Love for railroading flows through training manager’s life

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Nov 07, 2023

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2 min.

Love for railroading flows through training manager’s life

Domingo Molina’s enthusiasm for railroading is evident every day in both his job and personal life, and it’s why his favorite quote is “choose a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” 

“Like every job, there are good and bad days on the railroad, but at the end of every day I genuinely feel fortunate to be able to do what I have always loved in life,” said Molina, a Transportation training manager. (Since the writing of this article, Molina has started a new role at BNSF as manager of Passenger Operations on our Kansas Division.)

At work, Molina spends his days facilitating classroom training for new conductors and locomotive engineers. He also works closely with his team to update and design training materials and oversees classrooms to make sure they operate efficiently.

“I’m blessed with the opportunity to interact with every Transportation employee, from the newest to the most senior,” Molina said. “Everyone needs training throughout their career.”

Molina finds joy in welcoming new employees to the railroad. He has a passion for railroading that he shares with new employees every day.

“It can be intimidating coming into the railroad and trying to learn all of our rules and operating practices. I love being able to make the classroom a fun and exciting environment to help make learning as easy and enjoyable as possible,” he said.

In his personal life Molina is a train enthusiast. “I have always been passionate about the railroad industry,” he said. “In fact, I’ve been a railfan for as long as I can remember. I first operated a locomotive when I was four years old, at a train museum back home in San Antonio, Texas.”

Molina in front of a Metra commuter train at the Aurora, Illinois, passenger station
Molina in front of a Metra commuter train at the Aurora, Illinois, passenger station

While he can’t point to a specific event that prompted his love for trains, his earliest childhood memories are of railroading. At a young age, he loved stopping at railroad crossings, something he still enjoys today. Every year on his birthday, he and his father would ride on the Amtrak train near his hometown.

Today, Molina is a qualified steam locomotive fireman and locomotive engineer. Throughout his career he has operated freight, passenger and commuter trains. He also loves all aspects of railroad history, especially his favorite, BNSF predecessor Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway (ATSF or Santa Fe).

Because of his devotion to railroading, Molina commissioned a custom coffee table using vintage railroad materials.

The rail is 80 pounds per yard and was manufactured by the Maryland Steel Company in 1912 and the tie plates were manufactured by the Tennessee Company. The ballast is real crushed granite, similar to what BNSF uses on our mainline. The ties were created from repurposed beams from an old mill sit and have nails from 1936.

“All together the table weighs approximately 600 pounds and will last forever,” Molina said.

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