implemented Sept. 3
Coal leaving Wyoming’s Powder
Matt Rose meets with
River Basin now travels a more direct
route to customers in the southern and
eastern United States.
workforce at town hall
“We will grow this
Other changes resulting from the
coal business,” said Matt
Sept. 3 implementation of directional
Rose, BNSF president,
running find a reduced amount of track
chairman and CEO, wel-
for the Powder River Division.
coming an estimated 250
The division ceded 143 miles of
railroaders to a town hall
track from Texline, N.M. to Trinidad,
meeting Sept. 24 at the
to the Kansas Division, according to
Alliance Mechanical ma-
Tim Godsil, general director transpor-
tation. The Pueblo Terminal is no
“Rest assured that
longer a crew change point.
every day, we think about
Southbound trains on the division
how to accomplish this,”
will run from Denver to La Junta, then Ernest Magdaleno, electrician, left, asks Matt Rose
south through Boyd City to Amarillo.
Janssen Thompson, a question about environmental regulation.
Northbound trains will operate from
Powder River Division general man- mance as a company and highlight-
Amarillo through Texline to Trinidad
ager, welcomed railroaders to the ing the railroad’s strategic initiatives.
and onward to Denver.
meeting. In addition to Rose, digni- He praised employees for propelling
This results in a change in pools of
taries present included Carl Ice, chief BNSF to the front of the industry in
TY&E crews operating from Denver to
operations officer; Craig Hill, vice loss and damage as a percentage of
Pueblo. That pool now runs from Den-
president mechanical and value en- freight revenue.
ver to La Junta. Crews transport via
gineering; Gloria Zamora, vice presi- He also informed attendees of a
van to Trinidad where they rest and
dent, human resources and medical; loss to the BNSF family. Todd
catch the northbound train from Trin-
Richard Russack, vice president cor- Mohler, 35, a conductor in Fresno,
idad to Denver.
porate relations; Warren Cross, chief Calif., was fatally injured early that
Benefits from directional running
mechanical officer north and Marka morning while switching cars.
include improved velocity for coal
Hughes, general director labor rela- Mohler is survived by his wife and
trains and one less crew district, Godsil
tions and TY&E compensation. three children.
“Matt, welcome to Alliance,” Coal, the heartbeat of the divi-
Crews will have longer runs, re-
Thompson said. “We welcome you sion, looks bright, Rose said.
quiring them to work fewer trips and
here and are glad you came.” Through the first half of 2003, over-
have more time off at home. A fly-un-
Rose began with a series of all BNSF has been able to raise prices
der bridge was built at Amarillo to ac-
slides, illustrating BNSF’s perfor- Continued on Page 5
commodate directional running.
Powder River Reflection 1
Car inspects track geometry
Geometry car G85 rode rails on Gillette to Guernsey, returning on a sec- els on rail surfaces.
the division in September with the ond main line the next day. The third A geometry car tracks the rail’s
help of BNSF locomotives and main line will be covered in October, ball surface and performs the neces-
crews. John Cech, division engineer, Cech said. sary inspections to maintain good rail
accompanied the car on its travels October travel will take the car and train operation, he said.
through Powder River Division. from Alliance to Casper before the car Upon completion of the geom-
“We found relatively few prob- moves to another area. etry survey of track, a trainmaster and
lems,” he said. “We’re doing all right G85 doesn’t function as a normal roadmaster follow up and study data
with procedures in place, but there’s detector car, Cech said. It works as a to determine where improvements
always room for improvement.” sophisticated track inspection car that will be necessary.
The car traveled throughout the checks track geometry for dips, curva- Maintenance of Way crews will
Division. On Sept. 29, it operated tures, morphs and twists. It uses lasers then make repairs to ensure good
over one of three main lines from to measure track gauge and cross-lev- track and safe operations.
Travel intrigues Cech, division engineer
A practice interview led John Cech I am.” Cech spent about 18 months work-
to the railroad. He joined Santa Fe in June 1994 ing on the LEAN Implementation Team
Cech, a University of Illinois as a management trainee in Kansas prior to being assigned as division en-
graduate with a Bachelor of Science City. Cech, a Chicago area native, was gineer for the Gulf Division. He came
degree in Civil Engineering, planned to sent to Flagstaff, Ariz., upon comple- from that assignment in Houston to
continue his education and earn a Mas- tion of his training to work as an assis- Alliance in July.
ters Degree. tant roadmaster. Living in Alliance takes some get-
“I just signed up for an interview His next assignment was as road- ting used to. Cech, accustomed to large
so I could get some experience in ap- master on the transcontinental line in metropolitan areas like Chicago and
plying for a job,” Cech said. “But pros- Gallup, N. M. Cech went next to Fort Houston, finds the pace of life quite dif-
pects of travel and managing people Worth where he had an 18-month as- ferent.
appealed to me. I thought, if it didn’t signment on a capital planning and es- “Being a bachelor in Alliance is a
work out, I’d go back to school, but here timating team. unique experience,” he said.
Old King Coal still rules Powder River
Coal remains king of the sets were active.
Powder River Division. As of A set is a unit coal train, full
Aug. 31, BNSF remained on or empty, operating somewhere
track to establish new records across the system.
for coal shipping. The Orin Sub serves 11
Thunder Basin Coal Co. mines that operate 24-hours ev-
and other mines served by ery day of the year. Miners work
BNSF estimated 308 million one of two 12-hour shifts, seven
tons of coal to be shipped in Unit coal trains from the division traveled the BNSF sys- days at work and seven days off,
tem in record numbers this year.
