ISSUE 9 Volume 99 ROSEVILLE CA September 10, 1999


A report from Oregon, thanks to Railbaron 

While all the fun seems to be centered around Roseville, Eugene is not 
without it's moments. In UP's book, Eugene doesn't exist anymore. I guess 
we're just a hole where over 1000 cars a day disappear. The switch crews do 
what they can flat switching in a yard that was never designed for flat 
switching. A recent visit by a "high ranking" Portland Hub official showed 
how much they care about the switch crews in Eugene. He wasn't happy with the 
fact that the crews weren't putting out as much as he thought they should and 
he told the people here that if the work didn't increase, they'd be forced to 
pull more jobs off (we're down to 5 now so how much more can they take off?). 
That'll sure solve the problem. Really makes you want to go out and give your 
all, doesn't it? Recently an MPDWC was "yarded" in Eugene (I guess they ran 
out of sidings to park it in). On the rear of the train was a block of 26 
"Eugene" cars, mostly loads for industries in the Eugene/Springfield area and 
also a large block for CORP, the outfit that took over the Siskiyou Branch. 
Also included were a couple of cars for industry spotting in Albina Yard 
(UP's yard in Portland) and who knows how they ended up in the Eugene set-out 
but that's another story I guess. 

Eugene Yard was, as always, plugged. The local officials here didn't want to 
deal with another 26 cars so they had this MPDWC train take the cars through 
to who-ever would take them. That's one way to avoid yard congestion - just 
keep the cars moving up and down the mainline! So away they go onward toward 
Klamath Falls and points south. The problem with all this is that the people 
in Omaha had already decided this train was to go "single" - without a 
helper. Now they have to call another helper crew to get the train up to 
Cascade Summit. Wouldn't it have been cheaper to call another yard engine to 
do some of the extra work? Oh well, not in UP's world. 

Klamath Falls at first didn't even know about the cars, and then when they 
found out, didn't want the cars and wanted to send them to Roseville. After 
much discussion, Klamath lost and the 26 cars were set-out there. Now comes 
the problem of getting the cars back to Eugene. Of course since Eugene isn't 
a yard anymore to UP, I'm sure these cars will end up going back to Portland 
or Hinkle to be switched again into the proper train for Eugene. To the 
owners of the 20+ loads in this block - "Please stand by..." 

The Portland Service Unit now has its own slick newsletter. Now if you happen 
to visit this area and see all the officials in slings, it's because they've 
all injured themselves patting themselves on the back. This publication is 
designed to give us all a warm and fuzzy feeling inside (kind of like when 
U.P. your pants), it seems the only people who exist out here are the 
officials. The men and women who really make this railroad run don't exist in 
this publication. To read it, only the officials make this railroad run. Is 
it any wonder the one or two photos of "working employees" only show people 
with frowns on their faces. Gee,wonder why. 

The newsletter is filled with lots of charts. The only problem is that I 
can't figure what railroad these figures are from. It sure isn't the UP I 
know. To look at these charts, everything is running so smoothly. Sure wonder 
where all the relief crews are going all the time as I sure don't see a chart 
for that activity. I also don't see a chart that shows the amount of wasted 
time we all spend away from our families and homes because CMS refuses to 
maintain sufficient people on the boards. And I also don't see a chart that 
shows all the time the operating crews spend needlessly waiting in sidings 
because the yards are full and UP won't admit they need Eugene Yard. (More 
to come.) 

Railroad Yard Design and Engineering in two easy lessons 

Part 1: Management Roseville design Flaws and how to cover them up. 

