Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down – An Ode To The Late Byron Nordberg

By Noel T. Braymer, ntbraymer – Rail Passenger Service in California and the USA; March 15, 2019

One of my mentors who taught me about rail passenger service was Byron Nordberg. We both joined what was called in 1979, Citizens for Rail California (CRC) at about the same time. CRC now does business as RailPAC. It was Byron’s idea to change the organization’s name in roughly the mid 1980’s. Long before 1979, Byron was planning improvements for rail passenger service in Southern California. He started around 1970, just before the creation of Amtrak when Byron went to the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce of which he was a member. He proposed the construction of an intermodal transportation center at the Santa Fe Train Station near the beach in downtown Oceanside. This became the first intermodal station built in California if not in the US.  A major goal of Byron’s plan was to both make it easier for people to travel without a car to and from Oceanside. Another goal was to turn around the blighted areas around the train station which included a rail freight yard. Byron’s long term plan was to turn the beach area of downtown Oceanside from a “rough part of town” into a successful beach resort. It was early 1984 before Byron’s Oceanside Transit Center first opened to the public with plenty of vacant lots nearby. What I remember most was Byron had a coffee cup with the Latin phrase “Illegitimi non carborundum”. It roughly translates as ” Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down”.

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