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Mike P: Donald D. Edmisten passed away on New Years Eve
Wednesday 2 Jan 2008, 03:56
Filed under: NCRA, Railroad

It is always sad to hear of the passing of a person. This person wrote most of the PUC’s response to SP arguments for abandonment of the NWP, and worked very hard to form the NCRA. Thanks Mike for the info.

I am said to report to you the loss of a very Dear Friend of mine,
Donald D. Edmisten, 64, resident of Cordelia, Calif. on New Years Eve.
Don died of a urinary tract infection the result of a stroke suffered
last year. Don was a life long railroader who knew more about
railroading then anyone on the planet. Don started his career fresh out
of four years old college in the Management Training Program of the New
Year Central. The NY Centrals program at that time in the mid to late
60’s gave its trainees exposure to every aspect of railroading from the
Boardroom to to the tie-gang. Don did it all and spent a lot of time
around Ashtabula, Ohio and Elhcart, Indiana. Don rode a lot of trains
as an assistant Train Master and put in a lot of 25 hour days trying to
keep the NYC together with bailing wire and paper clips before the
merger. The equipment was bad and the track even worse because of
deferred maintenance He told me a story about riding the lead unit of
4 F-7’s on a train out of Ashtabula, Ohio and hitting a broken rail.
The unit he was riding in made it over, and the rest of the consist and
the following 35 cars left the raILs in a general pile-up 8 cars high!
The derailment happened in Farmer Joes pasture and his cattle started
in drink the 30,000 gallons of de-natured alcohol coming from a
punctured tank-car. By the time he got back to the burning wreckage,
half the farmers cattle were staggering around in a general stupor.
Don, born on the U.P. in Kearny, Nebraska moved west in 1968 after the
program at NYC became another casualty on the Penn-Central Merger. Don
next went to work for the late Max Howard, one of the most revered SP
Trainmasters. SP named :”Howard” on the Cal. P. in his honor. Don
occasionally made it over to the NWP and fell in love with the line.
With long hours and low pay, a wife and a new daughter on the way, Don
headed for AMTRAK and worked there for a number of years out of
Oakland. He ended his life long career in railroading in the railroad
compliance division of the PUC in Sacramento. It was there starting in
1982, that Don along with Railroad Advocate and FOUNDER of the NCRA
Ruth Rockefeller along with Attorney Leo Quinn of the PUC, single
handedly fought SP efforts to abandon the NWP and save it from the
scrappers torch. This is his legacy and when the NEW history of the
NWP is written, Dons efforts will be duly noted. Don wrote almost all
of the PUC’s response to SP arguments supporting the NWP abandonment.
In the end, A Federal Judge denied the abandonment and ordered SP to
repair the line and restore service. Bryan Whipple bought the North
end and renamed it Eureka Southern. In 1990, Don was instrumental
along with Ruth Rockefeller in getting the California State
Legislature to pass a bill authorizing the formation of the NCRA as the
public agency and steward of NWP. Don is survived by wife, Slyvia and
Daughter Laura
Services are pending. Respectfully submitted, Mike Pechner

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