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Buckingham Branch Railroad (BB) founder Robert Earl "Bob" Bryant died at his Virginia home May 8. He was 87.
Bryant founded the short line in 1988 after retiring from a 35-year career with CSX as a market manager. BB grew from a 17.3-mile railroad with two employees to 280 miles and 80 employees today. It's now the largest short line in Virginia.
Bryant founded BB out of his love for railroading and his desire to continue freight service in his home county of Buckingham, according to his obituary.
"Bob leaves behind an incredible team and family that has learned so much from him, and a company that will continue to thrive for generations to come," said Chuck Baker, president of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.
Bryant and his wife Annie were honored by the Virginia General Assembly in 2015 for developing BB, which restored rail lines and strengthened the state's transportation infrastructure. He was also a founding member and longtime president of the Virginia Railroad Association, a fellow of the Virginia Rail Policy Institute and a member of the Old Dominion Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society and the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Historical Society. Bryant's first job in railroading was with C&O as a messenger boy.
"Bob was a great man. He had a gentle spirit, a strong work ethic and a passion to steadily improve the things around him,” said BB President Steve Powell.
Bryant is survived by his wife, two children and four grandchildren.