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BNSF superintendent ends 53-year railroading career

For more than half a century, Phillip Copple worked for the Santa Fe Railway Co. and Burlington Northern Santa Fe, sticking with the industry he joined right out of high school at age 17. Last month, he retired, ending a 53-year career, according to a news item on "BNSF Today."

In 1951, Copple joined Santa Fe as a machinist apprentice at a San Bernardino, Calif., shop. He retired as superintendent of the Alameda Belt Line, which is jointly owned by BNSF and Union Pacific Railroad.

"I felt a real sense of accomplishment whenever I could fix a locomotive and see its speed increase," said Copple.

Copple's parents worked in the railroad industry, and three of his four children are continuing what has become a family tradition. One son works for the Alameda Belt Line, another works for Central California Traction Co. and a daughter works for Santa Fe.

His more than five-decade-long career was enjoyable and the time flew by, said Copple.

"It seems like I just started yesterday," he said. "I wouldn't change a thing. I still feel railroad jobs are some of the best jobs with great chances for advancement and great benefits."

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More News from 8/20/2004