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, his paintings live on commemorating the great age of railroading.
Howard Fogg's Trains 2021 monthly wall calendar features: Large blocks for notes | Beautiful reproduction | Quality heavy-weight paper | Deluxe 11- by 14-inch size
Railroads and locomotives pictured for 2021 include:
Steam in the Heartland — 1955
Wabash Railroad 2910, a Class O-1 Northern (4-8-4), is hustling an eastbound freight through the central Illinois farm country east of Decatur during the winter of 1955. 2910 was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works and delivered in August of 1930. Wabash owned 25 Class O-1 Northerns. They were purchased to provide better freight service and reduce expenses by hauling more tonnage between Montpelier, Ohio and Decatur, Illinois. New diesel deliveries in 1955 allowed all of these engines to be set aside in January 1956, they were scrapped a few months later.
Three of a Kind at Mears Junction
Mears Junction is located about a dozen miles due southwest of Salida, Colorado. The time here would be about a week before Christmas of 1947, as Rio Grande 497, one of three Class K-37 (2-8-2) Mikados seen here, leads a northbound train, having left Alamosa, Colorado several hours earlier. The train has crossed the eastern side of the vast San Luis Valley, climbed Poncha Pass, and is now drifting downgrade with a string of box cars on its way to Salida, this crew’s destination for today. While 497’s crew is about finished with their day, the crews of 493 and 496 are only about an hour into their day. The short work train will head westbound, clearing ice and snow from the rails of 10,846-foot-high Marshall Pass, then head on through the Tomichi Valley to Gunnison. A trainmaster who will be riding the snow train is giving his crew some last-minute instructions; as soon as he climbs aboard, 493 and 496 will be on their way.
What Railroad Is This?
A few days before his passing, Howard called in a few close friends, one at a time for a short visit and a goodbye. These calendars had been produced for four years, and it was a project that he wanted to see continue. To one of his friends, he passed off a red box with a substantial group of transparencies to which he maintained publication rights. It was limited by him only to be used for future calendars. This image was included. Old time 4-4-0, locomotive 85, has a five-car train in tow. It is standard gauge—Howard only painted narrow-gauge subjects when there was no way out of doing so. The location may be the Canadian Rockies. There is a “Prairie Schooner” covered wagon and an outrider going like the wind. No one knows why it was done, if someone commissioned it or where the original artwork is.
Shouldn’t Paint so Fast
In May of 1980, the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific railroads filed a brief with the Interstate Commerce Commission to allow the companies to merge into one railroad, the “Southern Pacific Santa Fe” or SPSF. Both railroads painted some of their locomotives in a red and yellow paint scheme. Depending on the railroad, they painted either a large SP or SF in yellow paint (one engine had white lettering). If the merger was approved, they would add the missing initials to mark all the engines SPSF, as pictured here. In 1986, after many locomotives had been repainted, the Interstate Commerce Commission rejected the merger. Engines were re-repainted in their previous colors, and other changes were removed, so they looked like two railroads again. Then someone commented about the “SPSF,” explaining that it probably meant “Shouldn’t Paint So Fast.” The painting is an imagined scene, but it appears to be a westbound shooter on the Santa Fe Transcon near Chalander, Arizona, about eighteen miles west of Flagstaff.
Steam and Spanish Moss
Shay #41 of the MK Lumber Company is rolling a load of logs across a rickety trestle in Florida in 1950. This was a scene invented by the artist for a commissioned painting. The buyer asked for a painting with a Shay-powered backwoods lumber train in a Spanish moss environment typical of the Old South. Southern states from Florida west to Louisiana and north to West Virginia and Tennessee had many of these small railroads, with a minimum of money invested in infrastructure (roadbed, bridges and the like), some of those roads operated into the 1960’s. The Shay locomotive was the favored motive power, because they were powerful and also surefooted on hastily constructed track. The buyer of the painting was Michael Koch, who had written two books detailing the life and career of virtually every Shay locomotive ever built. His home address was at number 41, and Howard converted the street number to an engine number.
