A railroad labor lobbyists asked the Wellington City Council to give its support to a bill in the state legislature that would require trains to have two people in the cabin while a train is running.
Ty Dragoo told the council at a worksession meeting Monday, railroad workers feel this is a safety issue.

By James Jordan
The Wellington Daily News

A railroad labor lobbyists asked the Wellington City Council to give its support to a bill in the state legislature that would require trains to have two people in the cabin while a train is running.
Ty Dragoo told the council at a worksession meeting Monday, railroad workers feel this is a safety issue.
He said the railroad companies offered workers a big signing bonus, a raise and guaranteed job security if they would go along with the idea of having only one person running a train. He told the council 90 percent of workers voted against the measure.
“This isn’t about money, it’s about safety,” he said.
Two local railroad workers also attended the meeting and echoed the sentiments.
He said the real issue is profits for the railroad.
“Traffic is down some on the railroads, but profits are up.  They can cut costs a lot if they only have one person on the train,” he said.
Dragoo said it could be catastrophic if that one person had a health issue, such as a stroke or heart attack.  There is also a possibility that one person could make a mistake, and if there were two that mistake could be caught or corrected.
He added that rail transportation is the safest way to transport anything, but for decades there have been at least two people in the cab.
The railroad companies say there is no factual data to support the idea that only one person in the cab is a safety hazard. He said that is because for the last 60 years it has not been done, he said.
Another issue is blocking intersections. This happens, and with a two man  crew, it can be unblocked if there is an emergency. Dragoo said it would be impossible, and would take hours, if there was only one person running the train.
He also said there are hazardous materials shipped often, and that passes through Wellington often, making it even more of a potential hazard.
He has been asking cities around the state to support the state bill that would require two people in the cabin. Emporia and Newton are agreeable to the idea, he said.
Council member Jan Korte said she thought it was a good idea to have two people in the cab of a train, but did not want the city to take a stand on a political issue. She was also concerned that it might damage relations between the city and the railroad.
Council member Vince Wetta, a retired railroad worker, supports the measure and said he did not think it would hurt relations between the city and the railroad.
“We are elected to do things for safety. I don’t thing railroad will be that upset. They were more upset about us not letting them block intersections,” he said.
The council may take up this issue at its next meeting,  on Feb. 17.
Also at the worksession, the council talked about replacing a floor at the armory, but put off making any decision. They were also concerned about street repairs and the loss of state funding for those repairs.