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It is with shock and sadness that I pass on the news that Alan Burden (AlanB) passed away today. He was 57.

 

His passing came as he participated in something he loved - riding trains. He was on the Crescent en route to New Orleans starting the summer OTOL RailFest - as he had done for countless years. He took ill early evening today (July 12) and was removed from the train by EMT's in York AL, He died of an apparent heart attack a short time later with his mother Grace at his side.

 

Alan was an original administrator at Amtrak Unlimited when it was started in 2002 by Anthony Rizos. Much of what AU has become is because of Alan. He started the AU Gathering eleven years ago and was active at both On Track On Line and Flyertalk where he was the moderator of the Amtrak forum. A constant with Alan was his love of trains and riding trains and his willingness to provide help and knowledge whenever it was needed.

 

His tag line for years has been, "Take care, and take trains." He is and will be greatly missed. Rest in peace, AlanB.

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Oh no. :(. Seems like this is one of several deaths in the AU community this year, but Alan was undoubtedly the most integral to it. My most sincere condolences to everyone who knew him.

Edited by cpotisch

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All of us that are on the Crescent are still in shock. I cannot say much more right now becuase I am heartbroken and devasted.

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All of us that are on the Crescent are still in shock. I cannot say much more right now becuase I am heartbroken and devasted.

(((HUGS)))

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Sadden to hear this news of Alan's passing.. Thoughts goes out to his family.

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All of us that are on the Crescent are still in shock. I cannot say much more right now becuase I am heartbroken and devasted.

:( *HUGS* to you and others.

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Oh my god. I don't even know what to feel first.

 

I'm sorry to hear of his passing, I hate that his mother had to see it, and I feel awful for all of you who were with him. I am glad he was surrounded by friends and family when he fell ill, and as PRR mentioned, he was doing something he loved.

 

This is terribly sad news, indeed. :(

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My condolences to Grace and the family. I rode with Alan on many OTOL railfests and AU gatherings. RIP my friend.

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This news is so sad to hear. :(

 

He has truly been an integral part in building and developing this community. Between being one of the original administrators, mentoring and answering questions about Amtrak on here for many years, and starting the Gatherings and running them for a number of years, he has truly left a strong, proud legacy within the Amtrak, and more specifically AU, community. I don't think it's too bold to say that without him AU would not be the amazing, close-knit community it is today. While I'm saddened to hear of his passing, it's comforting to hear that he passed away doing what he loved with friends, and that Grace was at his side until he died.

 

May light perpetual shine upon Alan.

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I was shocked about his passing. At least AU NYC Gathering this fall is a perfect place for us to honor him, along with others such as Joe.

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I’m still in shock. Alan, Grace, and I boarded the Crescent yesterday afternoon in New York. We had lunch today...I have no words.

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I was very saddened to hear about Alan this evening, and it's an understatement to say I'm still shocked. Alan was the lifeblood of the Amtrak Unlimited community since its inception; a good friend; a true advocate for Amtrak and for all those who loved Amtrak. This was far too early for him. Some quick thoughts come to mind and I want to share:

 

As PRR 60 said, I first met Alan here on AU roughly 18 years ago, when the site was an early version of what you see here today. Although the site began in 1997, I only added a discussion forum later - around 2000 - after we had decent traffic coming from search engines like Yahoo. Mind you, this was coming out of a time when listservs/mailing lists (and also, newsgroups and subscription services like Prodigy) had been the main method of railfan dialogue online, so it was a relatively new medium. The forum got maybe one or two new threads a day at the beginning, and then, very happily, Alan found it, joined - and stayed.

 

Alan quickly proved to be extremely knowledgeable, generous with his time, friendly, and helpful to both newcomers and experienced train riders alike. He could talk in simple terms to a first-timer, and yet also in great detail about everything under the sun (from Amtrak politics, to operations, to the travel experience itself) with the pros. When the volume of users steadily increased, and with several upgrades to the forum software, Alan was the clear and logical first choice to help me manage the community. He wholly dedicated himself to this as well as several other online communities, doing what he loved the most - bringing people together (virtually and in person) in the common pursuit of the passion of trains.

