Union Pacific Mechanical Team Keeps America's Goods Safely Moving

Mechanical team members at Proviso Locomotive Shop. | L

From left: Eileen Spilman, manager-Locomotive Maintenance, at the Proviso Locomotive Shop in Illinois. Proviso Mechanical team members Andy Kantor and Brandon Lebron, rail car technicians; Aaron Sassaman, manager-Mechanical Maintenance; and Kelly Fields, rail car technician.

Union Pacific’s dedicated Mechanical team has responsibility for inspecting, repairing or rebuilding more than 4,500 active locomotives and 300,000 rail cars traversing our network – critical work supporting the railroad’s commitment to safely delivering the service it sold its customers.

“I’m proud of our team,” said Eileen Spilman, manager-Locomotive Maintenance, who works at the Proviso Locomotive Shop in Illinois. “It’s skill, dedication and pride that make a difference.”

With more than 50 locomotive and rail car facilities spread across the railroad’s 23-state system, Mechanical crafts focus on safety and standard work processes to keep America’s goods moving.

Mechanical roles supporting the locomotive fleet range from machinists, who inspect engines and mechanical components, to electricians who repair and replace electrical equipment and troubleshoot control systems. Service operators address fluid levels, sand and brake shoes to ensure each locomotive is ready to pull the next train.

Located in North Little Rock, Arkansas, Jenks Locomotive Shop is home to North America’s foremost overhaul facility. In 2023, the team dismantled and rebuilt 200 units, an intricate process entailing the expertise of machinists, electricians, sheet metal workers, boilermakers, car technicians and laborers.

“It’s the premier facility doing this kind of work,” said Dana Swanson, senior director-System Locomotive Facility. “Restoring a locomotive to the way it was when it was manufactured is truly amazing.”

Helping drive the safety and service reliability of rolling stock, qualified Union Pacific rail car technicians regularly inspect and repair cars used to ship large quantities of raw materials and finished goods.

Aaron Sassaman, manager-Mechanical Maintenance, said many of Proviso’s rail car technicians have more than a decade of experience, driving a strong culture of mentorship.

“Our team watches out for one another,” said Sassaman, noting the team focuses on making safe choices when faced with everyday tasks like air testing braking systems and replacing wheel sets, air valves and brake pads.

Describing good attitudes and a familial bond, Kelly Fields, rail car technician, echoed Sassaman’s sentiment: “We care about each other.”

Did you know? Union Pacific maintains enough rail cars that when placed end to end, stretch from New York to Los Angeles and back one and a half times.

Union Pacific offers a competitive salary and best-in-class benefits, including tuition-free college education. Learn more about railroading careers at UP.jobs.

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