Taff Starts as New Trainmaster

Troy Taff is still adjusting to life in Chicago, but is pleased to be the Belt Railway Company’s new trainmaster, a role he began Feb. 6.

A native of Kansas City, Taff worked on two railroads in that area when his career commenced in 1999. He was a remote control operator and yardmaster with Kansas City Southern Railway from 1999 to 2004, then served a year with Kaw River Railroad as a conductor, locomotive engineer and trainmaster. He moved to California in 2005, joining BNSF Railway in 2005 as assistant trainmaster before being promoted to trainmaster in Argentine, Kan., the following year.

He fulfilled a childhood dream of a career in law enforcement when he spent the next five years as a police officer with the Kansas City Police Department. He rejoined the railroad in 2012 upon undertaking his new role with the Belt.

Among much else, the railroad provides Taff with excellent benefits and a job, enabling his wife, Michelle, to stay home with their 8-year-old son, Ethan, and 3-year-old daughter, Helena, when they relocate in May.

He was originally referred to the industry more than a decade ago via friends. BRC itself presents a unique set of circumstances new to him.

“I’ve never worked in a hump-only yard,” Taff said. “So I’m learning all the codes, especially those of other railroads.”

He attended local colleges in the Kansas City area, as well as enrolled at Midwest Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City. He has raced dirt bikes for more than 30 years.