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Date: 12/07/12 20:19
Wahsatch Railroad Contractors Big Boy Official Statemen
Author: RJRimmasch

Too often in the past few days, Wasatch Railroad Contractors has been mentioned in the threads containing any information about the intention of Union Pacific Railroad to restore a Big Boy. This thread will be the only official comment made by Wahsatch Railroad Contractors on the matter.

When designed, the locomotives were assigned the engineering name of Wahsatch. Wahsatch is a location at the top of the grade between Ogden, UT. and Evanston, WY. At some stage in the original construction process, the words Big Boy were scribbled on the smoke box door. The name stuck. My company, Wahsatch (Wasatch) Railroad Contractors was named after, and in part as a result of this history. My company was originally founded in Wasatch County, Utah. As a Utah native, and a past resident of Wasatch County, the name seemed natural and fitting. Our company goals, visions and dreams have symbolic ties to the Wahsatch type locomotive (Big Boy), however, all of that is for another day and time.

In an effort to clear up any miss-understandings, the following statements are true: Indeed, Mr. Steve Lee retired almost two years ago and is now working as a sub-contractor/employee to Wasatch Railroad Contractors. Mr. Lee and I have spent a lot of time together at our East Coast shop this past week. This subject (Big Boy) has occupied a great amount of our time, even before the official news broke. I will not and I do not represent Steve. This thread is not a reflection of his views or comments made to me over the course of the past week. WRC values Steve for the contributions he makes to the Wasatch team. I would do nothing to jeopardize that relationship. Indeed, it is also true that many of the past UP Steam employees and even a few current employees frequent our Cheyenne, WY. facility. It is always an honor to welcome any past/current member of the steam crew to our facility. I myself have had relations with the program on a professional manner since about 2000. Our official ties to the UP steam program ended in about 2008/2009 when the program was forced to make a number of spending cuts as a reflection of a souring economy. However, despite the cut backs, the personal relationship between the program members and Wasatch has remained strong. Indeed, Wasatch was part of a number of very successful projects with the UP Steam Program. Though many wish to speculate as to the success of each project, it is no doubt that Wasatch had a long running and mutually beneficial relationship with the Union Pacific. This fact alone is indisputable, regardless of how any non-involved railfan may see things from a track side view.

To this day, my boys and I love the UP Steam program. Living in Cheyenne, the program, for resident railfans, is simply a way of life. Unfortunately for many of us, over the course of the past two years, under new management, doors have closed, the facilities are less open to the fans and the information that is held with-in is kept under tight lock and key. As I am aware that UP upper management is watching this and other threads, I will simply urge the Union Pacific to return to some of the past policies of openness and kindness to railfans. This past November, while watching the 844 return to the yard, the UP Police Officer kept people from entering the Yard. People were directed to the parking lot near Lincoln Way. Visitors got out of their cars, walked across all four UP main Line tracks to see the locomotive. Far safer it would have been to allow the visitors to view the steam train from the safety of the yard. Policies like these and others are damaging the relationship the program has with the public. Not only that, but this new policy was very dangerous to the visitors who had no idea how busy the four main line tracks in Cheyenne can be.

Public relations is just that.....building positive, safe relationships with the public. Though it is no secret, the operating history of the UP Steam program for 2012 has some work to do in terms of safety, efficiency and overall public view. To me, the idea of restoring a Big Boy to improve public relations is the wrong step. Repairing a public relations tool means repairing an image that may have been harmed or damaged, not creating a new one to cover up a bad one. The UP steam crew and current managers are better than the accidents that they had this year. They were trained better and know better than to have allowed any of what happened this year to happen in the first place. Which, as I digress brings me to me to my last point.

History is 20/20 in terms of clear vision. Looking back, the Steve Lee years, as far as I can see them operated a program free of major accidents, void of many major or minor personal injuries and was a public relations gold mine. A number of years the program, even running 60 days per year, actually made money. Crews were happy. They stayed with the program for many years. It was the jewel of the railroad and a fun, easy job. Looking back, a number of major projects were finished, most of which with-in budget, on time and delivered as expected. A number of projects cost way too much, some worked well, others did not. However, when examining each, certain people and certain companies succeeded far better than others.

Now, the answer all of you have been waiting for; NO, Wasatch is not involved in this project in any aspect or in any way. In fact, the most successful contractors with running records at UP do not seem to have any ties to this project. It makes one wonder, myself included, who the professional engineering firm is that has done the work, what the background is and what the credentials are that qualified the company or person for the job. However, that is not my call and I am making no judgments, only a fair and personal comment that I question the credentials.

If asked to participate, would Wasatch join the team? Sure, however, we would encourage UP to do what NS has done. Establish a 501 (C) (3) to which the RR can make donations and then have the work done on non-RR facilities and then operated by contractors. NS has done a great job this year. Accident record.....great, breakdowns- minimal, operating times- great. A number of locomotives used in a number of areas, great. Bravo NS. UP could take a lesson on this one. Restoring a Big Boy, in a unionized shop, which is running a steam locomotive more than 200 days per year; wow, to me sounds like a ton of overtime, a great potential for accidents, hard to retain employees who are married and risky to equipment. How ironic that all of this has been an issue this year on the great 844 parade of the nation. Unfortunate and not symbolic of the great past record of the steam program.

