2012 "Black Shirt Friday"

Railroad Workers United (RWU) will sponsor the 4th annual Railroad Workers Memorial Day this year on Father’s Day Friday, June 15th. Our focus will be on railroad crossing safety, and we urge all railroad workers to wear black to work.

This year we remember the death of Laurette Lee, the Amtrak conductor who was killed on June 24, 2011 in the Nevada desert when a truck smashed into her train, killing her along with the truck driver and four passengers.


AMTRAK Conductor Laurette Lee

AMTRAK Conductor Laurette Lee




Railroaders Killed on the Job in 2012

December 9, 2012 - St Charles, VA - Virginia State Police are investigating a Kentucky man’s death that was caused when a CSX train derailed late Sunday night in Lee County and landed on a vehicle parked next to it. The driver of the vehicle, identified as 31-year old Jamie Collins of Baxter, Ky., was taken to Lee Regional Medical Center, where he later died. The van is owned by J&K Transport and was used as a “transport taxi” to shuttle railroad employees back and forth from train destinations. A passenger in the van — Jason H. Williams, 33, of Viper, Ky. — was airlifted to Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport. Williams is reportedly being treated for serious injuries.

December 5, 2012 - Glade Springs VA - Crews from Norfolk Southern were cleaning up the debris and repairing the track where a truck was hit by a train Wednesday. We are told the identity of the truck driver, a NS employee, who was killed will not be released until the autopsy results come back, but Thursday they did start to move what is left of the truck after the crash and fire. We learned gallons of fuel leaked onto the tracks after the crash, igniting the truck and killing one of the railway workers. "He had just delivered a dump truck on a low-boy flatbed trailer and he had just dropped it off. He was returning when he was crossing the tracks," said Robin Chapman, PR Manager for Norfolk Southern. [Note; The truck driver was later identified as Brother William Fidler of Petersburg, VA.]

November 28, 2012 - Fort St. John, British Columbia, Canada - One man has died in a train derailment at a remote worksite in northeastern B.C. The incident occurred Wednesday evening at a CN Rail yard about 180 kilometres north of Fort St. John when a fuel tanker derailed and rolled onto the victim. Four other CN employees were in the yard and one was nearby, but no one else was hurt. The victim has been identified by the BC Coroners Service as Bryan Johannes Giesbrecht, 30, from Dawson Creek. Said the Coroners Service in a statement Friday: "Mr. Giesbrecht was unable to avoid being by struck by derailed, moving railroad stock and sustained severe injuries. Workers from the nearby camp attended the scene, however, Mr. Giesbrecht was deceased. First responders had a difficult time reaching the scene because it is only accessible by rail." Investigations are underway by several agencies, including the RCMP, Coroners Service, CN Police, Transportation Safety Board, WorkSafe BC, and Human Resources and Skills Development.

November 12, 2012 - Macon GA - A Norfolk Southern employee died early Monday morning after falling from a parked train in Macon. Steve Warren, 56, of McDonough, fell off the side of the engine that was parked near Raines Avenue and Waterville Road at about 2 a.m., said Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones. An autopsy will determine whether Warren suffered a fatal medical emergency that caused him to fall or if he slipped and suffered a fatal injury in the fall, Jones said.

September 14, 2012 - Toronto Canada - A veteran transit supervisor is dead after being struck by a subway in a predawn accident that sent two other TTC workers to hospital, including the driver of the train. Peter Pavlovski, 49, a tunnel foreman who held the post of “road master,” had worked with the TTC for 22 years and was known widely by staff, transit CEO Andy Byford said.

August 27, 2012  -  New York, NY  -  A Long Island Rail Road worker was killed Monday when he came into contact with the third rail near the Queens Village train station, a spokesman for the MTA said. Ronald Sampson, 51, was performing track maintenance work alongside seven other employees around 11 a.m. Monday when he touched the third rail, electrocuting him to death, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Sampson, a resident of Lake Ronkonkoma, L.I., started his career with the LIRR in June 2006 as an electric traction helper before he was promoted to third rail man in 2008.

August 15, 2012 - Rock Falls IL - UP - Whiteside County sheriff's deputies this morning released the name of a Union Pacific employee who died after a truck struck him during a railroad construction project Wednesday. Loren Daswood of Red Rock, N.M., was pronounced dead at the scene. Sheriff Kelly Wilhelmi did not know Daswood's age or how long he had been in the area....

July 31, 2012 - Mason City IA - Trainman Georgiy Soloviyov, 35, became the fourth UTU rail member killed on duty in 2012 following a Union Pacific yard accident at Mason City, Iowa, July 31. Soloviyov, of Stanhope, Iowa, and a member of UTU Local 867 (Des Moines) had seven years of service. Reports indicate he was part of a three-person conventional switching crew when pinned between two cuts of freight cars. George, as he was known, was a native of Kiev, Ukraine, who married an American serving there as a missionary. They relocated to the United States and George earned his American citizenship in 2004. Surviving, in addition to his wife, Lori, are two sons, Yuri and Aleksei, and two daughters, Tatyana and Katya.

July 27, 2012 - Ash Fork, AZ - A BNSF Railway employee was killed Friday morning when the worker drove a high-rail truck into a parked train north of Ash Fork. The victim has been identified as 41-year-old Jason Lacy of Williams. "We're investigating the possibility that he was doing a track inspection," said Coconino County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Gerry Blair. Investigators said they believe he might have been distracted for some unknown reason. The accident is now said to have happened between about 5:45 a.m. and 6:15 a.m., some 14 miles outside of Ash Fork, near where Sevens Ranch Road intersects with the train tracks. The sun was rising at the time of the accident. The train's conductors said they didn't feel any impact and didn't notice there was an accident until they tried to depart and had brake problems. That's when they discovered the wreckage behind the train. "We don't know what was going on behind the wheel," said Sgt. John Jamison. "All we know is that the truck was moving along at a pretty good rate of speed and just completely rear ended a stopped train." "This is very sad and unfortunate," he added. The accident is still being investigated and an autopsy will be performed.

