In The Line of Duty
Brother G.Y. Bailey, Local Chairman of BLET Division 62 in Houston, was killed on September 15 when his train collided head-on with a southbound chemical train in dark territory about 60 miles northeast of Houston.
Both Union Pacific trains derailed, causing a hazmat spill.
Brother Bailey, 51, began working for Union Pacific in 1978 and joined the BLE in 1992. Along with serving as his Division's local chairman, he was actively involved in the organization as a primary member of the BLET Safety Task Force and the National Mobilization Team. He also served as Chairman of the Southwestern Convention Meeting in 2004.
"This is a tremendous loss for both BLET and Union Pacific Railroad," said BLET Union Pacific-Southern Region General Chairman Gil Gore. "Brother Bailey was an excellent Local Chairman and an exemplary employee who assisted hundreds of members on a wide variety of issues. He will be sorely missed both professionally and personally by me and many others for years to come."
A member of Division 62, Ronnie Gilmore, echoed this sentiment.
"He was a gentleman," Brother Gilmore said. "He was a dedicated, conscientious man, and he will be hard to replace."
Brother Bailey is survived by his wife Kathie, an active member of the Grand International Auxiliary; and four children, Elise, Caylin, Brennan and Ashley.
"This is an extraordinary tragedy. It is a sad day for those of us at the BLET and for all those Brother Bailey touched through his work over the years," BLET National President Don M. Hahs said. "Brother Bailey was one of the good guys. He loved this organization and worked hard to make it better. He will be missed.
"This horrific accident has echoes of the one that occurred earlier this year in Graniteville, South Carolina - both occurred in dark territory and resulted in hazmat spills and evacuations. It is incomprehensible that either of these accidents could happen. It is time that the railroads learn from their mistakes and take steps to make the industry safer.
"It is with a heavy heart that I ordered the BLET flag to fly at half-mast over the Standard Building today. I am deeply saddened by Brother Bailey's untimely death, and I extend my deepest sympathy to his family, friends and co-workers."
The BLET has been granted party status to the investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and members of the Safety Task Force are helping the NTSB analyze the accident scene.
The accident occurred at 12:15 a.m. on September 15. One Union Pacific train with two locomotives and 10 cars struck another UP train with two locomotives and three cars, about 60 miles northeast of Houston.
The first train was traveling from Pine Bluff, Ark., to Houston when its locomotive struck the second train. The second train was stopped on the north end of a side track. The accident resulted in a hazmat release and forced the evacuation of nearby residents.
© 2005 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen