Skip to main content

Sandhouse Rail Group

Sandhouse Rail Group

The Hagestad Sandhouse Rail Group began in 2002 as an effort to connect active and veteran rail practitioners with students and academics interested in rail-related issues. Named for Douglas Dean Hagestad, a primary group founder who passed away in 2007, the Sandhouse Group meetings typically feature presentations from field experts, followed by an open forum discussion. Sandhouse meetings take place on weekdays and begin around 3PM, lasting roughly 90 to 120 minutes.


Locomotives carry sand for traction, because steel wheels on steel rails sometimes slip, particularly in wet conditions.  In railroading's classic era, the sand for this purpose was dried in engine terminals in small buildings known as sandhouses.  With their sand-drying heaters, sandhouses were among the few warm places in the terminal, so they served an important function in bringing together many of the different roles in rail—hostlers, engineers, brakemen, oilers, maintenance technicians, carmen, etc.—away from management. This allowed a free exchange of facts, stories, and rumors. The Hagestad Sandhouse Rail Group is a continuation of such practices, aiming to stoke lively discussion and spur new ideas for the rail industry.


For a full calendar of upcoming Sandhouse Rail Group events, please click below:



NUTC established the Douglas Hagestad Education Fund to honor Doug, whose involvement and support for the Sandhouse Rail Group made it what it is today. The Hagestad Fund provides Sandhouse with the financial support needed to continue Group activities and informational programming. 

Learn more: Douglas Hagestad Education Fund


Sandhouse Steering Committee members are listed below. To contact by email, click the name listed or simply send your inquiries to

Back to top