2003. This compared to an ac- Stevens said.
tual 304 million tons shipped in 2002, according to Mark Projections for mines along the Campbell Sub totaled
Stevens, Gillette terminal manager. 52 million tons for 2003.
Coal sets increased monthly since January when 260 sets Black Thunder Mine in Campbell County operates four
were active on BNSF system. In February, sets jumped to coal pits that produce enough coal to load 14 unit trains of
280, Stevens said. During May and June, more than 300 120 cars each every 24 hours, according to mine officials.
2 Powder River Reflection
Symbolic freight moved at Castle Rock
“We can move your world,” BNSF’s motto, was put to real and symbolic use
Photo courtesy Ross Donlan, Castle Rock Daily Star
Sept. 24 in Castle Rock, Colo. Two boxes of books were moved from the former
Philip S. Miller Library to a new site about one-half mile down the tracks.
Both libraries, old and new, stand adjacent to railroad tracks in downtown Castle
“The move was symbolic because trains have been part of Castle Rock’s exist-
ence since its beginning,” Johanna Harden, archivist for Douglas County Libraries,
said. “Including the railroad in the move seemed quite natural.”
Steven Neubauer, BNSF manager field safety and support, coordinated the book
moving with an “Officer on the Train” event.
Will Harris, community policing officer for Castle Rock Police Department, joined
Douglas County Sheriff’s Department deputies participating in the event, Neubauer
Lena Kent, BNSF regional director of public affairs, said officers on the train
communicated with officers on the ground when they observed drivers disobeying Rand Fletcher, locomotive engineer,
traffic laws at railroad crossings. “It’s up to law enforcement to decide whether of- watches the transfer of books. Other
fenders will be given warnings or tickets,” Kent said. participants include, from left, Steve
Patterson, field safety coordinator;
When the train stopped at the old library, Castle Rock Library Board members Steven Neubauer; Johanna Harden,
and other city officials and guests boarded for the ride to the new library. library archivist; and Greg Mickells,
A grand opening for the new library was held Sept. 27. manager of Philip S. Miller Library.
Use caution when walking on snow and ice
Slips, trips and falls result in some ity and reduce the stiffness that can to perform job tasks safely.
of the most common types of injuries. come with cold weather. 4. Make sure that walking surfaces
The risk of these incidents increase in • Always stay aware and alert. If pos- are cleared of ice or snow, as much
icy and snowy conditions, so extra cau- sible, avoid doing other tasks while as possible. Exercise extreme cau-
tion should be taken in cold weather. walking. For instance, read the tion and check to ensure walkways
During cold weather, pay special switch list before you start walk- and walking surfaces are safe be-
attention to the following: ing toward the train. When the na- fore attempting to cross them.
1. Ensure that non-slip footwear is ture of the work requires you to 5. Also make sure that walkways are
available. inspect equipment or do other ac- cleared of obstacles and debris,
2. Review the uses and drawbacks of tivities while walking, make sure which can pose additional hazards
different types of footwear for icy you frequently scan your path for under ice and snow.
and snowy conditions (e.g., anti- obstructions or hazards. 6. Review correct methods for getting
slip overshoes, shoe chains, Ice • Always look forward. Never walk on/off equipment. There is poten-
Creepers and Stabilicers). backwards on ballast or near any tial for injury at any time, but the
3. During job safety briefings, review railroad equipment. risk increases during bad weather.
the potential for slips, trips and • Establish sure footing with each Three-point contact is extremely
falls, along with the importance of step. When moving through an important. It is also important to
correct methods for walking in area, choose the path that is most inspect foot- and hand-holds for icy
snowy and icy conditions, includ- level and stable. or slick conditions.
ing: • Be especially careful while walk- 7. Recognize that snowy conditions,
• Use small steps. ing on ballast in wet conditions, at combined with heavy winter ap-
• Use handrails when available, such night, on a sloping surface, and on parel, can limit your ability to see
as on stairs, ladders and locomo- coarse, main line ballast. and hear. Take extra precautions to
tive walkways. be aware of the work environment
• Walking-related injuries often oc-
• Use smooth motions. and to avoid slip, trip and fall haz-
cur when people are rushing or tak-
• Stretch often to improve flexibil- ards.
ing shortcuts. Take sufficient time – From BNSF Today
Powder River Reflection 3
Two Matts make perfect team at Guernsey
When coworkers at Guernsey car shop call for as-
sistance from Matt, two men answer. Matt Christensen
and Matt Krick, carmen, work together daily.
“We like working together,” Christensen said.
“We’ve been together long enough to know each oth-
ers work habits and look out for each other to stay
safe,” Krick said.
His wife was a scholarship athlete in college, so
Christensen hopes his three daughters will take after
their mother. “I hope they each become good enough
athletes to earn college scholarships so I won’t have
to pay their costs,” he joked.
Christensen’s girls range from 10 years to 18
months in age. His oldest daughter, Cori, stands 5
feet 5 inches tall, tipping the scales at 120 pounds. Matt Krick, left, and Matt Christensen work together at Guern-
She is already active in playing softball, Christensen sey. Each carman is married and father of three daughters.
In August, Cori participated in the Miss Pre-Teen Wyo- “My dad was a retired Union Pacific conductor,” Krick
ming Pageant in Casper. said. “I joined BNSF because they were hiring and UP
A native of Iowa, Christensen worked for the United wasn’t and I needed a job to support my family.”
States Park Service as a mechanic before joining the rail- After graduating from technical college with a degree
road in Guernsey in March 1993. in pipe welding, he spent two years active duty serving the
Krick joined Burlington Northern Santa Fe as a car- U.S. Army and six years in the Nebraska National Guard.
man in Guernsey in March 1997. Krick is married and has three daughters.
