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 Post subject: Ron Ziel's Death is Reported (1939-2016)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:45 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
Posts: 3751
Location: Maine
Steam photographer and author, Ron Ziel, is reported to have passed on Dec. 15, 2016.
Ron was diabetic, and that he lived such an active life after being diagnosed in his twenties, is remarkable. While in my teens, Ron took me on my first steam safari to Steamtown in Vermont, and there I got a cab ride with Nelson Blount.
Ron's personality took some getting used to, but he amassed an enormous documentation of the Long Island Rail Road, and covered the last of the steam locomotives in their extermination phase. Credit where it is due.
His earliest book, The Twilight of Steam Locomotives" is a landmark book on the subject.

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Last edited by Jeff Lisowski on Fri Dec 16, 2016 2:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Title- topic is now a sticky


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 Post subject: Re: Ron Ziel's death is reported
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:49 am 

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 5:05 pm
Posts: 571
I never met Ron but got Twilight for Christmas in 1964. We exchanged a few letters in the 60s. Sad to hear of his passing.


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 Post subject: Re: Ron Ziel's Death is Reported (1939-2016)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 2:26 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 12:18 am
Posts: 250
I met Ron on a Soo Line 2719 charter, and he graciously signed my books. I'll never forget the date: September 10, 2001. The next morning, after seeing the news, I wondered in Ron and the other people I'd met that weekend from the east coast had made it back home to New York.


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 Post subject: Re: Ron Ziel's Death is Reported (1939-2016)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 2:40 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 9:34 pm
Posts: 1896
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
I never met Mr. Ziel, but I have very much appreciated his work. My condolences to all related.

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Danmarks Tekniske Universitet
Institut for Systemer, Produktion, og Ledelse


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 Post subject: Re: Ron Ziel's Death is Reported (1939-2016)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:52 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:55 pm
Posts: 688
Location: Warren, PA
My very first real railroad book - just as a kid - was "Twilight of Steam". I can still remember every page, every photo in it. I never imagined that by this time in my life I would have come into physical contact with so many of the survivors - both the locomotives and individuals - that I first came to know about in that landmark publication.

I'd have to say that he communicated the passion and the emotion unlike anyone else, not just the 'romance of steam', but the recognition of a passing, eyes wide open and see it for what it really was. And the photography was anything but standard 3/4 roster views - just go back and look at the chapter on the Graham County and the Shay.

Just the other day I had reason to be discussing FEC 148, and reminisced that my first idea of what those 4-6-2's looked like was the shot in "Twilight of Steam" of 153. Yep, I'll always credit him with planting the seeds of my passion for steam.


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 Post subject: Re: Ron Ziel's Death is Reported (1939-2016)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 4:00 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 8:10 am
Posts: 2332
For me it was the later "Twilight of World Steam." I devoured that book. RIP Mr. Ziel.

Rob


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 Post subject: Re: Ron Ziel's Death is Reported (1939-2016)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 4:03 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8403
Location: Baltimore, MD
In my case it was The Twilight of World Steam, and his almost-concurrent article about photographing steam behind the Iron Curtain in Trains in 1977, that were my early impressions of him.

The first (and possibly only) time I ever met him that I knew of (he may have been along on that Dec. 1982 "test run" of CP 2839 on the Octararo) was during the 1987 runs of PRR 1361 out of York, Pa., with a couple runs on the former PRR south and a run or two on the Ma & Pa ex-PRR (or was it WM?) line southwest to Spring Grove. I had fled out of York early to scout out photo ops on the NC line ahead of the train, ran over an angled crossing that sloped downhill past the track, and saw this guy with a big, old-school tripod and Speed Graphic set up almost in the road. I passed, parked, and joined him for what turned out to be a reasonably good photo spot, and casually said, "Going with the bigger negatives, are we?" as he checked the focus on the back glass.

"Oh, this is just to scare everybody away from in front of me! Once it comes, I'll just step up in front with this!" he said, whipping out a Kodak Pocket 110 camera from his shirt pocket. The photo line was considerably larger by the time 1361 showed up. We conversed a bit there, and maybe another spot or two that day, and I seem to think I ran across him once or twice during later NS or Blue Mountain & Reading steam excursions......


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 Post subject: Re: Ron Ziel's Death is Reported (1939-2016)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 4:26 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 2:48 pm
Posts: 14
Location: DFW TX
As a 10 year old in 1973, my parents bought me "Twilight" at the Henry Ford Museum gift shop which began a lifelong love affair with Steam and a passion for preservation topics in general.

