March 27, 2015

Member injured, engineer killed in taxi accident

A SMART Transportation Division member was seriously injured and a BLET engineer was killed when a taxi hired by Union Pacific Railroad to transport the men rolled off the side of a freeway near the Interstate 680/Interstate 80 interchange, according to the California Highway Patrol. The accident happened just after 1 a.m. this morning (March [...]

UP request to haul liquefied natural gas criticized

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Union Pacific Railroad has applied for permission to haul liquefied natural gas, which would add another combustible cargo to a U.S. rail network already being criticized for transporting ethanol and crude oil through populated areas. The Omaha-based railroad said the application for a permit from the Federal Railroad Administration is in response to a request [...]

UP again violates Federal Railroad Safety Act

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More than 200 whistleblower complaints against railroad since 2001 NORTH PLATTE, Neb. – For the third time since 2011, the Union Pacific Railroad has violated the Federal Railroad Safety Act at its yard in North Platte by disciplining employees who reported workplace injuries and sought medical attention, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and [...]

Railroads reap record profits despite decline in traffic

The nation’s four major railroads are still carrying less freight than they were before the recession. But the last decade has been an exhilarating ride for them nonetheless — an era of growing profits, soaring stock prices and ambitious investments. For Jacksonville-based CSX Corp., freight volume has dropped 7 percent since 2004. Meanwhile, its shares [...]

Union Pacific promotes Lance Fritz to CEO

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Union Pacific’s board of directors today elected Lance M. Fritz president and chief executive officer, effective immediately. He also was elected to the company’s board of directors. Fritz had been president and chief operating officer since Feb. 6, 2014. Fritz, 52, succeeds John J. (Jack) Koraleski, who was named executive chairman. “Lance has the right [...]

At least 10 killed when prison bus hits train in Texas

PENWELL, Texas – At least 10 people were killed Wednesday when a bus carrying state prisoners skidded off an icy highway overpass in West Texas, slid down an embankment and collided with a passing train, a county sheriff said. The overpass on Interstate 20 was slick with ice Wednesday morning when the Texas Department of [...]

Large settlement upheld in case against UP

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An administrative review board decision to award North Platte resident Brian Petersen more than $300,000 in damages from Union Pacific Railroad was upheld on Nov. 20. The case dates back to August 2009 when Petersen, an apprentice machinist, was checking his work schedule in an employee parking lot late on the night of Aug. 28, [...]

More jobs, locomotives on the way, UP says

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Union Pacific Railroad has boosted hiring plans and aims to add 200 new locomotives next year to improve network congestion, the company said at an investor conference Wednesday in Chicago. “We have been short of train crews,” acknowledged Chief Operating Officer Lance Fritz, speaking at the conference. “We have more than doubled the hiring we [...]

UP boosts inspections in hazardous mountain passes

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Faced with public concern about the risks of crude oil shipments, the Union Pacific railroad last month boosted its rail inspection program on mountain passes in California and the West, dispatching high-tech vehicles with lasers to check tracks for imperfections. UP officials say they have leased two rail inspection vehicles, called geometry cars, doubling the [...]

Railroads sue California over new crude oil rules

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California’s two major railroad companies have filed suit in federal court challenging a state law requiring railroads to come up with an oil spill prevention and response plan. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Sacramento, contends federal laws largely prohibit states from imposing safety rules on railroads such as the ones [...]