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Alan Burden (AlanB)


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#41 Bob Dylan

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 08:50 AM

Thanks for the info and helping Grace Penny, I'm sure it's a sad time @ OTOL, hopefully all of Alan's friends on the trip are OK.

Please keep us Posted and I hope to see y'all in Austin next week IF y'all are still continuing the trip?

Perhaps we can lift a Pint in Alan's Memory and remember, as several members have said, that Alan passed while doing one of the things he loved best, riding on a Train with Family and Friends.

Edited by Bob Dylan, 13 July 2018 - 08:51 AM.

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#42 rtabern

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 08:57 AM

I will just echo what everyone else has send on here so far... Alan was a great guy. We would get together every now and then when he would pass through Chicago on one of his rail trips. Even though I only attended the two Chicago gatherings, Alan was an awesome planner of such events. I think a lot of people never saw all of the work and energy that went into planning something like that because they always went so smooth -- from the transit riding, to the meals, and getting everyone where they needed to be to stick to the schedule. I had the honor of giving Alan and his mom (Grace) a ride into Downtown Chicago on the last gathering and will remember the ride down. Yes, atleast he died what he loved doing -- much better than being bed-ridden in a hospital for months -- but why can't we all die well into our 80's doing what we love? Mid-50's is way too soon. Let that serve as a lesson of sorts to people who are afraid to splurge a little and take that dream trip sooner than later. Atleast Alan had a lot of fun travels and made a lot fun memories for himself, me, and fellow AU'er friends. I had an aunt who passed around the same age who worked and saved every penny she could and never travel. After seeing that as a teen, I learned you have to splurge now and then... yes, pay the bills, but don't totally put off that rail trip you have always wanted to do across Canada... maybe going to Hawaii and getting your 50th State... or going to that national park you always wanted to see.  Atleast he had a good life.  Hope to ride trains with you again someday in another life my friend... :(


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#43 Mystic River Dragon

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 09:28 AM

I only met Alan a couple of times, at Gatherings, but it was wonderful to know that if I got lost, didn't know the answer, or didn't know the right train procedure, I could ask him. He always gave me the right answer and, more important, gave it with great kindness and courtesy.

 

I didn't know him well, but I am very sad today. I can't imagine what so many of you, his dear friends, are going through. :(

 

I add my condolences and love to all of yours to Grace.

 

Hugs to all of you....

 

Patty


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#44 JayPea

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 10:38 AM

Now that I have recovered from the shock of seeing this sad news, let me just add this. I only met Alan once, that at the Seattle gathering in 2011, and was immediately impressed how he was able to coordinate all the different events together so that things went off without a hitch. And I can certainly echo Rtabern's sentiments as well. Alan was way too young. I am 58, and have had so many reminders that life is too short: my wife died at 45, my dad at 56, and my brother in law at 59. And that is why I take the time to travel. In just over a month I will begin a planes/trains/automobiles trip that will take me to Oklahoma and Michigan, the final two of the 50 states I have yet to visit. And a few more trips for down the road that are on the old bucket list. Go while you can, because you just never know. My dad was going to retire at 62 and he and my mom were going to do some traveling. But he died young, and now Mom, at 80, has some mobility issues and can't travel. So she settles for traveling vicariously through my sister and I.

Alan will surely be missed.
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#45 greatcats

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 10:50 AM

My condolences to his mom, who I have met more than once. I am saddened to hear this news.
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I was a commuter railroad employee in NJ for many years until 2002, and have since been a tour guide at Grand Canyon National Park and Ketchikan, Alaska. Also, have been a National Park Volunteer at Hawaii Volcanoes and now Sunset Crater Volcano near my home. If not on Amtrak, also like long road trips, camping some of the time.

#46 LookingGlassTie

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 11:20 AM

RIP Alan, you will be missed.     :(


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"And you know that notion just crossed my mind............"


#47 Railroad Bill

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 11:22 AM

I just got on my computer and read this terrible news. I am so sorry for Grace and his family and to the OTOL group on the trip.  I first met Alan at the St Louis Gathering and later in Philly and Chicago. We also rode some of the special Autumn Amtrak trains in PA & NY. He was always so helpful to a Midwesterner who didn't know his way around big cities. He made sure we knew where we were going and even offered to meet us in New York City on one of our first trips there.  

He and Anthony are responsible for AU and his legacy will live on with those of us who appreciated his guidance and leadership skills. 

As others have noted, he passed on an Amtrak train with his close friends who shared his love for trains. May he rest in peace and our regards to Grace and his family.  He will be greatly missed.   :(

RRB & Claudia 


Edited by Railroad Bill, 13 July 2018 - 11:33 AM.

