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In memoriam: Short-line industry contributors Jerry Jacobson, William Gifford Moore

William Gifford Moore
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The short-line industry recently lost two of its former leaders and contributors, according to the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.

Ohio Central Railroad System founder Jerry Jacobson died Sept. 13, and former Lehigh and Hudson River Railway (L&HR) President William Gifford Moore died Aug. 28. Jacobson was 74 and Moore was 91.

In 1988, Jacobson started his own railroad company after purchasing 90 miles of little-used track between Brewster and Zanesville, Ohio. For 15 years, he operated what became a popular summer tourist train in Sugarcreek, Ohio.

Jacobson later acquired additional abandoned railroad properties and formed the Ohio Central Railroad System, which eventually controlled 10 short lines and 550 miles of track. In 2008, he sold the company to Genesee & Wyoming Inc. and retired.

Afterward, Jacobson continued his life-long passion for railroading by constructing a roundhouse in Sugarcreek to restore and exhibit his collection of steam and diesel locomotives, rail cars and other equipment.

A Navy veteran, Moore was an executive with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and general superintendent of the Lehigh Valley Railroad in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in the earlier part of his railroading career.

He later became the last president of the L&HR, which declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 1972. Moore is credited with working to ensure the remains of the short line were included in the formation of Conrail.

After the L&HR folded, he served as a transportation consultant at R.L. Banks & Associates and was senior vice president of operations for Genesee & Wyoming Holdings.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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