RAILFAN GUIDES of the U.S.

 

Todd's Railfan Guide to
BALTIMORE MD
Bio's

 

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The main guys responsible for the dribble in the original guide....

Todd Sestero

I've loved trains ever since I could breathe.  I was born outside New York City (New Rochelle) on the New Haven.  My grandparents lived in Queens and had a sixth floor apartment where I could watch the New Haven electrics come thru the neighborhood bound for the Hell Gate bridge - the track was just on the other side of the street from the apartment building.  To the left was the passenger line coming out of Manhatten - what a great place to start my railfan life!  The number 7 IRT line was a block away, and the E/F IND line was a block away in the opposite direction. Hard to believe I used to ride those things all day long for 15 cents!  Then there was Tyler TX in the late 50's and early 60's where I saw my first brand new GP-30 on the Cotton Belt. We lived in Batavia NY for a while on the New York Central mainline in 64-65.  And it's been Baltimore pretty much since 1966.  When we first moved into Ruxton, there were four passenger trains a day, each way, on the Northern Central to Harrisburg.  Damn that Agnes!  Sure, there are better railroad cities like Chicago, Kansas City, and St Louis, but Baltimore is where it all started!  My last job took me all over the place.  I go almost no-where without a camera.  Besides my fondness for trains, and the photography that goes along with it, I'm also into transit and busses, general electronics, ham radio, HO trains, railroad signal collecting, motorcycling, and flying.  I'm not an expert on trains, I just like em a lot.  I can't tell you the difference between an GP-7 and a GP-9, or a GP-40 and the dash two version.  But I believe that they are worth photographing regardless of the weather condition outside-rain, snow, whatever.  Especially if you are travelling afar and may not get back there any time soon.  I have run across some people that won't take a picture unless it's a perfect Kodachrome blue sky day with the sun situated just perfectly. Since I don't trade slides, that's not important.  Also, I throw away precious few slides, because 20-30 years from now, a bad picture is better than none when "it ain't around no mo".  A train doesn't have to look just like it came out of the paint shop -- An engine with 4 layers of paint showing thru is just as cool looking as a brand new Dash 9 in Golden Bear colors!  Some railroads I caught in rural Iowa looked like a junkyard train with all the paint schemes on the 5 engines (looks like it just left NRE in Rock Island!), but it's all I have from that road, and I'm just as glad.  The shot is in Perryville MD, the current north end of MARC operations, looking towards Baltimore (south).

If you have any comments, contributions, addition, questions, whatever.......... http://www.railroadsignals.us/contact.htm


John Buxton

I've known John since dirt was created -- that was in 1966.  Half the slides in our collections look the same cause we have gone almost everywhere together.  We walked the approach to Hell Gate from the Queens side cause my grandparents lived right next to it -- we went to Chicago for EMD's 50th -- we've been to St Louis, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, New York, and Boston together.  His grandfather worked for the B&O back in the really good ole days of steam!  As you can see from the photo, he is an avid collector of transit roll signs.....oh yea, and Dorfan trains!


Steve Panopoulos

Steve’s loved trains ever since he was a very young kid.  He grew up in Lutherville, a couple of blocks away from the old Northern Central, when it was a single track, overgrown with weeds, and in bad shape.  Nevertheless, this has always been his favorite railroad.  He always watched the trains passing by, going “up to” Timonium and Cockeysville for a little local switching.  He has fond memories of beat up PRR E's, PC GP-9's and RS-11’s with green cabooses, and Conrail GP-10’s and GP38-2's.  Then the MTA took it over (yeech -- He hates talking about that).  Steve is a tool and die maker and enjoys photographing trains as a hobby.  He has had many photos published in a variety of railroad publications from magazines to guide books.  Favorite power: cab units, GG-1's, and all steam (with Lima being the favorite builder).  From the mid 1980's to the early 1990's, he volunteered for the Wilmington & Western RR, and as he puts it, had the privilege of firing a wonderful locomotive (2-8-2T #37).  Steve is happily married to his wife Shirley, who shares his enthusiasm for trains -- in fact, their wedding reception was held at the B&O Railroad Museum!  I met this guy years ago cause he had a New Haven logo sticker on his bumper and left a note on his car. He's regretted ever since giving me a call.  But he provided the motivation to do this article and the one in 1990.  Steve provided a large number of pictures for the Railpace article, although some of his better railroads shots were not used.  I will try to put them on the website as time permits.  This picture was taken at Seminary Ave in Lutherville, within eyeshot of the station.  People don't pay attention to the sign a whole lot, as someone was hit by a train here last year!


