Texas Crew Helps Prevent Delay at Plant

JULY 2023 – At a customer’s industrial facility in Texas, timely emails with detailed instructions from the customer are what enable the Watco team working there to keep in-plant railcar switching operations running smoothly.

Recently, when the email procedure didn’t go as planned, a Watco crew went the distance to help the customer prevent a disruption in operations or a possible plant shutdown.

The customer needed two empty cars placed, or spotted, at around 3 a.m. in a yard at the back of the plant. But they discovered several hours later that they’d forgotten to send the message with those instructions. It was around 9:15 a.m. when a customer employee – a loader who urgently needed those empties in order to fill them with product – recognized the problem. He sent the necessary email and then phoned Watco’s Kevin Johnson, a conductor/engineer, to explain the seriousness of the situation.

Daniel Salazar, an Assistant General Manager, said Johnson was busy in a yard at the front of the customer plant, switching cars with Engineer Chris Noyola and Conductor/Engineer Chris Wise. Yet the three men “immediately broke away from their switch” to handle the pressing need, Salazar said, adding that besides those two yards, the men were scheduled in a third yard for a spot at 11 a.m.

The trio managed to handle the urgent spot, return to the front-of-plant yard and finish that job, and then move on to the third yard by 11 to successfully spot those cars.

Salazar had praise for the crew, who he said took no shortcuts and followed safety protocol as they hustled to position all cars where they needed to be. “They didn’t work the situation to benefit the (original) plan. They did what was best for the customer while keeping safety their No. 1 priority.”

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