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In memoriam: Former Conrail engineering chief Benjamin Gordon


Benjamin Gordon, a former chief engineering officer for Conrail, died March 7 of complications from pneumonia, according to a news item in the Philadelphia Inquirer. He was 85.

In 1948, Gordon began his railroading career with the New York Central Railroad in Cleveland. Twenty year later, he relocated to Philadelphia and began working for the Penn Central Railroad.

Gordon retired in 1990 as chief engineering officer for Conrail, which the federal government formed in 1976 by consolidating the Penn Central and five other bankrupt railroads. For 10 years after his retirement, Gordon consulted with former Conrail Chairman L. Stanley Crane.

During his Conrail tenure, Gordon helped Plasser American Corp. develop a roadbed boring machine — the first of its kind in North America, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

In 1940, he was named to the U.S. Olympic cycling team, but he never competed because of World War II. As a teenager, he also was a competitive sailor.

Gordon is survived by his wife, Catherine, three sons, three daughters and 14 grandchildren.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/19/2009