Imagine my surprise when I read in the Salt Lake Tribune that 150 railroad employees had repaired both tracks, which were damaged by the explosion in the Red Narrows, by 4 p.m. on Aug. 11. However, I think that version of the story is not correct.
On Wednesday, Aug. 10, Paul Crespin, the manager of track maintenance for Union Pacific and his crew of 18 men began their normal work shift at 6 a.m. At 2 p.m. the semi-truck had overturned and exploded, taking out both Highway 6 and the U.P. railroad lines. Once the necessary equipment arrived the crew set about restoring the track.
By 4 a.m. on Aug. 11 , they had track one operational. The same crew continued working, and were able to have track two completely operational by 4 p.m. Basically these men put in 34 hours straight to get the repairs made, so that the delivery of orders and people on the Amtrak were disrupted as little as possible. I wish I had all the names of the crew so I could list them here. That group of 18 men did the job.
In the 14 years my family has lived in Price, I realize the railroad has been seen as both a curse and a blessing. The lining up of crews and trains doesn't always go smoothly, derailments and accidents also happen. Believe it or not, no one employed by the railroad enjoys these situations when they arise. Not even Mr. Rogers would want them for his neighbor.
On the other side of the coin, there are many people in this county who make their living working for the railroad. These employees and their families spend money in both Helper and Price. The property that the Union Pacific owns pays taxes on both the city and the county levels. These taxes go toward improvements, and some of it goes toward the county and city employees' paychecks. The railroad allows free parking on their property for those who come to enjoy the Helper Electric Light Parade. And the engineers voluntarily slow the speed of their trains when they enter and leave Helper, during the parade.
So is the railroad a perfect neighbor? Of course it isn't. Recently, there has been concern about some of the hazardous material that the cars carry, and this concern should remain. No one, (including all railroad employees) wants to be responsible for an accident of this nature.
But this latest disaster should also make everyone aware of what the semi-trucks in front of and behind them on the highway, are carrying as well.