Parallel Tracks: Steinheimer, Silicon Valley, and Steel Rails

Tuesday, November 14, 2023
7:00 p.m. (U.S. Central Time), on Zoom

View this presentation on our YouTube page.

Join Ken Rehor and Elrond Lawrence for a special program that examines the untold story of Richard Steinheimer and his professional photography. While his groundbreaking approach to railroad photography influenced generations of railfans and artists, what is less well-known is Steinheimer’s prolific professional career.

His railfan and professional photographic experiences heavily influenced one another throughout his life. As a teenager, Steinheimer’s train-watching led him to train photography, which in turn led him to photojournalism school. Stein’s initial career as a newspaper photojournalist inspired him to capture the human side of railroading. His transition into the nascent world of high-tech corporate photography opened a new universe of creativity. He not only photographed the emerging science of semiconductors but also invented many new photographic techniques and equipment. While he was documenting the formation of Silicon Valley and the birth of microprocessors, he was also capturing the end of a railroad era with articles in Trains magazine and his seminal book, “Backwoods Railroads of the West.”

In the third phase of his career, Stein merged his lifelong experiences in photography and trains to focus on the commercial side of railroading, fully embracing color slide film and an adventurous new style that nonetheless remained inherently Steinheimer. Lifelong devotees Rehor and Lawrence will explore Stein’s parallel tracks of his passions for railroads and creative photography.

This free presentation was recorded and can be viewed on our YouTube page,


Early Gallium Arsenide LED, April 1969
Stein on assignment for Southern Pacific, Donner Pass 1990