With help from....

  Tina and Rob Phillips

My daughter, her husband, and their daughter Elena. Without their help, this website would not have come into existence!  This picture is from 2008 when they came up from Atlanta for Thanksgiving.  I need a newer picture, cause now we have Sophia on board... the kids are now 5 and 7!


Here's a few other dudes who have helped me in my travels, they are all great guys:

I met Greg, Tim, and Mike since I started travelling for IMS back in 1998, as I made my rounds around the country as a field service engineer.  That kind of job isn't for everybody, but it gives you the opportunity to go railfanning on someone else's nickel.  My only regret is that I couldn't find a way to put the 200 rolls of slides I took each year on the expense report.  Out of all of the places I have been to, I have met the most foamers in St Paul railfanning the Dayton's Bluff / Pigs Eye yard.  It's like a magnet in the evening, and I hope the railroads never put up that fence they've been talking about!


Greg Martin - Salem OR

This guy amazes me.  I don't know how he fits so much into one day.  He always had time to come up to Portland and visit, chase trains, whatever whenever I got into town.  Sometimes I would head down his way and then we would go visit the "junkyard" of the Willamette and Pacific.  Even made it down to CORP once, altho nothing was running (CORP-if anyone from there is reading this, please do something to save the semaphores!).  Some of you may be familiar with the kit building articles he writes (great job, I might add).


Michael Watnoski - Baltimore MD

I met Michael about 40 years ago when we both worked for an electronics calibration company called EIL Instruments in Timonium MD.  After a couple of years, he left to pursue a career in another direction and I lost track of him until about 2006 or so.  I happened to see a post by him on the Yahoo group for Railroad Signals.  When I contacted him, I found out that he was living about a mile away from where my ex and daughter live!  Michael is a hardcore B&O signal guy, and designs electron stuff in his spare time.  Michael helped me with the B&O CPL section.  He has put together a really nice, compact signal decoder for color light and CPL signals, and if you want realistic signal operation on your pike, you should give them a look-see here.


John Engleman - Baltimore MD

John is among one of the first people I met when I moved to Baltimore, and got me signed up with the Baltimore Streetcar Museum in 1967 when the cars were still out at Lake Roland.  John was an engineer with the B&O and CSX, and helped me with the B&O signal section.  John has travelled extensively around the world, and has a great collection of transit photos because of it, but his favorite place to visit is Australia!


  Tim Vermande - Indianapolis IN

When I first met Tim in the twin cities area of Dallas and Ft Worth (I think that's him behind there, anyway!), he was an invaluable resource for finding trains, hobby stores, or whatever.  We ran off a lot of rubber on those rent a car tires chasing trains in the area.  We first met at the KCS yard in Garland, where I kept blocking his view when he was trying to take pictures (or was it the other way around?).  Tim is also an avid over the road person and gets around more than just about anyone I know, including myself.  Boy, does he have a sweet photo collection!  Tim and his wife Sherrie are now in the Indianapolis area, and still seems to get out more than almost everyone I know!


   Mike Miller - St Paul MN

This Miller guy, I have to tell ya, he's somethin else.  Besides being the electrical and overhead wire guru at the Minnesota Streetcar Museum, aka, the Como-Harriet Streetcar Line, I've never known anyone to have a collection of electronic junk sitting around that looks so much like my own. We must have been separated at birth or something like that!  If you ever get to sit thru one of his slide presentations, they are the best.  He takes the time to script the narration and records it in this outstanding radio announcer style.  When I used to visit the Twin Cities area on a regular basis, I was always dragging this poor guy around and saying "let's go look at this or check out this feature on the map", or, "hey, we gotta go by and check out Pigs Eye tonight!"........  you know how most of us tend to not railfan our own area. I think for a while, I visited his streetcar museum more than my own.  It's too bad I lost my job that took me out to Minneapolis/St Paul 3-4 times a year.  Mike now works for the signal dept of the Hiawatha L/R system, and gave me a "to die for" tour of the system.  I also have to thank him for letting me take up his entire weekend railfanning, as we went to Mason City IA all day, the day before the most excellent L/R tour.  The picture of him was taken in Mason City!


New in 2003
Last Updated: 07/22/2016