Safe railroad operations and safety training delivered by expert trainers with 35+ years’ railroad experience.

Each Rail Safe trainer has 35+ years’ railroad experience in areas ranging from locomotive engineers, switchmen, yardmasters, track inspectors, track repair, track design, and supervision. Their experience has also included targeted hands-on and classroom instruction that includes an expert level of familiarity with FRA rules and regulations.

Rail Safe instructors’ knowledge and experience in the railroad industry is unparalleled.

Chuck Leonard began his career in the spring of 1973 as a track laborer with the Burlington Northern Railroad while attending the University of Illinois and then the University of Iowa. In the fall of 1976, he was promoted to a BN switchman/brakeman position and subsequent promotion into the BN locomotive engineer school where he was graduated to a locomotive engineer in May of 1978.

From 1978 until retirement in January 2015 Chuck worked as locomotive engineer in passenger service (Amtrak), switch engine service, local freight service, mixed freight service, heavy freight service (coal, grain, taconite, etc.), work train, and snow plow service. During his years of service, Chuck trained and supervised dozens of student locomotive engineers.

His success in providing effective safety training that supported near zero incidence occurrences enabled him to identify opportunities to improve safety during visits to other rail operations site. Charles then founded Rail Safe to provide the safe operating practices and procedures developed by Class 1 railroads to private industry.

Ken Hay began his career with the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad (acquired by the Union Pacific in 1994) in 1972. As a trainman, his jobs included brakeman, conductor, switchman, and yardmaster. In 1997 he was promoted to Manager of Yard Operations and became the Manager of Terminal Operations (MTO) in 2002 until his retirement in 2009. As an MTO, he was responsible for supervising his territory while managing 25 rail-served industries along with the safe and efficient movement of train and yard movements. He was a leader of several safety teams, including derailment assessment, root causation incident reenactment, and public education of railroad crossing safety.

Edward Hanson graduated from South Dakota School of Mines & Technology in Spring 1988. He started his career as an IT Manager for a upcoming company. Since that time, he has moved up the ranks (Network Admin/CTO) for multi-million dollar companies. In 2010, because of health reasons, he semi-retired doing IT Sales & app development.

Ed has assisted Rail Safe from their beginning with the Learning Management System to deliver their courses online. He continues to work with Rail Safe and their clients for any course or technical assistance.

Barb Anderson began her 40-year career in freight with Burlington Northern and passenger service with AMTRAK as a brakeman, switchman, and conductor. In 1983, she was promoted to train dispatcher, relief chief dispatcher, and train master. Promoted again in 1997, she was worked as a terminal train master in Sioux City, IA and as Terminal Manager in Memphis, TN and Springfield, MO, for a regional railroad, IAIS, as a Manager of Operating Practices, and as a private contractor doing computer-based training for Union Pacific. In all disciplines, Barb was active on safety committees and promoted a safer work environment.

In 2006, Barb started working for the Federal Railroad Administration as an Operating Practices Safety Inspector. Her primary duties included hands on inspections of Class I, Regional, and Short Line Railroads for compliance with Federal Railroad Regulations. As an inspector, Barb received the Superior Achievement Award and Inspector of the Year Award for Region 6. In 2012, she was promoted to Chief Inspector in Council Bluffs, IA where she focused on short line inspections, drug and alcohol compliance enforcement, and accident investigations until her retirement in December of 2015.

Stephen Haley retired from BNSF in 2012 with more than 40 years of experience in the railroad industry. He started his railroad service as a brakeman and expanded his experience and responsibilities to yardmaster. During this time, he served as a switch foreman and utility man assuring the safely of each train that entered and exited the switchyards. Selected to assist with hiring new employees, his expertise in employee selection led to the hiring of several long-term employees. In addition to his recruitment services, Steve was also a member of the BNSF safety committees where he mentored multiple classes of new employees, ensuring the education of safe operations in rail yard operations.

