John E. Bromley, 1942-2023

Written by David C. Lester, Engineering Editor and Editor-in-Chief, Railway Track & Structures
image description

Editor’s Note: John E. Bromley was a long-time press representative for Union Pacific. I imagine many readers either knew him or knew of him, either as a professional, an enthusiast, or both. John died on Oct. 7 and his obituary appeared on the Trains Magazine News Wire website on Oct. 14. My colleague David Lustig penned a wonderful tribute to John, and I’ve reproduced it here with the permission of Trains Magazine. RIP, John. – David C. Lester

By David Lustig, Trains Magazine (Used with Permission)

OMAHA, Neb. – Railroader, historian and painter John E. Bromley, 81, died Oct. 7.

Bromley is best remembered in railroad circles as Union Pacific’s director of public affairs, the railroad’s media spokesman for 25 years. Upon his retirement in 2005, the railroad appointed him as its director of historic projects, a position created specifically for him. Moving his office from Omaha across the Missouri River to Council Bluffs, Iowa, he was responsible for the railroad’s extensive archive material and preservation efforts at the Union Pacific Museum.

A 1964 graduate of the University of Nevada at Reno and a Navy veteran, Bromley worked for a number of Nevada newspapers before joining the railroad in 1980.

To work for the Union Pacific was not just a job to Bromley, who, when not grabbing his Go Bag to head out to yet another incident that required him to be the face of the railroad to the press and other organizations, actively strived to put it in a positive spotlight.

Upon learning the company would be returning the “wing” decals to the nose of its locomotives, he was on the telephone to a number of photographers he knew to get pictures of them around the system. He was also involved in the company’s series of Heritage locomotives, recognizing railroads absorbed by the UP over the years.

On his off time, Bromley, an accomplished artist, painted railroad scenes, many of which adorned Union Pacific Christmas cards.

A compassionate soul, when he was informed the railroad was shutting down an outlying corporate office in another state, Bromley flew out to give him the news personally, instead of letting the employee know with a telephone call.

Bromley is survived by his wife, Pat; numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren; his sister; and his beloved dog, Dilly. [He was preceded in death by his daughter, Shari Bromley; and parents, Walt and June Bromley.]

Tags: ,