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Honoring Jim McClellan: The Architect of Modern Railroading

The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVRM) joins the railroading community in mourning the loss of a distinguished figure, Jim McClellan, renowned for his profound impact on North America’s railroad industry. In tribute, Steam Locomotive 4501 proudly displays black flags on its smokebox, symbolizing our respect and remembrance.

Jim McClellan, recognized as “the primary architect of North America’s modern railroad landscape” by Trains Magazine, was a luminary in strategic planning and development in the rail industry. His illustrious career saw him make significant strides at organizations such as New York Central, Penn Central, Southern Railway, the United States Railroad Administration (USRA), and the Association of American Railroads (AAR), culminating in a pivotal role at Norfolk Southern, from where he retired in 2003.

A Life Dedicated to Railroading

McClellan’s retirement was not the end of his contributions to the world of trains. He remained actively involved, offering his expertise through consulting, and often speaking at educational and historical organizations. His passion for preserving authentic railroad operations led him to support historic railroads like the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad in Colorado and TVRM. His dedication extended beyond professional realms; as a lifelong railfan, he was also an avid model railroader, a talented painter, and a skilled mariner.

TVRM’s Connection with Jim McClellan

TVRM, where McClellan was a life member and supporter, deeply feels the loss of such an influential figure in the railroad community. His support and insights have been invaluable in our mission to preserve railroad history and operations authentically. We extend our deepest condolences to his family, sharing in the loss of a man who was not just a visionary in our industry but also a beloved member of the railroad community.