April 20, 2014

NTSB: Eye problems likely cause of 2012 train crash

TULSA, Okla. — An engineer killed in a fiery train collision in the Oklahoma Panhandle last year suffered from serious vision problems for much of his life, underwent several corrective procedures in the years leading up to the crash and even complained that he couldn’t distinguish between red and green signals, a doctor told a [...]

Seven hurt when UP, BNSF trains collide

ROCKVIEW, Mo. – Seven people were injured early Saturday, May 25, when two freight trains collided, spurring the collapse of a highway overpass. Dispatcher Clay Slipis of the Scott County Sheriff’s Department said two vehicles were on the Highway M overpass about 2:30 a.m. when a Union Pacific train T-boned a BNSF Railway train. Read the [...]

UP engineer rescues puppy tied to tracks

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MECCA, Calif. — Last week, a 10-month-old poodle-terrier mix was found tied to the railroad tracks. An engineer spotted an old man walking near the railroad tracks and noticed that the man had left something behind. The engineer was able to stop the train in time using his emergency brakes and discovered the pooch still [...]

3d quarter rail profits wrap-up

BNSF reported a 22 percent increase in profit for the third quarter 2012 versus third quarter 2011, citing improved intermodal (trailers and containers on flat cars) and automotive traffic. BNSF’s third quarter 2012 operating ratio of 68.3 percent was a significant improvement over the 71.7 percent for third quarter 2011. Operating ratio is a railroad’s [...]

UTU member dead in Iowa switching accident

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MASON CITY, Iowa – Trainman Georgiy Soloviyov, 35, became the fifth UTU member killed on duty in 2012 following a Union Pacific yard accident here early July 31. Mason City is some 130 miles north of Des Moines, near the Minnesota border. Soloviyov, of Stanhope, Iowa, and a member of UTU Local 867 (Des Moines) had [...]

Second quarter 2012 rail profits wrap-up

BNSF reported a 16 percent increase in profit for the second quarter 2012 versus second quarter 2011. BNSF’s second quarter 2012 operating ratio of 71.1 percent was a more than 3 percentage point improvement over second quarter 2011. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered [...]

Illinois derailment turns tragic

GLENVIEW, Ill. — Two bodies have been found under a collapsed railroad bridge here following the July 4 derailment of a 138-car Union Pacific coal train. The dead were in a a vehicle buried under the bridge wreckage. Authorities said more bodies of motorists could be found. Glenview is a suburb of Chicago. Union Pacific said [...]

UTU member among 3 dead in UP Okla. head-on

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GUYMON, Okla. – Three Union Pacific crewmembers died in a June 24 head-on collision between two freight trains near here that produced a diesel fuel-fed fire so intense that the thick, black smoke could be seen for 10 miles and caused the closing of a nearby small airport and evacuation of a nearby trailer park. The [...]

Neb. UTU member dead; son dies in police shootout

ALLIANCE, Neb. — A 62-year-old BNSF Railway conductor, a member of the UTU for 42 years, was found dead in his house June 12, and his 27-year-old son was later shot to death in a standoff with police that left two police officers and a hostage wounded. Dead are BNSF conductor Larry J. “Speedy” Gonzalez, [...]

Confidential Close Call Reporting proving its worth

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It’s confidential and no-fault. And the result, according to the Federal Railroad Administration, is a significant reduction in rail workplace derailments that too often lead to serious injury and death — plus, as a bonus, better labor/management relationships and improved operational performance. We’re talking about four pilot projects called Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3RS), whose core value [...]