Patrick B. McGinnis in the cab of a New Haven Railroad locomotive, 1954

Patrick B. McGinnis in the cab of a New Haven Railroad locomotive, 1954

August 14, 2009, is the 46th anniversary of the indictment by a Federal grand jury in Boston, Massachusetts, of former New Haven Railroad president Patrick B. McGinnis on a charge of obtaining personal profit from a deal involving the sale of railroad cars while he was president of the Boston & Maine Railroad.  McGinnis was president of the New Haven Railroad from April 1, 1954, to January 18, 1956, and was controversial from the outset.  He won the presidency through a proxy fight, ousting President Frederick “Buck” Dumaine, Jr., and during his tenure he was regarded as controversial for deferring maintenance and buying expensive new motive power at a time when the New Haven Railroad was experiencing diminishing ridership and the effects of extensive floods in August 1955, in which hundreds of miles of track were damaged.  Immediately upon being ousted as President of the NHRR McGinnis became President of the Boston & Maine Railroad, but was indicted a few years later for graft and served time in a federal prison.  Those who worked for the railroad or have studied the history of the New Haven Railroad still today debate the dastardly deeds of this flamboyant railroad president.

This photograph shows Patrick McGinnis in 1954 in the cab of a New Haven Railroad locomotive, and is from the Charles Gunn Papers in Archives & Special Collections.  You can find out more about the Railroad History Archive at http://railroads.uconn.edu/

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