Robert (Bob) Walz Bio
Bob Walz was born in Great Falls, Montana, but the family moved to Vermillion, South Dakota, when he was two. Vermillion was on a bluff overlooking the Milwaukee Road tracks and after he was old enough to ride a bike, whenever he heard a train he would ride to the bluff to watch. He read every book available on railroads and was soon identifying the steam locomotives by wheel arrangement. Pacifies and Mikados predominated.
After a move to Brookings, South Dakota, and graduation from high school, he returned to Vermillion to attend the University of South Dakota, from which he received his BA and MA degrees. In 1966, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the US Army and spent the next 26 years in a variety of military jobs. He finished his military career as a strategic analysis on the Army Staff, followed by fifteen years teaching strategy at the Army’s Command and General Staff College. While serving at Fort Sill in 1971, he renewed his interest in trains and picked up a Tyco train set. He soon started a layout on a 4 x 8 ft. plywood table. Since his first train set was lettered Santa Fe, he chose to model the Santa Fe. He joined the Santa Fe Modeler’s Organization in 1984. He is now a Regular Life Member of the Santa Fe Railway Historical and Modeling Society, as well as its Secretary.
As his interest in the Santa Fe grew, he found that he was interested in all eras. Rather than narrow his focus, he began collecting locomotives and equipment across the eras. As a result, his current layout, set in Western Kansas, is a time machine for the years 1925-1995.
Modeling Western Kansas spurred him to begin researching the Santa Fe’s Colorado Division, which resulted in his first book for the Society, Santa Fe’s Colorado Division Speedway. He has since had twelve additional books on various aspects of the Santa Fe published, and there are several more in various stages of production. Based on the research done for his books, he has been in demand as a clinician at the society conventions and mini-meets.