Switch Operators Move Record Number of Railcars

June 2022 — Small but mighty is the best way to describe the Watco switching team at a customer site in Cherokee, Alabama.

This three-person team consists of Location Manager Jason Jeane and Switch Operators Thomas “Ty” Deaton and Clarence “Steve-o” Brindley.

Faced with a temporary uptick of railcars to move earlier this winter, the customer questioned whether Watco should add to their team. Jeanne declined, and the Watco team stepped up by working extra hours and weekends.

“Whatever the plant needs, we’re here to help,” Jeanne said. “Ty and Steve-o go with the flow. They always want the customer to be happy with the service we provide.”

From start to finish, switching railcars takes several hours to complete for this team. For Deaton and Brindley, this involves moving empty railcars for cleaning and then back to the loading rack to get filled. Finally, they take all loaded railcars to the scale to get weighed before the train departs to the next destination.

At the end of the month, they moved 282 railcars out of the facility — a number that far surpassed the customer’s expectations. It’s also a record for this small Watco team.

For now, the team resumes a regular work schedule. But Deaton and Brindley are always ready to ramp up operations when necessary.

Jeanne said, “The guys want to work here and do their best. In many ways, they embody the Watco culture and our three Foundation Principles: value our customers, value our people, and safely improve every day.”

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