Sandness recognized for heroic effort
Despite his best efforts, Reed Reaching in, Sandness held the
Sandness was unable to save the life of woman’s head above water until an
a 17-year-old female firefighter this ambulance and rescue crew arrived.
summer. “I wasn’t sure if she was alive or
Sandness, track inspector, re- not,” Sandness said. “But she would
sponded to a right of way fire along old have drowned if I hadn’t been there.”
Highway 85 south of Newcastle. En The young woman was declared
route, he observed a tanker truck be- dead at the Newcastle hospital. An au-
longing to the Newcastle Volunteer Fire topsy determined that she had died from
Department had left the road and come a broken neck.
to rest upside down in the ditch. Punc- In spite of the tragic ending,
tures in the water tank allowed water Sandness was recognized for his res-
to flow into the truck’s cab. cue efforts. Bill Bergmeier, Newcastle
Sandness dialed 911 to report the roadmaster, presented him with a Pow-
accident. der River Division safety jacket.
Sandness saw that a female Sandness joined Burlington North-
firefighter was trapped in the cab and ern in 1977 at Alliance. He has always
appeared unable to move. Another worked in Powder River Division, as- Photo courtesy Scarlet Warren
Reed Sandness, track inspector at
firefighter and passenger the cab, al- signed to Newcastle about 12 years ago.
Newcastle, Wyo., received a Powder
though injured, was able to keep his He has worked more than 10 years in- River Division jacket as safety employee
head away from the water. jury-free. of the month.
4 Powder River Reflection
Rose: We will grow this coal business
Continued from Page 1
big majority of work force found something
by an average of 1.2 percent. Coal is in common with these contracts. We need to
up 0.7 percent, which Rose said was “a look at the remaining 35 percent and find the
very big deal for us.” disconnect. We are working with every union
Rose talked about a new market- to bring that to a close. It is hard to imagine,
but we have less than two years left on this
ing concept introduced late last year. contract, and it is not in your interest to not
The railroad hired an emerging growth have a contract. We know that. I also know
sales force, currently 17 people scat- that with inflation in this business, if we just
tered around the country, whose income turn our back and say OK, whatever, then next
year it will be a tougher talk. We need a bal-
is based on commission. To date, the anced approach.
effort has generated $100 million in an- Q. I am a locomotive engineer and BLE mem-
nualized new revenues. ber, and part of the 35 percent without a con-
Rose said our future growth lies in tract. Do you have any late braking news?
A. Rose: No. In terms of the two operating
expanding the markets for Powder
crafts, the UTU wage piece is done; health
River Basin coal and intermodal, while and welfare is close. We are confident it looks
continuing to support agricultural and good, similar to other industries and crafts.
We think we have a pattern. When we have Matt Rose answers a question on indus-
industrial products shippers as effi-
65 percent agreeing, it is hard to significantly try regulation.
ciently as possible.
change the remaining 35 percent.
Rose then opened the floor for BNSF financial health population has grown. Employment seems
questions. Q. Interest rates have gone down. Our money to have decreased in this town, there are lay-
Sales/growth we borrowed to help run the company is offs and downsizing.
Q. You mentioned the new emerging growth cheaper. Does our growth correlate to inter- A. Rose: I would take that bet with you. My
sales force. You said they changed from sala- est rates? belief is that there has been tremendous eco-
ried to commission. Is that correct? A. Rose: Our cost to borrow money has gone nomic growth for this area of the country.
A. Rose: We still have a large salaried sales down. There has been a similar trend in in- That’s what my gut tells me. Look at the
force. We are adding sales people who work terest rates you see and the ones we see. But number of tons we haul today compared with
on commission. in the long term, you won’t buy a house for a 10 years ago; it is a significant increase.
Q. How successful has the new sales force been 5 percent mortgage. Our normal cost for bor- Q. Last year, we eliminated the Santa train we
so far? rowing is 8.5 to 9 percent. Right now, our had here, probably because of cost issues.
A. Rose: The sales people have brought in $100 return on investment is at 6.8 percent. We Union Pacific is running a big steam engine
million in annualized sales so far. Some day know that won’t cut it, we need to get that across Nebraska now. It may not create con-
we may move the conventional salaried sales return up. tracts, but these things look good to the com-
force to this structure. Q. As a citizen of Alliance, what do we have to munity.
Q. Do you think in our work force we may see look forward to as far as shrinking employ- A. Rose: I don’t think there is a utility that will
similar goals? If we have something to strive ment for the railroad? More outsourcing? As give UP freight because of the steam loco-
for, we have more of an incentive towards president of the labor council, I talk to crafts motive. We have our employee special ev-
the final outcome. all around town. It sounds like there has been ery year. We rotate it through various regions
A. Rose: It is something we have considered in some outsourcing to jobs where income has of the railroad. The train spends 16 days trav-
the collective bargaining process. We would gone down. What is the future for Alliance? eling the rails. This year, 8,000 employees
like to have a profit sharing process for you. A. Rose: If we looked at the employment of and family members rode the train. That has
We have an arrangement with dispatchers and Alliance impacted by the railroad, my gut been our way of giving back to our families
locomotive engineers on the Santa Fe side. tells me that employment is up over the last and the community. There is no doubt we
In the long term, I believe we need to create 10 years, and that Alliance as a community could spend more money to enhance our im-
the right labor environment so that every- has benefited tremendously. I can’t think of age, but it is a balance. Are we better off
one—all members of Team BNSF—see their another town where the railroad is as big of a buying the next locomotive or running a
efforts yield rewards. deal for employment. I think the future looks Santa train?
