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Trains: Tracks of the Iron Horse - Conference


"One Hundred Years: The Diesel Locomotive in American Railroading"

The Center for Railroad Photography & Art and the George Bush Library are pleased to announce a one day conference exploring the rich history of the railroad industry. "One Hundred Years: The Diesel Locomotive in American Railroading" will be held at the George Bush Library in College Station, Texas on April 29, 2006. The conference will feature seven speakers discussing various aspects of diesel locomotive technology, locomotive fleet management, and the evolution of railroad work after the advent of the diesel locomotive. Several speakers will include a slide or PowerPoint presentation in their talk.

Please find the tentative program below. Unless otherwise noted, all presentations will be in Bush Library theater.

8:30 a.m.
Coffee and light breakfast in Bush Library classroom

9:00 a.m.
Welcome, Warren L. Finch, Director of the Bush Library

9:15 a.m.
John Gruber, "The First Diesel and Other Stories"
Noted railroad photographer and author John Gruber discusses the unknown 'Monster' locomotive of 1904-05 and locomotive patent drawings as early as 1890.

About the speaker: John Gruber is founder of the Center for Railroad Photography & Art and coordinator of "Representations of Railroad Work, Past and Present," a three year, $125,000 educational, exhibit, and publishing program to interpret railroad labor and work history using photographs and individual case histories. He has been a free-lance railroad photographer since 1960, and received a railroad history award from the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society in 1994 for lifetime achievement in photography. He co-author of Caboose (2001), Travel by Train, the American Railroad Poster (2002), and Railway Photography (2003). Mr. Gruber has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and has done graduate work in the historic preservation program of the UW's department of landscape architecture.

10:00 a.m.
John P. Hankey, "The Perils of Pioneering: Early Diesels on the B&O Railroad"
Historian and railroader John Hankey recounts how one of America's pioneer railroads - the Baltimore & Ohio - also became an early user of the diesel locomotive.

About the speaker: John Hankey is an independent scholar, historian, and railroader. A native of Baltimore, he served the B&O Railroad in a variety of capacities including company historian, locomotive engineer, and Curator of the B&O Railroad Museum. He holds a BS from the John Hopkins University, an MA as a Hagley Fellow at the University of Delaware, and did further graduate study at the University of Chicago. He has written for scholarly and popular history publications and worked in television and radio. He is an author, operating officer with a shortline railroad, and a consultant to railroad museums and historic preservation projects throughout the United States.

10:45 a.m.

11:00 a.m.
Jim McClellan, "Motive Power and Economics"

About the speaker: Jim McClellan is Vice-President of the Woodside Consulting Group and his recent clients include the Alaska Railroad, BNSF, Norfolk Southern, the Federal Railroad Administration and the Surface Transportation Board. He retired at the end of 2004 as Senior Vice-President for Planning at Norfolk Southern. In that position, he was responsible for rail mergers and acquisitions, line sales and abandonments, public-private partnerships and a number of passenger-related projects. Some major projects at NS included the split of Conrail, the extension to New England (over CP and Guilford) and $150 million in infrastructure projects. During his 40-year career, McClellan has held a variety of marketing, planning and policy jobs at Southern Railway, New York Central and Penn Central, the Federal Railroad Administration, Amtrak, the United States Railway Association and the Association of American Railroads. He was heavily involved in the creation of both Amtrak and Conrail. Besides sailing and painting and world travel, McClellan is a "fan" and has taken thousands of images during fifty years of "chasing trains."

12:00 a.m.
Lunch, Bush Library classroom and rotunda

1:15 p.m.
Greg Palumbo, "Colorful EMD Advertising and Styling"

About the speaker: Greg Palumbo is an employee of Electro-Motive Diesels, formally known as Electro-Motive Division of General Motors. He has written articles for Vintage Rails magazine and Railroad Heritage about EMD advertising art. Both General Motors and the Illinois Railway Museum have used his expertise in this field to appraise early examples of EMD produced artwork. Palumbo has also promoted EMD works of art though the development of a series of EMD produced coffee mugs entitled, "Romancing the Streamliners", many of which have become highly collectible by rail fans. He lives with his wife and daughter in Chicago and has been a long-time supporter in preserving railroad art.

2:00 p.m.
J. Parker Lamb, "Photographing Diesel Locomotives"

About the speaker: J. Parker Lamb grew up in Meridian, Miss., which had been a major railroad center as far back as the Civil War. His lifelong interest in railroads arose from his wide exposure to trains in his childhood hometown. For over 50 years, he has traveled throughout the U. S. and Canada pursuing his interests in writing and photography, for which he received the Stindt Photographic Award for lifetime achievement in 1991 from the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society, the nation's oldest such organization. His first submissions to Trains Magazine came in early 1954 as a college student, while his first article was published 6 years later. Over the years he has contributed many articles and photos for magazines and books. His first book was released in 1991 and he has four others in print. His last book covered the development of steam locomotives and the companion volume of diesel locomotive evolution is currently at the publisher with a publication date of mid-2007.

2:45 p.m.

