Books and Essays by Earl Currie on BN History

Mr. Earl Currie is railroad management consultant with over 30 years of experience. Prior to his current position he was employed by the Burlington Northern, the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, the Great Northern and other U.S. railroads. With this background in railroad management he has authored several books and essays about his experiences.

You can purchase these works directly from Mr. Currie by printing out this form, filling it out, and mailing it to him.

Books

  • Running a Railroad Right offers Mr. Currie’s view on today’s best practices in leadership, and in managing safety and service delivery. It also contains some ideas on operating methods, plans and leadership capability that will be needed in the future. Jerry R. Davis, past President of Union Pacific, has written a “foreword” to this book.
  • It Gets in your Blood is a combination of experiences, values and job knowledge that Mr. Currie acquired during his career. These experiences are summarized into several sections of “Lessons Learned” while advancing “through the chairs” of mergers, deregulation, and management changes. This book relates a personal view of a dynamic business environment.

Railroad and management people at all levels of responsibility should enjoy and relate to the experiences and ideas brought out in Mr. Currie’s work. They are typical of the situations most railroad people have experienced and enjoy talking over with others. This material could be used for leadership training and skill development for operating officers, and as case studies for training in how to work through different kinds of operating situations.

Essays

  • BN-Frisco: A Tough Merger is an essay on the BN-Frisco merger is based on the experiences and evaluations of “those who were there” during the years of tumult, tension and progress that occurred on BN in the years following that merger. The essay contains about 90-pages of text and several photographs and drawings.
  • Nebraska Division: Challenge and Reward, 1975-1977 is an essay centered around the challenges the Nebraska Division (designated the Lincoln Division before 1976) faced in the mid-1970’s to upgrade its track, bridges and signal system, and its line capacity, to the standards required to handle the rapidly increasing tonnages of coal being mined in the Powder River Basin. To most railroad people of the 20th century, the work done on the Nebraska and Alliance divisions, and on the Chicago Region and the FW&D Railway, provided a unique and unprecedented opportunity for the people of BN. Completion of these major trackwork and capacity expansion projects built the foundation for the success BN experienced starting in the late 1970’s, and that has continued on today’s BNSF Railway.
  • Building Burlington Northern, The Lorentzsen Years 1970-1980 is an essay about the early years of the BN from the point of view of Norman Lorentzsen. It includes writings by Mr. Lorentzsen as well as interesting comments and some evaluations on how BN was restructured and the leadership style employed by the company in the years after he retired. It also has excerpts from several visits Earl had with Mr. Lorentzsen, oral histories Mr. Lorentzsen gave to some historical organizations, as well as Earl’s personal recollections from his years of service as an operating officer with BN. There is a segment on Mr. Lorentzsen’s early work on the NP and his service in the U.S. Navy in WWII. It includes a few B&W photos, maps and drawings as well. The essay is 37 pages spiral bound.

Editted Works

  • History of the West Suburban Mass Transit District, by Ted Shuster. In 1970 Burlington Northern spearheaded the creation of the West Suburban Mass Transit District (WSMTD) in order to leverage public financial support for its money-losing commuter operations along its Chicago to Aurora main line. In 1996 a history of the creation of the WSMTD was written by Ted Schuster, a BN lawyer who played a central role in the activities. Ted was unable to find a publisher for his work, and eventually he passed away. FOBNR member Earl Currie is now making the manuscript available, along with some supporting documents. The history is written largely from a legal and political viewpoint, but also includes a reasonable amount of information about the railroad’s physical plant, equipment, and operations at the time. It is 101 pages, includes several B&W photos, and is spiral bound.