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December 2003

CSX Announces "Major Streamlining" of its Management Structure

CSX has announced a major streamlining of its management structure at a number of its companies. Included will be the elimination of some organizational layers and realigning of certain functions. "Our goal is to create smaller, more responsive and streamlined organizations focused on driving operating income up and better realizing our full potential. This effort will allow us to deliver stronger results more quickly," said Michael J. Ward, CSX's chairman, president and chief executive officer. The streamlining will also reduce the non-union workforce by 800 to 1,000 people. The reductions will be made over the next six months through a structured process, one layer at a time, beginning at the top of each organization.


Key Management Changes & Organizational Restructurings at CSX Following "Split Date"

Two Senior CSX Executives Announce Their Retirement

Two senior CSX executives have announced they will retire: Frank E. Pursley, CSXT's senior vice president Service Design, will retire December 31, 2003. He will be succeeded by Alan P. Blumenfeld, currently president of CSX Intermodal. Michael Giftos, CSX's executive vice president and chief commercial officer, has announced that he is retiring effective March 31, 2004. He will be succeeded by Clarence Gooden, currently CSXT's senior vice president Merchandise Service Group.


Canadian National to Acquire BC Rail

Canadian National announced on November 25 it will pay the British Columbia government $1-billion in cash to acquire the outstanding shares of BC Rail Ltd., along with the right to operate over BC Rail's roadbed under a long-term lease. BC Rail's rail bed will remain in public hands, with CN assuming responsibility for rail transportation and infrastructure maintenance. CN will make Prince George its new B.C. North Division headquarters and invest $1-million in a new state-of-the-art wheel shop in Prince George as part of the BC Rail partnership.


Shorty Hansrote Dies

[By Allen Brougham] . . .

Roy Carr Hansrote Jr., retired B&O interlocking tower operator, died suddenly at his home on September 20. He was 67.

Born near Hedgesville, West Virginia, in August 1936, he was given the nickname "Shorty" early on by his father, the name he was known by throughout his 41-year career. Another nickname was "Truck," also given by his father, which was used by his family.

His father worked in the B&O track department. Shorty also had a grandfather who was a B&O locomotive engineer.

Shorty retired from the railroad - then CSXT - on July 31, 1998. At the time of his retirement, he was the first-shift operator at West Cumbo Tower near Hedgesville.

Shorty Hansrote, in a photo taken by Doug Koontz, in West Cumbo Tower

Shorty, who stood 5-feet-8-inches, began on the railroad in May 1957 following an enlistment in the Army. His first job was on the extra list at NA Tower in Martinsburg, later taking a regular assignment at Miller Tower in Cherry Run, West Virginia. He eventually worked in all of the towers in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle, a cluster of offices then located along a 60-mile stretch of the busy B&O mainline along or near the Potomac River from Harpers Ferry to Orleans Road. When Shorty retired, four towers - Martinsburg, West Cumbo, Miller and Hancock - still comprised that cluster, and it was he who then had the distinction of holding the longest tenure of any of its original B&O-hired operators.

West Cumbo and Miller towers closed in 2000, and Martinsburg Tower closed earlier this year.

His entire career was as an operator, although he served the dual function of ticket agent when he worked at Harpers Ferry.

He is remembered by those with whom he worked as very friendly and professional on assignment.


Buffalo & Pittsburgh Petitions to Acquire Inactive CSXT Rail Line in Pennsylvania

The Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad has petitioned the Surface Transportation Board to acquire an inactive 17-mile rail line from Creekside to Homer City, Pennsylvania, from CSXT. BPR had leased the line between 1988 and 1993, but both BPR and CSXT were given approval to discontinue operations in 1993 due to declining traffic. BPR plans to serve a Homer City utility with about 2,500 carloads per year, according to a news report.


Union Pacific Raises Quarterly Dividend

Union Pacific's board has voted to increase the company's quarterly common stock dividend by 30 percent, to 30 cents per share. "Following last year's 15 percent dividend increase, the 2004 raise is a further indication of management's ongoing commitment to enhance shareholder value," said Dick Davidson, chairman and CEO of Union Pacific Corporation.


