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Trains by Harv Kahn
Harv and Lynne Kahn
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Here below is my favorite candid shot of Harv in Lynne. I took this as I was departing after a couple days visiting. On this trip as I first arrived Lynne took me to the NS yard in Columbus to photograph the NS 611 Steam engine, which sat all by itself ready for the next day's excursion which we chased. Nobody was there except Lynne and I. Harv was still at work at the time.
On this trip to Columbus I had such a great time. We talked about the incredible chain of events that brought us all out of the Las Vegas valley. Harv and Lynne moved to Ohio and years later I moved out of Vegas. I think back on how we had connected  all the way back to 1981.  We worked at the MGM Grand Hotel. I simply came in one day to work and Lynne was a time keeper in the office and I was wearing a Milwaukee Railroad T-shirt, and she said, "I like your shirt, so are you into trains?" It all started there.
I think back and wonder if the model train layout I built for the Railroad museum in Mendota IL. and Cherry would have ever happened if someone did not come along and restart that old interest I had in trains? Harv and Lynne were the ones who greatly influenced me to start photographing trains.
 
I enjoyed all the times in Vegas I went over thier house to watch the slide shows of Harv's work. I picked his brain on how he achieved some of those photographs. Some of his night shots were spectacular.  We would have Pizza and popcorn and I would be there about four or five hours.
 I knew I had to get busy photographing, so I became interested in capturing the Union Pacific in the west. I traveled to Cajon Pass too and shot the SF. But my greatest catch would be the Chicago and Illinois Central Railroad in the early to mid 90's, before they ceased to exist. I remember that first get together at his house. I brought a few prints of some of some photos I had and Harv always mentioned that he remembered me bringing those pictures of just railroad tracks of where I used to live. I had nothing but a few pictures and now I have several thousand quality pics of my own personal photography because of the influence of this one guy. Enough about me, the main point is a great deal of the output of my life in the last 15 years is connected to these two people. I am so glad that I mentioned that to them while they were alive. I told them how much I loved them and appreciated them as friends. They were great to me and thier purpose in my life is immeasurable.
Harv always believed that every railfan photographer has something of thier own to bring no matter what it is. If it is an interest in waycars, trolleys, GG1s Gp10's, tracks, maintenance equipment, everyone has something to offer.

Harv and Lynne Kahn in 1998
harvandlynnekahnphotobyray1998columbusoh.jpg
Columbus Ohio

Harv also liked computers and he influenced me to get one during this visit in 1998. He showed me all the different things I could do with it. Even my music teaching has become easier and more professional because of the influence Harv had on me. The last time I talked to him was just the day before he died. I could not help but cry during the conversation. I will greatly miss Harv and his wife, Lynne.
 
But, I cherish all the memories and the talks and laughs. I look at all these photos and I am reminded that Harv has something to show for the time he spent photographing. He has left the world with a necessary collection that will slowly begin to be discovered. His style is his own and he loved to capture exactly what he saw without getting fancy. He loved roster shots and prided himself on getting as many of a railroad's roster as possible. He got a host of the GG1s if not all of them. At one time He had every loco on the UP roster except for 3333. Many years later I was lucky enough to photograph 3333 and Harv was kidding me when he said "He hated me" for getting a shot of it. He had a unique sense of humor. I am glad to have known him for the 25 years i did. He had a voracious appetite for capturing the history of railroading on slide film, where ever he lived or traveled. Some of his Canada pictures are awesome too. The 1970s and 80s were a time when railroads where much kinder to railfans. You could easily ask an employee if you could walk over tracks to grab a few shots and they wouldn't mind as long as you were careful.
Harv also was the kind to photograph dead lines, and the locomotives that were dying off in a back track of the yard where weeds and rust took over. He was hungry to grab it all, what ever he seen because he knew someday it would not be there. I think that is one of the most valuable lessons he taught me.

Harv and Lynne in Vegas 1993
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Lynne was also an avid photographer and Harv was so fortunate to have been married to her. They both shared the same enthusiasm for railfanning. She was also interested in nature and photograph beautiful scenes and images. I will need to build a website on her work too someday.
 She was a very funny person too. One story that sticks in my mind, is the time Harv, her and a couple friends were in Barstow California photographing the Santa Fe. Well, if you are familiar with the old road that paralleled the yard and then as you got near the entrance of the yard office area, there was a viaduct that went under the tracks. The hill to the top of the tracks in this area was all gravel. Almost impossible for anyone to ascend because the incline was too steep. Anyway they were all in the car as Lynne recalls, and one blurted out, "Train!" SO all the car doors went flying open in unison in an emergency fashion and the biggest guy in the group went flying up that hill with gravel and dust flying everywhere and Lynne could not help but from laughing hysterically at the whole scene.
 
Her first interest of trains came by watching the Milwaukee Road trains pass by her house when she was just a small girl. She would go to the tracks when she heard the train rumbling in the distance and she then heard the horn blowing and thought that the horn was for her, that the engineer was giving her a hello with the horn. But later she found out it was only for the railroad crossing up ahead.
 
I met her first in 1981 at the MGM hotel. I was just 17 at the time. She says we were in the same emplyee initiation class when the Hotel hired us in 1981. It was the MGM hotel in Las Vegas which later became Bally's. Everyday I came into work I was greeted by Lynne in the time office. I would hand her my badge #(35150) and she would slip it into the machine and give it back. It was actually a few years later that I became friends with Harv. Harv and Lynne both met at MGM
Harv was a security Gaurd and a mean looking one at that.When the security gaurds came on duty they would all come down the main hallway like a herd of cattle , so you best get out of the way. I would only glance at Harv, he had a very serious and stern look about him and never in a million years could I have imagined that this guy would define what true friendship was all about and that he could be so gentle, caring and compassionate as he showed me through the years.. Like I said before it all began with me wearing a Milwaukee railroad T-shirt into work one day and Lynne asked me about it. There was a security gaurd station right next to the Time office and that is where each security gaurd would work for a few days at a time. When I got to know Harv, we would talk trains for quite a while at this little booth. I would hurry and get my work done so we could talk. Ah, memories, where have those times gone? I am so grateful to have had them a part of my life. It surely did enrich it.

Harv Kahn Railfan Photographer