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Robert J. Church

Robert J. Church, 2017 winner

Robert J. Church, DDS, Wilton, California, received the Gerald M. Best Senior Achievement Award for significant and long-standing contributions to the writing, preservation, and interpretation of railroad history.

Church is an author, publisher, and long-time chairman of the Pacific Coast Chapter of the Railway & locomotive Historical Society. He has served on the national R&LHS board and after a break of at least a decade, has just stepped back into the PCC chairmanship. He has been editor for the past 7 years of the PCC’s bi-monthy magazine, Western Railroader.

Since his earliest works starting in 1966, he has set a standard for documented research standing behind his writings that has been a standard for others to achieve. His love of the human side of gritty railroading lead him to innumerable interviews and nurtured friendship with legions of railroad veterans and pensioners. The books include: Cab-Forward, Steam Days in Dunsmuir, The 4300 4-8-2s, Southern Pacific Daylight Locomotives, Snowbound Streamliner-Rescuing the 1952 City of San Francisco, and Southern Pacific Ten-Coupled Locomotives. He coauthored the Pacific Fruit Express> book and coauthored for the R&LHS Railroad History in Photographs that featured images from the society’s archive collection. He has also written many articles for other railroad oriented periodicals.

He is co-owner with Tony Thompson in Signature Press, Railroad Book Publishers, founded in 1994, a company that set the high standards for quality publishing and photo reproduction in the railroad interest field with their writing projects and many other authors they have published.

The full citation will be published in Railroad History.