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Thread: Curious Question I Just Had To Ask

  1. #1
    PatchCrew Guest

    Default Curious Question I Just Had To Ask

    I just wanted to ask the various forum members out there a question. Why is it some of you dislike the Union Pacific Railroad? What causes the bad taste on your tongue? What has Union Pacific done to you? I see a lot of negative comments about UP that I've been trying to figure out why they are being stated.

    Do you feel that they are unfreindly to railfans?
    During the meltdown of 1997 were you blocked by a train or trains that prevented you from going somewhere?
    Does it have anything to do with their early unfriendly attitude towards Microsoft Train Simulator?

    I'd like to hear what you dislike about UP. I'm not trying to stir up trouble and I have no intentions of defending UP, but they are my employer and I would like to hear what we did to you guys and why you are being a small bit inconsiderate to it's employees.

    There is another post here in the forum discussing the derailment of 3 trains near North Platte NE. One forum member said "UP at it's best". When another railroad had a head on collision that killed 3 people recently and right after that another that killed 1 crew member I didn't hear any similar statements. Don't you guys think that you are being a bit hard on those of us who deal what these kinds of dangers daily?

    Why is there hostility and hatred between railfans/MSTS community and Union Pacific and it's employees?

    PatchCrew
    UP Engineer (ex-Southern Pacific) :-)

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default RE: Curious Question I Just Had To Ask

    [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON Jun-20-02 AT 06:34PM (EDT)[/font][p]I think many people have hostile sorts of feelings toward UP becuase of lots of reasons, many of which you mention. And as ex-SP yourself, you represent what many fans might see as "victims," when their favorite roads disappear because UP bought them. Now, being an insider, you might have different view. . .I don't know what the business situation of SP was before they were merged, but a lot of people don't like seeing a big company like UP swallow up all kinds of stuff, and all the fans are left with is a homogenous blob of yellow locos all over the country. I know I have a hard spot on my heart about CN because eventually my favorite IC paint will go away (to be replaced by CN stuff with I.C. stencilled under the cab window. woo. . .hoo).

    Also, I have read many many many anecdotal accounts of railfans being harassed by overly aggressive UP police, stories I haven't heard anywhere with regard to any other railroads.

    Also, UPs comments regarding use of their logos and trainsim didn't help their PR.

    I think anytime you have a huuuuuuuge entity like that, there will be resistance. They tend to have a lot of power, and grow so large that when they seem to have trouble taking care of everything for which they're responsible, people jump on that (as in the comments regarding the seemingly large number of major derailments). Just look at the comments of some regarding Microsoft, the government, etc.

    troub
    [link:pages.sbcglobal.net/msts-ic|MSTS: Illinois Central]

  3. #3
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    Default RE: Curious Question I Just Had To Ask

    Patch,

    Since the UP main passes about a hundred feet from my house I consider it to be "my" railroad. It's my primary model/simulation road, and I still enjoy chasing UP trains.

    However, the animosity from some people here and in the railfan community in general probably stems from a number of things. Many people dislike a company based only on the fact that it is large. I could even site Microsoft, many people don't like the company because they hold so much market share and they don't want to "put any more money in Uncle Bill's pocket". (Granted Microsoft has a bad reputation for putting out products that aren't up to snuff.)

    Also a lot of it has to do with the fact that UP has swallowed so many other carriers; hence the nickname "The Borg". For an Espee fan or Mopac follower or any number of others, the armour yellow makes them feel somewhat resentful.

    I'm sure there are a number of people who grew dissatisfied in '97 as well.

    At any rate I wouldn't take any of it personally.

    Blake Harris
    Vice Dean, Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies

    [Link Expired]

  4. #4
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    Liberal, KS, USA.
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    Default RE: Curious Question I Just Had To Ask

    I don't hate UP at all IMO they saved the MKT and SP as well from a slow death due to bankruptcy. As a child I watched the Rock Island in its death throes, it wasn't pretty. I remember my parents and other adults wondering what would become of our town if the line was abandoned. For a few years I harbored resentment towards SSW/SP over that because I didnt comprehend what bankruptcy meant. I acually like the Armour Yellow and Harbor Mist Gray, sharp and classy. Besides name one road that has kept a paint scheme as long as UP. I often wonder how the old PRR was known as the standard RR of the world they went under in the 60s with track conditions in areas that were deplorable. Don't get me wrong UP has had its ups and downs as well, I just feel that they do get a bad rap for some reason.

