Jim Boyd, railroad book author and <i>Railfan Railroad</i> editor emeritus, dies

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NEWTON, N.J. — Jim Boyd, an influential railroad photographer, book author, and longtime editor of Railfan & Railroad magazine, died Dec. 31, 2010.

Boyd was born in Dixon, Ill., in 1941, and grew up watching steam engines on the nearby Illinois Central. He attended the University of Illinois and the Layton School of Art in Milwaukee, specializing in photography. He worked in the production and photography departments at a Rockford, Ill., television station before taking a job as a field service representative for General Motors’ Electro-Motive Division.

During his three-year stint at EMD, Boyd got to ride locomotives across the Midwest, East, and South. Boyd lost his job at EMD in a reorganization, and took a job as brakeman for the IC in Freeport, Ill., which he did for a year and a half. In 1972, he took a job as associate editor for Flying Models magazine, a Carstens Publications title. He moved to Carstens’ Railroad Model Craftsman, where he worked until the company launched Railfan in 1974. He worked as managing editor and editor on the title until his retirement in 1998; the February 1998 issue was his final one.

After his retirement, the magazine kept him on as its editor emeritus, and he continued to contribute his photos and writing. His monthly “Camera Bag” column ran until earlier this year. The column taught a generation of railfans about photography. He was also an occasional TRAINS contributor in his retirement.

Boyd authored numerous books, including the beautiful 2005 “Outbound trains in the era before the mergers.”

A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Jan. 8 at Iliff-Ruggiero Funeral Home in Newton.
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