metra_logoDon’t joke with Metra Assistant Conductor Don Kiesgen that all he does is “take tickets and open doors.”

It’s nothing he hasn’t heard from his family already.

Sure, the Metra veteran handles those two jobs.

There’s also throwing switches, testing the air brakes, announcing stops, coupling cars, hoisting luggage, filling out paperwork, monitoring rowdy teens, making sure Train 2115 goes 10 mph at the Grayslake crossover, collecting trains from the yard and verifying foreman Rob McFarlin’s work crew isn’t on the tracks.

Read more from Daily Herald.

Conductors Don Kiesgen and David Lorentz are members of Local 281 in Milwaukee.

LISBON, N.Y. — A Lisbon Central School graduate is living his dream of working as a railroad conductor at age 19.

Matthew House, a 2013 graduate of LCS, is now conducting trains in Kansas City.

House has been fascinated by trains since age three and even formed a model train club while attending school in Lisbon. He said working on the railroad was something he had always hoped to do and it’s hard for him to believe he has already achieved that goal.

Read more from North Country Now.

NILES, Mich. – The man accused of stabbing four people on an Amtrak train told police that it started after a man he was talking to on the train “turned into a demon and he had to fight them,” according to court documents obtained by 24 Hour News 8.

“Michael Williams said he did not remember exactly what he did but that he did have a knife in his hand,” according to an affidavit for his arrest.

Read the complete story at Television Station WOOD.

Amtrak LogoFour people were stabbed, including a conductor, on an Amtrak train tonight (Dec. 5) and a suspect was taken into custody, police said.

The stabbing occurred about 7 p.m. in Niles, Mich.

Read the complete story at ABC News.

A SMART Transportation Division member was killed on the job Wednesday (Oct. 9) afternoon in a railroad switching accident at a Colorado Springs, Colo., industrial complex.

According to media reports, BNSF Railway conductor Dawn Trettenero, 42, was trapped between two rail cars. Firefighters told Television Station KKTV that they arrived within minutes of being notified of the accident, but Trettenero was already dead when they arrived.

“There were other employees present when this occurred, so we have witnesses that we are talking to,” said police spokesperson Lt. Catherine Buckley.

Trettenero was a member of Transportation Division Local 202 at Denver. She joined the union in December 2011. She is the second Transportation Division member to die on the job this year

Colorado State Legislative Director Carl Smith, a member of the SMART Transportation Division’s Transportation Safety Team, has been assigned to assist the National Transportation Safety Board with its accident investigation.

Local 202 Chairperson Brent Conlin reports that a memorial service for Trettenero will be held from 2-4 p.m., Wednesday Oct. 15, at Olinger Crown Hill Mortuary and Cemetery. It is located at 7777 W. 29th Ave. in Wheatridge, Colo.

WASHINGTON — How many people does it take to safely operate a freight train?

Two, say railroad labor unions, the Federal Railroad Administration and some members of Congress, arguing that having just one person in the cab of a locomotive was unsafe. They cite a series of deadly accidents involving trains with a solo engineer, including last year’s disaster in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, where 47 people were killed after an oil train jumped the tracks.

One, argues the railroad industry, which counters that there’s no data to prove multiple-person crews are safer.

Read the complete story at The Fresno Bee.

Two Union Pacific Railroad employees were killed and two others were injured when two UP trains collided early Sunday (Aug. 17) morning in Hoxie, Ark.
SMART Transportation Division member and conductor Roderick A. Hayes, 31, and engineer Chance Gober, 40, were both killed on the southbound train, according to a report by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Injured on the northbound train were SMART Transportation Division member and conductor Aaron P. Jeffery and engineer Michael Zompakos.
Hayes and Jeffery both belonged to SMART Transportation Division 656 at North Little Rock, Ark.
Details on the conditions of Jeffery and Zompakos are not yet available.
The National Transportation Safety Board is now investigating and General Chairperson James Herndon and Georgia State Legislative Director Matt Campbell of the SMART Transportation Safety Team have been assigned to assist in the investigation.
The SMART Transportation Safety Team (TST) is comprised of 17 members of the SMART Transportation Division, each of whom is on call 24 hours a day to assist in determining the facts in rail-related accidents.
Hayes was a SMART member for 20 months and Jeffery has been a SMART member for approximately 10 years.

Sometimes, when a train bears down on a person who has gotten onto the rails, his eyes meet the engineer’s just before impact.

“We have fatalities where people just lay themselves on the tracks, and they could be possibly staring right up at you,” said Anthony Bottalico, 58, a union official who began working as a conductor 38 years ago.

Read the complete story at

union_pacific_logoCLINTON, Utah – A simple act of kindness is something a 12-year-old boy with an autism spectrum disorder is going to remember for the rest of his life.
Matthew Mancil loves trains.
“I don’t know how it started, but he just absolutely loves them,” Aaron Mancil, Matthew’s father, said.
Read the complete story at the Deseret News.
(Do you know who this conductor is? Email us at