Contract issues bright, with one exception: If an environmen- Q. I think this is the ultimate question: How do
Q. We have crafts, such as locomotive engineers tal bill is passed, Kyoto or the Lieberman bill, workers buy in to improving the company?
and machinists, that are without contracts employment would be cut by half or more, Of course we want this company to succeed.
because we can’t resolve some of these is- because coal would be seriously hurt or even How do we as railroaders and, overall in
sues. Now you say it may make a difference eliminated. I think the country needs coal America, buy into success when we watch
with these goals, yet we are still without a badly, and that it is the real future as an en- CEOs with ridiculously huge payment pack-
contract. Why? ergy source for the country. Alliance is home ages, big buyouts, secret deals, and we can’t
A. Rose: We are ready to sign a contract today. base for that. The Georgia Power contract, even afford health care. Now, we are told
We have not been able to get an agreement which begins next January, results in a shift we need to contribute more for our health
with these crafts. We have contracts with 65 from Appalachian coal to Powder River Ba- care, even though we have paid a lot for it
percent of the labor-representative work sin coal. Without a doubt, there will be more already. That has helped you keep our wages
force, which is five major unions. The rail activity here because of that contract. down. We are told we need to sacrifice.
carriers have been willing to sign deals. A Q. I don’t know that in the last 10 years, the Continued on Page 6
Powder River Reflection 5
Railroaders gather at Allian
Continued from page 5 because of DM&E, but we have signed long- modity we haul. We never want to limit coal’s
A. Rose: First off, I will be honest, I do maketerm contracts with customers in that area. growth. We would like to see the rates in-
a lot of money. Let me be clear, that as a Last year, I signed a 15 year deal with Min- crease. Lower rates causes revenue to drop,
CEO, I don’t make a lot, comparatively nesota Power Company. I feel we are very it does not reduce loads. We are up 100 coal
with others. Is the glass half empty or halfattentive to this issue. Personally, I don’t sets between 1990 and 2002.
full? In the 1980s, you saw our industry think the DM&E will build their line. At cur- Q. I know we lost the Omaha Power contract. I
headed for bankruptcy. We lost more rail- rent prices, it will cost them $2.1 billion. I understand that when it comes to a set-to-set
roaders in the 80s than any decade in his- said the last time I was here that they would comparison, we will be going down.
tory because of job cuts, short lining and likely get the authority, which has happened. A. Rose: On a set-to-set basis, we will be going
more. We can either sit here and not care I don’t think they will receive the investment up. Again, we get into this issue of UP win-
and let it go down, or, we can say, there to build a third route into the Powder River ning the Omaha Public Power District con-
are 36,000 people at BNSF who have a Basin. I’ve been wrong before, I may be here, tract, but, BNSF won the much larger Geor-
job to do. We rely on them, and at end of but even if I am, if they build it, I’m not sure gia Power contract. This give-and-take hap-
the day, the industry provides a pretty goodwhat they will haul, because we have long pens. You need to remove yourself from the
income for its employees. If you don’t be- term contracts with customers across their tar- war. If you step back and look at market
lieve it, go elsewhere. Look at the statis- get area. But America is a great place, and share, it has not shifted. We took some busi-
tics. You know how your wage competes as we all know, anyone with money can build ness from UP during their meltdown for a
with the rest of the country, you are in a it. few years, but now we are about equal. We
higher tier. That is a fact. In the long term,
Q. How do you project coal over the next five will start a triple-k track project next year at
we need a different approach to labor re- years? the south end of the Orin line, and I’m not
lations, where we have more sharing agree-
A. Rose: Coal should grow at least 2 percent a doing it because we are losing sets.
ments, so you have more of a stake in the year. If more power plants convert to Pow- Q. When we lost the Omaha contract, that was
company. Efficiency helps, too. I know der River coal, it could reach 4 percent. If a loss of $14 million for a short-haul con-
you could figure out a way to save 10 per- natural gas prices remain high, we could see tract. I find that figure hard to believe.
cent here. I would stake my salary on it. 5 percent. Eastern coal receives subsidies. A. Rose: We lost $14 million over five years,
We don’t have agreements to do it that way. If those go away, growth could be as high as about 20 cents a ton. We will hold our coal
But I think that is what we need. 7 percent. With Georgia Power coming on market share. I hate to see them switch, but
Competition/growth next year, our growth will be as high as 7 OPPD was worth only 3 million tons, while
Q. I understand that the Dakota, Minnesota percent. That contract will give us 14 mil- Georgia Power is 9 million ton loss for UP.
& Eastern Railroad received funding for lion tons of growth and 22 additional coal We are winning this war. If the war contin-
their proposed coal route into the Powder sets starting Jan 1. I hope you are all ready! ues without raising prices, we will both be
River Basin. Is that true? Q. You project growth in intermodal and coal. hurting.
