All photos are black and white, most of them printed from negatives 4 inches by 4 inches.
Young began photographing trains by the time he was six years old, using a Zeiss folding camera he borrowed from his father. At age 7, he bought his own Brownie box camera, and moved on to a Kodak Vigilant folding camera the following year, replacing it with a Kodak Monitor when he was 16 or 17. By the time Young was 20, he was shooting with a professional-grade Speed Graphic. He acquired a Japanese-built Mamiyaflex with interchangeable lenses in about 1960, and used it for the rest of his shooting career.
In addition to his impressive self-taught photographic skills, Young had superb access to behind-the-scenes railroading.
As a pre-teen and a fixture along Wheeling's rail yards and depots, he made friends with railroad crews and soon began to snag rides in locomotives. At age 14, his mother sent him out to pick up a few grocery items. While waiting for the store to open, Young hitched a locomotive ride that took him to Pittsburgh, then on to Buffalo, N.Y.
"Ever after that," he recalled in the Goldenseal article, "whenever I left the house, my mother always told me, 'Send me a postcard when you get there."
Young's fascination with the train did not carry over to the automobile. He never got a driver's license, but still managed to make it to 48 states to shoot railroad scenes with other railfans and family members.
After high school, Young worked briefly for Wheeling Mold & Foundry, and then moved on to the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad. In 1959, he moved to Binghampton, N.Y., where he worked for a photo processing company before joining the staff of Broome Community College as a photography instructor. After retirement, he moved to Charleston's West Side, where he continued his hobby of rail photography until his death.
While Young held a number of "day" jobs, his avocation as a railroad photographer did not go unnoticed. His photographs and historic articles have appeared in railfan magazines across the world.
"We made contact prints of everything in the collection, and B&O executives have been poring over them to identify the sites and the equipment shown in the pictures," said Debra Basham, assistant director of the West Virginia State Archives. "It's a really cool collection -- definitely the best collection of railroad material we have."Reach Rick Steelhammer at rsteelham...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5169.