Switchman Kyle McCawley’s nearly two-decade railroad career has been with the Belt.
“The technology implemented in the time I’ve been here has made things safer,” he said.
The way safety is approached has been enhanced. That includes push-button switches replacing manually-operated ones. The certification process also is more extensive and occurs every two years.
“You go over the ins and outs of the job,” McCawley said.
Since 2002, he has been at the controls of a remote that guides tons of steel with thousands of horsepower. His time in cabs has helped.
“I’m familiar with the locomotive aspect and can utilize those skills for proper train handling,” he said.
No matter how long McCawley does the job, he never takes safety for granted.
“You have to stay aware,” he said. “There can be hidden hazards, and you have to watch out for them.”
Going home safe to his three daughters, Megan, 19; Kayla, 17; and Julianna, 14, helps keep McCawley focused.
What’s the best part of your job?
Being outdoors. I don’t like being confined in an office. The weather can get challenging, but you just have to be prepared: proper rain gear, wearing enough layers in the winter.
Is there a key to avoiding slips, trips and falls?
Watch where you’re walking to make sure it’s free of potential hazards and avoid sloped areas.
What does customer service mean to you?
If we aren’t moving freight, the industries we serve couldn’t be productive. I always take pride in my job.
Is there a time when you or your colleagues go above and beyond?
It can happen on a daily basis. We help each other out by giving back switches.
What do you like to do in your time off?
I’m a musician. I play the drums and likes blues and southern rock. I also like to golf. It’s the toughest sport I’ve ever tried.