A. Rose: They have not received funding. There is a perception here that we have de- Rules/training
They received the go-ahead from the Sur- emphasized coal growth since the merger. Q. You showed a slide of a derailment caused
face Transportation Board to pursue the There is double track that did not happen, for by a crew going through a red board. I have
project. We have been watching this instance. Are we trying to limit exposure to a few thoughts on that as a locomotive engi-
closely. Think about where the line would this potential legislation? neer. A few years ago, we were world class
go, if it happens, and the market area— A. Rose: Look at the numbers. We don’t want in training, utilizing BNSF Technical Train-
eastern Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and anything to shrink. As the United States ing Center in Overland Park, Kan. Now it’s
Illinois. That will be their sweet spot. We manufacturing environment changes, things all gone, we don’t go there anymore. To run
have paid a lot of attention to our custom- get tough. If we go back to 1990, manufac- a remote control locomotive takes little train-
ers in that area. I’m not saying we did thatturing was 20 percent of the jobs in this coun- ing and you can run it from the ground. Train-
try. Now it is 12 percent. You read in ing is a problem, and we got away from it.
the newspaper about manufacturing Secondly, the TY&E rulebook is huge. Two
companies moving to their plants in years ago, you talked about rules, and admit-
Mexico or Asia. Due to regulatory and ted it was getting larger and more confusing.
legal issues here, manufacturing jobs go My rule book weighs 35 pounds! I carry one
to China as fast as they can. The wage grip just for the rules and the changes. I don’t
rate is a lot cheaper than here. I think know that anyone here can honestly say they
it’s bad for our country. It is like the read all of them. I think that is a problem.
early 1990s with the North American A. Rose: We believe we are doing more effec-
Free Trade Agreement. Then it was tive training with locomotive simulators. We
termed the giant sucking sound of jobs can automatically download the tapes from
moving to Mexico, now they move to units, which allows road foremen of engines
China and India. What we used to pro- a lot of flexibility. We still lead this industry
duce here comes to us in a container from in training. We use technology to benefit
overseas, but BNSF is still in the game, training. Instead of making everyone come
Jennifer Deibler, road foreman of engines, left, but differently. As far as coal, I do know to Kansas City, we deliver it to the field. With
visits with Gloria Zamora, vice president human the numbers and understand the profit- rules, I was more involved in that two years
resources. ability. Coal is the most profitable com- ago. If it has gotten worse, shame on us. My
6 Powder River Reflection
nce for Matt Rose Town Hall
road and turned it over to short we are almost not regulated.
lines, because we can’t financially A. Rose: Not true. We have maximum rates
support it. we can charge, the trucking industry does
Q. Has corporate America not. There is no reason for that. Between
abandoned the country? Dick railroads and Congress, they look at us as
Davidson, chairman and CEO of a utility, like telephones or electricity.
Union Pacific, received a 50 per- They want competition and they don’t
cent increase in his compensation want us to make enough money to return
package. When is enough it to investors. We have tremendous rate
enough? regulation. The safety regulation in this
A. Rose: No doubt about industry is outrageous. With the Federal
it, some CEOs receive large pay- Railroad Administration, there is a puni-
checks. It is out of control in tive mind set. It is improving, but slowly.
some regards. I don’t think com- There is no reason to have a punitive en-
panies abandon workers. It looks vironment from a regulatory body. We be-
like that, but the regulatory envi- lieve in safety, we believe we are doing it
ronment causes that. Look at for the right reason. We receive an eco-
tarriffs as an example. Foreign nomic benefit from safety. Our safety fo-
George Eberle, carman, right, visits with Rose. countries can dump their products cus is the same whether the FRA is there
here. That's unfair and we lose or not. They should be performance-ori-
belief is that this crew in my slide, antici- jobs. Companies look for cheaper ways to ented, not regulatory, in my opinion.
pated a signal. They knew what they were do business, and they ship work to Asia. We Q. In the 22 years since deregulation, it’s got-
doing and made a mistake. They violated a had this huge stock run-up in the 1990s. ten worse?
basic premise of railroading. If you take People thought it was reality. It was not. A. Rose: Before that, we had complete rate
shortcuts, bad things happen. To say it hap- Q. I think the middle class in this country is go- regulation. Since then, Congress did not
pened because the rulebook was too thick is ing away, and the American way of life with fully deregulate railroads, it was partial.
nonsense. When we interviewed the crew, it. We can contribute to people being greedy Either take us to full regulation, because
they didn’t mention the rulebook. Some rules and not wanting to share, not looking at who then, you are guaranteed to maintain a
may need interpretation, but not CTC. They makes the profit. I think it is a ruse on the profit, just like utilities. Or get rid of regu-
were trying to anticipate something and got public to make bigger profits at the expense lation. Don’t make us have common car-
caught. of the workers. rier authority, don’t make us service an in-
America’s economy and BNSF A. Rose: I won’t disagree on some of your dustry 400 miles away with one car a day.
Q. I found it interesting that you talked about points. We need to remember why we were Today, we still have a common carrier re-
intermodal growth and jobs disappearing great in the industrial revolution and the 20th sponsibility to maintain that investment.
overseas. What will happen to our country century. Entrepreneurs building businesses. Q. So, idealistically, we should lobby Con-
if we drive out high-paying jobs? There will We lost some of that. In Hong Kong, you gress to deregulate the railroad.
not be anyone here to buy the product. How can start a business in two days, trading goods A. Rose: Exactly, and we do that all the time.
will that affect us? back and forth, and you don’t have the gov- Rose closed the meeting with a
A. Rose: I agree. What is happening is that our ernment with this whole series of regulations
round of applause, thanking employ-
country has said, ‘Don’t worry, these jobs can preventing you from doing business. The
go to Mexico, our economy will be services, middle class feels it. When you have states ees for the work they do everyday to
technology, telecom, and software.’ That will with high unemployment, people suffer. help BNSF be successful. “I appre-
be the new economy. Now, industrial and Q. Did we send work elsewhere? ciate the tone of your comments,” he
service jobs move to India and Vietnam. If A. Rose: We sent some of our information tech- said. “I look forward to coming back
you buy a new computer and call technical nology work to India. We could not get the
support, you will likely talk to someone in number of workers we needed during the In- here in two years.”