June 24, 2012 - Goodwell OK - UP - Brother Dan J. Hall, President of BLET Division 592 (Dalhart, Texas), was killed in the line of duty on June 24, 2012. Hall, 56, was one of three railroaders killed when two Union Pacific trains collided head-on near the town of Goodwell, Okla. The others were BLET Member John S. Hall (not related) and UTU member Brian L. Stone. Brother Hall hired out in 1994 and joined the BLET on January 29, 1999. He is survived by his mother and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

June 24, 2012 - Brother John S. Hall, a member of BLET Division 592 (Dalhart, Texas), was killed in the line of duty on June 24, 2012. Hall, 49, was one of three railroaders killed when two Union Pacific trains collided head-on near the town of Goodwell, Okla. The others were Dan J. Hall, President of BLET Division 592, and Brian L. Stone, a UTU conductor. The two Halls are not related. Brother Hall hired out in 1995 and joined the BLET on January 29, 1999. He is survived by his wife, Beverly, daughter Breanna, and son Johnathon.

June 24, 2012 - Brian L. Stone, 50, a Union Pacific conductor, died June 24 in a head-on collision between two freight trains near Guymon, Okla. He was a member of UTU Local 923 at Dalhart, Texas. Stone is the fourth UTU member killed on duty in 2012. Stone is survived by his wife, Cindy, of Dalhart, daughter Samantha Meredith of Georgia, daughter Sidonia Alo and husband Daniel of South Carolina, daughter Halee Stone of Amarillo, son Robert Lemley of Amarillo, and daughter Jade Stone of Dalhart, and

May 28, 2012 - Conductor Robert J. Glasgow, 38, a member of UTU Local 887 at Harvey, N.D., died May 28 while setting out cars as part of a two-person crew at a CP yard. Initial reports are that Glasgow had mounted the lead car of 28 cars being switched conventionally when the lead car sideswiped other cars. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital following evacuation by a local emergency medical crew. Glasgow, of Minot, N.D., who had six years’ service as a maintenance-of-way employee, had been a conductor for some 10 months. Glasgow is survived by wife Jenny Ann and children Jacob, Carter, Cole, Ethan and Kaylee.

May 18, 2012 - Upper Merion, PA  -  A railroad engineer making a delivery to a newspaper plant in the Philadelphia suburbs died Friday when a roll of newsprint weighing almost a ton fell on him. The paper was so heavy that getting it off Jefferson Troester's body took several hours, WCAU-TV reported. Troester and a conductor were operating a six-car Upper Merion & Plymouth Railroad train that arrived at Philadelphia Newspapers' Upper Merion plant shortly after 9 a.m.

Sunday, February 26, 2012 - BURLINGTON, Ontario - A Canadian Via Rail passenger train derailed west of Toronto Sunday, killing three railroad employees and injuring dozens of passengers, officials said. Killed are veteran railroaders Ken Simmonds, Peter Snarr and Patrick Robinson, 40. Both Mr. Simmonds, 56, and Mr. Snarr, 52, started their railroad careers with CN in the late 1970s, and had been locomotive engineers with VIA since 2007. The two men were “top notch engineers” wrote friend Tommy Rocker in an email to the Post. “There are certainly some engineers who are distractable, grandstanders and slackers but not these two men.” Mr. Robinson was in the cab as a trainee. New to VIA, Mr. Robinson had worked on trains since 1990, including a stint with CN. It is not known whether Mr. Robinson was at the controls at the time of the incident, but he would have been under strict supervision, said Mr. Griffith. “My understanding is that they were dedicated employees doing their job and something went horribly wrong,” Teamsters Canada Rail Conference President Rex Beatty said on Monday.

January 30, 2012 - Gary IN - Michael M. Shoemaker, 55, a conductor and member of UTU Local 1383, was killed Jan. 30 in a switching accident at U.S. Steel’s Gary Works in Gary, Ind. Shoemaker, of Hobart, Ind., was a 10-year employee of Gary Railway, which is owned by U.S. Steel. Reports indicate he was working as a foreman in a three-person conventional switching operation when the car he was riding “impacted the side of the standing equipment that the crew had placed on an adjacent track, pinning him. Shoemaker is the first UTU member to be killed in a rail accident in 2012.

January 23, 2012  -  St. Louis, MO  -  Carter Perry, 57, who worked for the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis, was working on the railroad bridge at South Sixth and Gratiot streets when he stepped onto an unsecured metal walkway about 12:50 p.m., according to St. Louis police. The walkway gave way and Perry fell. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police have ruled Perry's death accidental. George Muraski, chief of police for Terminal Railroad, said Perry had been employed with the railroad since 1975. He was a resident of Belleville. "He was a very, very nice person," Muraski said. "He was friendly and always smiled."

January 9, 2012 - Amarillo, TX  -  A Burlington Northern Santa Fe worker was killed Monday morning when he was struck by a railroad car and pulled underneath, Amarillo Police Department. Lt. Gary Trupe said. Police have now released the identity of the man who was killed yesteday. Neil Thomas Touvell, 57, of Byers, Texas, was killed while on the job at BNSF.