Frank B Fairbanks Rail Transportation Archive
The Frank B. Fairbanks Rail Transportation Archive, located at the Station Square headquarters of Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, represents the realization of one man’s consuming passion. Mr. Fairbanks spent his entire adult life riding, documenting, and collecting material from rail lines all over the world. Starting in the 1950s and continuing to the end of his life in 2005, he logged nearly 200,000 rail miles traveled, a feat surpassed by few other people in the world.
Frank B. Fairbanks, Jr. (1930-2005) was a mechanical engineer and president of Horix Manufacturing Company of Pittsburgh. His precision-driven mind enhanced his ability to document his rail trips in a uniquely detailed fashion. The collection includes hundreds of index cards featuring his hand-drawn observations of track layouts found along his travel routes.
Among the many types of materials to enjoy in this collection are railroad history books, magazines, journals, pamphlets, brochures, and promotional novelties. There are also hundreds of timetables, railroad publications, maps, postcards, slides, posters, even a selection of dining car placemats! While Mr. Fairbanks was a trustee of Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, he donated these materials so other rail enthusiasts and transportation scholars could enjoy the fruits of a half-century of historical documentation.
Hours and Other Information
The Archive is open by appointment on Mondays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Use of the Archive is free to members of Landmarks. Non-members are assessed a $10.00 per person user fee. To make an appointment, email the Librarian James Halttunen at James@phlf.org.
No part of the Archive can be borrowed, and there is no facility for copying information.
You may bring a digital camera and/or computer for your documentary needs.