Louisville & Indiana honors, seeks out veterans

Written by Stuart Chirls, Senior Editor
LIRC veteran logo

Members of the U.S. military are honored in a new logo applied to the flanks of two Louisville & Indiana Railroad (LIRC) diesel locomotives, underscoring LIRC’s long-standing commitment to recognizing and hiring veterans.

The logo, designed by Tyler Hardin, depicts silhouettes of three soldiers from different eras against a backdrop of the American flag. The LIRC keystone outline includes five stars for the branches of the service and the legend, “Honoring Our Veterans.” A soldier in the center wears a contemporary helmet, flanked by a pair of soldiers, one wearing a World War I-era “doughboy” helmet and the other an M1 helmet from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.

Leased from CIT Rail, the 3,000-hp SD40-2 units are numbered 3001 and 3002, and were repainted during a recent upgrade at Metro East Industries Inc. in Fairview Heights, Ill., near St. Louis.

“We think this is a very simple and effective way of honoring veterans,” said LIRC President John Goldman. “We’re very cognizant of the fact we have veterans that need jobs, and they make good employees. In many ways, railroading and the military are similar, with challenging jobs, outdoor work, and odd shifts.”

For designer Hardin, it was an honor to have the chance to create the logo. “There is nothing in the world I could do to repay anyone who has donned a uniform to protect the freedoms all of us enjoy,” he said. “The only thing I can do is show my gratitude and put it on full display.”

In 2017, LIRC’s commitment to veterans was honored by the American Short Line and Regional Railroads Association (ASLRRA), which presented the railroad with its Timmons Award, a program recognizing efforts to hire and retain veterans. Of LIRC’s total of 47 employees, one fourth are veterans, active-duty reservists, or members of the National Guard.

The award is named for Lt. Gen. Richard F. Timmons (USA-Ret.), a former president of the ASLRRA.

Goldman says the railroad’s efforts to hire veterans will continue. “All things being equal, we prefer to give veterans the edge in hiring,” he says.

In summer 2017, LIRC worked directly with Indiana’s National Guard 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team when it was deployed from Camp Atterbury via LIRC tracks. The training mission simulated combat operations and involved approximately 309 railcars, 1,207 pieces of equipment, and 6,000 soldiers.

The deployment was the first following completion of a nine-track National Guard rail terminal on the LIRC at Edinburgh, Ind. The facility is designed to enable more efficient rail movements of large quantities of material over long distances.

The new veterans paint scheme is in keeping with the corporate philosophy of LIRC’s ownership group, Chicago-based Anacostia Rail Holdings. In 2013, another ARH property, Pacific Harbor Line (PHL), was named Veterans Employer of the Year by the California Employer Advisory Council, recognizing the railroad’s success in ensuring that approximately one-fourth of its workforce are veterans, active-duty Guardsmen, and reservists.

The efforts by PHL to hire veterans are spearheaded by the railroad’s president, Otis Cliatt II, himself a U.S. Army veteran.

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