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11/18/2005



Rail News: Labor

Alabama short line's T&E workers join UTU


Alabama and Tennessee River Railway L.L.C.’s (ATN) train and engine-service workers recently chose the United Transportation Union (UTU) as their collective bargaining agent in a vote certified by the National Mediation Board. The workers previously weren’t represented.

Earlier this year, OmniTRAX Inc. formed the 120-mile short line after leasing a Birmingham-to-Gadsden, Ala., line from CSX Transportation. ATN interchanges with CSXT in Birmingham and Norfolk Southern Railway in Alabama City. (For more information on OmniTRAX, see page 20 of Progressive Railroading’s November issue.)

Despite its short existence, ATN has had a few train accidents and suffered one fatality, according to the UTU. In July, a conductor was killed after the car he was riding on derailed; in August, a runaway rail car hit an automobile at a grade crossing and several empty grain cars uncoupled from the rear of a different train.

“Improving that railroad’s safety record, through better training and adherence to safe operating practices, is going to be high on our priority list of objectives,” said UTU International President Paul Thompson in a prepared statement.


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