Robert Townley

Robert Townley grew up in San Francisco in the 1930s and 1940s and as a teenager was fascinated by the streetcars and steam trains still operating in the Bay Area. He joined the Bay Area Electric Railway Assn. at it’s first meeting in December 1946 and is one of only four living founding members of the organization. After high school and San Francisco City College, he enlisted in the U. S. Air Force. He then completed his college education at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a degree in Electronic Engineering and started working in the aerospace industry in what is now Silicon Valley. His employer, at the time, was awarded a contract in 1964 to provide some support work at the newly opened BART Diablo Test Track in Concord. Bob was assigned as a field engineer on the project during the 1964 to 1966 time period. The image to the left shows Bob testing a train control system on a BART lab car. When the test program ended, Bob was hired by BART as their first train control engineer. After 10 plus years on the BART staff, he went on to work on other new rapid transit systems both in the United States and internationally until his retirement in 1997. Even in his retirement, he worked part time for a consultant on the extension of BART to San Jose. In 2015 he and his wife, Dianne, moved to a retirement community in Fairfield where he volunteers at the Western Railway Museum Archives. He is the co-author of three books on San Francisco transit systems. He is a Life Senior Member of the Institute of Electric and Electronic Engineers and a Member of the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers.

©2011 East Bay Hills Project | All rights reserved | The photos contained on this site are not the property of EBHP | All Copyrights are those of the owners - Do Not Reproduce