William Burnett Kenney, 86, engineer for Penn-Central

October 04, 1999|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,Sun Staff

William Burnett Kenney, a former Penn-Central Railroad locomotive engineer, died of heart failure Wednesday at Oak Crest Village in Parkville. He was 86.

After living in Pimlico for 48 years, he moved to Parkville in 1968 and to Oak Crest Village in 1997.

The son of a Pennsylvania Railroad conductor, he was reared in Gardenville and graduated from Baltimore City College before following in his father's footsteps and becoming a Pennsy locomotive fireman in 1942. He was promoted to engineer in 1946 and retired in 1975.

He worked both freight and passenger service on and often operated the Pennsy's heavy, green-striped GG-1 electric locomotives that hauled the railroad's famed Congressional express passenger train between Washington and New York.

He also operated commuter trains between Baltimore's Penn Station and Union Station in Washington and was one of the first to pilot the new Metroliners on the New York-Washington route in 1967.

An enthusiastic railroader, he happily waved from the cab and blew the whistle as the trains passed and gave tours of his cab or rides to railroading fans.

"I grew up riding with my grandfather in his locomotive cabs," said a grandchild, Mark Hartman of Millersville. "One time, he stopped his train in Lutherville to go up the street to get his other grandchildren so he could give them a ride on the Northern Central."

Mr. Kenney was a member of the Railroaders Hall of Fame at Strasburg, Pa., St. John Lutheran Church in Pimlico and several Masonic groups. He was an avid bowler and belonged to the Senior 55 and Golden Angels bowling leagues.

In 1933, he married Louise Weaver, who died in August.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday in the Oak Crest Village Chapel, 8800 Walther Blvd.

He is survived by two daughters, Myrtle Kenney Bachman of Bel Air and Bernice Kenney Morgan of Towson; seven other grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren.

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