Westbound Mail at Martin, Washington
Northern Pacific 2601 is on the approach to the East Portal of Stampede Pass with a westbound mail train. The exact location is Martin, Washington and the year is 1930. The American Locomotive Company built twelve of these locomotives (4-8-4) for the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1926 and 1927. Initially they were referred to as “Northern Pacifics” then shortened to simply “Northern”. Most were coal burners, but several were converted to burn oil. There were a few problems, but once those were addressed, these locomotives performed well. Northern Pacific eventually owned 48 Northerns in service in five different classes from A-1 through A-5. Other railroads began to order Northern Type (4-8-4) locomotives; before the diesel invasion, 1,113 locomotives with this wheel arrangement were working on 36 North American railroads. By 1959, though, all of Northern Pacific’s Northerns were scrapped.
Kanawha in the New River Gorge
The New River Gorge, located east of Charleston, West Virginia, is the setting for Chesapeake and Ohio 2711 on a passenger train in the late Fall of 1944. American Locomotive Company built 40 of these Class K-4 (2-8-4) locomotives in 1943 and 1944. This wheel arrangement was called a Berkshire-type. Chesapeake and Ohio referred to them as a “Kanawha.” They were immensely popular with engine crews, and were used on both freight and passenger trains. Chesapeake and Ohio management would order 50 more of them between 1945 and 1947. The new engines were constructed by both Alco and the Lima Locomotive Works. But the diesel engine, with its attendant economies, had arrived on the Chesapeake and Ohio. The first Kanawha was set aside in 1951, and by 1957 all were off the active motive power roster. Management did donate an even dozen Kanawhas for display in various cities and towns served by the railroad.
Steam in the Kansas Wheat Fields
Rock Island 5104, an oil burning Class R-67 Northern (4-8-4) leads a westbound freight near Wellington, Kansas in the Summer of 1950. Rock Island received ten R-67’s in 1944, numbers 5100 through 5109. In 1946 they received ten more; these were 5110 through 5119. They performed right to specifications, but they were steam locomotives facing the headwinds of a diesel revolution. The new diesels needed almost no road maintenance, whereas steam needed some inspection every day and a government-mandated three-day inspection every month.
There were 1,500 people working in the Rock Island steam shop in Silvis, Illinois. They were replaced by 50 diesel mechanics when steam was gone. Rock Island started scrapping the Northerns in 1951 and by 1952, all were off the roster, for some a service life of only six years. This painting appeared in the book Fogg and Steam written by Frank Clodfelter, illustrated by Howard Fogg and published in 1978.
Station Stop at Wagon Wheel Gap
Wagon Wheel Gap, Colorado is located about 60 miles west of Alamosa on what was referred to as the Creede Branch. In 1935, there was still passenger train service on the Creede Branch, as illustrated in this painting. Rio Grande 784, built by the Brooks Locomotive Works in 1909, is a Class T-29 4-6-0 (“T” is for ten-wheeler; “29” is for 29,093 pounds of tractive effort.) The train is westbound and it has stopped at the depot to drop off a passenger. 784 would run until 1952, when it was retired after a 43-year service record.
Bill Price’s Railroad
Baltimore and Ohio 4419, one of 45 Class Q-4 Mikados (2-8-2) built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1920, is leading a westbound freight up Sand Patch Grade just west of the horseshoe curve at Mance, Pennsylvania in the 1940s. Pennsy eventually owned 325 Mikados in several different classes; the Q-4’s were reported to be the best performers. This painting was made after a photograph taken by William P. Price. There were a lot of excellent photographers who followed the B&O, but Bill Price did an amazing job with his photography. He took thousands of black and white images, slides, and eight-millimeter movies beginning in 1946, but fewer after the demise of steam in 1958. Living in Cumberland, Maryland was an advantage. Surprisingly, Bill never rode in the cab of a Baltimore and Ohio steam locomotive. His choice was to be on the ground taking pictures. His first cab ride anywhere was a good one. He rode with Steve Lee and the Union Pacific steam crew aboard locomotive 3985 from Buford to Cheyenne, Wyoming in 1988. It was on that trip to the west when he first met Howard Fogg.
