Wayne E. Russell, former vice president and chief engineer for the Florida East Coast Railway, died at his home on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012.
Russell was proceeded in death by his first wife, Nancy and is survived by his wife, Martha, daughters, Casey Russell and husband, Matt Alcorn of Denver, Colo., and Carrie Koebel and husband, Mike of Washington, D.C.; and grandsons, Kaden and Greyson Alcorn.
A celebration of Russell’s life will be held on Wednesday, February 15 at 2 p.m., at the Rancher’s Club located at 1901 University Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87102.
Russell served as a mentor to many young engineers throughout his career and was an active participant of the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association. A scholarship has been set up in his memory. Donations can be made online to the Wayne E. Russell Memorial Scholarship by following this link, www.arema.org.
Russell began his railroad career in 1964, as a chainman for the Santa Fe Railway. During the next several years he worked as a field engineer and continued his engineering studies, to receive his B.S. degree in Civil Design. Russell worked his way up through Santa Fe’s management and was appointed division engineer in 1975. He also held positions as district engineer, assistant general manager-maintenance-eastern lines, system director of roadway maintenance support, general director of system planning and general director of field operations-system, until the merger of the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe in 1995. To supplement his professional growth, he completed graduate coursework at the University of Southern California and Northwestern University.
After the merger of Burlington Northern and Santa Fe, Russell worked as assistant vice president of maintenance until his retirement in February 1999. After retirement, Russell performed consulting work for several engineering firms and suppliers in both the U.S. and Mexico.
In July 2000, Russell was approached with an offer to join one of his clients, the Florida East Coast Railway. Knowing that he could make a real difference, he accepted the position as vice president and chief engineer. While at FEC, he and his team helped transform the promising railroad into a first-rate operation. The railway changed ownership in 2007 and Russell decided to continue the consulting work he enjoyed years earlier with Russell Track Consultants.