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Railroaders' Nostalgia > The night I pushed the "nuclear" button


Date: 11/03/16 15:16
The night I pushed the "nuclear" button
Author: Copy19

In the years fresh after the 1982 Union Pacific-Missouri Pacific-Western Pacific merger as a public relations representative for UP my duties often included community relations issues beyond my news media responsibilities.  In practice whenever a citizen with an issue with the railroad managed to reach me, he or she was usually pretty well steamed.  

So it was when one night a man called me at home from a former MP community somewhere in Illinois. Today I don't remember exactly where.  He was very unhappy about a set of idling units near his house keeping him awake.  He informed me that Mike Flannery personally had promised him it would never happen again after the last time he called about the problem.

I knew instantly that this was a NSD (No S---- Deal) as I had been briefed on this promise.  Mr. Flannery, former WP president,  was well known in our department for his promises.   He occupied a nice office up on the 12th floor in those days.  I told the caller I would take care of it.

I started calling yardmasters, trainmasters and road foremen and anyone else near the scene in a frantic effort to make good on my promise.  I couldn't raise anyone who could or would help.  My next step was to call OC (Operations Control) in downtown Omaha up on the 9th floor of headquarters.  I reached Ed O'Hara, a major Domo in the operating department.  At this far remove I don't remember exactly what he said after I told him my story, but I decided OC was a dead end.

I dialed Jerry Davis, Vice President operations, at his home.

Seemingly seconds later, but probably a only few minutes after I talked to Mr. Davis, my kitchen phone rang.  A voice screamed at me: "JEEEESUS KEERIST!  DON'T EVER DO THAT AGAIN!"  It was Mr. O'Hara.  I gathered operating people were racing from every corner of the railroad to shut down those units.

Ed, if you're out there, I hope you forgive me.

JB - Omaha
 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/03/16 15:37 by Copy19.



Date: 11/03/16 15:30
Re: The night I pushed the "nuclear" button
Author: J.Ferris

John,

Were you thinking of R. G. "Mike" Flannery?

J.



Date: 11/03/16 15:39
Re: The night I pushed the "nuclear" button
Author: Copy19

Yes I was.  Thank you.   I have corrected my post.  I could tell another story about the time I met Mr. Haverty.
JB - Omaha



Date: 11/03/16 16:58
Re: The night I pushed the "nuclear" button
Author: mdo

Jerry Davis was a pussy cat compared to W J (the alligator) Lacy VPO of the SP in the same era.



Date: 11/03/16 19:25
Re: The night I pushed the "nuclear" button
Author: J.Ferris

mdo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Jerry Davis was a pussy cat compared to W J (the
> alligator) Lacy VPO of the SP in the same era.

Mike, I'm sure you and both Rolland have some good "Wild Bill" Lacy stories.

J.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/05/16 09:48 by J.Ferris.



Date: 11/03/16 20:44
Re: The night I pushed the "nuclear" button
Author: tomstp

Great story, J B.



Date: 11/04/16 06:31
Re: The night I pushed the "nuclear" button
Author: Jimbo

I suspect most railroads have a similar situation at some location.  We had one near the automobile unloading facility at Walkertown just north of Winston-Salem, NC.  It only takes one non-action after a phone call to learn to take the caller seriously, after he calls "higher-ups."



Date: 11/04/16 08:03
Re: The night I pushed the "nuclear" button
Author: tomstp

You know, the "higher ups" should have to man some complaint and customer phones monthly and then they would see what the "underlings" have to put up with.  Who knows, they just might have things done differently.



Date: 11/04/16 17:31
Re: The night I pushed the "nuclear" button
Author: SanJoaquinEngr

Sometimes it takes appropriate action to get the job done..  It takes more time to not to take action than to get the job done...



Date: 11/04/16 18:29
Re: The night I pushed the "nuclear" button
Author: CarolVoss

SanJoaquinEngr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Sometimes it takes appropriate action to get the
> job done..  It takes more time to not to take
> action than to get the job done...

and sometimes it is easier to ask forgiveness than permission--
C

Carol Voss
Salinas, CA



Date: 11/04/16 18:56
Re: The night I pushed the "nuclear" button
Author: sphogger

Lol.  Good one JEB!   More of these stories please.  I always wondered how high up some of the antics and the names went.
As far as SP goes fortunately I never had the occasion to meet Mr Lacy.  He was certainly a legend to be reckoned with.  

Sphogger

 



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