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Jim Ady Photos

This page was last updated on March 21, 2019.

Photo Albums

Jim Ady Photos -- A photo album of 207 photos of Union Pacific steam locomotives pulling trains in southeastern Wyoming in 1948, 1949, 1950 and 1953. All were scanned from 4x5 negatives provided by Jeff Asay.

Jim Ady

In addition to his photography, Jim Ady was also an avid timetable collector, collecting UP, AT&SF and SP public and employee timetables, as well as more obscure railroads. He ran occasional want ads in Trains magazine in the mid 1950s, the early 1970s, and as late as 1990.

Jim Ady passed away in January 2010 at age 87. He was survived by his wife Helen, to whom he had been married for 47 years. After serving in World War II, and being discharged in December 1943, he went to work for the Union Pacific Railroad as an office assistant (clerk). He spent many years as private secretary or private assistant to several Union Pacific officials, including G. A. Cunningham when Cunningham was general manager of the South-Central District, with offices in Salt Lake City. Jim Ady is shown in the 1975 Salt Lake City directory as assistant to the UPRR general manager. These positions required quite a bit of travel, so at some time after 1975, Jim took a position as Chief Clerk for the Utah Division Superintendent, a position he had until his retirement. Jim Ady lived in Long Beach, California, until 1957, when he moved to Salt Lake City. He remained in Salt Lake City until his retirement in 1982.

Research in public records available online shows that James Henry Ady registered for the draft on June 30, 1942 at age 20. He served in the U. S. Army from November 1942 to December 1943. He enlisted in the U. S. Army in Los Angeles on November 7, 1942, after receiving two years of college. He served as a warrant officer until December 1943.

The following comes from "The Photography of Jim Ady," published in The Streamliner; Volume 18, Number 4, Fall 2004:

Jim Ady was born in Long Beach, California, in 1922. It was during his school days that he began to develop an interest in railroads. Friends of the family had a beach house at Carpenteria, California, that backed up against Southern Pacific's Coast Route. The rush of SP trains soon had him hooked and Jim began taking railroad pictures in 1937 using a 35mm Argus C-3 camera. His first picture was of SP's Coaster.

Jim hired out with Union Pacific at Los Angeles as a clerk on April 1, 1942, and was immediately sent to Yermo as a crew caller. His railroad service was interrupted by a stint in the Army from 1943-45, where he served in France and Germany in the Railway Operating Battalion. Upon returning to work at Union Pacific, he filled various assignments on the Los Angeles Division including crew dispatcher at Los Angeles and Yermo.

It was during this period, immediately after the war, that Jim began to document big steam action on the grades around southern California. He developed a friendship with Walt Thrall and soon graduated to an Ansco Reflex 21/4x21/4, and later a 4x5 Speed Graphic, and his photography trips widened to include Sherman Hill and Abo Canyon on the Santa Fe. About 1948, Jim experimented with large format Kodachrome 10, the results of which are included here.

In the early 1950s, Jim took shorthand lessons and with this skill was able to bid in a job as trainmaster's clerk at Las Vegas. In 1957 he moved to Salt Lake City where he became secretary to the General Manager. Here he remained, retiring as secretary to the Assistant General Manager at Salt Lake in April 1982.

Jim continues to reside in Salt Lake City with his wife Helen where he maintains a large collection of railroad photographs, timetables and other ephemera.

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