Anthony W. Thompson

AWT photo

Anthony W. Thompson is a native Californian, and currently resides in Berkeley, CA. He earned a Ph.D. in metallurgy from M.I.T. in 1970, worked as a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and at the University of California, Berkeley, and is now retired. However, he continues to work for Signature Press. A resume and publication list for his technical career are available.

He has long had an interest in the history of the Southern Pacific Railroad and in one of its subsidiaries, Pacific Fruit Express. He writes the modeling column in the SP Historical and Technical Society's magazine, Trainline,and has published a number of magazine articles about both Southern Pacific and Pacific Fruit Express. He was also the principal author of the 1992 book, Pacific Fruit Express, now re-issued in a second edition, and of the 1999 book, Southern Pacific's Coast Line Pictorial, co-authored with John R. Signor.

Tony grew up along the rails of the Southern Pacific, and early exposure to that railroad was among his formative experiences. He has long been a model railroader in HO scale, and has built a layout depicting the SP main line south of San Luis Obispo, CA, in 1953. He currently produces a blog about the layout and about SP modeling. He is an experienced speaker on railroad historical topics and has presented numerous talks on these subjects. He is active in historical societies, and served more than ten years on the national Board of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society. He has been on the Board of Directors of the Southern Pacific Historical & Technical Society since 1991, and has also served five years as President of the Society.

Among Dr. Thompson's recent projects is a complete history of Southern Pacific freight cars. To provide adequate coverage of the major car classes between roughly 1865 and 1965, multiple volumes were required. The series has been completed, with the series title Southern Pacific Freight Cars. All five volumes are in print: Volume 1: Gondolas and Stock Cars, Volume 2: Cabooses, Volume 3: Automobile Cars and Flat Cars, and Volume 4: Box Cars, with the newest and final volume, Volume 5: Hoppers, Covered Hoppers and Tank Cars, now available.