Hermiston, Ore., says no to remote control

The city of Hermiston, Oregon, became the 60th community to pass a resolution opposing remote control locomotives on November 13.

The resolution requests that "the Federal Railroad Administration prohibit the Union Pacific Railroad from operating any locomotive within the incorporated boundaries of the city."

The Mayor of Hermiston, Bob Severson, sent Union Pacific's Executive Vice President-Operations Dennis J. Duffy a letter in which he said that he "wanted to bring this matter to your direct attention in the hope that you will drop any further efforts toward operating remote control locomotives through our town."

Hermiston has been the site of many high profile remote control accidents since the technology was implemented a few years ago. In spite of a lackluster safety record with remotes in Hermiston, Union Pacific officials are hoping to expand remote control operations to a branch line that runs through Hermiston's city limits.

"If Union Pacific decides to operate RCLs through Hermiston given the condition of your in-town at-grade crossings, any reasonable person can only conclude that it will simply be a matter of time before a serious and potentially tragic accident involving human life occurs," Mayor Severson wrote.

BLET members in the state of Oregon worked to get the resolution passed, according to Oregon State Legislative Board Chairman Scott Palmer. He especially commended the work of Cary Sherrow, Corresponding Secretary of BLET Division 362 in La Grande, Ore. Brother Sherrow is a resident of Hermiston.

"This is an excellent example of bottom-up leadership and Brother Cary Sherrow has done a stellar job coordinating our efforts between the various governing agencies, tribes and media," Chairman Palmer said. "His actions truly exemplify what it means to belong to a union."

BLET Union Pacific-Western Region General Chairman Tim Donnigan also thanked those who worked to get the resolution passed.

"Thank you for the excellent work by all who have been involved with this effort," he said.

In addition to Hermiston, 42 U.S. cities have passed remote control resolutions: Baton Rouge, La.; Detroit, Mich.; Shreveport, La.; Marysville, Mich.; Boston, Mass.; Cleveland, Ohio; Pine Bluff, Ark.; North Little Rock, Ark.; Beardstown, Ill.; Bakersfield, Calif.; Woodbridge, N.J.; Maple Heights, Ohio; Alliance, Neb.; Evansville, Ind.; Dupo, Ill.; Durand, Mich; Flat Rock, Mich.; Woodhaven, Mich; Flint, Mich.; Sparks, Nev.; Commerce, Calif.; Clinton, Iowa; Montebello, Calif.; Saginaw, Mich.; Mankato, Minn.; Wamac, Ill.; St. Louis, Mo.; River Rouge, Mich.; Melvindale, Mich.; Redford Township, Mich.; Irvington, Ill.; Berwyn, Ill.; Allen Park, Mich.; Central City, Ill.; Carteret, N.J.; Toledo, Ohio; San Francisco, Calif.; Houston, Texas; Janesville, Wisc.; South Salt Lake City, Utah; Fort Madison, Iowa; and Milford, Utah.

Seventeen counties have passed remote control resolutions. They are: Douglas County, Wisc.; West Baton Rouge Parish (County), La.; Point Coupee Parish (County), La.; Cuyahoga County, Ohio; Huron County, Ohio; Erie County, Ohio; Whitley County, Ky.; Unicoi County, Tennessee; Contra Costa County, Calif.; Knox County, Tenn.; Clinton County, Iowa; Roanoke County, Va.; Harris County, Texas; Greenup, Ky.; San Francisco, Calif.; Champaign County, Ill.; and Beaver County, Utah.

For a PDF of the Hermiston resolution, go to:
For a PDF of Mayor Severson's letter, go to:
http://www.ble-t.org /pr/pdf/UPRRletterMayor.pdf




© 2006 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen