Books and Essays by Earl Currie on BN History
Mr. Earl Currie is railroad management consultant with over 30 years of
Prior to his current position he was employed by the Burlington Northern,
Burlington, Great Northern and other U.S. railroads.
With this background in railroad management he has authored two books and two
essays about his experiences.
- 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
- 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
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.
- 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.
- 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
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.
Click here to purchase one or more of these works.
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