Hello, I am Mr. Bill,
My interest in railroads began at a very early age. My Great Grandfather was a retired engineer from the P&LE (Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad). When I was just a toddler, he would take me to watch the trains work at the P&LE Gateway Yard in Struthers, Ohio. It would keep me captivated for hours. Albeit, that was the time around “Black Monday” Monday, September 19, 1977 in Youngstown, Ohio when the steel mills announced their massive layoffs. Despite the decline in the steel industry, the railroads remained very active for many years after that giving me the opportunity to spend a lot of time watching trains.
You can learn more about the P&LE and Black Monday at these links:
- Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Historical Society
- Mahoning Valley History: Remembering Black Monday.
My interest in railroads continued to grow as I grew. I began taking pictures in the mid ’80s with my first camera, a Pentax K1000 of which I still have. All through high school and college I continued to take pictures of the railroads around where I lived. I traveled around Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York, Kentucky and West Virginia. Those were the days before digital cameras so as I scan the negatives in, I will post them here.
After completing a Bachelor’s of Engineering in Electrical Engineering, I went on to design remote controls for railroad equipment, go figure…. One remote control system I was instrumental in designing is still in use today 20+ years later.
From that point I went to work on the Ashland Railway as a brakeman. Catching on rather quickly, it did not take long to be promoted to conductor. After a couple years as conductor, I began training as a student engineer. Unfortunately, it was going to be a while before I was promoted to engineer due to the number of people ahead of me yet to be promoted. I moved on to the Indiana & Ohio Railway where there was more opportunity for advancement. I&O was a subsidiary of RailTex and then RailAmerica which owned multiple Class III railroad under the same corporate umbrella. While with RailTex/RailAmerica I advanced to properties in Missouri, Colorado and back to Ohio ending my time as General Manager. Following the Fortress Acquisition of RailAmerica, I went on to the Norfolk Southern as a Road Foreman/Trainmaster in Delaware.
Delaware and the Norfolk Southern soured me with the the attitude of the management making me appreciate the atmosphere of the smaller company. Things finally reached a point that it was time to move on from the railroad industry.
That brings me to where I am now, using my engineering degrees and railroad experience to teach college students in various engineering, manufacturing, logistic and computer technologies.
I have always wanted to share my photographs with the world and now I have been afforded that opportunity. I will be starting with the digital railroad photographs I have from about 2002 on. Most of which are derailment, however to me, derailments are pretty cool too. As I digitize negatives, I will add those pictures as well.
I will do my best to provide as much who, when, where, why and how as I can to the photographs while still protecting the guilty and the innocent.
I hope you take some time to look around and enjoy the pictures and information.
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