Lincoln County (LincUP) Community Advisory Panel

LincUPLincUP provides open dialogue on health, safety and environmental issues between representatives of the community and Union Pacific Railroad to promote awareness and understanding for mutual benefit. For a complete listing of members, see 2014 LincUP Panelists.

Questions? Comments?

Contact the LincUP Facilitator, Lorre McKeone.

Minutes of Meeting: February 24, 2014


Present: Ron Bourne, Sally Brecks (and Angela Brown), Scott Castillo, Dan Czech, Jim Falcon, Cindy Halligan, Rich Hoaglund, Glenn Johnson, Kim Keeling, Shelly Kelly, Senko Pecavaric, Gordon Peeks, June Robinson, Kyle Shepherd, Gary Smith, Kathy Swain, Gary Wilson, Glynn Wolar.  Facilitator: Lorre McKeone. Guests: Teresa Keck and Ryan Knutsvig (National Weather Service), Pat Leahy.

Absent: Neil Deertz, Bruce Dodson, Erik Erickson, Donna Fair, Dan Guenthner, Dwight Livingston, Sue Mulligan, Lance Polk, Bryan Robinson, Dennis Thompson


Meeting Notes


Dan Guenthner has resigned as Lincoln County Emergency Manager and will no longer be on the LincUP panel. 

In March, LincUP will meet in Room 204 rather than the cafeteria. 

Public Comment: Teresa Keck and Ryan Knutsvig from the National Weather Service attended the meeting to tell the panel about Weather-Ready Ambassadors, an initiative of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) to recognize partners who are improving the nation's readiness, responsiveness and overall resilience against extreme weather, water and climate events.  WRN Ambassadors help lead their community to be better informed and prepared to minimize natural disaster impacts.  A website and sample letter to potential stakeholders was also shared.

Community Roundtable:

Senco Pecavaric shared details of a fundraiser to raise money for an academic fraternity at the community college.  Rich Hoaglund and Gary Smith reported on shelter-in-place training conducted for 14-15 managers at Nebraska Public Power District.  A March 13 shelter-in-place presentation is planned for the Ministerial Association.  Kim Keeling shared information about planned training at the community college in the fall for those who manage mass casualty incidents.

UP Report

Erik Erickson, reported that currently no employees at Bailey Yard are on furlough or auxiliary work status. The North Platte Service Unit plans to hire 8 trainmen. The mechanical department is training 12 new employees. Service Unit velocity stands at 21 mph. A surge in grain shipments allowed UP to move some locomotives out of storage. Car loadings are up about 5% despite lower coal traffic due to increased shipments of sand for drilling, autos, grain and intermodal traffic.

Pat Leahy, the Operation Lifesaver representative, reported 2013 has been a tough year with higher than normal crossing accidents. More farm vehicles have been involved this year and inattention often is a contributing factor. Strategies planned for 2014 to reduce accidents include:

  • Ask the Department of Motor Vehicles to add a question to the driving test about signs at rail crossings with phone numbers to alert UP of stalled vehicles on the tracks,
  • Posters in ag communities,
  • A new crash car showing damage to vehicles in collisions with trains,
  • Traveling electronic billboards located near problem crossings,
  • Radio ad campaign.

They have increased awareness efforts asking train crews to share reports of close calls with dispatchers, UP police or on the UP website so they can alert Union Pacific and local police to encourage increased surveillance. Operation Lifesaver uses electronic billboards and four crash cars that they move around the state for awareness. People stuck on the tracks are encouraged to call 911 first and then the UP number posted at the crossing with the DOT crossing number.

Scott Castillo reported business in the North Platte Service Unit is booming. They are hiring their fourth class of new employees for the Transportation Department and hosting 20 trainmen from Houston who are filling in temporarily.

Meeting Topic - Railroad Basics

Meeting Topic: Railroad Basics - Scott Castillo, Manager of Operations Practice II, UP

Every industry has its own terminology.When UP personnel share information at LincUP meetings they often use terms that are unfamiliar to those who don't work for the railroad. Scott shared the meanings of some commonly used terms:

  • Dog catch crew - train crews cannot work more than 12 hours at a stretch so when they have to send out a new crew for a slow moving train (a “dogâ€) it is called a dog catch crew.
  • Bad order - a broken car
  • Humper - a train made up of a variety of cars that need to be classified or sorted and put into new trains going to different locations. This is done by pulling the train the top of one of the elevated tracks (or humps) in the yard and then switching cars to different tracks as they roll down the other side.
  • Run through - a train, generally made up of cars carrying the same cargo, that does not need to be classified or sorted. In the yard these trains get a new crew, fuel, and basic service and are sent on.
  • Frogged - when you are late because you got caught on the other side of the train tracks.
  • Terminal dwell - The amount of time a locomotive, car or CAD (computer aided dispatch screen) is idle in the yard.
  • Hot shots - Priority trains
  • Bulk trains - Trains carrying all the same product as cargo
  • Smart start - A timer in locomotives that shuts the engine down after two hours and then periodically restarts it to maintain air in the brakes. In weather below 30 degrees it doesn't shut down at all.
  • Laying trains down - when three or four trains are parked on a track back to back.
  • Tying up - clocking out after a maximum of 12 hours of work for a guaranteed 10 hours of undisturbed rest before being called back to work.
  • Extra board - revolving board where workers may be assigned to different locations/trips rather than working on the same run.
  • More whiskers / old head - seniority based on years of experience which allows a worker to bid for longer trips (or pulls) and more money.
  • Hog head - Engineer
  • Piglet - Fireman or student
  • Borrow outs - Workers who are sent to work in another Service unit temporarily
  • Hostlers - Engineers who only move locomotives (or power) in the Yard.

More railroad terminology can be found on the Union Pacific website.

Scott also explained railroad crafts and hierarchy at Bailey

The Diesel Shop, where locomotives are repaired, is under the direction of UP headquarters in Omaha. Skilled workers like electricians and machinists may work in many of these different operations.

Systemwide departments include: legal, real estate, public relations/communications, special agents (UP police department), engineering, finance/accounting, dispatching and others.


Membership: Openings for representatives of retired/senior and students (in May when Senco graduates).

Planning: Topics for coming months: March: Lincoln Co. future, April: Workplace violence

Outreach: Shelter in place presentation planned at the March 13 Ministerial Association. We continue to find times to schedule presentations at Wal-Mart Distribution Center. WCDHD has been generously providing copies of materials for all presentations.

Summary and Strategy

Next meeting: 5:15 p.m. Monday,  March 24, 2014

Location: North Platte Community College, North Campus  - Room 204

Meeting Topic: Future of North Platte/Lincoln County

Speakers: Greg Nielsen, Dan Mauk, Jim Hawk

Student Lounge, North Campus, North Platte Community College
1101 Halligan Drive, North Platte


5:15 p.m. Call to order
Public Comment Period
5:25 p.m. Announcements and Introductions
5:30 p.m. Community Round Table
5:35 p.m. UP Report
5:40 p.m. Meeting Topic
6:30 p.m. Supper Break
7:00 p.m. Committee Meetings
7:20 p.m. Summary and Strategy
Plan for Next Meeting
7:30 p.m. Adjourn