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Meet the Staff of Railfan & Railroad Magazine

Steve Barry, Managing EditorSteve Barry, Editor

Steve Barry was born in New Jersey in 1957 and he was introduced to trains by his father, who took Steve down to the tracks in Millville to watch the small fleet of commuter trains arrive from Camden. Since those beginnings, Steve has photographed railroads in 49 states and many Canadian provinces. He had his first photograph published in 1979 in Passenger Train Journal and his first article appeared in Rail Classics in 1983. In 1990 he began writing a regular column for Railpace Newsmagazine.

He joined the staff of Railfan & Railroad in 1996 and became editor in 1998. When asked what his favorite photo subjects are, Steve will answer "everything," and has about 140,000 slides to prove it (although he went digital in 2006). On any given weekend you can find him on a steam photo charter, exploring New York City's subways or just hanging out along a main line. With countless magazine bylines and photo credits to his name, Steve is also the author of Rail Power and Railroad Rolling Stock, well-illustrated texts published by Voyageur Press.

His other interests include NFL football and "Star Trek" in all its incarnations. He's a country music collector and volunteers as a disc jockey for an internet radio station. Steve is a member of the National Railway Historical Society and serves as the National Director for the Wilmington Chapter. He also organizes streetcar photography charters in Philadelphia.

Steve lives in Newton, New Jersey, with his wife Gen and an assortment of dogs, cats and other critters. Gen doesn't count the number of days Steve spends trackside and Steve doesn't count the number of pets Gen has accumulated.

Please contact us if you have a question or comment you'd like to share about Railfan & Railroad Magazine. Author guidelines can be found here.

 

Walt Lankenau, Associate EditorWalt Lankenau, Associate Editor

I'm kind of a "new-old" face around the Railfan & Railroad office. In the early '70s, I was introduced to Railroad Model Craftsman staffer Bob Mohowski by our good friend, the late George Berisso, at a Railroad Roundtable dinner meeting. Eventually I wormed my way into the Carstens fold, writing an occasional short piece for RMC. In 1984, I came up to talk to Hal about an opening in the art department, which seemed like a good way to learn the publishing business. When Hal heard the princely salary I was after (ha!), he tossed a copy of Creative Crafts & Miniatures across his desk and asked if I could "handle (editing) that." Although dollhouses and decoupage were absolutely not my bag, I quickly realized that such an opportunity might never surface again, so I accepted Hal's offer.

At that time, Railfan and CC&M were bimonthly partners, each published on alternate months. All the time I worked at CC&M, I yearned to move over to Railfan. Jim Boyd was convinced that was in the cards, but after a year and a half, Hal and I decided that the dollhouse thing wasn't working out, and we parted company. Shortly after that, CC&M was sold, and Railfan was published monthly.

By then, I was happily toiling as a staff photographer at a weekly newspaper in central New Jersey, but still living near the Carstens offices. Staying in touch with Boyd and Bill Schaumburg, I was introduced to the late John Krause, who needed a book editor. Our first project together was Remember the Rock, a modest softcover collection of Rock Island photographs by Philip R. Hastings. I later designed and edited two more books, Rio Grande Southern Album for Krause, and Katy Diesels to the Gulf. Thanks to my friends at Carstens, I had the honor and pleasure of presenting in book form the work of three of this hobby's greatest photographers.

About the time Remember the Rock was published, Boyd was looking for a cartographer. I'd done a few simple maps for the book, and since I lived right down the road, I started inking maps for Railfan. All the while, I continued to practice photojournalism at the Hunterdon County Democrat. After a successful ten-year career there, I left to pursue graphics full time.

One day Boyd informed me, in his usual delicate manner, that if I didn't learn to produce maps on the computer, he'd find someone else who could. In just about those exact words! I made the switch from graphic pens and drawing boards to a Macintosh with illustration software. It turned out to be a good move!

Which brings us to mid-September 2000, when I called editor Steve Barry to discuss maps for the December issue. "Wanna be associate editor of Railfan & Railroad?" he asked. Well, sure! After 15 years, Boyd's prophecy finally came true. Better late than never!

Please contact us if you have a question or comment you'd like to share about Railfan & Railroad Magazine. Author guidelines can be found here.

 

Walt Lankenau, Associate EditorOtto M. Vondrak , Associate Editor

When I was five, my dad gave me a Lionel set, and things just kind of snowballed from there. I grew up in Katonah, New York, along the former New York Central operated as Metro-North’s Harlem Line. I didn’t see much freight when I was young, but I was treated to a constant parade of commuter trains through my town. Frequent visits to my dad’s furniture restoration shop in New York City meant I became a regular commuter before I entered kindergarden!

I also have to thank my father for sparking my interest in photography. At the tender age of 7, he placed his ancient Konica T SLR in my hands when I told him I wanted to take pictures of the trains we saw on our family trips throughout New England. After much trial and error (mostly error), I started to get the hang of taking pictures. I currently use a Canon EOS Elan 7 for most of my photography, and yes, I still shoot with slide film.

I attended the Rochester Institute of Technology for graphic design with a concentration in printing and minor in history. I was exposed to the freight operations of what would turn out to be the waning years of Conrail. I witnessed the transition to CSX and the growth of local shortlines (many featuring Alcos, much to my delight). What's more, Rochester has a rich railroading history that provides interesting background for today's operations.

While at school I helped start the RIT Model Railroad Club and met a great group of friends who were into trains as well. Just down the road from RIT are the New York Museum of Transportation and the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum. Many of us from the model railroad club gravitated towards the museum, bringing us into the world of historic preservation. It was a great experience to work with full-size trains for the first time!

While I was living in Rochester, Railroad Model Craftsman editor Bill Schaumburg took a chance on me and published my ten-page (!) article on the Rochester Subway in the August 2000 issue, my first feature in a national magazine. Since then, I had a few more articles in RMC and did some occasional freelance illustration and model railroad design work as well.

I moved back to suburban New York in 2002 and worked a variety of jobs from consumer packaging to magazine production to advertising and marketing. A chance meeting with Steve Barry in 2008 resulted in an invitation to develop new logo concepts for Railfan & Railroad as well as a new project called Great Railroad Photography. That work led to a proposal for new web sites for Carstens and its family of publications. Steve then invited me to do the layouts for the premiere issue of Great Railroad Photography. When that special issue hit the stands in 2010, Jim Boyd cornered me at the annual Summerail photo exhibition to compliment me and offer his “gentle encouragement” that I should seek full-time employment at Carstens. After a year of managing Carstens’ online presence and continuing freelance work, I suddenly found an opportunity to join the staff of Railfan & Railroad full time starting in 2011.

I look forward to working with Steve and Walt on each edition of Railfan & Railroad, plus some of the book projects we have in the works. This is going to be fun! See you trackside!

Please contact us if you have a question or comment you'd like to share about Railfan & Railroad Magazine. Author guidelines can be found here.

 



 
 

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