Three for Horseshoe Curve
The Pennsylvania Railroad always did things in a big way. As an aside, they stabled 601 Atlantics (4-6-0), 3,332 Consolidations (2-8-0), 325 Mikados (2-8-2), 698 Decapods (ponderous 2-10-0’s), 301 Mountains (4-8-2), 190 Santa Fees (2-10-2), 125 Texas-types (2-10-4), and those numbers do not include switch engines and experimental locomotives. The K-4s Pacific, three of which are seen here, were well-suited for high-speed passenger and mail train service. The first went into service in 1914, and the fire was dropped in the last one in 1957, a 43-year record of service. All 425 of them were built in the Juniata Shops. In this painting 5411 and two other Pacifics lead Mail Train #9 around Horseshoe Curve, west of Altoona, Pennsylvania in the Fall of 1945. These locomotives were a personal favorite of the artist, and during his career he was commissioned at least a dozen times to put them on artboard or canvas. He was adamant that this painting was his favorite. The rider coach on the rear is a nice touch.
Eastbound Thunder at Dale Creek
Locomotive 9504, a Union Pacific Class (4-12-2), is leading an eastbound freight on the approach to Dale Creek, Wyoming in the Winter of 1950. Union Pacific and subsidiary roads maintained 88 of these three-cylinder monsters, all built by the American Locomotive Company between 1926 (when 9504 arrived) until 1930, when the order was completed. The “Nines,” as their crews called them, were the largest rigid-frame locomotives ever built. Their three cylinders gave them a unique exhaust sound. The third cylinder was located in the middle of the locomotive, and it was a crank shaft arrangement, instead of a straight shaft. They were used from Cheyenne to Evanston, Wyoming, on the Oregon Short Line, and many spent their later years in Kansas and Nebraska, where the curves were not an issue. They would occasionally be in passenger service, usually because of adverse weather conditions. All but one of this fleet remained in service into 1954, but in early 1956 all were retired. One remains. 9000 is on display at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds at Pomona, California.
About Artist Howard Fogg
Howard Lockhart Fogg, Jr. was born in Brooklyn, New York, on April 7, 1917. He came from a family that was interested in trains and at least some of his interest in drawing and painting pictures of trains may be attributed to his grandfather, who was a draftsman for the Boston and Maine Railroad. The Fogg family moved to a suburb of Chicago in 1923, where Fogg senior worked for the Litchfield & Madison Railroad. In time, Howard followed his father and attended Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, where he studied English literature, created cartoons for the college paper, painted trains, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1938. That fall he enrolled at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts with the intention of working as a cartoonist. After graduation, several uneventful jobs followed, including work as an apprentice engineer at the Baldwin Locomotive erecting shop until 1941, when Fogg was drafted into the army. The attack on Pearl Harbor prompted Fogg to transfer to the Army Air Corps where he trained as a pilot and received his commission and wings in 1942. Stationed in England, Fogg flew 76 missions escorting heavy bombers, many over Germany, and as a result, he was awarded the Air Medal with three clusters and the Distinguished Flying Cross with one cluster. Howard was discharged from the army as a captain in 1945, certain only that he wanted to be a railroad artist. In 1946, Fogg was fortunate to meet with Duncan Fraser, the president of American Locomotive Co. (ALCO) in New York. Impressed by Fogg’s work, Fraser hired the young artist to paint
locomotives in the color schemes of the railroads that were receiving new engines. His work for ALCO brought Fogg into contact with Lucius Beebe, an author who began commissioning and reproducing Fogg paintings in a variety of railroading books. Fogg also met John Walker Barriger III, an expert in rescuing struggling rail lines. As Barriger moved from line to line, he commissioned Fogg paintings to help promote each railroad. Fogg’s reputation as a painter began to grow. In 1943, Fogg had married his college sweetheart, Margot Dethier, and the couple was able to buy their first house in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, in 1947. The Foggs had friends in Colorado and, after visiting for several summers, they moved to Boulder in 1955. Fogg set up his studio there and continued to work for ALCO, although his long-term agreement with the company ended in 1957. Thereafter, Fogg worked as a freelance painter. As his reputation grew, Fogg found that his paintings were in such demand that he had a backlog of orders that would require several years to fulfill. During the course of his long career as an artist, Howard Fogg completed more than 1,200 paintings, most in watercolor, although some 200 were in oil. As a young artist, he once completed 45 watercolors in one year. As a freelance painter, he often needed about two weeks to complete one work, while late in his career each painting took about six weeks to complete. In spring 1996, Fogg experienced difficulty breathing and, although he worked in his studio every day, his energy and concentration were ebbing and his effort to paint became a struggle. On October 1, 1996, Howard passed away at age 79, leaving behind a remarkable legacy of artwork to be enjoyed by generations to come.
© 2020 Tide-mark Press