Considered the all-time master of railroad art, Howard Fogg painted the power and majesty of the steel wheel on the steel rail. After rail fans discovered Fogg’s
artistry, he spent the next 50 years as a freelance artist reinventing the steam age. In Howard Fogg’s Trains 2020, his paintings live on commemorating the great
age of railroading.
Railroads and named trains pictured in this edition include:
• Plow Train on the Boreas Pass
There were many dangerous jobs on Colorado narrow-gauge railroads in the late 19th century. This scene pictures Windy Point on Boreas Pass (in Greek mythology Boreas is the god of the North Wind) a few miles from Breckenridge, CO. The date represented in the painting is not certain, but about 1898 would fit. A heavy, wind-driven snowstorm has made it necessary to call out the Rotary Plow to open up the line and start moving vital freight into and from Leadville. There are six locomotives shoving on the plow, five are facing forward and one is facing to the rear. The rear-facing engine is equipped with a pilot snowplow; if the consist gets stuck or has other problems and needs to back track, at least one locomotive will be facing forward. Look at the men on top of the engines giving hand signals. One slip could be their last. And the lookout riding the top of the rotary as if it is a chariot? This was all in a day's work for these iron men and their wooden plow.
• The Scenic Limited
Winter in Colorado can be difficult at best, especially in the mountains. The mountain in the background of this painting is Mount Elbert, located in the Sawatch Range north of Leadville, Colorado. At an elevation of 14,440 feet above sea level, it is the tallest peak in Colorado. Snowfall here is often measured in feet rather than inches, and is typically accompanied by a very cold and persistent wind. But an artist can change the weather with the swipe of a brush. Howard chose the year to be 1947, snow with no wind and lots of sunshine. Denver and Rio Grande Western 1801, a Class M-68 Northern (4-8-4), built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1937, is leading this day's westbound Scenic Limited over Tennessee Pass, the summit of which is only a few miles away. The Scenic was a great ride, but in a little more than a year, another train would replace it. The California Zephyr would pass through the Moffat Tunnel west of Denver, bypassing the heights of Tennessee Pass altogether, along with its often-difficult weather. It also operated on a faster and easier schedule. This painting was inspired by a photograph by Colorado photographer Richard Kindig.
• Russian Decapod in New York
During the second decade of the 20th century, Russia was purchasing locomotives from all of the major builders in America because construction was interrupted by World War I. But in 1917 everything changed. After the Bolshevik Revolution trade with Russia was halted. As it turned out, there were 200 completed Decapods (2-10-0) ordered by Russia, that could not be delivered following the Revolution. They had been built to the five-foot gauge of the Russian National Railway; they were re-gauged and all 200 were sold in the United States. The price was right, and the Erie Railroad bought 75 of them. Decapods were good, steady performers, and the New York, Susquehanna and Western bought eight of them from the Erie in 1943. These were Class J-2 engines; in 1944 Susquenanna bought three more. All retained their Erie numbers. These were random numbers in the 2400 series. Howard painted locomotive images for use on calendars for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers in the late 1970s and early 1980s. John Sytsma, the BLE President at the time, has been an engineer for the Susquehanna early in his career, and he requested that a "Dek" be used in one of the paintings. Here is one of the line’s Deks, Susquehanna 2451 on a freight a few miles outside of Hamburg, NY in the winter of 1945. Unfortunately, the diesel made quick work of the Decapods; the last of Susquehanna's "Bolsheviks" went to scrap in 1948.
• On the Approach to Dale
Union Pacific 8444, a Class FEF-3 Northern (4-8-4), is leading a westbound passenger special through the snow on the approach to Dale, WY, where the #3 Track rejoins the Main Line. Originally numbered 844, an additional "4" was added because number 844 was designated for a newly delivered EMD GP30 in 1962. 844 was the last steam locomotive purchased by the Union Pacific. It was a "war baby," built and delivered by the American Locomotive Company in 1944. It is the only Union Pacific steam locomotive carried continually on the railroad’s active roster from the day it was delivered to the present. This image is a black and white watercolor, and with shades of gray work in concert with black and white. Howard did a masterful job creating the image. Only one other black-and-white watercolor painted by Howard is known to exist.
• Summer in the Sierra Foothills
The Sierra Railroad gained its reputation for the many cameo roles its engines played in Hollywood movies and in television series, primarily using smaller, old-fashioned looking steam locomotives and wooden rolling stock, The foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range near Sonora, CA typically the backdrop. The scenery in this image looks very much like the movies made here, but this day it is all business hauling freight. Engine 34, a 2-6-6-2 Mallet, operating as a point helper, is assisting road engine 28, a Mikado (2-8-2), which was a locomotive more typical of this railroad. Engine 34 was originally owned by lumber giant Weyerhaeuser; Sierra Railroad purchased it in 1952 for hauling freight, not making movies. After a relatively short time, Sierra sold #34, and Weyerhaeuser was the buyer! The painting of this unlikely motive power pairing was commissioned by pioneering authors Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg for use in their new book, The Age of Steam, which was published in 1957 by Rinehart and Co.