The Alliance town hall story is not a complete transcript,
India. I am with you! What is happening ternet boom and the Y2K problem. Costs nor is it verbatim.
with the disappearance of manufacturing here went from $35 an hour to
is a crisis, and the same is becoming true with $130 an hour in two years.
services. We were in Seattle earlier today We needed to maintain our
and they have 8.5 percent unemployment, and investments, and our IT
it is 7.5 percent in Oregon. The country costs soared. We were able
saddles the American work force with things to do some business with a
that do not exist elsewhere. There are not company in India at a better
many lawyers in China that sue people and rate. I don’t feel good about
very few regulation issues. We fight these it, but it is what it is.
battles. I think it is a wake up call. We will Industry regulation
haul coal, agriculture products, containers, Q. You speak of a regulatory
chemicals and more. The railroad is chang- environment. I think today,
ing. We have taken certain parts of our rail- compared with the 1970s, Attendees close with a round of applause.
Powder River Reflection 7
DeBusk enjoys the bells in her life
Merrily DeBusk fills her time Omaha as a conductor on the Chicago Their 15-
directing bells by night or day. Burlington & Quincy Railroad. He year-old daughter
By night, she directs locomotive transferred to Alliance where he met her and 13-year-old
bells as third shift yardmaster for Al- mother who worked at the CB&Q son both play on
liance South Yard. During the day, Credit Union. All-Star baseball
she directs the hand bell choir at the Upon graduation from high school, teams. She
United Methodist Church in Alliance. DeBusk attended the University of Ne- spends her sum-
DeBusk joined Burlington braska-Lincoln. She returned to her mers traveling to
Northern in April 1977, working as a hometown and joined the railroad. tournaments
clerk in Alliance before becoming a DeBusk and her husband, Jim, a throughout the Merrily DeBusk
yardmaster. Following a nine month former machinist at Alliance, have four Great Plains states.
tour as Guernsey yardmaster, she re- children and three grandchildren. Their Hobbies in addition to hand bells
turned to Alliance. 27-year-old son lives in Florida and include playing the piano and grow-
She represents the second gen- works as a carpenter. Their 22-year- ing flowers in her garden. She en-
eration of her family to work on the old son attends college in Denver where joys collecting Hallmark ornaments
railroad. Her father worked in he majors in graphic arts. and Fenton art glass.
McGuire: Railroad an
Mattox shoots to relax
Jack Mattox focuses on the target at work and at interesting place to work
play. After 30 years on the railroad, Michael McGuire still
As yardmaster for Alliance South Yard, he targets looks forward to work each day.
traffic in and out of the yard. Away from work, Mattox “The railroad is still an interesting place to work,” he
shoots clay targets as a competitor in Sporting Clays said. “It changes over the years, but that
shooting. just keeps you on your toes to stay cur-
He joined the railroad as a trainman in Alliance in rent.”
June 1979. In 1984 he was promoted McGuire began and continues his ca-
to yardmaster. reer in Alliance. He joined the railroad
“The South Yard is hectic,” in July 1973. He began as a carman,
Mattox said. “It keeps you on your transferred to a clerk assignment, and be-
toes. There’s 22 tracks with trains in came a yardmaster in 1978. He oversees
and out continually.” activity in Alliance North Yard.
Although it seems at times as if His grandfather was a conductor on Michael McGuire
he will never get caught up, Mattox the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Rail-
likes the pace. Maintaining a con- road and his father was a conductor as well, starting on the
stant lookout over the yard helps the Jack Mattox Burlington Northern in Alliance.
time pass more quickly, he said. Married, he has one son, one daughter, and one grand-
Competition shooting has occupied his free time, es- son. Hobbies away from work include snow skiing, fishing
pecially weekends, for many years. He competes with and golf. He enjoys buying old automobiles that he restores
pistols, rifles and shotguns in small bore and high power and sells.
events. In August, Mattox competed in the Nebraska
State Sporting Clays competition. This is your newsletter. If there's a story you'd like to see in the
“I’m out just about every weekend at some shooting Powder River Reflection, call us. For coverage, contact Don
event,” he said. “It’s really relaxing. I like it a lot.” Rabbe at the newsletter office at (BNSF) 458-7342; (bell) 402-
His wife, Vickie, works for BNSF at Alliance as a 475-6397; fax 402-475-6398; mail information to 339 South 9th
Street, Lincoln, NE 68508 or e-mail email@example.com. In
clerk. The couple have four children and one grand- addition to on-the-job items of interest, tell us about human
child. They collect antique radios. interest stories as well. This newsletter is also available in full
color on the Internet at www.newslinkinc.com
8 Powder River Reflection
LeChot retires to Florida
Ed LeChot has traded
the sand and hills of Chey-
enne for the sand and
beaches of Florida. The
retired locomotive engi-
neer now makes his home
at Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Living near the Atlan-
tic Ocean fits his retire-
ment plans for boating. “I
hope to enjoy my life do-
ing things I wasn’t able to
do during my career,”
He began his railroad
Photo courtesy Scott Mobley
employment on the Ak-
Vogel an Ace Employee ron, Canton & Young-
stown Railroad Jan. 18,
Darrel Vogel, switchman at Alliance, has been honored with 1966. Hired as a fireman,
a Commendation Award and an Ace Employee cap. “Darrel
has an excellent attitude and always puts forth extra effort,” he became a locomotive
Ken Girodo, assistant terminal superintendent, said. “He engineer in 1969.
doesn’t bring problems to his supervisors, but rather solutions The AC&Y had 169 Ed LeChot, locomotive engineer
to problems.” Vogel, left, receives congratulations from miles of track. Originating assigned to Cheyenne, was hon-
Girodo. ored by friends and co-workers
from Akron and function- during his retirement party in Feb-
ing as a short line inter- ruary.
change railroad, it was
one of the most profitable railroads in the nation, LeChot
said. He remained until a series of mergers ended the AC&Y
as it became part of Norfolk & Western Railroad.
