The tamper fires up with a roar and a shudder.
Tim Hedge, machine operator, started driving the tamper nearly three and a half years ago. Between being taught by others and reading the user’s manual in his spare time, he has mastered the machine.
“I like running machines and have since I was 10 years old,” he said. “I like that I am in control and make a difference in what the track looks like.”
When training others to operate the tamper, Hedge advocates keeping a close eye on the tracks and gauges. Anyone outside needs ear plugs.
“It is a loud machine,” he said.
Hedge joined the railroad six years ago. A native of Martinton, Illinois, he willingly commutes to enjoy the opportunities offered by the company.
He works on lawn mowers in his spare time. He drag races and goes to tractor pulls. He also stays active in his community as a fireman and emergency medical technician.
Above all else though, he enjoys time with family. He and his wife, Carrie, have a daughter, two sons and granddaughter.