Union Pacific Orders 175 Locomotives From EMD

Union Pacific has placed an order for 175 class SD70M locomotives from General Motors' EMD for delivery beginning in the second quarter of next year. The deal is the largest between the two companies since GM won a contract to supply 1000 units to UP in 1999.


Renovated Union Pacific Depot in Cheyenne, Wyoming, has Grand Opening

The initial phase of renovation of the 1886 Union Pacific Railroad depot in Cheyenne, Wyoming, is complete, and a grand opening was held on November 22. The city took possession of the building in 2000 with plans to convert it with space for a museum, restaurant and offices. The cost of renovation of the three-story depot is expected to reach $10-million. Also under construction is Depot Square, a pedestrian plaza featuring artwork, landscaping and a stage.


Ohio Ceremony Marks U.S. Train Speed Record

It may come as a surprise to those who think the Acela holds the U.S. rail speed record, but there is now a marker in Williams County, Ohio, recounting a record 183.85 MPH set by a train on July 23, 1966. The occasion was a test run by the New York Central using a rail diesel car equipped with twin jet engines on its roof. According to an article published by the Toledo Blade on November 14, 2003, there was a ceremony to dedicate that marker noting the U.S. record speed. But according to Don Wetzel, who was the engineer on the 1966 test train, he actually got the train up to 196 MPH before Al Perlman, the railroad's president, told him to slow down before reaching the official timing point. The test was being conducted to look at possible high-speed shuttle train service on routes between major cities. Years later, Amtrak's Acela reached a test speed of 169 MPH, according to the article, but it never came close to the record set back in 1966 in Williams County, Ohio.


Lucin Cutoff Marks its Centennial

November 25 marked the 100th anniversary of the Lucin Cutoff, the line built by the Southern Pacific across Great Salt Lake to avoid the longer, hillier portion of the intercontinental rail line completed in 1869. Construction on the combined causeway and trestle began in early 1902, and was opened to freight traffic on Thanksgiving Day, 1904. Passenger trains began using the route the following year - according to a November 25, 2003, article in the Salt Lake Tribune - and continued until 1971 when Amtrak opted to use a different route that skirts the southern edge of the lake. The wooden trestle has been replaced with a rock and earthen causeway, which is still in use by about 20 freight trains each day by Union Pacific as part of its primary east-west route. The causeway is under a considerable amount of maintenance to keep it from sinking into the deep, mushy bottom of the lake.


Track Inspector Helps Free Mountain Lion Cubs

[BNSF Today, 11-5-03]... BNSF track inspector Pat O'Rourke was forced to stop his westbound hi-rail vehicle Friday morning, October 31, in Durrant Canyon near Butte, Montana, to investigate an obstruction on the track. What he discovered was quite unbelievable - three about-eight-week-old mountain lion kittens frozen to the rails in the frigid morning air. Apparently, the young mountain lions had crossed Silver Bow Creek in the 10-degree air before walking onto the steel rails. According to O'Rourke, one kitten was frozen to the track on its back. Another was frozen to a railroad spike by its paw and its belly also was frozen to the rail. The third kitten was frozen to a second set of tracks by the tail. "I tried to approach them with a shovel and give them a little prod," says O'Rourke. "I couldn't figure it out... I thought they were just born." When O'Rourke couldn't move the kittens with a shovel and realized they were frozen to the tracks, he tried pouring his thermos of coffee on one kitten's paw, hoping it would free the animal from the icy trap. That didn't work either. "They kept licking their paws, and the more they licked, the more stuck they got," says O'Rourke. "It seemed like every time they moved one thing, something else got stuck." The sound of the screaming kittens roused their mother, who was watching the spectacle from a nearby ridge. The roar of the angry female mountain lion spooked O'Rourke back into his truck. O'Rourke called BNSF's office in Butte. The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) was called. Marty Vook, a game warden, arrived on the scene with hot water. When the kittens finally ran free, O'Rourke said, they left patches of hair on the steel tracks. "(O'Rourke) said the kittens were all teeth and claws," Lewis told the newspaper. O'Rourke said the kittens were exhausted by the ordeal. "They weren't real healthy when they left," O'Rourke said. "But the warden said that was their best chance." Now O'Rourke's co-workers are calling him the "Lion King." He said he doesn't mind the joking. He was just happy to help the young mountain lions out of their jam.