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Union Pacific, South Buffalo Railway Employees Receive 2011 Hammond Award

Joseph Faigl Honored for Safety Contributions

Original News Release issued by Association of American Railroads

Washington, D.C., May 08, 2012 – Joseph Faigl, conductor with Union Pacific Railroad (UP), and Mark Sheffield, mechanical supervisor with the South Buffalo Railway Company, today each received the 2011 Harold F. Hammond Award, honoring individual railroad employees who have demonstrated outstanding safety achievement during the preceding year.

In his 13 injury-free years with UP, Faigl has led several best practices efforts at the Green River, Wyo., yard, and earned UP's highest safety distinction, the 2011 Kenefick Safety Award. In his nomination letter, UP President and CEO Jack Koraleski said Faigl inspires others to create and maintain a safety culture by living what he preaches, precisely following all safety rules and sharing his knowledge with others.

Faigl has led local efforts to re-energize participation in UP's employee-owned Total Safety Culture (TSC) program, increasing overall safety compliance, boosting program participation to 60 percent from 15 percent, lowering incidents by 20 percent, and vaulting the Green River yard from last place to within the top two safety-performing yards in UP's entire system. His guidelines for safe pinning and kicking operations have resulted in an 80 percent reduction in human-factor incidents in the yard.

At South Buffalo Railway Company, Sheffield has served as co-leader of the Buffalo District Safety Improvement Team, and helped keep the 45-person operation injury free since September 2007.  In his nomination letter, Genesee & Wyoming President and CEO John Hellmann cited many examples of Sheffield's consistency in dedication to safety while never missing a day of work in his 14 injury-free years with the company.

As a leader on the company's "Safety Blitzes" – three-person, one day safety audits – many of Sheffield's initiatives involve safely dealing with Buffalo's severe winters and have led to programs now implemented across Genesee & Wyoming's 65 railroads. For example, he launched the annual "Operation Clean Sweep Day" aimed at removing trip-and-fall hazards like litter and debris that can be hidden beneath snow.  When lake shore winds turned customer scrap metal into flying debris, Sheffield succeeded in convincing customers to install fences around their scrap yards.

Five other railroad employees also nominated for the award were honored today with certificates of commendation for their work in enhancing safety:

  • Matthew Lehr, switchman at BNSF Railway,
  • Brian Burma, carman at Canadian Pacific,
  • Larry James, division safety coordinator at CSX Transportation,
  • Tom Usnick, locomotive engineer at Kansas City Southern Railway, and
  • Robert Stokes, locomotive engineer at Norfolk Southern.

The Hammond Award is named after the late Harold F. Hammond, former president of the Transportation Association of America, who served many years as chairman of the Harriman Awards selection committee.

About AAR

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) is the world's leading railroad policy, research and technology organization. AAR members include the major freight railroads, or Class I railroads, of the U.S., Canada and Mexico, as well as Amtrak. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter: AAR_FreightRail or Facebook:

About Union Pacific

It was 150 years ago that Abraham Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act of July 1,1862, creating the original Union Pacific. One of America's iconic companies, today, Union Pacific Railroad is the principal operating company of Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE: UNP), linking 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country by rail and providing freight solutions and logistics expertise to the global supply chain. From 2000 through 2011, Union Pacific spent more than $31 billion on its network and operations, making needed investments in America's infrastructure and enhancing its ability to provide safe, reliable, fuel-efficient and environmentally responsible freight transportation. Union Pacific's diversified business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Energy, Industrial Products and Intermodal. The railroad serves many of the fastest-growing U.S. population centers and emphasizes excellent customer service. Union Pacific operates competitive routes from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways, connects with Canada's rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major Mexico gateways.

Media contacts:
Association of American Railroads:  Holly Arthur, 202-639-2344,
Union Pacific:  Tom Lange, 402-544-3560,, @tlange23

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