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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Alan was the heart and soul of these forums. He was so so kind to me 7+ years ago when I first joined. I was going to take the SWC and connectors from Lamy NM to NYC and then Quantico VA. I had many questions about traveling in a roomette, the dining car, etc. He was so helpful. This community has lost a leader and friend to all.

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I was just looking at Eric's (GG-1) "farewell thread" from a coupIe years back. It's kind of shocking how many of the members who had responded to that thread are no longer with us, including Sheela (sunchaser), Joe (hessjm), and of course Alan. Hopefully all of them are in a better place on the other side of the railroad tracks.

Edited by cpotisch

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The one thing I’ll add that I always appreciated out of Alan was his as Charlie puts it. “Alanism’s”. He would crack a joke and it would either go right over your head at first or you’d almost laugh your rear end off. That’s what I’ll really miss.

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I am so saddened to hear this news about Alan. We exchanged several PMs on AU and he was always so helpful and considerate to my questions. I was in NYC a few days ago and as the train left Penn Station I was thinking about all the info Alan shared with me about Amtrak and other NYC trains.

 

Never put off a compliment or kind word to someone because you never know if you'll get another chance. RIP, AlanB.

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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.

 

 

We railfans are such a quirky kind. Alan, of course, was no exception. But, he could connect beyond our kin and reach the general public so effectively, in a way which most fans aren't apt.

 

We need more advocates for Amtrak, rail, and transit like him! May we all learn from his example.

 

Just a fun story along that line from a few years ago:

 

Riding on the CZ party train to the bay area gathering, I sat for lunch with a nice couple. They asked me about my travels, and as I began to explain they exclaimed, "Oh, you're with Alan!" He had already gotton to them the previous night. And they knew exactly who to go and ask about anything else the rest of their ride.

 

I'll never forget a lovely afternoon climbing the Rockies nor the next morning in the Nevada desert alongside Grace and Alan.

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My wife woke me up to the news. I was stunned to hear about Alan B, I would tease him and tell him I was the real Alan B as I was about 12 years older.

Robin and I offer our thoughts and prayers.

We wish well to Grace and all of Alan's family and friends (especially thus that were with him) at this time. I know that anyone who has been around A U for a while considers Alan B a friend as he would help anyone. May Alan have high greens and all temporary speed restrictions lifted for the rest of his trip highball!

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As time moves forward, I know I'll look back at those times spent with Alan, and know my life was just that much better for having known him.

 

((Hugs)) to Grace and all of Alan's family.

 

Mike

J-1 3235

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

Thanks for thinking of me. I happen to have been assigned to the Roomette across from Alan and Grace, but at the time of the event I was in the Diner.

 

Alan introduced me to AU. I remember in the early days of this young man who always used to lug around a tripod, which curiously, I never saw him actually use. Even back then he was, if anything, even more passionate about trains and Amtrak. He mellowed a lot over the years.

 

We spent many hours together discussing and prognosticating about the future of Amtrak and passenger rail over the years. He was an eternal spring of deep knowledge about Amtrak and rails around New York. All of that will be sorely missed, in addition to the wonderful, kind and gracious gentleman that he was.

 

We had lunch together a few hours earlier. Chris, Alan, Grace and I shared a table. Absolutely nothing seemed out of the ordinary at that time. And suddenly out of the blue, a few hours later, he took ill, and after a very brief illness he was no more. It is taking us quite a while to digest all that.

 

A special appreciation of Penny is in order. She is the one who by chance texted Alan and upon discovering that he was in distress, notified the train crew to get the ball rolling to get the EMTs to take him to the hospital. Continuously since then she is the one that worked diligently to get the relevant people connected together, and kept tabs on Grace and how she was doing. We just helped her here and there whenever we could.

 

It is a huge, unimaginable and untimely loss of a good friend and a great person. There is nothing that can replace the loss. It will take a while to get used to the changed world.

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I honestly don't know how to respond to this topic and I've been thinking it over. Alan is one of the main reasons I felt so welcome here at AU. Even though I have never met him before he was just someone that via the keyboard of a computer you just knew and felt like you've known your whole life.

 

He had quite the knowledge of all things trains and he was quite the guy. We all have lost a huge friend. But we are lucky to have been blessed by his presence and we have one large reminder of him everyday among countless others. And I know he would want us to continue in his work.

 

Alan may all your signals be clear on your way westward into the sunset. Highball.

 

I'll never forget you.

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I fondly remember one trip with Alan to the FL mini-Gathering. Under AGR 1.0, a roomette award costs the same amount of points for 1 or 2. So I offered Alan the free ticket!:) We met up in the CA at NYP.

 

Two humorous things (not including Pennys actions :giggle: ) happened on that trip.

 

The sleepers were at the rear on the SM, so we bordered near the end of the platform on the east side. Shortly after getting into the H-Room, the SM slowly started moving. After moving less than 25 feet, it stopped! Via Alans ever present scanner, he found out the reason for the move was that the baggage car (behind us) was not on the platform! They were unable to load the baggage!

 

The other was when we arrived at WPK, we had to wait at the station for the rest of the group who were aboard the SS. Even though the Star departed NYP hours before the Meteor, we arrive an hour before the Star!

 

Another was at the (2nd) Chicago Gathering, after arriving on the LSL with Alan and others, we walked to the Clinton station of the Blue Line to get to our hotel out by OHare. I did not know the station only had stairs and no elevator. Alan and Jim carried my bag and walker down the stairs for me, and then Alan came back up the stairs to assist me down the stairs!:) (I used another stop a few blocks further away with an elevator for the rest of the weekend.)

Edited by the_traveler

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Again, I'm so sorry to hear of Alan's passing. A loss of a great person. :(

 

I met Alan in person 3 times in 2012 (having joined AU in 2011).

 

Alan has helped me many times with advice and assistance. A few I can think of are the following.

 

Once I wanted to add a friend to my sleeper and he helped me get an open sleeper ticket for her. In fact, he did the "leg work" in getting it.

 

In 2014 on my way to the bay area gathering, Alan was going to meet me in NYP between my trains if there was time. Alas, my train got to NYP just in time for me to do a cross-platform transfer. We kept in touch with each other via texting during my trip between WIL and NYP and he relieved any stress I might have had worrying about my connection.

 

In 2016, when I was unemployed the 1st half of the year, he booked a room for me in Denver for that gathering using his hotel points. When he was booking it it noticed they had hearing accessible rooms and asked me if I'd like one. Being an infrequent traveler, I did not know hotels had those. Now I always look for them when booking rooms. (btw, I got a good paying job before that gathering and paid for my hotel room)

 

Alan you will be missed by many for many years. RIP

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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 remember that conversation, as I was sitting between you two. Fortunately, some kind AUer snapped a photo of us.

 

post-1912-0-08612500-1531620497_thumb.jpg

 

Thanks to whomever took the picture, and thanks for sharing one of my favorite Alan memories as well.

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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 remember that conversation, as I was sitting between you two. Fortunately, some kind AUer snapped a photo of us.

 

attachicon.gif740665_10101199145914074_1637466370_o.jpg

 

Thanks to whomever took the picture, and thanks for sharing one of my favorite Alan memories as well.

Ryan must have heard that story before. Everyone is giving rapt attention to Alan except Ryan. :giggle:

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Nice to put (at least a couple) of faces with the names I know from AU...thanks for posting the photo...

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