July 28, 2014

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 [...]

First quarter 2012 rail profits wrap-up

BNSF reported a 15 percent increase in profit forf the first quarter 2012 versus first quarter 2011, citing improved pricing and higher fuel surcharges. BNSF’s first quarter 2012 operating ratio of 74.4 percent was one percentage point lower than for the first quarter 2011. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage [...]

What part of ‘no’ can’t railroads understand?

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Sadly, there is a part of “no” that railroads just can’t understand. So, once again, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has hit a railroad in the wallet for violating an employee’s rights as protected under the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970, which was supplemented by the Rail Safety Improvement Act [...]

CN, CP, CSX, KCS, NS, UP report 2011 earnings

CANADIAN NATIONAL Canadian National reported a 9 percent increase in profit for calendar-year 2011 versus calendar-year 2010. The CN calendar-year operating ratio of 63.5 percent was a slight improvement over the 63.6 percent operating ratio for calendar-year 2010. Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered [...]

OSHA raps UP again for whistleblower violation

Once again, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has ordered a railroad to reinstate an employee and pay him back wages for violating an employee’s rights as a whistleblower. In the latest OSHA order, Union Pacific was ordered immediately to reinstate an employee in Idaho and pay him back wages, compensatory [...]