1. Send as many trains some other way as you can 

2. Have at least three ways to manipulate the hump count, and switch between them daily. 

3. Ask Davidson how much it would cost to put a greenbelt around it. 

4. Fire somebody, no, Anybody! 

5. Give him another job and ask him not to be too angry, after all it's not his fault, is it? 


Roseville is becoming the graveyard of many careers, or so it would seem if 
the rumor mill is working. (Ed note: the Rumor Mill is one of those old SP 
structures Uncle Pete hasn't figured out how to destroy. You remember the 
one; big sucker, held all the BS.) If you want to assure an early retirement 
just apply for the job of DTO in Roseville. I heard the other day if you buy 
a home after taking this job, make sure it has wheels under it! Hmmm.. New 
guys get this advice from CMS all the time, so maybe there's a connection. 
Of course, you don't get to sit at your own desk whenever someone of higher 
rank blows in to make an appearance. Every time some drone with a new idea 
shows up in RV, the DTO has to sit in the chairs usually reserved for Local 
Chairmen and other supplicants, while the windbag from wherever tries to show 
him how to blame the employees for all UP's problems. But I digress. 

We hear VP Verhaal was bitten by a pit bull the other day right in the 
hallway of the Super Coop! We would have had better security, but I guess 
we spent the budget on Dick Davidson's Lawn Care. 

Anyway, he wasn't hurt seriously, but I understand the dog may have to be 
destroyed. (or become a switchman.) 

When the going gets tough, the tough harass employees. As of 8/24, every 
officer in the Hub who could be spared (That's all of ‘em, actually) showed 
up to shove crews onto trains without power, harass Yardmasters, Mechanical 
Dep't. folks, Carmen, carryall drivers, local officers, and even, DAMMIT, 
SWITCHMEN!! Now, we all understand there is a problem, but if these drones 
think they can fix it by accusing employees of not doing their jobs and 
running trains out of the yard that aren't ready, and even picking on 
Hostlers, well then, by God they are the lowest form of lowlife! Imagine 
that! Picking on Hostlers! I always thought UP had a Hire-the-handicapped 
program. (Sorry, I can't help it!) Of course they do. That's where the 
executives come from. Anybody seen a real railroader in Omaha lately?? 
Hell, No! Most of these nose-picking MBAs haven't figured out that railroads 
are labor intensive, close to the operating ratio, hard to figure businesses 
even when they work. But when they don't work? Look out, guys, you're 
gonna get burned! 

But I do need a new toaster, can you guys get me a better deal than K-Mart?? 
Hey, Ike??? 


Railroad Yard Design and Engineering in Two easy lessons 

Part 2: Scientific Studies 

For many months the UP has sought a reason for the fact that the 
well-designed and engineered Roseville Yard doesn't function as well as 
expected. For months the employees and managers were blamed as slackers who 
didn't know their jobs. This, in spite of the fact that most of UP's west 
coast operations were supported by 50+ year old yards during construction, 
manned by qualified switch crews and yardmasters. Omaha scientists and 
engineers studied these and other problems for many months and at great 
cost. Conclusions, helpful or otherwise, were not forthcoming. 

Then, in a fit of genius rivaled only by the introduction of the Ginzu Knife, 
UP management called in yet another consultant. He studied drawings and 
charts and mounds of data in Omaha. He visited Livonia, Louisiana, where he 
discovered the Gulf of Mexico, big-ole shrimp and other marvels. On his 
return to Omaha, he ran much of his accumulated data through UP's computers. 
After a two week wait, (these are NOT fast computers) He had the answer: 
The study revealed that because the new Roseville Yard was actually designed 
in Omaha, and that the engineering was based on Earth's gravity at that 
place, that Roseville will not work . After an extensive survey of the entire 
planet, it's very simple: Like nowhere else on earth, Omaha Sucks! 


