In The Line of Duty: J.D. Artino, J.P. Walker

Two members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen lost their lives in a fatal Union Pacific train accident on November 10.

Locomotive engineer J.D. Artino, 56, and conductor J.P. Walker, 42, were both killed when their Union Pacific train rear-ended another in Bertram, Calif., on UP's Yuma Subdivision.

Brothers Artino and Walker were both members of BLET Division 660 in Los Angeles. Brother Artino joined the BLET on July 1, 2004, and had worked for the railroad since June of 1998. Brother Walker joined the BLET on October 1, 2006, and began railroading in March of 2004.

Members of the BLET Safety Task Force were on the scene almost immediately and are assisting the National Transportation Safety Board with its accident investigation.

According to media reports, both trains were on an eastbound track near Mecca shortly before 1 p.m. on November 10 when one crashed into the other.

One train was carrying 60 cars of rock material from Victorville to Arizona. The second, heading to Arkansas from Long Beach with 111 cars carrying shipping containers, was the train that was hit.

The force of the crash caused three locomotives on the 60-car train and eight rail cars on the train hauling containers to derail.

The lead locomotive of the 60-car train caught fire. According to reports received by the BLET National Division, the crew of the 111-car train immediately went to the lead locomotive of the 60-car train, but were unable to provide any type of assistance or rescue because heat from the fire was too intense.

The NTSB and Safety Task Force are continuing their investigation into the incident to determine probable cause. More details will be made available at a later date.

"On behalf of the 59,000 members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, I extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of Brother Artino and Brother Walker," said Don Hahs, National President of the BLET. "Our thoughts and prayers are with them."



© 2007 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen