My Passion for Railroads

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JoelTrainEngineerby Joel Richter

[In our latest newsletter, we’re featuring members of the Executive Board of FORR and will be highlighting others in our next newsletter. Joel is a founding member and has been President of Friends of the Railroad since its inception.]

Ever since I can remember, I have had a love for trains and railroads. When I was young, as steam locomotives were being replaced by those that were diesel powered, my father would take our family to visit the places which had them. “Where there is steam, we will go,” he would say.

From these visits early in my life, my dad encouraged me to develop an appreciation of the mechanical workhorses that harnessed the power of steam. I learned about wheel arrangements, i.e., how to tell an 0-4-0 from a 4-4-0, as well as which were the fast passenger locomotives and which were the strong freight locomotives, why so many water towers existed along the railroad tracks (to fill the tenders, which carried water and were located immediately behind the powerful locomotives, to feed the ever thirsty steam boilers), to what caboose was used for (to climb up in and keep watch over the entire train). Even today, I look for opportunities to show how these engineering marvels of the past opened up and developed the transportation of people and goods around the globe.

Below are a few of the wonderful sites we visited, you can visit some of them still today.

  1. Rail City Museum, a standard gauge (4ft 8 1/2 inch width between the insides of the steel rails) railroad museum, started in 1952 by Stanley A. Groman in Sandy Creek, NY (
  2. Edaville Railroad, a narrow gauge (2ft 6 inch) heritage railroad, started in 1947 by Ellis D. Atwood in South Carver, MA. (
  1. The Livonia, Avon & Lakeville Railroad, a standard gauge railroad, which offered steam powered excursions beginning in 1965. (
  1. The Arcade and Attica Railroad in Arcade NY, started steam powered passenger excursions in 1962 and continues to offer the only steam powered excursions in New York State and within a 3 hour drive (one way). Please plan to ride the steam powered A&A train this year. (


2 comments to My Passion for Railroads

  • Linda Baha'i  says:

    I love this story about how you got interested in trains and how Dad encouraged and supported your interest. It’s beautifully written.

  • Verona  says:

    I am in fact thankful to the holder of this web page who
    has shared this great paragraph at here.

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