My railroad career began when I was hired in engine service for the Southern Pacific Railroad on my 18th birthday. I started as a Fireman, and promoted to Engineer in 1971. I was one of the few employees hired in engine service that started by firing steam engines, and retired as an employee operating up to 6,000 horsepower computer-controlled General Electric diesel locomotives,

with just under 2,000,000 compensated miles. 

  My railroad career was important to me, but so was serving my country. While employed, and a Naval Reservist, I also served two years of active duty in the U.S. Navy, Seabee, MCB11.

  Over the years I've enjoyed many things, including the creation and patent of Pocket-Lok® pickup truck stake-pocket anchoring system that became our first business venture, and co-owner of TruckStuff, a pickup truck accessory retail store. Co-authoring 45 Years of True Railroad StoriesTM,

my career memoir, with my wife, is my most recent accomplishment. Even though I had many more stories to add to our book, it contains the ones that I most vividly remember.

  My philosophies on life and the secret to surviving retirement?

God first. Love. Family. Friends. Never stop rolling along!

Enjoy the journey!


By Co-Authors: John and Sheri Cockrell


45 Years of True Railroad StoriesTM

places you in veteran Engineer John Cockrell's seat to experience exactly what he did during his 45-year career as a fireman, switchman, and engineer working for one of the largest railroads in the country - SP/UP.

His hits, misses and everything in between. You don't just read about railroading - YOU LIVE IT!

300 Pages

Original, Never-Before-Seen Pictures

and Over 60 Stories, such as:

The Rat Hole * My First Hobo

The Three Nurses

New Year's Eve Torpedos    

Refer at Redding 

Cattle on the Bridge

Chemical Spill, Cantera Loop and many more...




Printed, Black and White copy: $24.00

And on KINDLE: $9.99 

Click on colored words to PURCHASE and see REVIEWS.

"Anyone who wants to learn about what an engineer's experiences and life are like will want to get this book. I found it most enjoyable to read." Bob Church, SP steam locomotive historian-author    


45 Years of True Railroad StoriesTM


                                              Roseville, CA

© 2019, 45 Years RailroadTM

All Rights Reserved.

45 Years - BIG BOY and UP 8444 May 2019.
Edited Image 2016-01-19 19-47-56

45 Years RailroadTM




Edited Image 2016-01-21 07-44-33


"Sharing my railroad experiences is my PASSION!

I want people to know what it was like to work for the railroad - how the railroad operates, what the crews go through, how the railroad changed from when I hired on - until I retired.

Most people see a train as a cool thing, but they don't have a clue as to what goes on behind the scenes."  

SP/UP Engineer, 45 Years - Retired 

Veteran Small Business Owner

Co-Founder 45 Years RailroadTM

Co-Author: 45 Years of True Railroad StoriesTM


US Navy Veteran Seabees MCB11

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