Rest In Peace Mr. Z.


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 Post subject: Re: Ron Ziel's Death is Reported (1939-2016)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 5:50 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:34 am
Posts: 421
Location: Port Jefferson, NY (LIRR MP 57.5)
This is very sad news, for railfans in general and for fans of the steam era of the LIRR in particular.

My one, brief encounter with Ron was at a train show in New York around 1987 or so; I would have been about 12 years old at the time. He had a table set up with a selection of his books for sale, and I decided to purchase one (using some of my allowance money). I was surprised when, after I'd paid for the book, instead of handing it to me or putting it in a bag, he proceeded to sign it for me! It was only when I saw the signature that I realized who he was.

-Philip Marshall


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 Post subject: Re: Ron Ziel's Death is Reported (1939-2016)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 7:37 pm 

Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2004 10:13 pm
Posts: 348
Location: Metropolis
Talk about a sad day for historians on Long Island's East End. A major fire gutted several landmark buildings in Sag Harbor village today, the would-have-been northern terminus of Ziel's proposed Scuttle Hole & Sag Harbor excursion railroad—the iconic Sag Harbor Cinema was among the casualties. While a Hamptons tourist train with ex-BEDT tank engines never came to pass, we have him to thank for helping bring Black River & Western No. 60 over for the 1967 excursion from Jamaica to Montauk, the last run of steam on the LIRR.

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Ron Ziel's Death is Reported (1939-2016)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 9:41 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 11:01 am
Posts: 27
Location: Orlando, FL
Saddened to hear of Rons passing. I've known him casually for over 20 years. At the beginning of my interest in steam, I too was inspired by Twilight of Steam and Twilight of World Steam. Funny that Jeff Terry mentioned the September 10th 2001 trip with 2719. I too was on that trip and roomed with Ron for that long weekend. The stories of getting home after the 9/11 events from the participants were really interesting. I almost wish I had written them all down. I can't remember the details about Ron getting home, but it took him awhile as I recall. The last time I saw and talked to Ron was on a trip on the Nevada Northern some years back.


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 Post subject: Re: Ron Ziel's Death is Reported (1939-2016)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 10:04 am 

Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:06 pm
Posts: 2170
Location: Thomaston & White Plains
Ron Ziel--- One of the real greats, and one of the true "Karachters" (yes, the capital K is intentional!) of steam history, photography and preservation.

His exploits behind the Iron Curtain in the 60s and 70s were legendary; his tales of sterilizing his needles (required for his diabetes) in the end-of-car samovars on the Trans-Siberian Express were hilarious, and how he obtained color shots of 4-8-4s with a 4x5 Graphic without spending time as a guest of the KGB, were equally entertaining.

Out on eastern Long Island, he lived in a huge Victorian house, that he had moved across the LIRR mainline; the same housemover who handled that job moved LIRR 39 out of the Stony Brook park in 1980.

He bought and saved the 1898 LIRR rotary now at Steamtown.

Always a guy with an idea, a dream, a plan, and enthusiasm for whatever was around the next bend. A larger-than-life personality, under his ever-present "Aussie" hat.

His "Twilight of Steam" pushed a certain 12-year old down a long and interesting road, back in 1964.

RIP, Ron. May there be plenty of LIRR rotary plow trains in the Hamptons for you, and lots of 5x7 glass plates to photograph them with!

Howard P.

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 Post subject: Re: Ron Ziel's Death is Reported (1939-2016)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 12:32 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:10 pm
Posts: 37
"me too", on the influence of his TWILIGHT BOOK. For all of us that read it over and over, you will recall the photo of NKP 624 in Hammond, Ind. that Ron Ziel declared "200 tons of standing junk". Unbelievably it took fifty years for something good to happen to the 624 and it is set to move in 2017 to a new home and some level of restoration.

Thank you Ron......


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 Post subject: Re: Ron Ziel's Death is Reported (1939-2016)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 10:15 pm 

Joined: Fri Sep 16, 2011 8:59 am
Posts: 14
Unless he recently moved, I believe Ron resided in Arizona.

Jeff Smith


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 Post subject: Re: Ron Ziel's Death is Reported (1939-2016)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 11:47 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 11:13 pm
Posts: 151
Location: Southold NY
Gentle Forum Members,

Ron had been living for several years at the Good Samaritan Society - Idaho Falls Village, an assisted living facility in Idaho Falls, ID. Cards and expressions of sorrow may be mailed to Ron's family at:

Mr. Paul Ziel, Esq.
770 S Woodruff Ave
Idaho Falls ID 83401-5285


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