which he earned in
1995 for the Dec Lacs bridge
TRWX1000, an 11-person mobile thermite welding joint elimination project.
gang, Oct. 21 accumulated 896 days injury free. His knowledge and pres-
They have maintained a unblemished safety record since TRWX1000 ence are missed by his Powder
was created in Fall 2005. River Division colleagues and
The group, assigned to Doug Jensen’s territory from Ravenna, friends.
Neb., to Edgemont, S.D., and from Guernsey, Wyo., to Sterling, Colo.,
continues to strive for perfection.
Through team work and camaraderie, individuals help each other
perform tasks safely and efficiently. They have completed nearly 5,000
thermite field welds.
Doug Kerner, who has served as TRWX1000 foreman all but about
four months of their tenure, said group members have great attitudes and
good work ethics and always look for potential hazards and do what they
must to avoid them.
“Always pay attention when performing hot work, so you don’t catch
a spark or start something on fire,” Kerner said. “Keep your head in the Mike Tucker, Gillette division engineer since
game. Be observant of what your co-worker is doing. If you see them 2007, left, and Sam Sexhus, general manager,
step into a situation that puts them in harm’s way, let them know.” take a break from the work for some cama-
Powder River Reflection
SANDHILLS WEST SUCCESSFULLY
FOCUSES ON SAFETY
The 24-member Sandhills West the two main things I concentrate on out for one another and train new
team boasted 396 days injury free all the time,” said Michael Shannon, employees to respect what they are
Oct. 13. track inspector. “Our crews holds job doing and keep their head in the
William Haga, Sandhills West briefings throughout the day, every game.
roadmaster, said the team looks out 20 minutes if we need to, as the job Employees’ commitment to safe-
for one another and focuses on going task changes.” ty was recognized with a barbecue in
home safely every day. Darrell Leibhart, track inspector Mullen Oct. 15, and a second one in
“Job focus and job briefings are and team member, said they watch Alliance Oct. 17.
For Rick Olson, two-year Guernsey conductor/switchman, safety is a way of life.
Employee of the Month
Rick Olson, Guernsey conductor/switchman, earned
September Employee of the Month honors Oct. 5, for his con-
stant, dedicated efforts to uphold safety.
BNSF Foundation “It is a great honor to have numerous co-workers think
Helps Rebuild enough of you to nominate you for such a recognition,” he said.
“It is quite humbling.”
Edgemont HS gym As a conductor/switchman, Olson, who has never been
injured on the job, watches for potential safety issues such as
Dave Cortney, left, superintendent; Lane Ostenson athletic director; Bill Clark, conduc- pinch points and people, train, equipment and car movements.
tor; Robert Harding, engineer; Ross Molyneaux, road foreman of engines; and Jay He said safety must constantly be at the forefront of your
Manke, conductor, were present Oct. 16 for the grand opening of Edgemont High
School’s new gym.
“We are always communicating about safety in job briefings
The BNSF Foundation donated $10,000 to help rebuild and otherwise,” Olson said. “You exercise good communication
Edgemont High School’s gym after it was destroyed by a with co-workers, especially the yardmaster on duty. You also
February flood. The money helped replace the floor, bleachers, remain aware of the weather and what is going on around you
roof and basketball hoops. including where your fellow employees are at, and train, equip-
“We have a lot of railroad employees in Edgemont, a lot of ment and car movements.”
their kids attend these schools and this was a great way to support Olson joined the railroad, Aug. 14, 2006, as a switchman.
the community,” said Ross Molyneaux, Edgemont road foreman “I wanted a change,” he said. “The opportunity with
of engines. BNSF arose and I have always been interested in the railroad
The community celebrated the gym’s grand opening Oct. 16. industry.”
Powder River Reflection
Arnold Wood, left, conductor, and Rob Topliss, engineer, stop their train briefly at Ken Willey, Butte Subdivision trainmaster, prepares hamburgers, bratwursts and
the Bridgeport wye Sept. 16, to enjoy lunch provided by BNSF in recognition of six chicken sandwiches Sept. 16, for Angora and Valley train crews at the Bridgeport
months of injury free work on the Angora and Valley Subdivisions. wye, who contributed to six months injury free.
