Burlington Northern’s First Female Engineer Retires After 30 Years On The Job

2009 was the end of a 30-year run for a Sheridan woman who spent most of her working life with the railroad. Sheridan Media News Director Kurt Layher talked with her about her life on the rails.

It was the late 1970’s, and Merry Potter was looking for an interesting career. She found a job as a brakeman with Burlington Northern Railroad. Before long she realized that she wanted to run the trains she was working on. Potter says it took several months of training before she became an engineer and it wasn’t always easy.

Yet, she proved herself over and over again. Lifting connection knuckles and attaching engine air hoses in winter temperatures of -30 or colder. While those may be some of Potter’s least favorite duties, she says you don’t do something for 3 decades without good times, as well.

Potter was the first female engineer ever for Burlington Northern before they merged with the Santa Fe railroad. She and her husband, Dave were both railroad engineers and her oldest daughter followed in her parents’ footsteps by becoming an engineer in the 1990’s.

As for future plans, Potter says she’d like to travel a bit and has already acquired a dog. Merry and Dave had never had time for pets before. They are also both looking forward to spending much more time together.

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Merry Potter's 33+ years

Merry Potter deserves all the recongition from her peers and even the media for what she has accomplished. She has worked for everything she has gotten and more by being a woman in a male dominated enviroment. She was injured on the job and had to undergo surgery with more pending later this month as well as many months of physical therapy. If she gets some type of compensation from the BNSF for getting hurt on the job, she should. Most people get Worker's Comp settlements for job related injures, so be it if she persues compensation via a lawsuit. No one should be held accountable for other peoples actions as far as comments made about her family members who have worked for the BNSF in the past and have recieved compensation for their injuries. To each his own and the persons who feel it's a family thing, shame on you...this shows how small minded you are. Don't you think the BNSF can handle it's own affairs and settlements with employees without the public questioning the outcome? Hooray for Merry, enjoy your retirement, I'm proud of you!

Faye Potter


This family has fleeced the BN for years! Then the next generation (Rhonda, Merry's daughter) did the same thing! Like Mother, like Daughter....... First came Dave with his lawsuit in Gillette, then Brother-in-law Lynn in Gillette, followed by Rhonda also in Gillette, and finally Merry in Sheridan!
Merry didn't retire..... She went out on a P.I. (personal Injury, just like her Husband, Brother in law, and Daughter...... Merry was the last of a l-o-n-g line of Potter family members who had lawsuits against the BNSF.)
This clan has numerous lawsuits that have cost BNSF over a MILLION dollars!
Four family members.... Four career ending lawsuits! You do the math!

I would have to agree,BN has

I would have to agree,BN has been very good to the Potters.Why Dave was able to get over a Million dollars in lawsuits against BN,Rhonda managed to personal injury herself out of a job and Merry is on disability with a pending lawsuit.


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