You know you are a manager for the Union Pacific if: ... 
... you've sat at the same desk for 4 years and worked for three different Superintendents. 
... the only change in your resume for the past eight years is the acronym describing your position. 
... your U.S. Mail always has those cute, yellow, address forward stickers on them. 
... you get really excited about a 2% pay raise. 
... you learn about your job abolishment during a BTV Broadcast. 
... your promotional opportunities depend solely on your supervisor accepting that job offer by the BNSF. 
...your biggest loss from a computer crash is that you lose your best jokes. 
... your supervisor doesn't have the ability to do your job (or his, or anybody else's!). 
... it's dark when you drive to and from work. 
... communication with family members and friends always ends with the words: "over," or out." 
... stale food left over from meetings is your main staple. 
... you view mistakes by others as a career enhancement tool. 
... you think your subordinates are entitled to way too much vacation and personal leave. spend your annual one week of vacation with your family in a 14 foot, radar gun equipped fishing boat underneath the
Sacramento River 
... you think that the Hours of Service Law should be abolished outright. think that 'Work Rest" is a cadence call on a slave ship... 
...your best sex was the night you screwed over three crews in the same shift. 
(Thanks to the Gold Dust Twins!) 


(Editor's note: this is a new department. Contributions are encouraged. It 
just has to be related to the workplace. Try and top this one:) 
"Indeed, I hold that positive, constructive activity is an innate part of 
human nature, except when cancelled by institutionalised assholery." 

"...This is Worker Speaking..." 

I just can't believe my eyes and ears. They've gone and done it again. 
What you ask?? Well, remember all the rhetoric and fuss about getting the 
opinions and advise of the employees to fix all of the UP's problems? I guess 
the executives didn't want to listen to the workers of this outfit (or they 
didn't like what we were saying), so they instituted the "Executive Borrow 
Out Program." According to the September 8, 1999 Edition of UPONLIES, 
er...LINE, the Union Pacific has retained the services of Wayne Kennedy, an 
executive from General Electric, who will for the next twelve months, be 
training the UP managers in the ways of yet another quality program. SIX 
"STIGMA" (or is it SIX SIGMA?) is not a star cluster in the Alpha Quadrant 
but a program that will insure: "Quality and Consistency of Service..." 

I have no idea about Mr. Kennedy's background or education, but I'm 
certain that he will bring a wealth of knowledge and understanding to the 
many issues that plague the employees and customers of UP, such as but not 
limited to: short extra boards, poor lineups, inadequate power, inadequate 
training, and the daily abuse of our collective bargaining agreements. Maybe 
Mr. Kennedy can figure out why we have to wait hours and hours for a ride, 
after we die on the hours of service. Maybe he can give a job referral to all 
those recently furloughed new hires who were promised lifetime employment by 
the UP recruiters. Perhaps he's the smart guy who will finally resolve the 
various gravitational problems that continue to plague the Roseville Yard 
Hump Operation. 

I foresee thousands of dollars in SIX SIGMA public relations hype. Knit 
bowling shirts, coffee mugs, and pricy crystal paper weights with the newly 
unveiled "SIX SIGMA" logo will soon proliferate the halls and offices across 
the Union Pacific property. They'll look handsome sitting next to those 
Project Cheyenne" and "QIT" dust collectors, all of which serve as monuments 
to previous failed efforts on the part of Carrier management to heed the 
wisdom and advise of the rank and file employees. 

Before he leaves, I hope that Mr. Kennedy can at the very least, get me a 
deal on a replacement burner unit for my electric range. 


Dear Belly-Crawling Reptile, 
You got a lot of nerve, calling the UP a badly run company. Why if it wasn't 
for me, I mean, us, you SP guys would be flat broke and on welfare. I, we, 
saved your asses just when you needed it. Why just last week Dick, I mean Mr. 
Davidson, was telling me, or us rather, about all the good he had 
accomplished down in Texas last year without any help from former SP guys at 
all. Please try to refrain from your revolutionary writing and rabble 
rousing and get back to work. You should certainly be able to live on what 
we, or the UP pay you. And quit bitching about time off. I never get any 
time off any more, and you don't hear me complaining. Well, I'm off to Aspen. 
My regards to Rob Krebs. 
Yours Truly, 
Phil Anchutz 


(Note: Classified ads are free in SNAKEBITES. However, if you sell anything 
here we get half. Don't like it? We'll list your MTO's transfer request 
free, too!) 