    MKT1972

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  5. #5
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    Default RE: Curious Question I Just Had To Ask

    I am not into railroad politics. I used to live in a UP town (Idaho Falls) and I like the color schemes of the locomotives. I especially like that new steel caboose (CA-11 I think??) they came out with just before cabeese were dropped from general use.

    I love to see those big diesels hauling a long train along the Columbia River. That's one of the reasons I'm modeling the Columbia Gorge.

    [Link Expired]
    Cal Rasmussen
    Beaverton, OR

    Columbia Gorge Route (15% done, The Dalles yard and dam(40%) in progress)
    Cal Rasmussen
    [email protected]
    Columbia Gorge Route

  6. #6
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    Default RE: Curious Question I Just Had To Ask

    Being from southern Calif., I grew up being a SF/UP/SP fan. I can certainly understand some of the hard feelings towards one of the big fish in the pond. I still miss SP a lot. But, after years of hanging around the yards in the LA-area as a kid, I'll always remember being invited into the cab of a UP SD24, #404, by one of the most friendly railroad guys you could imagine.

  7. #7
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    Default RE: Curious Question I Just Had To Ask

    Well, my dislike for the UP goes back to the beginning. Anyone wanting to know UP history during the TransCon can pick up a book called "Empire Express" by David Haward Bain at Barnes & Noble, Steven Ambrose's book is not as brutal. Not working in the Houston Chemical business, I cannot comment on the meltdown. Like some of the others, I grew up in California, and seeing the SP/WP vanish into the sea of yellow nothing was sad indeed. I own stock in BNSF, KCS, NS, and RailAmerica, never gave UP a second thought.

    John

    PS. McCloud River SD38-2 #39 was sold to UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    [Link Expired]

  8. #8
    PatchCrew Guest

    Default RE: Curious Question I Just Had To Ask

    If you had of bought UP stock around late 1998 into early 1999 when it was at $31.00 a share you would have doubled your money by now. Today it closed at $64.57.

    Now that's what I call disliking the UP by not buying their stock at least during the meltdown times. Back then it couldn't get any worse. It had to get better. :-)

    The pattern that I am starting to see is that some people dislike the UP because their favorite railroad was gobbled up by the acquisitions/mergers. Anybody upset that Santa Fe is gone also? What I'm hearing is that people are upset mainly from a hobby/railfanning point of view. Everybody is entitled to their opinions and views but guys it really doesn't matter what you see on the outside. Yes I know that UP's public relations image is not that great but on the inside we have some things that are better than "those other guys". And I have spoke to some of those other guys working for that other big railroad and believe me they are catching hell like we have never seen. But on the outside their image and their locomotives look super. So is UP better? Well lets just say that all railroads/companies have their pros and cons.

    So I guess it all boils down to what the public views UP as, and what the employees on the inside see. I'd like to explain the employees perspective as looking out of the locomotive front windshield at the tracks ahead and the person on the outside gets to see the whole train. It probably doesn't sound like I'm making any sense but maybe in a nutshell don't knock something you may not fully understand from your perspective.

    Just food for thought guys. This is nothing personal to me just a curiosity subject. Any other interesting thoughts out there?

    PatchCrew


  9. #9
    MJL Guest

    Default RE: Curious Question I Just Had To Ask

    [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON Jun-21-02 AT 01:59AM (EDT)[/font][p]This may just sound like the ramblings of a twit, but just bear with me....first, I second the comments of the previous posters

    "favorite railroad was gobbled up" --or not, as in the case of the RI, but I bet if anyone else was in the position of the UP then, they would have let it rot as well....even though they eventually got the golden state route, and a few others out of the deal.

