Neil Maurice VODDEN 

*19 Feb 1926 - †7 Apr 1997


a) from accessed 2011-07-14
Neil Vodden: Newspaper Obituary and Death Notice

San Francisco Chronicle (CA) - April 14, 1997

Deceased Name: Neil Vodden

Neil Vodden, a retired railroad engineer who was a master of the nearly lost art of operating steam locomotives, died of cancer Tuesday at 71.
He was a man whose work was also his passion. He worked in railroading for more than 40 years, and after his retirement, his avocation was to operate a restored 1925 Southern Pacific steam locomotive for the Golden Gate Railroad Museum in San Francisco and on trips up and down the Peninsula.
''The museum became his family,'' said Michael Mangini, the organization's executive director. Mangini said Mr. Vodden was able to coax maximum performance out of SP engine 2472, which was a year older than he was. He had a complete understanding of the huge and complex machine, Mangini said. ''He was the master. He could run a steam engine as if it were a musical instrument.''
Mr. Vodden grew up in Los Gatos near the railroad tracks and, like many another boy, became fascinated with trains. Unlike most, he never got over it. He went to work for the Southern Pacific in a roundhouse on the Peninsula in 1944, servicing steam engines. Later, he became a locomotive fireman and in 1952 was promoted to engineer.
Mr. Vodden was an engineer on the commuter trains between San Francisco and San Jose, a bittersweet time for him because his beloved steam engines were being phased out. Later, he ran diesel locomotives, and when he retired in 1986, he was a senior engineer on Amtrak's Coast Starlight passenger train. ''The railroad was his life,'' said Severn Edmonds, one of his friends.
Not long after he retired to his home in Scotts Valley, the Golden Gate museum restored SP engine 2472, which had been on display for years outside the San Mateo County Fairgrounds. Mr. Vodden was at the throttle on May 1, 1991, when it ran for the first time under its own steam in 34 years.
He ran the engine many times since on its occasional trips as far afield as Sacramento and on the CalTrain to San Jose and Gilroy. Before he died, he made a video to explain the secrets of steam locomotives to aspiring engineers.
Mr. Vodden, who never married, is survived by a brother, Jack Vodden, of Los Gatos.
There will be a memorial service later this year during one of the engine's trips.
Author: Carl Nolte
Edition: FINAL
Page: A19
Copyright (c) 1997 The Chronicle Publishing Co.«u»«b»

California Death Index, 1940-1997 «/u»
«i»Name:«/b»Neil Maurice Vodden«tab»«tab»
«b»Social Security #:«/b»563280447«tab»«tab»
«b»Birth Date:«/b»19 Feb 1926«tab»«tab»
«b»Death Date:«/b»7 Apr 1997«tab»«tab»
«b»Death Place:«/b»Santa Cruz«tab»«tab»
«b»Mother's Maiden Name:«/b»Fowler«tab»

«b»«/i»Neil M. Vodden: Social Security Death Index (SSDI) Death Record
«/b»«i»Name:«b»Neil M. Vodden«/b»«tab»«tab»«tab»«tab»«tab»
Date of Birth:Sunday February 28, 1926«tab»«tab»«tab»
Date of Death:Monday April 07, 1997«tab»«tab»«tab»«tab»
Est. Age at death:71 years, 1 months, 10 days«tab»«tab»«tab»
Last known residence:«tab»«tab»«tab»«tab»«tab»
State: Unknown«tab»«tab»«tab»«tab»«tab»
Confirmation: Proven«tab»«tab»«tab»«tab»«tab»
Social Security details:«tab»«tab»«tab»«tab»
State of Issue: California«tab»«tab»«tab»«tab»
Number: 563-28-0447«tab»«tab»«tab»«tab»