Angora/valley Subs Boast
Six Months Injury Free
More than 300 Angora and Valley Subdivisions em- coordinator.
ployees were honored at a September safety meal for their About 50 Maintenance Of Way employees enjoyed the
outstanding commitment to safety — six months injury free. meal throughout each of three shifts. Meals consisted of
“We will continue to make safety a priority and we hamburgers, bratwursts, chicken breast sandwiches, sodas,
won’t settle for anything less,” said Eldon Offutt, Angora fruit and cookies.
and Valley Subdivisions trainmaster.
Sept. 16 and 17, trains traveling in every direction
halted at the Bridgeport wye so train crews could enjoy a
meal in recognition of their safe behaviors.
Offutt said fellowship plays a big part in success.
Union members who spearheaded the increased safety
commitment and helped instill positive safety attitudes,
played an important role in the subdivision’s 2008 safety
“We are lucky to have good union leaders with great
credibility,” Offutt said. “Early on, the safety team ap-
proached me with the idea to change the culture and send
the message that it is not acceptable to not be safe.”
BNSF volunteers who prepared and distributed meals
to crews included Frank Bennett, Alliance superintendent
of operations; Ron Best, Sterling safety coordinator; Shawn
Kuiper, Guernsey terminal manager; Brad Merriman, safe-
ty coordinator; Robert Montgomery, Sterling conductor;
Steve Waller, safety coordinator; and Dave Wells, training
Powder River Reflection
The Powder River Division welcomes two new road foreman of
engines and one temporary road foreman of engines to its arsenal.
Brian Thomas was lookingmilitarycareer that could provide stability decades into the
future, something promising that aligned closely with his
“If the railroad ended tomorrow so would the economy,” Thomas said. “The railroad is not going anywhere.
They are always on the cutting edge of technology. They have existed more than 100 years and will continue at
least 100 years in the future.”
He joined the railroad in January 2005 and worked as a locomotive engineer until his recent promotion to road
foreman of engines in Gillette. Thomas looks forward to new learning experiences.
His ultimate goal is to reduce exception events on the division.
Thomas advises new hires to grasp every piece of information possible from experienced conductors and engi-
neers because their experiences can facilitate a safe environment.
“The rules were written for a reason,” he said. “Follow the rules, use common sense and beware of your sur-
roundings at all times.”
Prior to the railroad, Thomas worked in the medical imaging industry as a field service engineer in charge of
maintaining imaging equipment for 65 sites in 27 states.
Thomas joined the Army Reserve in February 1989 and was honorably
discharged September 1996 as a specialist. He was stationed in Denver and
He has been married to his wife, Traci, since February 2007. They
have four children, Alyssa, 19, Ashley, 17, Christopher, 15 and Lindsay, 12.
Outside of work, Thomas is an avid pool player. He also likes to play online
role-playing video games and spend time with his family.
Derek Brown impression of the company.
“I saw so many opportunities
for advancement,” Brown said.
is the new temporary road foreman “If you want to advance, you
of engines in Gillette since Sept. 15. have the opportunity. The assistance
For Brown, a railroad career with is there.”
BNSF promises endless opportuni- The railroad is a good fit for
ties and advancement already evi- Brown, a former collegiate and pro
Brian Thomas, new road foreman of engines out of
dent throughout his young, two-year athlete.
Gillette. career. “Like this company, I am ambi-
He said he immediately had a good tious,” he said. ”I am also a quick
Powder River Reflection
Walter Scott was recently welcomed as the
new road foreman in Alliance for the Sandhills Subdivision.
Although his railroad career began by accident, his continued service
to BNSF is certainly no accident.
Prior to the railroad, Scott worked 17 years as a subcontractor in com-
mercial and residential interior finishing. A friend who worked at Job
Source knew Scott was looking for a change. Scott completed a railroad
interview in 1990 and was hired at Seattle as a brakeman.
