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Andy Sperandeo has passed away

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Andy Sperandeo has passed away
Posted by Neil B. on Saturday, October 03, 2015 10:59 AM

With a heavy heart, I’m sad to report that Andy Sperandeo, who has been a part of our lives at Model Railroader magazine for more than 30 years, has died.

As some of you know, Andy had been fighting cancer and other ailments, and the combination finally caught up with him earlier today.

Andy started work at Model Railroader in 1979, becoming editor in 1993. In time he became executive editor and upon retirement a few years ago became a contributing editor. Readers today are most familiar with Andy through his monthly The Operators column.

Information on services or memorials remains pending at this time.

Neil Besougloff

Neil Besougloff

editor, Model Railroader magazine

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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, October 03, 2015 11:05 AM


this is very sad news indeed! Andy has accompanied me many years with his articles and columns in MR and his passing means a great loss to the model railroading community in the entire world.

My sincere condolences to the loved ones he leaves behind!

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Posted by BroadwayLion on Saturday, October 03, 2015 11:08 AM

You may not have met the Bushy Lion, but he comes out to sit vigil with firends on the internet.  I am sadened to hear of Andy's passing, I do indeed remember when he joined the pages of Model Railroader. May he rest in peace.


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Posted by zstripe on Saturday, October 03, 2015 11:09 AM


He was a Great Man indeed....He will truely be missed.

Thoughts and Prayers, for Loved One's and Friend's.

Take Care!


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Posted by Doughless on Saturday, October 03, 2015 11:11 AM

Sad news indeed.  Model Railroading has lost one of its greatest contributors and Pillars of the hobby over the past few decades.  Andy's articles provided me with knowledge, guidance, and entertainment throughout my years spent in the hobby.  He will be missed.

My condolences to his family and friends.

- Douglas

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Posted by dome_lounge on Saturday, October 03, 2015 11:22 AM

As a fellow Santa Fe modeler, Andy was always my favorite member of the MR Staff.

His "San Jacinto District" track plan from the February 1980 issue of MR is still the most appealing one I have ever seen - both my previous and current layouts have been based on it. 

Although I never met him, this is very sad news, and I feel as if I have lost a good friend.


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Posted by riogrande5761 on Saturday, October 03, 2015 11:25 AM

My condolences to Andy and his family.  I have been reading Model Railroader for many years and Andy has been a major contributor and personality at MR.  He will be missed by many.

Kind regards, Jim Fitch

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Posted by selector on Saturday, October 03, 2015 11:35 AM

I offer my condolences to Andy's family, friends, and to those in the hobby who got to know him and who appreciated his talents and knowledge.  I also extend my condolences to the staff at Model Railroader Magazine because I know they are greatly saddened today.

May he rest in peace, and have a full head of steam on his next run up the rails.  We know who his conductor his.


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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Saturday, October 03, 2015 11:35 AM

His passing will leave a giant hole in the model railroading community.



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Posted by santafe5000 on Saturday, October 03, 2015 11:36 AM

He was a great influence to the modeling community. He will be missed.

My condolences to his family.

James in TexasCowboy

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Posted by BRAKIE on Saturday, October 03, 2015 11:38 AM

My condolences to Andy's family.He will be missed.




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Posted by exPat on Saturday, October 03, 2015 11:45 AM

Saddened to hear of his passing, it was Andy's article on the Washita & Santa Fe that got me hooked on modelling US railroads and made me change from UK to US modelling. Now as I embark on a new project im reading his superb articles on operation and he still inspires. 



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Posted by wp8thsub on Saturday, October 03, 2015 11:54 AM

What sad news.  I've known Andy for more than 30 years.  Andy has operated on my last three layouts, typically choosing a yard job.

Here he is running Junction City yard on my current layout, a few years back before much scenery was complete.  His buddy and traveling companion Gordy Speiring looks on from his local freight job at left.

Rob Spangler

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Posted by Frisco1522 on Saturday, October 03, 2015 12:02 PM

That is absolutely terrible news.  I looked forward to each issue because I know his column would be very informative.

He was a super writer and will be missed.   I'm sure the staff at MR is taking his loss hard and we will all miss him.   R.I.P. Andy.

Don Wirth

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Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, October 03, 2015 12:02 PM

Very sad to hear of Andy's passing.   My condolences to his family, friends, and co-workers.


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Posted by Steven Otte on Saturday, October 03, 2015 12:08 PM

One of my duties at Model Railroader was to work with Andy as lead editor of his monthly column, "The Operators." Part of that duty involved searching the railroad photo archives in our library for images to illustrate his columns.

For Andy's last column, I found four potential photos that I scanned in and e-mailed to him to choose between. I indicated my favorite, of a CB&Q towerman, by saying it had "a Norman Rockwell feel."

