Stephen L. Meyers, 1925-2015

Steve at Trainfest with his wife Sandy.

Steve at Trainfest with his wife Sandy.

Steven L. Meyers passed away on April 8 after a brief illness. He was born in New York City in 1925 and became enamored with the streetcar lines serving the various boroughs. During WWII he served in the Pacific. He moved to Evanston, IL in 1963 and enjoyed a long career in exporting and customs.

Over the years, Steve assembled a substantial collection of New York streetcar photos and documents. He authored three popular books:

Breezers: A Lighthearted History of the Open Trolley Car in America

Manhattan’s Lost Streetcars (Images of Rail)

Lost Trolleys of Queens and Long Island (Images of Rail)

Steve was involved with several railfan organizations. An HO traction modeler, Steve was a member of the NorthWest Traction Group.

-Eric Bronsky

PS- While I cannot say that I knew Mr. Meyers well, we had corresponded a bit and talked on the phone a few times. He was part of that “Greatest Generation” of railfans, whose contributions to our hobby will be remembered for a long time to come. Steve was a longtime member of both the Electric Railroaders’ Association and Central Electric Railfans’ Association.

He was a curmudgeon who did not suffer fools gladly, and gave as well as he got, and it is our loss that he is gone. He also wrote three excellent books that I have enjoyed reading, and amassed a tremendous collection of information on New York-area traction lines that I hope will find a good home.

Before his death, Steve wrote an extensive history of the Metropolitan Traction Company (later called Metropolitan Street Railway Company, which became part of New York Railways Company), which remains unpublished. I hope that it will eventually see the light of day.

Mr. Meyers had agreed to participate in a slide program that I have been working on, but sadly, it was not meant to be.

When I traveled to the Seashore Trolley Museum last summer, I was able to purchase a copy of Mr. Meyers’ book Breezers in their gift shop. It turns out to have been a presentation copy that Mr. Meyers gave to another notable author, the late O. R. Cummings, who wrote perhaps 50 books specializing in Northeast traction. Sadly, both men have departed, but they have left us a legacy that will remain.

Those of us transit historians of today should never forget that we are standing on the shoulders of giants like O. R. Cummings and Stephen L. Meyers.

-David Sadowski

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