3:00 p.m.
Greg McDonnell, "Contemporary Diesels"

About the speaker: Greg McDonnell, winner of the 2005 Railway & Locomotive Historical Society photography award for outstanding contributions to photographic interpretation, writes frequently about diesel locomotives. He is author of A Field Guide to Modern Diesels (Kalmbach, 2002) and contributor to Classic Trains' "Diesel Victory" issue. His many books include Wheat Kings (Boston Mills Press, 1998) and more than 40 articles in Trains, Railfan & Railroad, and CTC Board. He edits the Boston Mills Press Masters in Railroad Photography series.

3:45 p.m.
John P. Hankey, Conference Summary

4:00 p.m.
Conference close and thanks, Bush Library, Dr. Robert Holzweiss

5:15 p.m.
Cocktails and Reception at Brazos Valley Cotton Exchange (cash bar)

6:00 p.m.
Dinner at Brazos Valley Cotton Exchange (cash bar)

7:30 p.m.
Keynote Address: Mike Iden, "Diesel Locomotives: The Next 25 Years"

About the speaker: Mike Iden is the General Director-Mechanical for the Union Pacific Railroad based at Melrose Park, Illinois. Prior to his employment with Union Pacific, Mr. Iden worked for the Southern Railway, Electro-Motive Division, and Chicago & North Western. He has a bachelor of science degree from the Milwaukee School of Engineering, and a master of management degree from Northwestern University. His talk will discuss diesel locomotive technology for the next quarter century focusing on changes we may see over the next 25 years.

8:30 p.m.
Concluding Remarks, Bush Library, Dr. Robert Holzweiss


Click here for registration form

The cost for the conference will be $85.00 per person or $75 per person for members of the Center for Railroad Photography & Art. All sessions except for keynote address will take place in the theater at the George Bush Presidential Library. The keynote banquet and address will be held at the Brazos Valley Cotton Exchange adjacent to the conference hotel.

The reservation fee includes attendance at the conference, admission to "Trains: Tracks of the Iron Horse" at the George Bush Museum, a BBQ lunch, and a banquet dinner of steak or shrimp catered by Does Eat Place.

If you have any questions or would like make a reservation, please call Robert Holzweiss at 979-691-4074 or email at Robert.Holzweiss@nara.gov. Conference registration packets will be mailed during late March or early April. Attendance is on a first come, first served basis and seating is limited.


Conference participants are invited to stay at the historic LaSalle Hotel located in historic downtown Bryan, Texas. Each guestroom features a coffeemaker, iron, ironing board, hairdryer and complimentary Internet connection. Queen parlor suites feature Jacuzzi tub and television in the bathroom, microwave and mini-refrigerator in the sitting room, along with a full-size sofa sleeper.

Conference hotel rates are $70.00 per night for a standard room and $95.00 per night for a queen suite. Rates are good for Friday, April 28th and Saturday, April 29th. To make your reservations, please call the LaSalle at 979-822-2000 and indicate you would like the rate for the Bush Library Locomotive Conference.

Traveling to Bryan/College Station

The Bryan/College Station (BCS) area is home to approximately 100,000 permanent residents and 42,000 students who attend Texas A&M University. BCS is located approximately 90 miles northwest of Houston (90 minutes driving), 110 miles northeast of Austin (two hours driving), and 190 miles southeast of Dallas (three hours driving). Air transportation from George Bush Intercontinental Airport (Houston) is provided by Continental Airlines (five flights per day). Air transportation from Dallas-Forth Worth Airport is provided by American Airlines (six flights per day). Taxis and rental cars are available at Easterwood Airport in College Station (airport code CLL). The LaSalle Hotel will pick up guests at the airport provided guests inform them of their arrival at least 48 hours in advance. The LaSalle does not have a shuttle to bring guests to the Bush Library.

If you prefer to rent a car, the Bush Library is pleased to partner with Advantage Rent-A-Car to offer conference participants their choice of any vehicle in the Advantage fleet including SUVs and luxury cars for a flat rate of $33.00 per day (pending availability). Vehicles may be picked up at airport locations in College Station, Houston, Ft. Worth, or Austin. A special rate code will be included in the conference registration packet.

Other Railroad Related Activities

Bryan-College Station is located on the Union Pacific Navasota Subdivision connecting Houston with Ft. Worth and Dallas. Approximately 25 trains per day pass through town. The LaSalle Hotel is less then two blocks from the main line. In addition, Hearne Texas is located approximately 25 miles. Hearne is the junction of seven Union Pacific main lines. Further information on railfanning this area can be found on the Hearne Area Railfan Primer web page.

Conference Sponsors

The Center for Railroad Photography & Art and George Bush Library gratefully acknowledge the generous financial support of the following organizations.

Rail Baron Sponsorship:

TMPA / Bryan Texas Utilities

Executive Sponsorships:

City of Bryan, Texas
City of College Station, Texas

Superintendent Sponsorship:

Engineer Sponsorship:

LaSalle Hotel

Conductor Sponsorship:

Bryan-College Station Convention and Visitors Bureau

Brakeman Sponsorship:
George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
1000 George Bush Drive West, College Station, Texas 77845
Telephone: (979) 691-4000 | Facsimile: (979) 691-4050 | TTY: (979) 691-4091