Bill Molony is a second-generation railroad fan. One of his earliest memories is going train-watching with his Dad and older brother. He had Marx 027 electric trains even before he could walk, and has always been a model railroader. He didn't begin to start seriously researching railroad history until the 1990's when he first moved to Lockport, IL. Over the years he has assembled an extensive collection of railroad history books and original vintage railroad photographs.
He has been President and Newsletter Editor of the Blackhawk Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society continuously since 1997. Some of the group’s accomplishments have been the production and marketing of our Elgin Joliet & Eastern DVD's, the 100th Anniversary Banquet for Joliet Union Station, pro-bono consulting on a variety of railroad preservation projects including: the Wabash depot in Wakarusa, Indiana, the C&EI depot in Beecher, the Rock Island depot in Seneca, and the relocation and restoration of the Wabash depot from Symerton.
He was also instrumental in the decision to preserve UD Tower in Joliet when the original plan was to raze it. He has written numerous articles for a variety railroad magazines and co-wrote the Arcadia Publishing book on the history of the Chicago & Western Railroad.
Michael Riha is a lifelong resident of Chicago’s south and southwestern suburbs, where his father introduced him to Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana’s railroads and photography, leading to an interest in the railroad industry and history. He currently serves as Treasurer and Webmaster for the Blackhawk Railway Historical Society based in Lockport, Illinois and can often be found trackside photographing today’s railroads and maintaining the family’s collection of over 50 years of railroad photos. Mr. Riha holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Governors State University, located at the end of the line of Metra’s (former Illinois Central) “Electric District” and currently resides in historic downtown Lockport, Illinois.
Bruce Haffner is a member of the Board of Directors of the Blackhawk Chapter and a historian of railroad telegraphy.
Fred Ash is an independent historic researcher and writer specializing in railroad, architectural and urban innovation. Fred has been published in Trains Magazine, Railroad History, Passenger Train Journal, The Green Diamond, The Sentinel, North West Lines, Rail and Wire, The Fast Mail and other periodicals. He has served as a volunteer indexing of Illinois Central Railroad corporate archives. He has also served as treasurer with the Illinois Railway Museum, as well as building gallery space and curating new temporary exhibits. Draft organization-wide strategic plan. His financial involves counseling to not-for–profit entities, including capital planning; investment policies; endowment disbursement policy; and budgeting. He is the author of a recently published book on Chicago’s Union Station.
Cynthia Ogorek is a native of the Calumet Region, an area that straddles the Illinois-Indiana state line along the south shore of Lake Michigan. Her familiarity with the transportation history of this region has been honed through the publication of four books: The Chicago and Western Indiana Railroad, Along the Chicago South Shore and South Bend Rail Line, Along the Calumet River, and The Lincoln Highway Around Chicago. With a master’s degree in U.S. history from Purdue University, Ogorek has been entertaining and educating audiences throughout the Calumet for over twenty years with a variety of informative historical programs and publications. Her current research is focused on the southeast side Chicago community of Hegewisch, which was founded in 1884 as the “company town” of the United States Rolling Stock Co, a New Jersey corporation. The finished project will include a history of U.S.R.S.C, which to-date has not been documented in a complete form.
David C. Lester is a transportation writer, historian and photographer, who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. David is interested in all aspects of railroading, and has been following the industry since he was a teenager. He is a Correspondent for Trains magazine, writes for Railroad History, the flagship journal of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society, and serves on the editorial advisory board of the journal. He also writes for Railroad Heritage, the quarterly journal of the Center for Railroad Photography & Art. David is a past Director of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society, served as vice chairman of the organization’s Railroad History Awards Committee for four years, and as a member of the committee for nine years. In addition, David contributed eighteen entries to the Encyclopedia of North American Railroads, edited by William D. Middleton, Roberta Diehl, and George Smerk, which was published by Indiana University Press in 2007. He also served as co-author of The Classic Eastern American Railroad Routes (Chartwell Books, 2011), contributing six chapters. David is also a member of the Lexington Group in Transportation History.
Joseph Santucci is a retired locomotive engineer who has led a quixotic railroad journey, have worked for a 9 different railroads in various positions. He previously served as a presenter for Operation Lifesaver, was a Member of the CN labor/management safety committee for six years and a BLET representative for the locomotive partnership council with the CN and the Federal Railroad Administration. He volunteered for ten years as an engineer on the CN Chicago District Santa Claus train. He authors a regular internet column on his railroad experiences and has had several published articles. He has an abiding interest in the history of railroading as well as current state of the rail industry.
Doug Davidson is an amateur historian and a professional railroader who will mark 45 years in the industry on November 5, 2018. A life-long student of railroading and long-time employee of Chicago & North Western / Union Pacific, he is currently the Director of the Arbitration Department of the nation's oldest labor union, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen. He is also the current Chairman of the First Division of the National Railroad Adjustment Board (NRAB), headquartered in the Railroad Retirement Building on North Rush Street.
