William D. Edson

The members of the New York Central System Historical Society want to pass along the sad news of the passing of one of its charter members, William D. Edson.

William ‘Bill’ Edson was a native of Newton Massachusetts and a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Postgraduate work in railroad mechanical engineering at Purdue led to a twenty-two year career with the New York Central Railroad in a variety of positions, including Chief Mechanical Engineer. In 1968, Bill moved to the newly formed Federal Railway Administration, and during the next twenty years worked on demonstration projects, which developed into Amtrak, and the Northeast Corridor Project.

In addition to Railroad Names, Bill has authored and co-authored five other books and thirty major articles in Railroad History, Trains and Railway Age magazines. He was a charter member and trustee of the New York Central System Historical Society, and a director of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society for many years. Working on Railroad Names began fifty years ago as a finding aid for defunct railroads. Serious research at the Smithsonian Institute and the Interstate Commerce Commission resulted in publication in 1983. Work on listing all New York Central locomotives began over fifty years ago searching the company records as found available and other sources found in libraries and Historical Societies. He was an exemplary railroad historian and collector.

Bill’s eyesight had been failing and he suffered from Parkinson’s disease, but had maintained his interest and activities, the latest of which was the publishing of Steam Locomotives Of the New York Central Volume II until he took an unfortunate fall last week and died as a result of complications related to his injuries.

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