In 1994, after two years as a conductor from Seattle to Wenatchee,
Wash., Scott began working as an engineer from Seattle to Portland,
Seattle to Wenatchee and Seattle to Vancouver, B.C., where he remained
until his recent promotion.
With 128 engineers to supervise, Scott’s primary goals are to work
safe and meet as many colleagues as he can.
“Any time you are in a situation that involves risk, you have to stop
what you are doing, look the situation over, assess what is happening
and by doing that you manage risk,” Scott said. “Stop, look, assess and
Scott also enjoys training people.
“When you see someone get the grasp for the first time it is satisfy- Walter Scott, new road foreman in Alliance for the San-
ing,” he said. “I get a charge out of it. It is fun. I think I can share my dhills Subdivision.
past experiences with people and learn and teach new things.”
Prior to the railroad, he served in the U.S. Marines as a sergeant from 1968 to 1972. He was stationed in
California, Florida, South Carolina, Vietnam and Washington State.
Scott has been married to his wife, Rita, 36 years. They have one daughter and one son and two
In his free time, Scott likes to fish, read, garden and deer and bird hunt.
learner and I feel I have a lot to engineer out of Edgemont and
offer.” Sheridan in December 2007.
He advises new employees to re- He looks forward to con-
main injury free by knowing the rules, tinued advancement within
being careful, focused and attentive the company and to learning
and taking their time to complete the as much as he can in various
task properly. roles.
Since Brown joined the railroad “Overall I want to con-
May 1, 2006, in Lincoln, Neb., as a tribute to the BNSF’s broader
conductor, he has steadily advanced picture,” Brown said.
his career. He has three children,
In his first year, Brown worked in Kierra, 16, Darian, 12, and
Hastings as a road switcher about three Kayla, 11.
months and in Kansas City at Argentine Outside of work, Brown
and Murray yards as a RCO and hump likes to work out daily. He
foreman. He then became a locomo- enjoys traveling, playing board
tive engineer in Gillette in April 2007 games, watching movies and
and began working as a locomotive spending time with his family. Derek Brown, new temporary road foreman of engines in
Gillette since Sept. 15.
Powder River Reflection
Powder River Reflection appears under direction of the general manager. For news coverage, contact Danielle at the newsletter office by
phone at BNSF 458-7342, 402-475-6397, fax 402-475-6398, mail information to 1845 S. 11th St, Lincoln, NE 68502-2211, or e-mail
email@example.com. This material is intended to be an overview of the news of the division. If there are any discrepancies between
this newsletter and any collective bargaining process, insurance contracts or other official documents, those documents will govern. BNSF
continues to maintain and reserves the right, at any time, to alter, suspend, discontinue or terminate all plans and programs described in this
newsletter. This newsletter is not an employment contract or any type of employment guarantee.
2008 BNSF Powder River Division
107 North Gillette Ave.
Gillette, WY 82716 MAIL U.S.A.
BNSF employees from throughout
the Powder River Division gathered Oct.
15 at the Alliance Mechanical Facility
and in Gillette at the Campbell County
Library for a Town Hall meeting. Carl
Ice, executive vice president and chief
operating officer, spoke at each site.
His resonating message was —
BNSF and the Powder River Division are
well-grounded and strongly positioned
for continued success despite the waver-
ing U.S. economy.
“Due to our growth and positive Ice ended the meeting with a round
returns, we have great staying power,” he of applause to thank employees for
said. “Overall, the infrastructure of the their service and dedication and com-
railroad has improved. We will continue mend them for their on-going contri-
to invest as necessary to drive safety, butions to the successful operation of
productivity and customer service.” BNSF.
Ice also highlighted various keys to
“We continue to focus on critical
activities,” he said. “I am confident we
will see an improvement this year when
compared to last year.”
Carl Ice, executive vice president and chief operating officer, discusses BNSF’s promising future with Powder River
Division employees at two Oct. 15 Town Hall meetings.