Brother Chuck Schulz, Chairman of the BLET Wisconsin SLB (left), in the cab with Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers during his ride-along on November 15.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers got to experience firsthand what locomotive engineers and trainmen deal with on a daily basis when he went for a ride-along in the cab of a CPKC locomotive on November 15.Click to see a photo gallery of the ride-along.The idea for the ride along originated with Brother Chuck Schulz, Chairman of the BLET’s Wisconsin State Legislative Board. Schulz said: “Our nation has had several high profile railroad incidents this year, including one in Wisconsin. In April, a BNSF train derailed in La Crosse, dumping freight cars into the Mississippi River. These incidents came up in conversation when I met with Governor Evers at the BLET regional meeting in Milwaukee. I mentioned the idea of a ride-along in the cab of a locomotive, and being an educator his entire life, the governor wanted to observe firsthand a train crew’s responsibilities and duties while operating the train.” Neither Brother Schulz nor the governor’s office were able to arrange a trip on Brother Schulz’s home railroad, the CN, so the November 15 ride-along was hosted by the CPKC. Brother Bob Fuller, a member of BLET Division 253 (Portage, Wisc.), worked as the locomotive engineer during the trip. The ride began in DeForest, Wisc., and lasted approximately 30 minutes. According to Brother Schulz, Gov. Evers was impressed with the skills of the train crew members, adding that the ride reinforced the Governor’s support for two-person train crews. Wisconsin has had a two-person crew law since 1997 and was the first state in the U.S. to put such a law on the books. The state of Wisconsin played a key role in overturning former FRA Administrator Ron Batory’s attempt to preempt two-person crew regulations a few years ago when State Attorney General Josh Kaul joined the lawsuit against the FRA.