Mirrors of Metal

Gleaming as fine as bright tableware, the California Zephyr’s Vista Dome observation car Silver Sky, gives the curtain call to perhaps one of the finest transcontinental passenger trains ever to travel the rails between Chicago and San Francisco. Constructed totally of stainless steel, the Zephyr’s traversed some of the most beautiful countryside boasted by any railroad; splicing the deserts of Nevada and winding through the Rockies of Colorado and California. With 5 out of her 11 cars featuring domes, lucky patrons were assured that there was not a bad seat in the house.

Here, outside of Glenwood Canyon, the Denver & Rio Grande will share it 22% claim (approximately 500 rail miles) of the 2,525 mile route, before turning the Silver Lady over to the Western Pacific at Salt Lake City for the final leg into San Francisco. There the Zephyr will conclude her 49 hour 30 minute journey from Chicago with an on time arrival in the City by the Bay.

Named after the Greek word for “Fast Winds”, the Zephyr’s were in fact at times fast, and others times, slow and gentle but like the wind, were here one minute and seemingly gone the next.

18 x 24 original acrylic painting was completed in 2004.

I hope you enjoy my paintings. If you are interested in purchasing prints, cards or any other items be sure to click on the link and visit my store.

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Swansong of the Flambeau

Train 216, The Flambeau 400 with two 1958 bi-level cars in tow, calls on Eland Wisconsin after coming down the line from Ashland enroute to Green Bay, Milwaukee and finally Chicago on this first day of 1960. To the west of the depot on the Marshfield line, a pair of GP7’s idles as the crew, taking advantage of a lull in the action, has gone inside to top off their thermos’s with hot coffee. They’ll soon retreat to the confines of cab # 1549 in hopes to sip a cup or two before hooking up to a string of pulp cars due within the hour from Wausau. Eland’s fine depot once boasted a lunch counter that existed for the pure indulgence of its patrons traveling one of the 38 passenger or 30 freight trains that converged from all four directions each day. Eight of those passenger trains alone arrived between the hours of 11:00-1:00pm daily.

Unfortunately, by the time this scene was captured, automobiles were already replacing the passenger train and semi trucks had their ligature tightening on the remaining freight traffic. Not even new bi-level equipment or a depot freshly painted in matching 400 colors could persuade people to go by train.

The line from Eland north to Rhinelander was abandoned on August 24, 1982 and the last steel wheels to scrape the rust from the rails was GP7 # 4152 on January 30, 1994. The depot still stands today as a faded reminder of the glory days of railroading in Wisconsin’s north woods.

18 x 24 original acrylic painting was completed in 2007.

I hope you enjoy my paintings. If you are interested in purchasing prints, cards or any other items be sure to click on the link and visit my store.

Skirting the Mighty Miss

Skytop Lounge car Coon Rapids, with her mars light doing a dizzy dance, brakes to 70 miles per hour ahead of a sharp curve along the mighty Mississippi River on her dash to the Twin Cities from Chicago. The conductor’s message rousing dosing passengers intent on detraining at Wisconsin Dells, is briefly muffled by the passing of freighter 75A and companion, wearing their original gray, orange and yellow pinstripe.

This scene depicts the bread & butter of the once proud Milwaukee Road during an era when on-time schedules and top notch service were common in hometown rail travel.

18 x 24 original acrylic painting was completed in 2001.

I hope you enjoy my paintings. If you are interested in purchasing prints, cards or any other items be sure to click on the link and visit my store.