Truth be known, I hope UP succeeds at this venture. Truth be known, my boys and I would love to see it and we will be track side every step of the way. Truth be known, I think UP and the folks in Omaha need to spend some real time in heavy evaluation of who and how the contractors and employees that will carry out this project will be managed. Truth be known, from a business stand point, I do not find this to be the best move at this time under the current circumstances. However, none of this is my call either.

Agree with me or not, that is up to you. However, I will not participate in along debate, a drawn out conversation or any further speculation. I have made the comments that I feel are true, warranted and honest from the shoes and positions in which I stand. I value the UP and the current steam program for what it is. I hope they succeed in all that they do and I hope that this project is as great as they are making it sound right now.

Be it known that no other Wasatch employee is hiding behind false names or cover-up titles. This is the official position of Wahsatch (Wasatch) Railroad Contractors. Enough said.

Kindly yours,

John E. Rimmasch
Chairman of the Board
Chief Executive Officer
Wasatch Railroad Contractors


info@wrrc.us

http://wrrc.us



Date: 12/07/12 20:54
Re: Wahsatch Railroad Contractors Big Boy Official Stat
Author: tomstp

Wow, that was direct to the point.



Date: 12/07/12 21:17
Re: Wahsatch Railroad Contractors Big Boy Official Stat
Author: OKTrainboys

John, this is so weird....I thought it was you guys that would be the contractor to help the steam crew....so who could it be then? Is the group in Cheyenne..?
You can't just go put a big boy in someone's garage...



Date: 12/07/12 21:25
Re: Wahsatch Railroad Contractors Big Boy Official Stat
Author: EmpireBuilder

Well said John, well said.



Date: 12/07/12 21:29
Re: Wahsatch Railroad Contractors Big Boy Official Stat
Author: 2720

Very well said, Sir!!
I was going to say more,
but it is unnecessary!!
Mike



Date: 12/07/12 22:46
Re: Wahsatch Railroad Contractors Big Boy Official Stat
Author: MarkMeoff

John,

Couldn't you have just said "No, we are not involved"?

It would have saved 10 minutes worth of reading and 45 minutes worth of typing on your end.

Mark



Date: 12/08/12 05:25
Re: Wahsatch Railroad Contractors Big Boy Official Stat
Author: Tominde

MarkMeoff Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> John,
>
> Couldn't you have just said "No, we are not
> involved"?
>
> It would have saved 10 minutes worth of reading
> and 45 minutes worth of typing on your end.
>
> Mark


John could have taken the easy way. But I believe he is a very good business leader and believes good communication is good business. We need more good communicators in America. Thank you.



Date: 12/08/12 05:58
Re: Wahsatch Railroad Contractors Big Boy Official Stat
Author: hunt4004

Very well stated and proffectional you are a credit to the industry and the community,

Posted from iPhone



Date: 12/08/12 06:46
Re: Wahsatch Railroad Contractors Big Boy Official Stat
Author: HotWater

Doesn't surprise me that the new UP steam manager would have nothing to do with John's company.

Now, just wait and see what Matt Austin charges!



Date: 12/08/12 07:52
Re: Wahsatch Railroad Contractors Big Boy Official Stat
Author: Steam_Lap

HotWater and Others

Can you please shed some light on what specifically is wrong with Ed Dickens the new manager of the steam program. I am asking because I am curious not because I am trying to stir things up. Over the past several months we have all seen several threads about peoples perception of the UP steam program going downhill. What is the reason for all these people quitting, is Ed Dickens a tyrant is he mean, is he incompetent. How does he differ from Steve Lee? Did Steve Lee recommend him to take over the program? If Steve thought he was no good should he not have got rid of him when he worked for Steve? Is Ed a guy that's a good engineer but should not be in charge of an engine mechanically. I have heard he is a really nice guy and a gentleman and I know that Bill Stetler had him up to Canada for the CP steam program. I would just like to hear some more specifics if possible then the very vague statements people keep making.

Thanks.



Date: 12/08/12 08:00
Re: Wahsatch Railroad Contractors Big Boy Official Stat
Author: EmpireBuilder

All this has been covered several times in other posts, so there is no sense rehashing this stuff here. A search will uncover everything you seek.

I will touch on 3 things.

1. - Steve did not recommend him as his replacement.

2. - Ed's involvement was on an as needed basis on the road. He had been sent back to Denver to train service due to problems with him in the shop. He was used on the road only at the end of Steve's tenure.

3. - Ed won't use John's company due to his own personal issues against John, absolutely none of which are John's fault. It's an ego thing.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/08/12 08:15 by EmpireBuilder.