Andy selected that photo to use, and wrote in his caption, "My friend at MR, Steven Otte, says he likes this photo because of its Norman Rockwell feel." Being modest, I edited out the reference to myself before putting the column together and sending it back to him for proofreading.

When Neil returned after visiting Andy, he said Andy wanted the reference to me back in. "He was very insistent," he said. "He said he's very grateful for how you've worked with him on The Operators, and for everything you've done to help him on Great Model Railroads after he got sick, so he wants it in there." So I relented, and restored the sentence.

And that turned out to be his last column.

After I heard this morning that Andy had passed away, I was struck by how much that sentence suddenly means to me.

If I end up working another 20 years at Model Railroader, I can't imagine another accomplishment that will give me as much pride as the fact that Andy Sperandeo chose to call me his friend.

Steven Otte, Model Railroader associate editor

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Posted by Dannyboy6 on Saturday, October 03, 2015 12:18 PM

Our sincere condolences to Andy's family and his many model railroading friends. May he rest in peace.

Daniel Brewer
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Posted by MisterBeasley on Saturday, October 03, 2015 12:31 PM

It is hard not to mourn the passing of a friend, but I'd still rather celebrate a life well lived.

We'll see you in the big roundhouse in the sky, Andy.  RIP.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by chatanuga on Saturday, October 03, 2015 12:34 PM

So sorry to hear of Andy's passing.  I can remember him as long as I've been reading Model Railroader (early 1980's).  He always was so full of information and passion about railroading and model railroading.  I even have his model railroad wiring book, which has helped with keeping my wiring on my layout running flawlessly.  I always looked forward to reading his articles and information that he shared in the magazine.  He will be missed.  Condolences to his family and friends.


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Posted by Bayfield Transfer Railway on Saturday, October 03, 2015 12:50 PM

I knew Andy a bit, and was lucky enough to be in a few op sessions with him.  I also enjoyed his contributions on the OpSig Email list.

My sincere condolences to his friends and family.  May he rest in peace, and rise in Glory.


Disclaimer:  This post may contain humor, sarcasm, and/or flatulence.

Michael Mornard

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Posted by last mountain & eastern hogger on Saturday, October 03, 2015 12:55 PM


I never had the pleasure of meeting Andy, but it did feel like he was an old friend after all these years in the magazine.  I too feel the loss.

I concur with all that has been said here today, he was a great asset to all of us who love Model railroading.

My condolences to his Family, Friends and associate Staff Members.

Johnboy out..

from Saskatchewan, in the Great White North.. 

We have met the enemy,  and he is us............ (Pogo)

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, October 03, 2015 1:09 PM

 Wow, I'm just stunned seeing this. Andy was always there in all the years I've been reading MR. His emphasis on operation insired me to learn more and work towards a layout that allowed for ptorotypical operation. So many things stand out - his stories about operating with John Allen, or a funny one, diving into his pool to retrieve the live steam Rocket after it went in the drink. I still have the email from him asking permission to publish my response to an article back when he was editor of MR - my 15 microseconds of fame, a letter published in MR.

 My condolences to his family and friends. He will be greatly missed.



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Posted by modelmaker51 on Saturday, October 03, 2015 1:12 PM

I also must concure with evertything that has been said, he will be missed. My condolences to his family and the staff at MR.

Jay Moynihan.


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Other builds: 

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Posted by Bill F. on Saturday, October 03, 2015 1:30 PM

Sad news indeed.  I, like many of us, ran into Andy frequently at various operation weekends.  Here's a pic of him shortly after his retirement enjoying a bit of switching on Randy Garnhart's CGW in Rockford IL at RockRails 2011.   

Andy Sperandeo Aug 2011

RIP conductor Sperandeo.   

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Posted by Graffen on Saturday, October 03, 2015 1:34 PM
Requiescat in pace. Andy will be missed, his influence on model railroading was great.

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Posted by mlehman on Saturday, October 03, 2015 1:39 PM

Stunning news, even if it's where all things end up in time. RIP, Andy. My condolences to his loved ones.

Thanks to Steve for his personal rememberance. It reminds us to value the friendships we make in this hobby, really to hold all those dear we care about or even just interact with semi-anonymously, given how the world is such a smaller place in the age of the internet. Treat each other with decency and kindness today, because you may not get another chance.

Mike Lehman

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Posted by janbouli on Saturday, October 03, 2015 1:40 PM

Very Sorry to hear this, he was one of my great inspirators.

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Posted by Ray Dunakin on Saturday, October 03, 2015 1:46 PM

Very sorry to hear this. My condolences to his family and friends.


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Posted by jjdamnit on Saturday, October 03, 2015 1:51 PM

Hello All,

Please give our condolences to his family.

James "J.J." Jimenez

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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Posted by JAMES MOON on Saturday, October 03, 2015 2:17 PM

I wish to extend my condolences to Andy's family and friends.  He has been a knowledgible editor for MR for many years and his column will be missed by most of us. 


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