Executives, Author William Howes Dies

Former railroad executive and railroad historian William F. Howes, Jr., has died. He was 83.

Howes worked for the Baltimore & Ohio, Chessie System and CSX, and was known for his work in the passenger department of B&O/C&O.

An obituary posted on the Trains magazine website credited Howes with being instrumental in the development of the Chessie System Chess-C cat logo in 1972, and in overseeing the planning and operation of nearly 100 Chessie Steam Special excursions in 1977-78. He had a hand in designing the yellow, blue, and vermilion locomotive livery introduced in 1972.

He also served as president of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society from 1994 to 2003.

Howes great up in Yonkers, New York, and graduated from Carnegie Tech with a civil engineering degree in 1961.

He began his railroad career as a structural draftsman for the New Haven Railroad in 1960. He later studied for a master’s degree in civil engineering at Purdue University.

Howes joined the B&O in 1963. During his career he worked in the operating, industrial engineering, passenger services, casualty prevention, and executive departments.

In 1965, Howes was appointed assistant to the trainmaster for B&O’s Akron-Chicago Division. He would join the passenger department of B&O/C&O in May 1967 and become its director in 1969.

For the final trips of the Capitol Limited, which departed Chicago and Washington on April 30, 1971, Howes arranged to bring back for one night the famed B&O salad bowl in the dining car and found a few Deer Park spring water jugs, another B&O tradition.

The last runs of Nos. 5 and 6 fielded additional sleeping cars. The trains also carried dome cars.

Howes told the Baltimore Sun in an interview more than three decades later that the railroad was unsure if the trips that began April 30 would be the last ones because of a court challenge to the inauguration of Amtrak on May 1.

Riding No. 6, Howes said he learned at Martinsburg, West Virginia, that the court challenge had failed. “Then we knew it was the end. It was really quite emotional,” he told the Sun.

Howes noted that at the time Amtrak did not plan to operate any B&O passenger trains or use its rails for trains it did plan to operate.

Therefore, some B&O passenger employees with 30 to 40 years seniority were seeing their careers as they had known them come to an end.

Howes retired in 1988 from CSX as vice-president research and analysis. However, he continued to work as a consultant for the railroad industry and government agencies.

Aside from his work for R&LHS, Howes served as president of the Chesapeake Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts in the Baltimore-Washington area.

In 2015, R&LHS awarded Howes its Gerald M. Best Senior Achievement Award.

Howes was a co-author of The American Railroad (with Joe Welsh and Jim Boyd; Travel by Pullman (with Joe Welsh); and The Cars of Pullman (with Joe Welsh and Kevin Holland).

To read the full Trains obituary on Howes, visit https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews/news-wire/william-f-howes-jr-railroad-official-rlhs-president-author-dies-at-83/

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One Response to “Executives, Author William Howes Dies”

  1. pwwoodring Says:

    Mr. Howes was the featured banquet speaker for the Akron Railroad Club annual Christmas banquet in December 1979.

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