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Lake Shore Ltd, Capitol Ltd, Pennsylvanian, NE Corridors, Crescent, City of New Orleans, Empire Builder, California Zephyr, Hoosier, SW Chief, Surfliners, California Capitol Corridors, Coast Starlight, Cascades. Texas Eagle, San Joaquins, Missouri River Runner,Cardinal, Downeaster, Silver Meteor, Keystones, Auto Train, Adirondack, Lincoln Service, Illinois Zephyr, Carl Sandburg, Texas Eagle Detour Rt, 2013 Autumn Express Tour PHL, Silver Star, Sunset Limited -Acela Express-  2015 Autumn Express ALB - Empire Service Via Rail Corridor Trains Cobourg-Ottawa-Montreal,(round trip)  The Ocean (round trip)--   2,250 miles


#48 Acela150

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 02:23 PM

I have had well over 12 hours to absorb the news that an amazing friend is no longer with us here. And I honestly haven’t been able to react. Alan was as I said before an amazing friend. His knowledge of how Amtrak worked not only physically but fiscally. He had an amazing understanding of Amtrak in general. He was an amazing advocate for Amtrak as well! I had several chances to meet and spend time with Alan. And truly enjoyed the conversations we had. And of course traveling with him faithfully was his mother Grace who kept up with our railfanning shenanigans and on top of that became an honorary member of AU in my book. He shared some interesting things over the years not only here, but in person with us. I just can’t believe that such an amazing friend is no longer with us. I was hoping to see him at the gathering this year if I’m able to attend. I also hope that our friends that were with him Chris, Jishnu, Penny and I think a few others are on the OTOL fest trip are ok. Having been with him on the trip. This is just such a shock.
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#49 tp49

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 03:08 PM

I'm stunned by the news of Alan's passing.  As many before me have stated he was a great guy.  I had the pleasure of meeting him on several occasions on both coasts.  The first time I met him was about 15 or so years ago when I was heading back east and wanted to ride the then-new LIRR M7's.  Alan agreed to meet me at Penn and we rode out to Ronkonkoma and back.  I enjoyed spending the time with him talking about the LIRR, which I thought I knew a lot about but he enlightened me with things I didn't.  After that ride, he invited me to tag along on an OTOL mini-fest to Port Jervis the following day which I really enjoyed.  

 

Over the years, we've stayed in touch and I was lucky to see him at both the Bay Area OTOL fest and Bay Area AU Gathering.  I enjoyed talking about trains and New York things with him and enjoyed interacting with him here on AU and in other venues.  

 

To Grace, having had the pleasure of meeting you several times I am truly sorry for your loss.  It's hard to use the past tense but the person Alan was is also a testament to you.  He will be greatly missed.  May Alan rest in peace.


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#50 printman2000

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 04:09 PM

I met Alan personally at the first LA gathering and then again when he met me and my family at NY Penn in 2009. He rode all the way to Newark Penn with us just to make sure we got where we needed to be.

He is a person who I will never forget.
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#51 trainman74

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 04:11 PM

Very nice (but sad) to read all these great stories about Alan.
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#52 gaspeamtrak

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 05:19 PM

I'm shocked and sadden to here this horrible news !!! 

I met Alan, his Mom, and  Penny on the "LSl" out NYP as I was heading back to Buffalo after riding down on the first train of the day from Buffalo. There was also other members from "Amtrak Unlimited " too

I just happened to be in the dining car having supper and could here this "Gang" of people :) talking away at these tables when I turned and recognized them as being from "Amtrak Unlimited" ! Man was I excited !!! I finally got the nerve up and stood up and walked over and introduced myself to them . They were just as excited as I was at meeting  each other !!! What a great bunch of people ! They invited me to join them on one of the gatherings which sadly I never got to do ...  I'm so sorry everybody ,I am thinking of all of you I met that day on #49...

:(  :(  :( R.I.P. AlanB


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#53 AKA

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 05:19 PM

RIP  ALAN


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#54 cpotisch

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 07:57 PM

Jis was on the train with him, right? He hasn't responded on this thread yet. Does anyone know how he's doing?


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#55 saxman

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 08:01 PM

Now that it's been about a day, I can type my thoughts better. 

 

I've been on this forum since 2004 and remember how knowledgeable this "AlanB" was at Amtrak. I then met him in person in New York when I was living there for work and also met up with Mr. FSS at a restaurant in 2007. The 1st annual gathering was in the planning stages then so it was nice to meet in person. I must have eaten something that didn't agree because I got sick that meal and had to rush to my place in Queens and hug the toilet. Since then I enjoyed sitting near Alan at gatherings and OTOL fests just to listen to his vast knowledge of Amtrak operations and anything rail related in New York and the Northeast. He always had his signature scanner tucked away in his bag with an ear bud in his ear and always knew why the train stopped, slowed down or anything. He was also very good at debating about public transit issues and had a way of presenting data to a keyboard worrier that was "anti-transit." As a rail advocate, I would bring him into the argument sometimes. 

