Railroads & Locomotives History Beyond the byline with Chris Guss

Beyond the byline with Chris Guss

By Nastassia Putz | November 21, 2023

The industry is always changing

Email Newsletter

Get the newest photos, videos, stories, and more from Trains.com brands. Sign-up for email today!

What was your first byline in Trains?

Chris Guss: My fircover of pdf with blue locomotivest story was in the Norfolk Southern’s Heritage Power Special Issue in 2012. I co-authored “Heritage Triumph” with the late Jim Wrinn, covering the repainted fleet of new Norfolk Southern locomotives in heritage colors. Having access to the principals involved at Norfolk Southern in the making of these unique locomotives and touring Progress Rail’s Muncie, Ind., facility was something I’d never had when writing a story before. It was illuminating and exciting at the same time.

Also in 2012, I began writing the monthly Locomotive column in Trains. Beginning in 2013, I would begin to write the Motive Power Review in the annual Locomotive Special Issue and other stories in special issues produced over the years.

My monthly column lasted until the September 2020 issue when my stories were moved to Trains.com and are published twice a month now. Check out my latest column here.

What’s your favorite locomotive and why?

Chris Guss: To me, that’s like asking a parent which child is their favorite. There are so many interesting locomotive models, it’s impossible to choose just one. I will say the six-axle cowl is my favorite locomotive design. Many builders constructed freight and passenger cowls, and I’ve been fortunate to capture many of these units operating across the U.S. and Canada.


Orange and gray cowls on tracks surrounded by snow
A trio of SD50F cowls power an empty Dakota Missouri Valley & Western coal train across the frozen North Dakota countryside. Although this is a common look for most locomotives leading passenger trains, the unique design is unmistakable when powering freight trains. Chris Guss

Describe your love of railroading in six words or less.

Chris Guss: The industry is always changing.

What’s your fondest memory as a Trains contributor?

Chris Guss: Without a doubt the people, both at the magazine and in the industry. The friendships I’ve made at Kalmbach and the insight and knowledge accumulated by industry insiders willing to share their time and experience has allowed me to help bridge the gap between Trains readers and the motive power they enjoy.

What article received the biggest reader reaction?

Chris Guss: Writing stories and monthly columns about locomotive-based topics can at times be very technical. I try my best each time to get every detail right. To use the old adage “No news is good news,” when I don’t get feedback related to something I wrote, that’s a good thing!

What advice would you give a new contributor?

Chris Guss:

  • Do your homework and check your facts, two or more times if possible. The internet is filled with mis-information, either intentional or not.
  • Create trust with people in the industry you meet. Nothing slams a door shut quicker than bragging online about information you received or sharing photos you made that shouldn’t be in the public domain. Remember, its their job and your hobby.
  • Be persistent. Many times your early submissions will not be used. Don’t let it deter you from trying again.
man with bright yellow vest and media tag
Chris Guss, Trains correspondent

One thought on “Beyond the byline with Chris Guss

  1. It was great pleasure to meet Chris in 1999 or 2000 when I was Terminal Supt’s Clerk for the BNSF at Northtown Yard in Fridley, MN. Was a great man an devoted rail. One of my cherished timetables in the last ATSF employee timetable that he gave me.

    Ed Burns
    Happily retired clerk NP BN BNSF.

You must login to submit a comment