Mitch Markovitz was born during October of 1950, and was raised in the South Shore neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. He states, “Everything was South Shore: South Shore neighborhood, South Shore Day Camp, South Shore Temple, South Shore Line.” His family vacationed in Michigan City, and in The Indiana Dunes. His father was a commercial artist, with the Illinois Central Railroad as a client, and his mom, an interior designer. Mitch attended Bryn Mawr elementary school (same school Michelle Obama attended many years later,) and graduated from Bowen High School in South Chicago. He then attended the American Academy of Art, the same school his father attended. He then went to several railroads where he worked as a trainman, conductor and engineman. Working on passenger assignments left him plenty of time during the day in Chicago to work at his father’s studio, and to teach art, returning home on his railroad assignment. During the late 1970s Mitch re-discovered the vintage South Shore Line posters. He discovered their timeless character as they portrayed his beloved region in both an archival nature, and in a contemporary view. He created several large copies of these posters as oil paintings to learn their specific artistic technique. The year 1984 saw the acquisition of the South Shore Line by local businessmen. They were looking for an art and advertising director to promote the railroad and they tapped Mitch for the position. Financial conditions changed over the next few years and Mitch found himself retaining his art position as a secondary job and was drafted into train service. Mitch was later promoted to engineman, and was pleased to attain a childhood ambition. In 1993 Mitch began painting several “new” South Shore Line style poster paintings for the Miller community. His worked gained attention and popularity. In 1997 he was contacted by the North West Indiana Forum to become the Founding Artist, and Art Director of the new “Just Around the Corner, along the South Shore Line” series of posters, a name devised by Mitch. He co-authored the book, “Moonlight in Duneland,” the anthology of vintage South Shore Line posters. As the series grew in fame Mitch decided to leave the railroad and resume a full-time career as professional artist. He’s married to his wife of 22 years, Renee’ (a former South Shore Line passenger,) and has a daughter, Julia, and son Matthew. His residence and studio is located in rural Knox, Indiana.
Paul Petraitis is a resident of the Pullman community of Chicago, and a historian and chronicler of the greater Southeast side of Chicago. Paul has worked in the photography department of the Chicago Historical Society (Chicago History Museum) and is an aficionado of cartography. He previously worked as the Executive Director of the Ridge Historical Society in the Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood of Chicago. He can often be found playing his guitar with his band around the Chicago area.
Doug Kaniuk is a graduate of the University of Illinois Chicago with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a Major in Systems and Operations and a Minor in Transportation. He also attended Wilbur Wright College where he received an Associate of Arts degree and a Certificate of Data Processing. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at Wilbur Wright College. He is webmaster for the Railroad and Shortlines Club of Chicago and administers his own railcentric website “Doug’s Railroad Place”.
Richard Wronski is a freelance writer and correspondent for Trains magazine, covering the railroad industry in Chicago and Metra. He also created the Chicago Transportation Journal, www.chitranspo.com, where he writes about Chicago transportation issues. He worked for 26 years at the Chicago Tribune, where he was an editor and reporter, and covered transportation for nearly 10 years. Previously, he was an editor for the Chicago Sun-Times, the Milwaukee Journal, and the Daily Southtown.
Bob Lalich is an electrical engineer by schooling and has been in several technical sales positions throughout his career. His interest in railroads began while he was growing up in the Calumet Heights neighborhood of Chicago, a block from BRC's and CRIP's South Chicago Yards. Steel mills and heavy industry were the lifeblood of the area at the time and trains were seen everywhere. Like many others, his interest in railroads took a back seat to other interests in high school and college. After graduating and going to work for Hewlett Packard, the old interest in trains was revived upon purchasing John Szwajkart's “Train Watcher's Guide to Chicago”. That set him on a path to learn everything he could about the rail network around Chicago, the operations, and the history of the railroads and industries they served. He has walked much of the trackage around Chicago, and in the course of doing so, has seen all the major junctions, and many obscure ones up close. He took photographs on some of those explorations, and has posted a few of those he considered to be interesting on Flickr. His Flickr user name is Pullman Junction, named for his favorite location that he saw regularly as a kid, and continues to visit when circumstances permit.
Greg Lochow is a resident of Blue Island and owner of Franklin Framing. He is an avid photographer and has worked in the printing industry as a designer and estimator.
Fred Ash Fred's interest in railroads was piqued as a teenager and nurtured after moving to Chicago. He spent 30 years specializing in non-profit and government finance, and has worked as a volunteer for both the Chicago Chapter of Railway and Locomotive Historical Society and the Illinois Railway Museum. His recently published book "Chicago Union Station" is the definitive history of that grand Beaux Arts building, and the political intrigue that played an important role in the development of Chicago's early railroads.
David Daruszka David is a retired locomotive engineer and the coordinator of Chicago Railroad History Month. He previously led the unsuccessful attempt to landmark the Chicago & Northwestern's Madison Street Station, presenting the case for historic designation before the Chicago Landmarks Commission. He is past President of the Ridge Historical Society where he collaborated on the publication of the book "Chicago's Beverly/Morgan Park Neighborhood" published by Arcadia Press. During his term as President he created the group's website and worked on a number of public exhibits. He currently serves as the Vice President and Program Coordinator for the Blackhawk Railway Historical Society, a chapter of the National Railway Historical Society.