 

Right now, I am with the OTOL group on it's summer rail fest and yesterday was a stressful day. I still can't stop thinking about it. I boarded the Crescent at New York Penn with Alan and Grace. They had the room kitty-corner from me. The rest of the group of 4 boarded at Washington to continue our journey to New Orleans. The following day, I ended up eating lunch with Alan and Grace, where he seemed in good spirits while we talked the usual Amtrak politics and I even helped them with directions to their hotel in NOL. Thinking back to that moment still hasn't settled in for me. It was his last meal. I saw him a couple more times during the after as most of us stayed in our rooms for the afternoon, but that was probably my last conversation with him as well. During dinner he was taken off and we soon found out his fate about a half hour after dinner. During the rest of the trip to NOL, I couldn't stop looking at the empty room across from me. The defibrillator was still sitting in another empty room until the end of the trip. I thought about moving it but somehow I just wanted to keep it there. I still wanted to look up and see him and his mom sitting there and ask why we were slowing, but I couldn't. 

 

Today we rode the streetcars in New Orleans, just as Alan would have wanted us to do. When I look at our normal group, I still want to look for Alan as he has been part of every single gathering and fest that I’ve been on for the last 11 years. The fests, gatherings, and AU just won’t be the same without you Alan.

 

In the pilot world we would say tailwinds and blue skies. For train world, I’ll say ride west my friend. May the rails take you into the sunset.


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#56 PRR 60

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 08:02 PM

Jis was on the train with him, right? He hasn't responded on this thread yet. Does anyone know how he's doing?

 

I had dinner with the OTOL group tonight including jis, and they are all shell-shocked but coping.  


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#57 pennyk

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 08:24 PM

Thank you Chris for a beautiful tribute to Alan.  As mentioned by Bill, we are all shell-shocked.  For me, there was a very somber feel about today's rides.  I am still not able to type my thoughts.   I have done quite a bit of crying and thinking.  It has helped me that Grace has allowed me to assist her in canceling hotel and train reservations.  Keeping busy has always helped me in times of mourning.

 

Grace's son Craig and Grace have read this thread and are comforted by all of your kind and moving tributes.  They are impressed by the love this community has shown for Alan and his family.

 

I hope to continue to keep in touch with Grace and Craig.  I consider Grace a friend and although I have not met Craig, I have communicated with him by phone and text quite a bit in the last 26 hours.

 

Thank all of you for your kindness and concern. 


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#58 CHamilton

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 08:34 PM

I too am in shock. Thanks to Chris, Penny, and everyone else who has shared the news from NOL.

 

But I smile as I imagine the welcome Alan is receiving from Joe, Bill, Sheela, Patrick, Eric, and our other AU friends, along with Jim and Zack from 501. I know they're sharing stories and telling jokes...and shaking their fingers at us: "Don't you dare let those idiots in DC kill our trains! We want our grandchildren to have as much fun on the rails as we did!"


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#59 SarahZ

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 08:52 PM

In the pilot world we would say tailwinds and blue skies. For train world, I’ll say ride west my friend. May the rails take you into the sunset.

 

That was a beautiful tribute, Chris.


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#60 SarahZ

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 09:12 PM

I've had some time to gather my thoughts, as well. While Alan and I haven't talked as much the past couple of years, I do have some fond memories.

 

I met Alan and Grace at the Chicago Gathering in 2013. On that first morning, I ended up standing next to their seats on the southbound Purple Line. Alan knew I was planning to visit NYC some day, so he started telling me about all of the things he thought I'd enjoy. Unfortunately, the car was quite crowded and extremely loud, so he ended up having to shout (as much as Alan could shout). I heard about 30% of what he said.  ^_^

 

Later, at Grandpa's Place, we ended up sitting near each other. I don't even know how this conversation started, but I told him I had never had a tuna melt. He looked at me like I'd just told him my parents were lobsters. I would pay $5 for a picture of the look he gave me. :lol: I couldn't stop laughing as he exclaimed, "You've never had a tuna melt?!? What?!? Are you serious?!?"

 

I didn't have one that night, but I tried one a few weeks later. They're my favorite deli sandwich now, and every so often, I think back to that conversation. I never did get a chance to thank you, my friend, for the recommendation.

 

A few months after the Gathering, we were in AU Chat. The conversation turned to NYC again, and it came about that I'd never seen "Phantom of the Opera" live. He was so passionate about it and spent some time describing how amazing it is. He told me that I simply had to see it on Broadway and he would make absolutely sure to get us good tickets once I knew when I was coming to the city.

 

I still, after all these years, have "Phantom of the Opera with Alan" on my "Things to Do in NYC" list. If/when I do get to visit, I will see the show and think of him.


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