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Regional meetings finalize dates, locations for 1998

CLEVELAND, Nov. 21 ­ Convention dates have been finalized for the BLE's four 1998 regional meetings.

The Southwestern Convention Meeting will be in San Antonio, Texas, the Southeastern Meeting Association will be in Ft. Mitchell, Ky., and the Eastern Union Meeting Association will be in Boston, Mass.

These three groups join the International Western Convention, which announced in August that its convention will be held in Tucson, Ariz. from May 26-30.

The 1998 SWCM will be held August 18-21 at the Hilton Palacio del Rio hotel. Chairman Bob Bitterman says the hotel is located on the River Walk two blocks from the historic Alamo and 15 minutes from the airport. In addition, the Hard Rock Cafe and Planet Hollywood restaurants are two blocks from the hotel. More events are in the works, including a possible trip to Sea World.

Registration information will be handled by Regional Secretary-Treasurer Jim Keele. He reports that pre-registration packets will be made available in late spring/early summer 1998, and that on-site registration will be available in San Antonio at the convention.

The 1998 SMA will be held June 14 through 18 at the Drawbridge Inn in Ft. Mitchell, Ky. SMA Chairman Jerry L. Wyatt said that while no activities have been finalized, possible plans include a trip to Kings Island amusement park, a Cincinnati Reds baseball game, the Cincinnati Zoo, thoroughbred racing and riverboat dining.

For details and registration information, contact:

Jerry L. Wyatt
3061 Lindsey Dr.
Edgewood, KY
Phone: (606) 331-5859

Hotel registration is available by calling: (800) 354-9793 (in Kentucky, please call (800) 352-9866).


The 1998 EUMA will be held July 30-August 2 at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel in downtown Boston, Mass. Arrangements Chairman Mike O'Bryan encourages all participants to register early as space is limited and prizes will be given for early registrants.

For convention details, contact:

Mike O'Bryan
23 Stevens Rd.
Westborough, MA
Phone: (508) 366-7527

A golf tournament is tentatively scheduled with further activities to be announced at a later date. Brother O'Bryan encourages everyone to attend the 1998 EUMA in the "birthplace of the revolution," home of Bunker Hill, Paul Revere's ride, Fenway Park and the U.S.S. Constitution.

To make hotel reservations, call: (800) 225-2008.


As previously announced, the 1998 IWC will be held from May 26-30 at the Westward Look Resort Tucson, Ariz. Chairman Ken Kroeger

announced that a golf tournament is in the works and that several other activities are currently in the planning stages.

To register, call the Westward Look at (520) 297-1151. For further details, contact:

Ken Kroeger
8720 N. Myrtle
Tucson, AZ 85704
Phone: (520) 575-1002 ·

Faulty air brakes probable cause of UP's Oct. 25 head-on

Workers clear the tracks of debris and this nearly airborne locomotive the day after the October 25 head-on collision. Witnesses reported that the crash was marked by a huge explosion and fireball. No one was killed, but four crew members sustained injuries in the collision.

Date of Accident: Saturday, October 25, 1997, 2:50 p.m.

Location: West Junction, Texas

Type: Head-on collision between two Union Pacific trains

Injuries: Four crew members, who jumped from the train to escape.

BLE Proposed Probable Cause: "One of the causes of this accident may have been the failure of the mechanical department to conduct a proper initial terminal air brake test Management and (STF Investigator) Rodney Stutes reenacted the accident (two days after the crash). As a result of the reenactments, it is suspected that the air brake system was not functioning properly."

Field Research By: BLE Safety Task Force Members Jim Bradford and Rodney Stutes.

According to the BLE Safety Task Force report, the October 25 head-on collision could have been much worse the wreck took place within a few feet of a highly flammable butane gas line.

Westbound UP locomotive #5530, which launched into the air and landed on top of the Eastbound locomotive.


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