SEEKING POSITION: Former SP officer willing to take the rap for UP 
stupidity. 30 yrs exper., will travel. Salary must be retained from highest 
held position. Call TR, Roseville 

FOR SALE: Used plastic coffee cups. For recycling only, MUST NOT BE USED 

FOR DRINKING. Have about 5,000. Need decontamination. 
M.Pollard, MTO, RV 

HELP WANTED: FRA is looking for radio procedure field test persons. 
Applicants must pass an IQ test with a score of not over 90. Previous 
railroad experience a definite minus. Must be able to sit in Gov't carpool 
vehicle for hours without moving. Salary commensurate with coffee breaks. 

Someone willing to bleed cars cheaper than a carman 
Someone willing to run Stockton Yard while the MTO bleeds cars. 
Please call the below name/address 

FOR SALE: 100 golf shirts with UP logo. These are factory seconds with the 
misprint: "Safety is Our Responsibility!" Carl, RV 

PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT: Any UP employee who eats, breathes, takes a bath, 
makes love, has a baby, does the laundry, plays golf or any other sport or 
generally is alive must not remove his/her safety glasses under the severest 
of penalties. And I'll make damn sure somebody cites him/her for it. 
Drew, RV 

SNAKEBITES is the unofficial publication of the Roseville Switchmen. Any 
resemblance to a real newspaper, living or dead, is damn lucky. 
Subscriptions are free, but it'll cost you $150 to get your name removed from 
our mailing list. (Inflation, OK?) Direct all communications and inquiries to 
It's not our real name, anyway. 

SPECIAL BONUS SUPPLEMENT, SEPT ‘99Because of the recent announcement by UTU 
that we are soon to have a choice of carriers for our medical plan, 

SNAKEBITES is proud to present: 

HMOs: The Real Story 

Q. What does HMO stand for? 
A. This is actually a variation of the phrase, "Hey, Moe" Its roots go back 
to a concept pioneered by Doctor Moe Howard, who discovered that a patient 
could be made to forget about the pain in his foot if he were poked hard 
enough in the eyes. Modern practice replaces the physical finger poke with 
hi-tech equivalents such as voice mail and referral slips, but the result 
remains the same. 

Q. Do all diagnostic procedures require pre-certification? 
A. No. Only those you need. 

Q. I just joined a new HMO. How difficult will it be to choose the doctor I 
A. Just slightly more difficult than choosing your parents. Your insurer will 
provide you with a book listing all the doctors who were participating in the 
plan at the time the information was gathered. These doctors basically fall 
into two categories: those who are no longer accepting new patients, and 
those who will see you but are no longer part of the plan. 

Q. What are pre-existing conditions? 
A. This is a phrase used by the grammatically challenged when they want to 
talk about existing conditions. Unfortunately, we appear to be pre-stuck with 

Q. Well, can I get coverage for my pre-existing conditions? 
A. Certainly, as long as they don't require any treatment. 

Q. What happens if I want to try alternative forms of medicine? 
A. You'll need to find alternative forms of payment. 

Q. My pharmacy plan only covers generic drugs, but I need the name brand. I 
tried the generic medication, but it gave me a stomach ache. What should I do? 
A. Poke yourself in the eye. 

Q. I have an 80/20 plan with a $200 deductible and a $2,000 yearly cap. My 
insurer reimbursed the doctor for my out-patient surgery but I'd already paid 
my bill. What should I do? 
A. You have two choices. Your doctor can sign the reimbursement check over to 
you, or you can ask him to invest the money for you in one of those great 
offers that only doctors and dentists hear about, like 
windmill farms or frog hatcheries. 

Q. What should I do if I get sick while traveling? 
A. Try sitting in a different part of the bus. 

Q. No, I mean what if I'm away from home and I get sick? 
A. You really shouldn't do that. You'll have a hard time seeing your primary 
care physician. It's best to wait until you return, and then get sick. 

Q. I think I need to see a specialist, but my doctor insists he can handle my 
problem. Can a general practitioner really perform a heart transplant right 
in his office? 
A. Hard to say, but considering that all you're out is the $10 co-payment, 
there's no harm giving him a shot at it.