Hearing of job opportunities in Wyoming, LeChot ap-
plied and was hired by Colorado & Southern Railroad in
April 1977 and assigned to Cheyenne. He continued work-
ing until retirement on Feb. 5, 2003.
“I really enjoyed my career,” LeChot said. “The rail-
road was a good life.”
While in Wyoming, LeChot became involved with leg-
islative activities for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engi-
neers. He served 18 years as vice chairman of BLE legisla-
LeChot won the Presidential Award in 1992 for service
to the BLE in legislative activities and safety promotion. He
served as chairman of the BLE safety committee where he
Photo courtesy Scott Mobley
created a program known as EASE (Emergency Access Safe
Grant receives award Aspects of this program remain in use today, LeChot
said. During implementation of EASE, rural and urban fire
Brian Grant, yardmaster at Alliance, received a Meritorious
Service Award and a Powder River Division safety jacket in departments, 911 centers, and other emergency response
recognition of his outstanding safety record. Grant works the operations received training in procedures such as mounting
midnight shift in the Alliance South Yard. He was recognized
for excellence in management of switch crews, hostlers, util-
and dismounting emergency equipment, use of helicopters
ity employees, inbound and outbound trains working the South in rescue operations, and proper means of evacuating sick
Yard. Grant, right, receives congratulations from Lance Wolf, and injured from locomotive cabs.
trainmaster. Married, LeChot has a stepson living in Texas.
Powder River Reflection 9
Hillyer retires, Callahan joins
Alliance Mechanical team
Farewell and welcome echoed Callahan joined the railroad in West
through Alliance mechanical shop this Burlington, Iowa, in 1990. He became
summer. Long Alliance tower
time general fore- foreman in 1995
man, Ben Hillyer, and transferred to
ended his railroad the locomotive
Photo courtesy Kathy Straight
career, and Andy shop in 1998.
Callahan was as- In 1999,
Lloyd retires signed as his re-
Callahan joined the
BNSF Lean Team,
R. V. “Dick” Lloyd, conductor, retired on
Hillyer plans to traveling across the
Aug. 30. Lloyd joined the railroad in July
1976 at Alliance. During his career he Ben Hillyer spend as much time system to analyze Andy Callahan
traveled throughout the division from his as possible enjoy- and recommend
Alliance base. He also served as a lo- ing the outdoors with his wife. Each improvements to work practices. He
cal chairman for Alliance UTU. Prior to of them likes to fish and hunt year was named manager mechanical on the
working for BNSF, Lloyd was employed
in law enforcement and by Union Pa-
around. They may make their retire- Lean Team in 2002, and general fore-
cific Railroad. His many friends wish him ment home in Springfield, Mo. man in Alliance in August.
a long and happy retirement. He joined the Spokane, Portland & Raised in a railroad family,
Seattle Railroad in 1964 as a laborer, Callahan returns to familiar territory.
achieving journeyman carman status in His father recently retired from Alliance
Esquivel enjoys Guernsey 1969 at Vancouver, Wash. By 1976, following decades of service.
Guernsey has a different atmo- Hillyer was a first line supervisor at Callahan and his family are excited
sphere than Galesburg, Ill., but Luz Laurel, Mont. He was named general to be “home.” His wife, Pam, works in
Esquivel likes Guernsey just fine. foreman in Mandan, N.D., in 1981. administration at Chadron State Col-
“This is a nice, friendly community After working as a manager of lege and is a troop leader for Girl
and a safe place to raise a family,” he quality assurance in Denver, Hillyer Scouts. They have two children,
said. “And my co- was transferred to Havre, Mont., where Jeremiah, 14, who enjoys wrestling and
workers are a great he worked until 1994 when he arrived football; and Taylor, 11, a swimmer and
bunch of guys. I like in Alliance as general foreman. dancer.
foreman, came to
Guernsey in Decem-
ber from Galesburg
Air checks performed by Albers
Working outside in the fresh air 1989. Prior to the railroad, Albers
where had worked as
isn’t unusual for Roger Albers, operated a farm in Kansas.
a relief foreman. He Luz Esquivel
Guernsey carman. His responsibili- “I like my
joined the railroad in Galesburg in
ties include testing and servicing air job,” he said.
1997. Prior to joining, Esquivel spent
brakes on cars brought for repairs. “I’ve got good
1988 to 1994 serving in the U.S. Army
“I’ve worked about every place friends and co-
and Army Reserve. He received his
a carman can be during his railroad workers, and
B.A. Degree from Western Illinois Uni-
career,” Albers said. “I’ve worked Guernsey is a
versity where he majored in sociology.
on a rip track, in a train yard, good place to
He worked for Knox County Council
trackside and in a shop building.” work.”
for Developmental Disabilities as a job
Albers’ father was a track inspec- Albers is
coach in Illinois.
tor on the Chicago, Rock Island and Roger Albers married and has
Married with two daughters,
Pacific Railroad. Albers started his one son. In his
Esquivel enjoys family activities, bi-
career in 1982 on the Rock Island. time away from work, he enjoys play-
cycle riding and exercise workouts
He came to work in Guernsey in ing golf and fishing.
when away from work.
