The Railroad Photography of Gene Collora
By Bob Mintz
A native Long Islander, Gene Collora has been photographing railroad life; railroad operations and railroad equipment and life since the early 1950s. At the age of twelve, Gene took a keen photographic interest in the Long Island Rail Road, its steam and diesel locomotives, passenger service and freight and marine operations.
In 1962 he went to work full-time for the LIRR and over the course of his thirty seven year career, worked for the Transportation and Engineering Departments. Gene worked in the Station Department and Timetable and Scheduling Office as well as held positions of Yardmaster; Trainmaster; and Supervisor of Train Movement.
He retired in 1999 as Manager, Operations Engineering, responsible for coordinating the track projects of the Engineering Dept. with the Transportation Dept. These career paths gave Gene many opportunities to be in the right place at the right time to catch unusual and hard to find images of the LIRR’s operations and employees.
Gene honed his craft to a degree that in years to come, he would be sought after by railroad officials to take promotional photographs for the Long Island Railroad.
He then expanded his railroading interests to include New England, Midwestern and Southern railroads.
Operating from his native Long Island home and working in black and white; developing and printing his own photographs, Gene has an extensive collection of photos encompassing many U.S. and Canadian railroads and traction systems.
Gene has had his work published in Trains, CTC Board, Railroad Explorer, The Keystone and Railroad Model Craftsman magazines. Many of his photographs have appeared in books focusing on railroads of the Northeast. He was a featured photographer in the 2006 Center for Railroad Art & Photography/New York Transit Museum exhibit, “Many Hands: Representations of Railroad Workers” showing at Grand Central Station, New York City and during 2007, and presently in 2008, at the Railroad Museum of Long Island.
He is an active speaker and lecturer having presented photo journals for railroad organizations and historical societies throughout the United States and Canada.
To remain in touch with his railroading heritage and to support and encourage interest in railroad history and preservation, Gene maintains memberships in the Long Island Sunrise Trail Chapter and the Jersey Central Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society (NRHS); the Maybrook Railroad Museum; the Middletown & New Jersey Historical Society; the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society and the Railroad Museum of Long Island.
Gene Collora is located in booth KK – 20 in Orange Hall at the York show.