Railroads & Locomotives History Beyond the byline with Thomas Danneman

Beyond the byline with Thomas Danneman

By Nastassia Putz | February 22, 2024

| Last updated on February 26, 2024

The apple doesn't roll far from the track

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What was your first byline in Trains?

screenshot of magazine article

Thomas Danneman: My first byline was in the March 2006 issue. I had photos published before then, including a few covers, but “New Muscle for Montana,” which was about Montana Rail Link’s new SD70ACe locomotives, included my first published words.

What’s your favorite locomotive and why?

huge river with locomotive in front
MRL No. 390 leading a train through Lombard Canyon. Tom Danneman

Thomas Danneman: EMD F45. Ever since I was a kid, I thought the F45 was cool because it was different. It had a cowl carbody unlike almost everything else at the time. My favorite railroad growing up was Burlington Northern, and the railroad rostered 46 of them. Later, Montana Rail Link added 4 F45s just adding to the intrigue I have for this locomotive.

What could be better than MRL No. 390 leading a train through Lombard Canyon, or over Mullan Pass?

Describe your love of railroading in six words or less.

Thomas Danneman: Runs in the family!Montana locomotive with blue stripes on nose

What’s your fondest memory as a Trains contributor?

Thomas Danneman: It’s a fond memory and a sad one as well. After the announcement that Montana Rail Link was going to be folded into BNSF, then-Editor Jim Wrinn asked if I would do a tribute story on MRL. Of course, I was honored that Jim thought of me to cover the MRL one last time. He even asked for a cover photo! I agreed and put together the feature that ran in the magazine in the June 2022 issue. The cover image chosen was an F45 (my favorite locomotive) photographed in Bearmouth, Mont. This also happened to be the last issue that Jim edited before passing away.

What article received the biggest reader reaction?

Thomas Danneman: I think it was probably the two-page photo essay that ran in the September 2014 issue.

The essay was titled “Where nature smiles,” and the photo was of a BNSF train on the Montana Rail Link near Trout Creek, Mont. The unusual or unique aspect of it was that the photo was taken partially underwater using my Canon 7D with a waterproof case, and it seemed to strike a chord with the readers.

have under water half above with train on tracks

What advice would you give a new contributor?

Thomas Danneman: If you plan on contributing photos, don’t give up if your photos are not published right away. Keep trying … you won’t get anything published if you aren’t submitting! As for article submissions, think about why the story is important, as well as why and how it would appeal to a broad audience. Send in an outline of your article beforehand, and include your thoughts on how it could be illustrated including maps, photos, and other graphics.

2 thoughts on “Beyond the byline with Thomas Danneman

  1. What MadDog said, Tom…good eye and superb water shot!
    I enjoy most anything with your byline; always a good read.

    • Tom

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