UP Career Corner

Chicago Conductor: Get Here and Stay Here

Posted November 30, 2017 05:00 PM CDT

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Ask Ralph Fulgham how he landed a job at Union Pacific and he’ll tell you it was two things that have carried him far in life: hard work and persistence. 

“After spending 13 years in the Army, I was looking for a job,” Fulgham said. “My cousins worked at Union Pacific and told me it’s a great place to work with great benefits. I had my heart set on working for UP. It took me six years – six different interviews until I was hired. That was three and a half years ago and I’ve never looked back.”

With no prior railroad experience, Fulgham started as an entry-level train crew employee, working as a brakeman in Chicago’s Proviso Yard as on-the-ground traffic control. He was promoted to conductor – the position he holds today.

“Every day my job is different,” he said. “I work the extra board, so one day I could be building trains; one day I could be driving trains with the RCL (remote control locomotive); one day I could be driving around and helping the crews.”

Fulgham will lean on the traits that brought him to Union Pacific - hard work and persistence – as he aspires to someday move into a higher role.

“I want to be a yardmaster,” he said. “Yardmasters run the yard. Everything, including moving traffic and trains around the yard, goes through the trainmaster.”

People are his favorite part of the job.

“I get to be around different people everyday – it’s fun and the atmosphere is great,” he said.

Fulgham’s advice to anyone considering a career at the railroad: “If you ever get the chance to work for Union Pacific, do it. Get here and stay here. It’s a great place to be.”

Interested in a career like Fulgham’s? We're hiring Train Crew throughout our system. Click here to view the locations where we're hiring and apply today.