Jim Sandman began career at Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. Working as trainman, he held positions of switchman, brakeman, and was promoted to conductor. He completed a certificate of Quality Concepts Q90, a program designed to improve processes and set standards in the workplace. In pursuit to increase public awareness, Jim taught railroad safety to elementary and high school students through Operation Lifesaver. He was selected to represent the Sioux City, IA terminal at the local and state level as a safety rep for 15 years and co-chaired the terminal safety committee for five years. He was also responsible for performing terminal and subdivision physical plant safety audits. Jim coached, mentored, and trained new hires. He retired from BNSF in 2012 with over 35 years’ service.

Wesley Hazlett began his career working freight with Burlington Northern and passenger service with Amtrak in 1968 as a switchman and conductor. Wes was promoted to locomotive engineer service in 1979. During the next 30 years he completed certification of Quality Concepts Q90, became a Safety and Rules Trainer in a terminal of 150 employees, worked with Operation Lifesaver as a facilitator and chaired the focus group to make recommendations for improved operations at a facility. He also served on the Willmar terminal safety committee. He retired from the BNSF in 2009.

Gary Moller started his railroad career in Boone, IA on the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad in May of 1980 after serving in the USAF Iowa Air National Guard. He worked as a switchman, switch foreman, and brakeman before being promoted to conductor in 1984. He was promoted again in 1993 into locomotive engineer service. As a conductor and engineer, he worked all classes of service: freight service, container trains, local service, work trains, switch engines, and loading and unloading of coal trains in coal fields. As part of CNW/ Union Pacific merger in 1996 and during the merger with UP, Gary was trained on each railways’ territories. Due to his extensive knowledge base, Gary was elected to cross train UP and CNW engineers each other’s territories, control setup, and operation, as well as training all new hires. Gary served as a member of the Iowa Legislative Branch and President of local 699 while on CNW/UP railroads. After 33 years of service, Gary retired from Union Pacific in November of 2013.

Steve Fitzpatrick retired in 2013 from Union Pacific with over 40 years of railroad experience, Steve began his railroad career in 1973 with the Chicago Northwestern Railroad as a brakeman. Promoted to conductor in 1976, he worked several different assignments including switching operations and freight positions. After the 1996 Chicago Northwestern merger with Union Pacific Railroad, he continued his railroad career at the Council Bluffs Iowa Terminal and Fremont Nebraska Terminals. He was also involved with “Operation Redblock”, a drug and alcohol program that recognizes and helps rehabilitate employees so they can return to work. Steve was also instrumental in getting the “Total Safety Culture” off the ground in the Sioux City area. TSC is a joint effort between labor and management to identify and rectify problems in the everyday workplace environment.

Lanny Dyvig began his career with the Burlington Northern Railroad in the spring of 1976 in the Maintenance of Way department at Laurel, Mt. Over the next 7 years, he worked as a laborer, machine operator, track inspector, assistance foreman, and foreman. In October of 1983, Lanny was promoted to Assistant Roadmaster, then over the next 36 years, held positions with increased responsibility as Division Roadmaster, Division Trainmaster, Terminal Trainmaster, Manager Maintenance Planning & Scheduling, Superintendent of Maintenance Schedules, Manager of Merchandise Operations, Manager of Merchandise Service Performance, and Senior Manager of Service Design & Performance. Each of these positons were responsible for supervising a specific territory as well as being part of a team that managed the safe and efficient movement of train and yard movements. Each position included continual review and development of improved safety and operational plans as well as direct involvement in training, mentoring, and discipline.

During his career, Lanny attended training courses for safety, rules, operations processes, track defects, derailment assessment/investigation, incident reenactment, employee investigation, human resource processes, drug & alcohol awareness, and multiple software products. He also took college classes in Industrial Safety as well as attained an Emergency Medical Technician License subsequently serving his community as a volunteer EMT and Fireman. Lanny was a certified trainer for Operation Lifesaver and worked to educate the public on railroad crossing safety while also participating on multiple Safety teams mentoring new managers and union employees.

Lanny finished his career in Service Design, working to develop train plans that not only expedited customer commodities but also reduced hazardous exposure to employees handling these goods. During his last couple years, he worked as a subject matter expert with the technology team in an effort to develop new software that assisted in developing improved and safe operational plans. Lanny retired from BNSF Railway March 1, 2019 with 43 years of railroad experience.

