Memorials to SMART TD members/trainees who died on the job in 2023

Derek Scott “D.S.” Little

Derek Scott “D.S.” Little, 28, a trainee conductor, was days away from marking up for the first time as a certified conductor with CSX and was slated to begin his career as a SMART-TD member out of Local 610 (Baltimore, Md.) on July 1, 2023. Engaged to be married, he was two weeks away from the due date of his son.

Derek was at a point in his life when everything was coming together perfectly. Tragically, it was all taken away from him the evening of June 26 at Seagirt Marine Terminal in Baltimore. Brother Little was involved in an accident while riding on equipment.

He is survived by the love of his life, Kaytee Burns, to whom he was engaged to be married; their son, Logan Matthew Little; his parents; brother; and other members of his family.

Derek "D.S." Little
Derek “D.S.” Little, a trainee out of Local 610, died in a workplace accident on June 26, 2023.

Travis Bradley

Brother Travis Bradley, 40, died on Aug. 7, 2023, from injuries he received Aug. 6 while working in an incident involving a close clearance in a yard track. Brother Bradley referred to his new career in railroading as his dream job.

He is survived by by his wife, Nichole Bradley; daughters, Layna Belle Bradley and Maggie May Bradley; stepdaughter, Danielle Alexis VanMeter; siblings; in-laws; and nieces and nephews.

Travis Bradley, a conductor trainee out of Local 600, died in a workplace accident on Aug. 7, 2023.

John Thornton

SMART Transportation Division Local 583 (Fond du Lac, Wis.) suffered a tragic loss when member John A. Thornton was killed Aug. 31 after a suspected drunken driver smashed into his transport vehicle in Matteson, Ill., while en route to work.

Brother Thornton, 48, was a conductor for Canadian National (CN) and a member of our union for nearly two decades, joining in November 2005.

Two other members of the crew, fellow TD Local 583 member Larissa Pondexter, an engineer trainee, as well as engineer Tony Hargrow were hurt in the crash.

John Thornton, a conductor out of Local 583, died in a crew van accident on Aug. 31, 2023.

Michael Moilanen

Michael Moilanen of Local 857 (San Antonio, Texas) passed away Oct. 14 at the away-from-home terminal hotel in Fort Worth, Texas, while working Amtrak 22, better known as the Texas Eagle.

Michael’s memory will live on in the hearts of those who had the privilege of knowing him, working alongside him and riding his train. He was a remarkable colleague, a loving father, and a devoted husband, and his loss is deeply felt by all who knew him.

Michael Moilanen, an Amtrak conductor, passed away on Oct. 14 while at his away-from-home terminal.