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Robert D. Krebs has headed three major United States railroads in succession, leading the Southern Pacific (SP) when it was acquired by Santa Fe Industries, rising to lead the resulting Santa Fe Pacific Corporation, and finally being chosen to head the new Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) when Santa Fe Pacific (the holding company for the Santa Fe railroad) merged with Burlington Northern.

He started out working for SP subsidiary Cotton Belt in the early 1960s becoming the youngest Superintendent of Cotton Belt's Pine Bluff Division in 1971 at age 29. One of the things he had was absolute honesty and a temper when it came to running his railroad. According to Fred Frailey, one of Kreb's dilemmas was that Missouri Pacific's Dupo Tower operator held Cotton Belt's Blue Streak Merchandise with Krebs on board for a MP train to advance. Krebs called Missouri Pacific's Southern Region General Manager to complain. When the BSM was held again in 1972 at Dupo for 43 minutes by a Missouri Pacific coal train and two other trains, Krebs was informed the next day. Krebs acted shortly the day after in Pine Bluff by going to the Cotton Belt's dispatcher office and had the Missouri Pacific's hottest train the DE held for exactly 43 minutes at Dexter. This move by Krebs drew immediate attention when Missouri Pacific's General Manager in Little Rock called Krebs's General Manager in Houston to complain.[citation needed]

This event and the fact that Krebs knew how to run a railroad with little delay helped him move up the ranks and eventually become president of the SP and later CEO of ATSF and BNSF.

He retired as CEO of BNSF in 2000 and left the board when he retired as chairman on April 17, 2002.[1]

On May 13, 2005, Krebs joined the Board of Directors for Railpower Technologies,[2] a position from which he subsequently resigned on September 9, 2005, citing personal reasons.[3]


  1. ^ "BNSF Board Elects CEO Matt Rose Chairman Succeeding Rob Krebs, Who is Retiring" (Press release). BNSF. March 21, 2002. Archived from the original on November 10, 2006. Retrieved December 6, 2006.
  2. ^ "RailPower adds former BNSF CEO and US FRA administrator to its board" (PDF) (Press release). RailPower Technologies. May 13, 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 22, 2005. Retrieved May 24, 2005.
  3. ^ "RailPower director resigns" (PDF) (Press release). RailPower Technologies. September 9, 2005. Retrieved September 13, 2005.
  • Fred Frailey (1991). Blue Streak Merchandise. Kalmbach.
Preceded by
Edward L. Moyers (SP)
Railroader of the Year
shared with Gerald Grinstein (BN)
Succeeded by
Paul M. Tellier (CN)
New title Chief Executive Officer of BNSF Railway Succeeded by
Matthew K. Rose