Trains Magazine depends on its contributors for the majority of photos and words we publish. A typical issue of Trains contains 80-100 photos and 27,000 words.
When sending material, please address it directly to the proper department (for example: “Railroad News”), and provide a stamped, self-addressed envelope of suitable size for its return. As time permits, we do review each photo and article submitted.
Before submitting articles or photographs, please review the following:
We rely heavily on reader-submitted digital images, provided they are of sufficient resolution for magazine reproduction.
You may upload your digital images to www.contribute.kalmbach.com. Please choose “Trains” and provide caption data in the comment field. You will receive an email message indicating that your images were successfully uploaded. Digital image submissions may be archived for future use. Please keep this in mind when submitting to multiple publications.
If submitting news photos, please send them as soon as possible after the event. If you are submitting news photos to multiple railroad publications, it is best to send different views to each so that each publication has exclusive photos.
Digital images should be at least 6 megapixels in size, however we prefer images that are 12 megapixels or larger for greater flexibility. Send only original, unaltered files directly from the digital camera. JPG files are useable, but we prefer RAW files (Canon CR2, Nikon NEF, etc.).
Caption information submitted with uploads should include: Location; date; railroad the train is operating on (not just the locomotives pictured); and train symbol, if known. Our archivist/librarian may contact you for additional information in the image is stored for future use.
We prefer 35mm or medium-format original color transparencies. Black and white prints should be 8×10 inches in size. Color prints cannot be used.
We cannot use images made from home scanners, and we cannot use images sent to us over email. Do not send negatives or duplicate slides.
For other questions about digital image submissions, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mail photos to:
P.O. Box 1612
Waukesha, WI 53187-1612
Review time and return policy
A staff member will acknowledge receipt of your photographs the day they arrive via email (if provided) or postcard. Please allow us sufficient time to review your images.
If you are sending us news photographs, please send them as quickly as possible after the event you photographed.
When submitting slides, please indicate if we may keep them on file for possible future use, or if we should return slides that are not immediately used. Trains assumes no responsibility for the return of unsolicited photos or articles.
If you would like your photographs returned, please provide a stamped, self-addressed envelope of suitable size.
We try to return unused images within two months if their return has been requested. Slides kept on file will be returned upon e-mail or written request. Please provide caption data as photos are filed by railroad. The photo files that serve Trains are open to other Kalmbach publications, which pay separately for use.
Rights and payment rates
Trains pays for the one-time editorial use of a photograph, upon publication.
Standard rates are based on published size of the photo, and vary from $15 to $300. We require Social Security or Federal Taxpayer I.D. numbers from U.S. contributors before we can issue checks for photos or stories.
Digital photo submissions should include complete caption information: Date, location, railroad the scene occurs on, and any other relevant details. If available, photographers should also include the train symbol, where applicable.
Each slide mount or print must have the photographer’s name and address on it. Slides should have as much information on the mount as possible (location, date, and subject). Expanded information may be included on a separate sheet.
Prints should have the photographer’s complete name and address on the back, with caption information included on the back or on an attached sheet. Do not type on the print, and do not use rubber cement. Attach caption information to prints with transparent tape or self-adhesive labels, or use an attached sheet.
Sorry, no copies of photos available
Since Trains pays for only one-time use of photos, the original slide or negative still belongs to the photographer, so we cannot provide copies of photos that appear in our pages, and our policy prohibits release of addresses of non-commercial contributors. Inquiries will be forwarded for response at the photographers’ discretion.
Trains buys news stories and feature articles covering railroading’s past and present, including first-person recollections. We do not buy travel stories, poetry, or fiction.
Before submitting a feature-length article, we urge you to send a written inquiry to Trains Magazine at email@example.com. Please send a brief paragraph explaining the story, its theme, and highlights. Queries should include a possible headline. No telephone calls, please.
The best way to become familiar with the types of articles we publish is to look at several recent issues.
Rights and payment rates
Trains prefers to buy exclusive rights to a manuscript.
We pay upon receipt of a signed author contract. Standard manuscript rates begin at 10 cents per word.
Submitting and returning articles
The preferred format to send articles to Trains is via email, with the article sent as an attached Microsoft Word document. Please do not send us computer disks.
Supporting material such as photographs, diagrams, and maps should be sent to us in the mail. Include a stamped, self-addressed envelope so that we may return your material.
We will acknowledge receipt of your material by e-mail (if provided) or postcard. Please allow 90 days for review of the articles you send us. If you’d like it back at any time during review, just email us, and we’ll be happy to return it.
Because we try to balance the mix of stories in each month’s issue, articles that we buy may not appear in print right away.
Trains assumes no responsibility for the return of unsolicited photographs or articles.