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Fax: 901-756-8242 Jim Boyd, One Year Later


THIS NEW YEAR’S EVE was a little more poignant than in the past, because this one marked the one-year anniversary of the passing of Jim Boyd, the founding editor of RAILFAN& RAILROAD. Even with the passing of all of 2011, we still expect Jim to pop into the office as he often did, even after his re- tirement. Associate Editor Otto Vondrak shares his thoughts as we mark this sad an- niversary:


                   


            


       


          


             


Remembering Jim Boyd Though this magazine carries a March cov- er date, we began working on this issue back in January, which marks my one year an- niversary joining Carstens and the staff of RAILFAN & RAILROAD magazine full time. Sadly, one of the folks who helped me get here wasn’t around to share in my excite- ment. Jim Boyd passed away on New Year’s Eve as the rest of us were ringing in 2011. If you read Mike Schafer’s heartfelt trib-


ute on pages 34-39, you’ll learn that as much as Boyd was interested in trains and railroading, he was also interested in peo- ple. His outgoing personality and good humor only matched his gen- erosity and willing- ness to teach. “Jim was a natural at drawing others into the fold and then in- spiring them to strive for lofty goals,” said author Mike Schafer, him- self a recipient of Boyd’s unending goodwill. Through that friendship, Schafer was able to pursue his own suc- cessful career in railroad publishing. Indirectly, Boyd in- fluenced my own ca- reer path as well. As a budding


railfan, it’s safe to say I didn’t get out much. My exposure to railroading beyond our local Metro-North commuter trains was mostly second and third-hand through whatever reading material I could get my hands on. Sometime in the early 1990s, I picked up a dog-eared copy of the December 1977 RAIL- FAN at a flea market for a quarter (I was drawn in by a story about FL9s). Immedi- ately I was immersed in the world of late 1970s railroading through the eyes of editor Jim Boyd. This world was spirited, dynamic, and ever-changing. Boyd seemed to enjoy being in the catbird seat as the rapidly evolving railroad scene unfolded around him. What’s more, you could tell he enjoyed sharing it with his readers. I never met Boyd during any of my track-


 54 MARCH 2012 • RAILFAN.COM


side adventures, though over the years, I made my own valuable friendships that


helped encourage and sharpen my interest in the hobby. Everyone seemed to know of Boyd, and everyone formed their own opin- ion of him, for better or for worse. No matter what your feelings were towards the man, it was clear that Boyd had a far-reaching in- fluence in this odd hobby of ours. The first time I met Jim Boyd, he was the


speaker at the annual banquet for the Rochester Chapter NRHS, of which I had re- cently joined. Turns out one of our members was also the beneficiary of Boyd’s advice and friendship as a teenage member of New Jer- sey’s Tri-State Chapter, and invited him to speak. Somehow I managed to snag a seat right next to Boyd during the banquet. In a moment of crazed fanboy worship, I had Boyd autograph the oldest copy of RAILFAN I owned at the time, the Fall 1976 issue with the night shot of the Lehigh & Hudson Riv- er freight skirting the pond at Baird’s Farm. I mentioned to Boyd how I had the pleasure to get to know O. Winston Link during his fi- nal years. His face lit up: “A great photogra- pher,” Boyd emphasized, “but boy, what a pain the ass to work with!” he said with a twinkle in his eye. That was Boyd! A couple years lat-


MIKE SCHAFER


er I began to attend the annual picnic hosted by Railpace publisher Tom Nemeth. It seemed all the well-known Northeastern rail- road photographers were there, and it was quite the intimi- dating scene for a newcomer like me. Boyd was there, and I reintroduced my- self to him. He re- sponded with a hearty handshake and then proceeded to tell me an off-color joke. That was Boyd!


It wasn’t until Summerail 2010 when


Boyd literally cornered me up in the Cincin- nati Railroad Club’s Tower A on the Friday evening before the show. He offered enthu- siastic praise for my work laying out the Great Railroad Photography project. I was flattered, and halfway through thanking him, he mentioned that he’d like help on a project that he was falling behind on (that project was Railfan For Life, a retrospective of our founder Hal Carstens’ photography that we released in July 2011). I told him I’d love the opportunity to work with him. Boyd asked me what I was doing for regular work, and I told him about my position with a small ad agency in Connecticut. “You’re wasting your time there!” he said, “We could use someone like you!” I started to stammer back an answer and Boyd closed his eyes and shook his head. “Listen, do you want a


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