• New England States
Two-year-old New York Central 4011 (two EMD Model E7A's, each unit capable of 2,000 horsepower) is leading Train #28, the eastbound New England States on the one-percent grade at Charleton Hill in south-central Massachusetts in the summer of 1949, and running several hours late due to a derailment. After threading its way through and across the Berkshire Hills, any station stops will be held to a minimum in an effort to make up time, then it is on to Boston, its final destination. This day, all schedules are "out the window", but being late is the exception to the rule for the New England.
• Curecanti Country
The pinnacle in the upper right portion of this painting pictures the Curecanti Needle, which appeared on the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad’s logo for many years. This is the Black Canyon of the Gunnison River, and on this summer day in 1941 Rio Grande 268, a Class C-16 Consolidation (2-8-0) is setting out some stock cars. Traffic on this line, once part of the transcontinental railroad, had been reduced to a trickle, and in eight years the railroad through the canyon would be abandoned; it was actually turned into a scenic drive. All of that would disappear when the Morrow Point, Blue Mesa and Crystal Dams and related infrastructure were built between 1963 and 1977, creating three large reservoirs. The reservoirs and the Black Canyon National Park generate more than one million tourist and fishing visits every year. Engine 268 had a long service life, starting in 1881. Seventy-four years later it was retired and is now on display at Gunnison, CO.
• New Power at Springfield
In 1948, The St. Louis-San Francisco (Frisco) Railroad asked American Locomotive Works for a couple of paintings depicting their new Alco Model FA-1 and FB-1 Diesels, to be presented to their Motive Power Superintendent and another for their Main Office. He decided on a picture of a crew change. There were countless images of crews being changed in the Steam era, but apparently nothing much as yet with Diesels. As several inspectors check the locomotive out, a road foreman is going over the paperwork with the arriving engineer. The day is cloudy and rainy. The artist's notes state that this is Springfield, Missouri. The painting was commissioned by the American Locomotive Company in 1948.
• True Artistic License
Union Pacific 3702, an oil-burning Challenger (4-6-6-4) is on the point of a westbound freight rolling through the desert near Garnet, NV. This was a scene that existed only in the imaginations of the artist and the person who commissioned it. The locomotive existed, no question about that. But the scene does not match reality. Union Pacific dieselized the Los Angeles and Salt Lake in 1947. Water was a huge problem, and the high summer temperatures, along with the heat given off by large, hard-working steam locomotives, created a terrible working environment for engine crews. The Challenger seen here was renumbered into the 3700 series from the 3900 series in 1952 when it was converted to burn oil for fuel, rather than coal, but there was no steam in this area after 1947. Howard liked anything Union Pacific and he painted many desert scenes. It all boils down to this: This is a desert scene with a Union Pacific 3700 on the point six years too late. And the quality of the painting makes all of the above facts nothing more than a collection of moot points. This is artistic license at its finest.
• Tank Train at Cresco
Denver and Rio Grande Western Class K-36 Mikados (2-8-2) 481 and 489, both built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1925, are working hard with an eastbound ten-car tank train on the 4% grade at Cumbres Pass in the fall of 1959. The crude oil in these cars came from an oilfield about 18 miles north of Chama; it arrived at the railroad’s loading dock in Chama by pipeline. The Gramps Refinery was located in Alamosa, CO and needed a steady flow of crude. Sometimes the heavy snowfall in the Conejos Mountains, threatened the delivery schedule because every drop of oil had to travel through Cumbres Pass. This train is short one car of the usual consist, which was a locomotive, eleven cars, a second locomotive and a caboose. Each Class K-36 locomotive could only handle 230 tons up Cumbres Pass eastbound. So, eleven loaded tanks and the caboose was maximum tonnage. When the refinery closed in early 1964 another nice chunk of revenue for the narrow gauge vanished.
• The Colorado and New Mexico Express
Denver and Rio Grande 701, a Class T-26 ten-wheeler (4-6-0) built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1896, has the Alamosa-to-Denver, CO eastbound section of the Colorado and New Mexico Express making a station stop at La Veta, CO in the fall of 1900. Starting in 1899, The Colorado and New Mexico Express ran a combined train from Denver to Pueblo, where it split into two sections. One ran from Pueblo, CO to Salida and returned. The second part ran from Pueblo to Alamosa, CO and returned. Much of the running time was completed at night, in order to meet the Shavano at Salida and the San Juan at Alamosa. Due to wartime scheduling, the Salida section was discontinued in January 1942. The Denver-to-Alamosa train continued to operate until the of the San Juan was discontinued in January 1951. As for engine 701, it was renumbered 541 and remained in service until August of 1924.
• Rock Island Fast Freight
Rock Island 5103, a Class R-67 Northern (4-8-4) built by American Locomotive Company in 1944, has a fast freight moving right along in the winter of 1947. These big oil burners carried 20,000 gallons of water, and both the locomotive and tender were equipped with roller bearings. There were 20 of the 5100's. The location, although created by the artist, is likely to be somewhere in western Illinois, since Rock Island operated ten of the R-67's in regular Chicago–Rock Island, IL freight service. After just nine years of service, however, diesels shoved 5101 aside and it was scrapped in 1953; some of the other locomotives in this class were only seven years old.
© Tide-mark Press 2019