Mike Wacker began his career with the Burlington Northern Railroad in the fall of 1975 as a mechanical laborer. He worked through a mechanical apprenticeship, qualifying as a diesel mechanic, and all forms of locomotive repair & federal inspecting. By 1979 Mike was promoted to a foreman of locomotives and completed his mechanical career in 1993 as an assistant General Foreman. Continuing his career path, he was promoted to a Trainmaster position. Over the next 24 years transitioned up to the Superintendent of Operation.

During his years of railroad work, Mike became a certified trainer for safety & quality through Quality Control Circles and the Crosby Total Quality System. He developed a maintenance line function for locomotives. The system set the time process for time card reporting and reduced cost of tooling at the facility. Mike attended the University of St. Thomas business school for business & operation management, attended training in each department for mechanical, operating, derailment investigation, employee investigation, Human Resources, and Drug & Alcohol. His duties included involvement with the hiring of new employees, training, and discipline. He worked with multiple safety teams and mentored new employees both management and union employees and was honored 4 separate years with the top safety awards for his team by BNSF Railway. Mike retired from BNSF Railway in 2017 with 42 years of railroad experience.

Dennis Mustoe began his railroad career working with Burlington Northern Maintenance of Way Crews in the floods on the Mississippi River in 1973, as a college intern. His career path transitioned through a MOW machine operator, Agent Operator, Train Dispatcher Trainee, Brakeman, and ultimately Locomotive Engineer. Promoted to a Trainmaster/Road foreman of Engines in 1988, he continued to positions of increasing responsibility with Burlington Northern and ultimately the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad as Division Trainmaster/Road foreman, Terminal Trainmaster, Service Manager for the Consumer Products Business Unit, Manager intermodal Operations, Superintendent of Operations, Terminal Superintendent and again as Superintendent of Operations upon retirement in 2010.

Upon his retirement, he started a new chapter with Herzog Transit Services as Deputy General Manager in commuter rail and promoted to General Manager in 2014. Leading the organization for two plus years, he retired again in late 2016. He, like many others at Rail Safe, was a part of a Division Safety Committee early in his career. This was embedded in him throughout as he ended his 42-year career injury free, discipline free and most important to him, no railroad employee was fatally injured under his watch.

J. Roberts started his rail career with the Frisco Railroad in 1978 in the track and engineering department. Expanding his experience as trackman, welder, assistant foreman, foreman and road master, Roberts was promoted to special equipment manager overseeing operations of track structures and projects involving all heavy equipment, while also working as trainman and switchman. He was promoted to dispatcher, then chief dispatcher in the Frisco Office Springfield Missouri area and subsequently moved to Madill Oklahoma as division trainmaster with territory from Irving Texas to Tulsa Oklahoma being both CTC and TWC. Continuing to progress in his career he assumed the Tulsa, Oklahoma terminal trainmaster position, then to Ft Worth, Texas NOC as manager of locomotive utilization arranging alignment and maintenance of locomotives for the system. Finally, his path led him to Creston, Iowa as division trainmaster with territory across Iowa to Omaha, Nebraska where he was part of the Nebraska division leading the industry in safety and securing the triple crown award for safety. In his final years, Roberts earned the terminal manager position in Lincoln, Nebraska just prior to returning to the NOC as Manager of unit train operations for the BNSF railroad in charge of and supervising all unit train operations across the BNSF.

Being trained in all aspects of the railroad from track and structures to operations including both field and corporate level, Roberts worked with Human Resources on training and hiring practices. His training in Quality Control and measurement and training in derailment analysis has enabled him to lead numerous safety teams and safety team startup teams. Roberts has been a mentor to many managers and union employees through his retirement from active employment in the rail industry in 2018 with 40 years of rail service.

Russell is a second-generation railroader, who began his career with the Southern Pacific, in 1977. He started as a switchman then became a yardmaster while in El Paso, TX. In 1992 he was promoted to Corridor Manager and on to Superintendent of Transportation Services in Denver, CO.  After the merger with the Union Pacific, Russell worked in Omaha, NE as Director of Train Management and finished his 42 year career in Portland Oregon.  While working for the Union Pacific Russell attained an MBA, and worked part time as an adjunct professor, at Bellevue University.

While working at the Union Pacific, Russell also led a successful safety program, for a 5-state region, at the Harriman Dispatching Center.