Date: 12/08/12 08:04
Re: Wahsatch Railroad Contractors Big Boy Official Stat
Author: CPRR

Well stated John. I would like to thank you for the letter, and it was worth the 10 minutes reading.

For the poster above, do a search. The views of Hot Water have been discussed here on many pages....



Date: 12/08/12 08:43
Re: Wahsatch Railroad Contractors Big Boy Official Stat
Author: Spikes

I met Ed Dickens only once at Colton with 844, and he was active, cordial, invited me to see cab and ride to Yermo (I was unable to ride), enthusiastic, informed, in charge, and bursting with advice and ideas. I knew Steve Lee briefly as professional, efficient, knowledgable, and well in charge. As for egos, there seems a tender full at every steam group in the country.



Date: 12/08/12 08:53
Re: Wahsatch Railroad Contractors Big Boy Official Stat
Author: jointlinerailfan

Here here!

Posted from Android



Date: 12/08/12 09:08
Thoughts from the right hand seat
Author: Bob3985

Thanks John, my good friend. You have stated it eloquently and precisely. Steve and I gather often to discuss life, present, past and the future. I was honored in 1989 to be selected, along with my best friend Lynn, to be a part of the UP's elite program and present the steam program to the public in a friendly and professional manner.

I have known John since a small boy in Salt Lake on one of our trips west. He has done fine work over the years. I only know of one modification applied that didn't work quite as well as expected and was being changed.

I credit the steam mechanical crew, during our time there, for their competent loyal dedication to the program, Ron, Henry, Grizz, Ed, and Jack. Together they accomplished all that was requested of them as have the current staff.

Steve, Lynn and I tried to perform the work on the other side of the equation, helping the mechanics when asked, running the equipment, switching around the shop, helping with souvenir sales and, of course, working on the public relations end also.

Thanks to all the guest firemen we had along on our trips, allowing us to perform even more efficiently over the hours spent on the road. I always had a guest fireman with me from other steam crews that had been invited by Steve. They came from the 4449, 1522, and the 819. Thanks guys.

In Omaha John Bromley and Mark Davis were our PR advance teams notifying locations along the route to our arrivals and lining up stops for school children and other signfigant events too. By looking at the photos posted over the years you can tell how great of a job they performed.

And lastly, I credit the UP to support this program to the extent that they did. With some serious convincing they let a group of us bring the 3985 back to life and look at the service it performed along side the venerable 844.

Yes Virginia, there may be a Big Boy in the offing, and I wish the steam program well with this project. Who wouldn't want to see a behemoth such as this operate again. Albeit it may be somewhat restricted to where it operates due to its curvature restrictions. However, to have one out on the mainline with the blessing of the UP would be outstanding.

Good luck steam crew and may the force be with you.

Bob Krieger
Cheyenne, WY



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/08/12 09:09 by Bob3985.



Date: 12/08/12 09:08
Re: Wahsatch Railroad Contractors Big Boy Official Stat
Author: Spikes

Q - Revisiting a comment... to borrow 3985 oil tender and a few parts temporarily for the 4014 engine converting to oil...could that work? Could then 3985 engine rest awhile at Pomona under a temporary rain cover? Once all done, 4014 tender could later be converted to oil at Pomona? Later, everything operates?



Date: 12/08/12 09:21
Re: Wahsatch Railroad Contractors Big Boy Official Stat
Author: Spikes

Bob Krieger; You, Steve Lee, your staff, and Union Pacific have made steam history and goodwill. I know it will continue at UP Steam, and if a Big Boy joins in, even better. The TO comments show the enthusiasm, for better or worse, and all interesting. Steam Onward.



Date: 12/08/12 09:22
Re: Wahsatch Railroad Contractors Big Boy Official Stat
Author: frontier

Johnny, very good response. Glad you stepped up to clear the air.



Date: 12/08/12 09:26
Re: Wahsatch Railroad Contractors Big Boy Official Stat
Author: Bob3985

Spikes Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Bob Krieger; You, Steve Lee, your staff, and Union
> Pacific have made steam history and goodwill. I
> know it will continue at UP Steam, and if a Big
> Boy joins in, even better. The TO comments show
> the enthusiasm, for better or worse, and all
> interesting. Steam Onward.


Thanks Spikes. We think back on some of the things we pulled off for the excursions and public make us shake our heads and laugh but yet we got it done. One that comes to mind is doing two run bys for an excursion photo line DOWN Cajon Pass. Yet Jack Wheelihan and I got it done for them. Ingenuity is a good trait.

Bob Krieger
Cheyenne, WY



Date: 12/08/12 10:00
Re: Wahsatch Railroad Contractors Big Boy Official Stat
Author: Frisco1522

First time I met the old crew was at the 1990 NRHS convention here in St. Louis.
They made fun of the 1522 and called it a "cute little engine". From that day on I knew they were OK and we enjoyed a great relationship and I consider Bob and Steve to be super friends.
Thanks for the memories and fun times guys.



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