Christene Gonzales, the first woman locomotive engineer for the Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe Railway Company; the ATSF was previously among the largest railroads in the United States.
It was Gonzales’s mother who first suggested she consider applying to work for the railroad. While several relatives had previously worked in the railroad industry, she didn’t realize that the railway had never had a female engineer until her first day.
“I’m amazed at how naïve I was. I remember seeing my mom and dad and grandparents, who had driven up to see me take off for the first time! I couldn’t comprehend why it was such a big deal.”
“I always tried to put my best foot forward. I had a lot to learn. I had to study hard and pay attention. You had to be on top of your game at all times."
Friends of BNSF, Photograph via Kansas Historical Society