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Railroad Symposium

Date(s): November 23, 2013
Time(s): 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Location: George Bush Presidential Library and Museum

Cost: $15 per person, payable in cash or check at the door

The George Bush Presidential Library and the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society (R&LHS) are pleased to invite you to a program on railroads. The program will include four presentations. All talks will take place in the theater at the George Bush Presidential Library on the campus of Texas A&M University. A catered lunch is included in the conference fee. Coffee and water will also be available through the day. Reservations are not required but are strongly encouraged. Payment (cash or check) will be accepted on the day of the event. Free parking available at the Bush Library and Museum in Lot 41.

For reservations or more information please call Robert Holzweiss at (979) 691-4074 or Tracy Paine at (979) 691-4014 to make reservations. You can also make reservations by emailing Robert at Robert.Holzweiss@nara.gov.



Order of Speakers May Change


10:00 a.m.
Matthew Van Hattem
Kalmbach Publishing
Senior Editor, Trains Magazine

Matt Van Hattem's 12-year career Trains magazine began as an assistant editor on the website and has advanced to senior editor, working on the magazine. He edits feature articles as well as the monthly columns by Fred Frailey and Bob Johnston. He also works closely with the graphic illustrators to produce the magazine's "Map of the Month" feature.

Before he came to Trains, Matt worked in book publishing in New York City. He spent nine years editing college textbooks and professional books for the publishing house of John Wiley & Sons. Matt grew up in northern New Jersey, and if you've ever seen the TV show "The Sopranos" - well, that was his backyard. In fact, many of the spots where the show's famous "mob hits" occurred were near railroad tracks that Matt has stood by to photograph trains. But now he's safely relocated to Wisconsin, and he's here today to talk about how Trains magazine prepares its "Map of the Month."

Matt will explain how editors and artists prepare the "Map of the Month," one of the most popular, yet time-intensive, features in each issue. He will introduce you to the personalities behind the maps, learn what it takes to put a railroad map together, see some of the resources needed to put together each issue, discover some of the other surprising places Trains magazine maps have appeared through the years, and see which maps readers have chosen as their favorites.


11:00 a.m.
Ken Fitzgerald

Ken Fitzgerald took his first railroad photograph at age 12 in 1967, and is still going strong. His work has appeared in many railroad magazines, books and calendars over the years. He has also been a winner in many photo contests, including three times in Trains magazine. He has also written several articles for Trains. Ken is currently a contractor to the BNSF, Union Pacific and the Fort Worth & Western as a photographer covering special events and providing photos for company publications.

Ken graduated from the University of Oklahoma in Norman in 1978 with a BBA degree. After graduation, he worked as a radio systems sales engineer for Motorola for several years and as a deputy sheriff for several more years in Oklahoma before moving to Texas in 1987. In Texas he worked for the Tandy Corporation in Fort Worth where he was trained as a computer support engineer. For the past 20 years Ken has worked at the home office of the First Command Group in Fort Worth where he is the Associate Director, Network & Telecom Services. Ken is married with one son and two step sons.

Ken's presentation will focus on the current project to reconfigure the crossing at Tower 55 in Ft. Worth.


1:00 p.m.
Patrick Phelan

Patrick Phelan was born and raised in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and had an interest in trains from a very young age. He grew up exploring the lines of the Baltimore & Ohio and Pennsylvania Railroads during his high school years before moving to Atlanta, Ga. to attend Georgia Tech. While at Georgia Tech, he explored a variety of southern railroads that crisscrossed the state of Georgia. After completing his bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering, he moved to San Antonio, Texas in 2006 to pursue work in the aerospace field. Since then, he has used his new home to explore the railroads of Texas and to take trips throughout the United States to document unique operations, both steam and diesel, Class One and shortline.

Patrick will present "Railroad Oddities in 2013" focusing on operations and equipment that have survived beyond their years in regular service including Arkansas & Missouri Alcos, Georgia Central high-hood U-boats, semaphores on Raton with the Southwest Chief and a few other peculiar items.


2:00 p.m.
Ken Stavinoha

Ken Stavinoha has been an active collector and preserver of railroad artifacts since 1992. Artifacts from his collection have been exhibited at the Rosenberg Railroad Museum, Fort Bend Museum, Wharton County Historical Museum, Matagorda County Historical Museum, Brazoria County Historical Museum, Yorktown Historical Museum, A. P. George Library (Richmond TX), and the Bush Library and Museum. He is a founder of the Rosenberg Railroad Museum and the Eagle Lake Depot Museum, and helped save Tower 17 in Rosenberg and the Eagle Lake Santa Fe depot from obscurity, deterioration, and possible destruction. He is active on the board of Rosenberg Railroad Museum, Inc., Eagle Lake Depot, Inc., the Colorado County Historical Society, and the Friends of the Fort Bend Historical Society (Vice President) and maintains memberships in the National Railway Historical Society and the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society.

Ken Stavinoha will present a sample of photographic images from his 20+ year collection of cabinet cards and photo postcards. Shots of depots, trains, and engines abound, but there are some roundhouses, wrecks, construction scenes, and an interlocking tower or two in the mix. There are images from the panhandle to the valley, and from the Sabine River to El Paso—and many points in between. Occasionally, one can find some interesting items in these period images besides the railroad subjects! The focus of the session is on some of the lesser known scenes and venues of railroading in Texas during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.



Please consider a tour of the museum while your friend or family member is enjoying the railroad program. The museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


Download a program flier.

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