Field Trips Were My First Railroad Lessons

by Sandra Bayne

  • Field Trips Were My First Railroad Lessons

    Virgil Bayne Jr., right, with co-workers on the old Nebraska Division.

  • Field Trips Were My First Railroad Lessons

    Virgil Bayne Jr., left, is the second of four generations of Baynes to work for the railroad. He retired with 39 years of service in dispatching.

I recall learning about the rail industry from my father during childhood field trips to the North Platte, Neb., hump yard and Harriman Dispatching Center.

Every time we took a road trip and saw a train, he would point it out and explain what it was hauling and how. I distinctly remember him explaining the hump yard as a means to classify rail cars using gravity. I learned a lot about the railroad from him before working here was even a thought in my mind.

My father, Ron Bayne, joined the railroad in 1964 as a telegrapher agent in Grand Island, Neb. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1965 and served in Vietnam from 1966 to 1967. In 1969, he returned to UP as a train dispatcher in Omaha. During his career, my father also worked other management positions in North Platte, and Arlington and Spring, Texas. He retired as national equipment manager-Marketing and Sales in 2001.

My grandfather, Virgil Bayne Jr., worked 39 years for Union Pacific, beginning as a station helper in Clarks, Neb., at age 18. He spent his career working on the old Nebraska Division as assistant chief train dispatcher in Grand Island, trainmaster in Sidney and chief train dispatcher in North Platte.

My great-grandfather, Virgil Bayne Sr., began the family's railroad legacy as a track laborer in Clarks in the 1930s.

Wanting to continue the family tradition for a fourth generation and seeing the potential for career opportunities, I joined UP Nov. 1, 2000, in corporate audit. Today I'm a manager of process improvement in the Human Resources Department. I think it's great to be able to tell people that I am a fourth-generation railroader. When I meet people who remember working with my father, it provides me a sense of community and belonging.

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Family, Working at UP
North Platte, NE
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