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Philly NRHS - Railfan Pictures of the Day


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The Philadelphia Chapter of the

National Railway Historical Society

Established in 1936


Railfan Pictures of the Day - 09/11/2008

The Philadelphia Chapter was one of the first chapters formed as part of the National Railway Historical Society, and from the beginning, Joe Mannix was there. Just out of high school, he had already been bitten by the rail bug, and the fascination would only grow. In 1954 Joe was editor of a special Chapter publication entitled "Rail Transit in Philadelphia", which set a high standard and inspired periodic updates on the subject by subsequent authors over the years. His work could also be found in books such as "Philadelphia Trolleys", "Strawberry Mansion: The Jewish Community of North Philadelphia" and "The Jewish Community of South Philadelphia", and was a frequent contributor to the NRHS and its publication "The Bulletin". Not only was Joe adroit with the typewriter and the camera, but with the brush and the pen as well. He attended the Philadelphia College of Art and was known for his railroad art (one of his drawings for the NRHS Christmas Card Series can be found here). Trained as a draftsman, he designed much of the graphics for the Chapter's newletter "Cinders", including the masthead, which was updated over the years to include new equipment.
Perhaps Joe's greatest contribution to the hobby was inspiration. His dedication to the cause of rail transit got people off the sidelines and into the game. His involvement in the Buckingham Valley Trolley Association helped keep historic trolleys running in Philadelphia long after they were gone in most other cities. The BVTA collection eventually wound up in Scranton as part of the Electric City Trolley Museum, where today you can still ride a trolley that once operated in the Philadelphia area. His drawings of the various pieces that comprise the ECTMA collection can be found on their website here. As a passionate advocate for the restoration of rail trainsit, he was often quoted in news articles; unfortunately most of the articles were detailing the demise of said rail transit, during a time when those in charge worked diligently to pull the plug. The fact that trolleys can still be found running on SEPTA is a fitting tribute to his influence and perseverance, and that of many others.
Speaking from my own personal experience, it is people like Joe, and Gerry Williams and Stan Feldman and Rob Palmer and others, who have inspired me to get involved. And even though I did not know him personally, I owe him a debt for teaching me at least one valuable lesson: learn to appreciate the work of others, especially those who have gone before. I never had the chance to see much of what he saw, but thanks to him, we and future generations will always have a time capsule of what was, a glimpse though his window into the past.
The following photo essay, titled "It's sometimes cloudy in Philadelphia", is meant as a tribute to Joe's legacy.
Wayne Junction and Fern Rock Stations Philadelphia PA February 1991
Retired Reading Blueliner 9111 sits in the SEPTA Broad Street Subway yard at Fern Rock.
The work on the new track at Fern Rock Station has begun.
Popping out of the tunnel at Fern Rock is a Broad Street Subway train heading for the last stop.
Down the road a bit is Wayne Junction, home of Wayne Electric Shop where SW1200 51 is getting a little TLC.
Silverliner II 203 is heading for the Chestnut Hill East line at Wayne Junction, passing the now rusting but still discernible Vicks VapoRub water tower (yes, it was made in the shape of the jar).
Below and between the SEPTA Main Line to the right and the Chestnut Hill East Line to the left, PCC 2748 rolls up Germantown Avenue toward Chestnut Hill on SEPTA Route 23.
As published in the Philadelphia Inquirer & Philadelphia Daily News on 9/8/2008
JOSEPH M. MANNIX Jr., 89, of Phila. and Lancaster, died on Thurs. Sept. 4, 2008 at the Mennonite Nursing Home, Lancaster. Born in Philadelphia, he was the son of the late Dr. Joseph M. and Mary Doyle Mannix. He was the beloved husband of Mary (nee Malone) and proud father of Norma Mannix, Mary Mannix and Christopher Meister, Stephen and Susan Bremer Mannix, and James and Debbie Simon Mannix. In addition, he was the loving grandfather of Matthew, Nina, and Michael. Joe was a pioneering rail historian who was a founding and 70 yr. member of the National Railway Historical Society. He had the vision and belief that railroads and their heritage were something to be passionately pursued and preserved. He was well known for his railroad artwork and many articles in the NRHS publications. Joe graduated from Roman Catholic High School in 1937 and attended the Phila. College of Art. He served his country during WWII as a member of the U.S. Army and had an extensive career as an electronics designer and draftsman. He was an active member of the Cardinal Dougherty High School Fathers Assn. during his children's attendance from 1965-1978. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. William Church, 6234 Rising Sun Ave., Phila., PA, 19111 on Thurs., Sept. 11, 2008. Friends will be received at 9 A.M. at the church, followed by Mass at 10 A.M. and Int. at Holy Sepulchre Cem. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Central Shine of the Miraculous Medal, 475 E. Chelten Ave., Phila., PA, 19144-5785 or to St. William School Fund, 6234 Rising Sun Ave., Phila., PA 19111. Arr. by: THE CHARLES F. SNYDER FUNERAL HOME & CHAPEL, Lititz PA 717-560-5100.

All pictures February 1991 Copyright © 2008 John P. Almeida

Photographs for personal use only. All rights reserved by original owner of image. Reproduction or redistribution in any form without express written permission is prohibited.

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Last Updated September 11, 2008

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