10 Powder River Reflection
Gangs complete projects before winter
As the time of cold weather, ice, with surfacing gangs
and snow draws closer, track gangs SC-50 and SC-51 in
on Powder River North near comple- completing work.
tion of major construction projects. One surfacing gang
“Most gangs will be winding down followed immedi-
by Oct. 10,” John Cech, division en- ately after the under-
gineer, said. cutting, while the
Completion of a $1.8 million second waited and
project on the Orin Sub will meet that provided a final sur- Undercutting work on the Orin Sub was performed by UC-
deadline, he said. Orin Sub activi- facing check the 01 gang. The work was part of a $1.8 million project on
the Orin Line.
ties include undercutting, removal next day.
and replacement of switches, elimi- A major project on the Butte Sub Sub will replace 10,000 ties. Their
nation of rail joints, rail resurfacing, will stabilize subgrade in two areas. work started Sept. 29, Cech said.
and related track work. Undercutting a 12-mile section will be “Before the ground freezes,
UC-01, the undercutting gang completed as well. gangs will replace switch ties
assigned to Orin Sub project, joined Tie gang workers on Black Hills throughout Alliance Yard,” he said.
Denver wrecking crew depends on
a team that includes
c a r m a n ,
Kirkpatrick can be
called at any time to
or repair cars on
Sam Kirkpatrick Most of his
work is performed
in the Denver Yard on Globeville Road, Photo courtesy Pam Eck
but the wrecking crew’s territory ex-
tends from Denver north to Sterling and
South toward Pueblo.
Jones a safe employee
Anthony Jones, Maintenance of Way machine operator at Alliance, was chosen
Kirkpatrick began his career at the
as Safety Employee of the Month for July. Jones, right, receives congratulations
Alliance car shop in 1975. He began from Mike Shannon, MOW section foreman. “Tony has a superb work record,” Sh-
as a carman, having prior experience annon said. Celebrating an injury-free career, safety is on his mind at all times,
as a automobile mechanic, grain eleva- Jones said. Jones received a Powder River Division jacket for his safe work habits.
tor operator and plumber.
Married, he has two daughters and
This publication appears under the direction of the general manager, Powder
six grandchildren. He and his wife en- River Division, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, with headquarters at 3700
joy family time, traveling, sightseeing, Globeville Road, Denver, CO, 80216. For coverage of events, call Don Rabbe at
and mountain hiking. He also repairs BNSF 458-7342 or (402) 475-6397, mail information to 339 S. 9th St., Lincoln, NE
automobiles in a garage at his home. 68508, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Powder River Reflection 11
Photography, running among Hawley’s passions
An artist’s eye peers through the railroad. The Cyza family is
lens of a 35 MM camera as Ken Hawley well known on Powder River
prepares to click the shutter. “I work Division, he said.
to get the right shot, the one that most Parents of Heather and Ja-
accurately reflects what the eye sees,” son, the Hawleys have five
he said. grandchildren.
Hawley specializes in sunrises and Besides photography,
sunsets but any subject is fair game for Hawley indulges his passion for
the 57-year-old conductor assigned running. He has completed one
from Alliance. Although digital cam- marathon but most of his com-
eras provide instant feedback, he pre- petitive running is in 10K races
fers working with film and developing such as the Alliance Heritage
negatives. Days Run. He runs at least three
He joined Burlington Northern at miles at a time, three or four
Alliance in June 1978 as a brakeman. times a week.
His career has been spent in Powder Hawley enjoys life as a can-
River Division. Prior to the railroad, cer survivor. Approximately
Hawley, an Alliance native, served two five years ago he underwent a
years in the U.S. Navy and worked as a throat dissection and resection,
dairy employee and a bricklayer. during which surgeons removed
Married more than 33 years, 37 lymph nodes, five of which
Hawley’s wife, Joan, brought him into were cancerous. He credits run-
a large railroad family. When he hired ning with helping make him
on the BN, he had five brothers-in-law stronger and able to overcome
and a father-in-law who worked the his medical problems. Ken Hawley
Grade crossing closures remain on track
Grade crossing closures across the closures in 2003 remains in reach, he counts for approximately 70 percent of
division mirror the said. goal. Proposed closures for 2003 stand
system closure rate, Emphasis was placed on crossings at 420.
Steven Neubauer, between Denver and La Junta, When the closure program reaches
manager field Neubauer said. The route forms part its goal, more than 2,000 at-grade cross-
safety and support, of the new directional running plan for ings will have been closed nationwide
and part of the coal traffic. Neubauer hopes to create since 2000. Averaging more than 500
grade crossing a run through corridor without cross- crossing closures each year, this pro-
safety team, said. ings to enhance train safety and traffic gram has no parallel in the railroad in-
Through Sep- flow. He said two more crossings on dustry.
tember, 11 cross- this route should be closed by Thanks- Other members of the team include
ings have been giving. Steve Patterson, field safety coordina-
closed in the division, about 70 percent On the BNSF system, 300 cross- tor, Denver; and Roy Harper, grade
of projected closings. The goal of 16 ings were closed by Sept. 30. This ac- crossing safety manager.
This publication appears under the direction of the
general manager, Powder River Division, Burlington
Northern Santa Fe Railway, with headquarters at 3700
Globeville Road, Denver, CO, 80216. For coverage of
events, call Don Rabbe at BNSF 458-7342 or (402) 475-
6397, mail information to 339 S. 9th St., Lincoln, NE 68508,
or e-mail email@example.com.
12 Powder River Reflection