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In memoriam: Red River Valley & Western/Twin Cities & Western co-founder and leader Kent Shoemaker

Kent Shoemaker, co-founder and chairman of the Red River Valley & Western and Twin Cities & Western railroads, died Dec. 21. He was 74.

In 1987, Shoemaker helped launch the 514-mile Red River Valley & Western Railroad (RRVW) in North Dakota. He later co-founded the 229-mile Twin Cities & Western Railroad (TC&W), which launched operations in Minnesota in 1991, and led both railroads as chief executive officer.

A noted authority on transportation service design, Shoemaker also served as a consultant and lecturer on innovative marketing strategies and productivity enhancements.

“Kent will be sorely missed,” said RRVW and TC&W CEO Andy Thompson in a prepared statement. “His leadership and years of wise counsel helped make both companies outstanding regional railroads.”

During his more than 50-year railroading career, Shoemaker held various engineering, operating, planning and executive positions with several major railroads, including the Baltimore & Ohio and Soo Line. He became president and CEO of the Detroit, Toledo & Ironton in 1973, and chairman, president and CEO of the Delaware & Hudson Railway in 1978.

Shoemaker is survived by his wife, Maria, three sons, two stepsons and two grandchildren.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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