    SP merged in -->more importantly DRGW around here..eventhough the SP/DRGW bit happened a while ago, when UP took over..there became a lot more patch jobs.

    also with the mergers "upset that Santa Fe is gone also?" it seems that when some other RR's merge 2 (or more roads) go in and a new one comes out, i.e. roads going in to form Conrail, CSX, Burlington Northern, and more recently BNSF. there was a 'New' railroad produced.... but with UP whenever they 'merge' the other roads logo always leaves and yellow remains.......

    another item.....not to be hard on UP (I was born in Cheyenne, have a great deal of respect for them, and am currently surrounded by 6 old UP calander images -E's, turbines, and F's- that my grandfather framed for me a long time ago) but compared to some of the other RR's that I read about in the news, they seem to be more impressed with themselves than the other lines, and that they are THE GREAT RAILROAD, UNION PACIFIC, when in fact they are a just a fixed route trucking company with steel wheeled trailers.
    AND
    from that image of themselves (as a corprate entity) when you read the news that some half-baked edict, or directive has come out from a railroad.
    (U.S. passanger RR's dont count ;-) )..theres usually a 1 item guess list of what railroad it could be....UP... not just the MSTS/UPlogo flap, but the local favorite here in Denver (or more correctly suberb Aurora) where UP owns one of the roads -Smith Rd- and charges the city rent...a little while ago they decided to raise the rent by
    XXXX% --don't know the exact amount, but it was ludacrusly huge. I think Aurora is/was countered w/ having the State of Colo wave around the Moffat tunnel rent agreement. and also Aurora proposed that private street owners pay all the costs of street operations, and carry a huge amount of insurance..
    I'm sure others have UP interesting news stories as well, but thats just the one I remember.

    One more item....my Dad was relating how he goes to train-club w/ some UP guys (Spokane WA) and that they like to gripe about their employer...I asked if UP is so bad, why don't they go over to BNSF..and he said that they don't really mean it, and that no matter who people worked for, they would still gripe about their boss....

    with all of that said, a question for you PatchCrew...I submitted a job app. to UP a long while back...late April, on the web site it still says "Still under review", and when I called HR, they said the same thing...how long does UP take to review applications?

    at least they know the bennies of a good steam program.

    also, just to pry a little, since a fair amount of MSTS-forum-ites probably don't work for a 'real' RR and only have trackside prespectives, but how is UP better on the inside?? (from what you have observed), if you don't mind divulging seedy little details....

    Matt
    [Link Expired]

  10. #10
    PatchCrew Guest

    Default RE: Curious Question I Just Had To Ask

    [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON Jun-21-02 AT 05:54AM (EDT)[/font][p]MJL:

    1. I wasn't hired by UP and I don't work in the Human Resources department so I can't answer your question on how long it takes to review an application.

    2. I never said UP was better than another. What I said was that in some cases UP employees are better off than some other railroad's employees. But some of those railroads may be better in certain other areas. I said that there are pros and cons with any company.

    The exact issues on why working conditions are better (or worse) depend actually on what part of the railroad you work at. I'm talking about things like the pay, time given for undisturbed rest, and the ability to mark off sick or for rest as some examples. My real point here is it's pretty much the same on the inside no matter which railroad you work for. That's the inside perspective and not the public one. Going to work for BNSF as you suggested to those employees would not solve any issues that we have to deal with daily. Some things are the same simply because they are issues that haunt the entire railroad industry.

    as in the case of the RI, but I bet if anyone else was in the position of the UP then, they would have let it rot as well....even though they eventually got the golden state route, and a few others out of the deal.

    Uh if I'm not mistaken it was the Southern Pacific that got the golden state route when Rock Island went bankrupt.

    but compared to some of the other RR's that I read about in the news, they seem to be more impressed with themselves than the other lines, and that they are THE GREAT RAILROAD, UNION PACIFIC

    Ok who is they? Employees, company managers, stockholders? Now we are getting somewhere as you say they "seem". What makes people "feel" that UP is arrogant if you have no inside knowledge of the company? You may be right or you may be wrong but what I'm asking is how does the public see this attitude you mention UP has?

    PatchCrew



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