Return to Gerald M. Best Senior Achievement Awards

For a lifetime of significant contributions to writing, preservation, and interpretation of North America’s railroading history, Fred M. Springer (1928-2012) of Santa Fe, New Mexico, has been honored by the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society with its 2011 senior achievement award.

His contributions reach from Texas to Wisconsin to the Southwest. His images document railroading on five continents, with, when possible, an emphasis on steam, according to Mark E. Entrop, chairman of the R&LHS awards committee who presented the award Friday, March 30, 2012 at Springer’s home in Santa Fe. He received a certificate of recognition for the R&LHS award from the Santa Fe County Board of Commissioners the day before he died.

The city of Temple, Texas, named a park for Springer in 2011 because of his contributions to developing the community’s Railroad and Heritage Museum. Springer and his wife, Dale, purchased a home in Salado, near Temple, in 1980.

Springer started documenting railroad history in the 1940s in Colorado and New Mexico, and he returned often to this narrow-gauge country. He gave his railroad photographs, nearly 90,000 in number, to the Center for Railroad Photography & Art in 2012 along with a substantial gift from him and his wife to catalog and preserve them. A selection can be seen at

Springer’s volunteer work includes the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic. He also helped the Galloping Goose Historical Society of Dolores, Colorado, which restored No. 5, and he served on its crew at Chama and Durango.

The full citation appeared in Railroad History 206, Spring-Summer 2012.