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Track repairer Jack Burton marks 50 years at Alaska Railroad


A second Alaska Railroad Railroad Corp. (ARRC) employee has marked a golden anniversary at the freight and passenger railroad. ARRC leaders recognized Jack Burton's 50-year tenure during a Nov. 13 board meeting.

Burton, a track repairer who also serves on ARRC's board, joined the railroad as a track worker in April 1964. He has built, fixed or maintained the rail corridor in one capacity or another, such as by hammering spikes, operating specialized on-track heavy equipment, inspecting track and leading track gangs and section crews as a foreman, ARRC officials said in a press release.

Burton served as ARRC’s coordinator/liaison on the Bird-to-Girdwood road and track realignment project from 1994 to 1998, traffic control representative on the Whittier Tunnel project from 1998 to 2000, and coordinator/liaison on a major road construction project in the early 2000s.

He was president of the Alaska Railroad Workers/American Federation of Government Employees Local 183 from 1980 to 1994. When he stepped down from the post, then-Alaska Gov. Walter Hickel appointed Burton to ARRC's board. Since July 6, 1994, he has offered guidance and governance to the railroad and his board seat specifically represents the railroad's employees, ARRC officials said. Burton was last reappointed by Gov. Sean Parnell in October 2012 to a five-year term.

"Jack’s knowledge and leadership as a longtime railroader and experienced director has helped to keep us stay on track," said ARRC Chair Linda Leary. "As new board members have come onboard, Jack remains a grounding force on the board. He has served on a number of board committees over the years, including the Capital Projects and Executive committees. But most notably, Jack has consistently provided leadership and sage advice during his long-standing service on the Board Real Estate committee, as we tackle challenges and take advantage of opportunities."

The only other ARRC employee who marked a golden anniversary was Roadmaster Steve Love, who retired shortly after reaching the milestone in 2008. At the time, the railroad's board renamed Healy Siding as Love Siding. Similarly, because Burton has been a resident of Moose Pass since 1975, the siding there now is renamed the Jack Burton Siding, ARRC officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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