 

I have many fond memories of Alan's friendship and leadership, whether in person, on here, on IRC chat, over the phone, or otherwise. Behind the scenes, for years, we would discuss in great detail what to do about specific forum issues and controversies, and he always brought a thorough and considerate perspective. This only continued after we added more forum staff, and saw a significant growth in the membership over time. After I moved to the Northeast for college, I began seeing Alan in person several times a year - whether in Boston on his AGR points runs, or in NYC while I was passing through, or at any one of the Gatherings which he so much enjoyed planning and organizing. I remember the very first one in Chicago and what a fun success that was, and what an annual tradition it became. In fact, it seems like it was yesterday.

 

I would continue seeing and speaking with Alan frequently in DC over the years I spent at Amtrak, whether just to catch up or to arrange things for the community. Sometimes they were visits in the ClubAcela or even on the train, or at a station along the NEC. A fun memory was on an impromptu HQ tour one afternoon, he and I went into the elevator alone from the top floor, and who gets in next but Mr. Boardman. That was a long ride down for me - who had failed to sign Alan in as a visitor - LOL! The best part: Alan didn't realize who it was until we got out of the elevator. (Boardman was just wearing a shirt and slacks, and perhaps didn't look the part!)

 

Ultimately, I'm comforted by the fact that Alan was doing what he loved most, surrounded by his railfan friends, today. My life would have been much different without Alan - during an extended and very formative period - and I remain grateful to him for all of his contributions and commitment. Alan, if you can see this - Thank you.

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Im shocked and saddened to hear about Alan's passing.

 

I remember years ago, when I was going to New York to make a bus connection to PA, he met me on the platform of NYP, and showed me around the station. We then went hand had lunch, and some great conversations. He even walked me down to the PABT. He made sure I was at the gate safely. I will always cherish that memory. Alan was an amazing person, and my condolences go to his family, friends, and all of us here at AU. We will surely miss Alan.

 

Anthony (AC)

Edited by Amtrak Cajun

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Oh my gosh. I don't know what to say other than to send my condolences to his family and friends. He will surely be missed.

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I will always remember Alan as a great friend. He was the one who recommended me to be a moderator here at AU, and has been a great help to me both online and off.

 

He was one of the first “real people” I met here, at the 2nd gathering in LA. He even called me by cell when I missed the train down to SAN. In PDX last year, Alan was one of the first people to approach me at Union Station after the group returned - after I missed the train. (This seems to be a recurring theme!:) )

 

Condolences to Grace, the rest of the family and all the AU family!

 

RIP Alan!:(

Take care & catch the express train in the sky!:)

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I think, and I must say, I am as shocked as everyone else at Amtrak Unlimited, however, I think Alan “went out” like ALL OF US would like to go out, “on a train”. I am very sure it was very tough on Penny, and Alan’s Mom, and others on the train, but remember, Alan was doing what Alan loved. Riding trains and promoting trains. The best way to honor Alan, is to “grow trains”. He was very kind, and accommodating in many, many, ways. At the “gathering“ in Kansas City several years ago both Alan and I went to pick up barbecue. Upon returning to Kansas City Union Station, it was clear we didn’t have enough for everyone at the gathering. Both Alan and I gave up our barbecue without hesitation, that was just “Alan’s way”, For the good of the group. Alan was just like that. He will be missed. Honor Alan, by GROWING TRAINS. R.I.P. Dammit, this just sux.......

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I am another that never had the privilege to meet Alan. But I have respected every post I have seen of his, and am very sad for his family and friends, and I am sure that

in their hearts, he will live...forever.

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There is no Joy @ AU tonight!😣

 

Such Sad News, but as others have said, Alan was doing one of the things he loved best in Life, and he was in the company of his Mom and Train friends who knew and loved Alan.

 

I was so looking forward to meeting with the OTOL Group when they arrived in Austin next week on the Texas Eagle and breaking bread and riding on our Light Rail with the Group.

 

My heartfelt condolences to Grace, to his, Family and to the OTOL Friends who were traveling with him on this trip.

 

I too was fortunate to have spent lots of time with Alan @ AU Gatherings, on Trains,and online both on AU and in PMs.

 

RIP my Friend, Highball to Heaven!

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