In Memory of William Benson

An Akron man who was involved in steam locomotive preservation has died.

William Benson

William B. Benson, died last Saturday after a long illness. He was 80.

Mr. Benson was a founder of Steam Tours, Incorporated, which acquired Reading Company T-1 No. 2102 from the Reading in the late 1960s.

He worked with Ross Rowland to get former Reading No. 2102 in operation in time to pull the Bicentennial American Freedom Train.

Mr. Benson served as chief mechanical officer for the Freedom Train.

Born in Clarksburg, West Virginia, Mr. Benson moved to Akron with his family at age 3.

He was a graduate of East High School and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Akron.

During his career, Mr. Benson worked for Eastman Dillon Union Securities Company and became branch manager at Hartzman & Company. He was an options specialist at Bache & Company and was an engineering accountant for Goodyear Tire & Rubber.

Aside from his work with Steam Tours and the American Freedom Train, Mr. Benson was a member of the Toy Train Collectors Association, was president of American Coal Enterprises, and owned Right-of-Way Industries model trains.

One of his customers for the latter enterprise was John Menard and Mr. Benson became an importer for Menard’s.

Mr. Benson collected Lionel Trains and enjoyed studying American history.

Information about services and memorials can be found at

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