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2016 Trains Photo Contest Winners: Water

By | September 21, 2016

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Brandon Townley
A Loram crew sprays water to prevent fires from forming, following the rail-grinding process on Norfolk Southern’s Sandusky District in Chatfield, Ohio.

Four hundred thirteen images of railroads and water submitted by 131 photographers flooded the Trains offices for the 2016 Trains Photo Contest. Check out these eight winning photographs that floated to the top. We thoroughly enjoy your interpretations of our contest themes each year. Please let us know what you think of the winners in the comments section below.

Want to enter our 2017 contest? Get all the details here!

9 thoughts on “2016 Trains Photo Contest Winners: Water

  1. In the photo of UP east-bound on Great Salt Lake, why the ‘jog’ in track right of way… i.e.; why isn’t it a straight line?

  2. First photo the Rail Grinder. I have watched the Loram Rail Grinders at work on the old Western Pacific, Portola Area,
    for several years. Quite a site. I witnessed several fires starting along the roadbed. Most were extinguished by the
    crew in the caboose. There was a tank car with a pump coupled next to the caboose. The crew had 2 hoses with
    fire nozzles that took care of any fire. They missed 2 fires one day and it took the local Fire Department and the
    US Forest Service to extinguish. The local FD was first in on both fires and had them out in about 5 minutes. In fact,
    I put 1 Rail Grinder fire out myself (a tie fire). Great show.

  3. Wrinnbo, my friend … Of your several photos, only two – both featuring steam engines – are serious “railroad” photos.

    The rest are a variety of artsy photos with little to do with railroads or railroading other than that a minor portion of a train or some railroad architecture helps highlight the picture. Clearly, that is not what it takes to make a great railroad photo.

    Most of your photos are weather or scenery based photos with a little railroad action tossed in for good measure … often lending excellent accents, but not upgrading the photo to a “railroad photo.”

    The photo of the steam engine in the tunnel was virtually 100% a railroad based photo. You have the tunnel aspect of railroad architecture, you have the powerful support of all railroading with the railroad tracks, you have a billowing black smoke draped around the engine representing that locomotive’s power and glory, and you have a great shot of a ponderous locomotive which was the backbone of American transportation for so many years.


    The category of railroad pictures should include only railroading and nothing more. Some of your artsy, weather, and scenic photos are very nice, but they hardly are railroad photos.

    For whatever reason, you all have allowed the concept of railroad photography to evolve into a pea soup of unrelated-to-railroading features that – because there’s even a hint of a railroad or a train in the picture – it should be included in railroad photos. That’s baloney!

    The vast majority of Trains Magazine’s content is strongly related to trains or railroading, and rarely about extraneous things that our photo artists believe are railroad photo killers … ah, to die for.

    Please tell Jim Wrinn that I think most of these photos simply suck when it comes to trains or railroading.

  4. Bob Loehne, you make some good points. While I don’t agree that a good railroad photo must be exclusive of anything not railroad related, there is some validity to your sentiment that railroad photography has largely devolved into a pea soup of baloney. I suggest we, in part, have the top contributors and the screeners associated with that den of snobbery known as “” and their obsession with the “perfect” composition, lighting, sharpening, etc., to thank for what rail photography has become of late.

    Railroad history will be poorer for this dynamic. Oh, there’ll be all sorts of action in Lombard Canyon, lots of distant shots of UP power with Salt Lake City’s neighboring mountains for a backdrop; there’ll be many scenes of state of the art power on Mance Curve. But few close-ups of anything, showing any significant detail or individual markers among locomotive species within the railroad road names.

    Folks, don’t be afraid to spend a few frames (totally free of cost in today’s digital age) on roster shots, lineside structures, bridges (with or without traffic). Don’t pass up that shot of modern high tech power about to overwhelm you, so you can climb some hill for a “better” perspective. Go ahead and shoot the onrushing train. History will thank you long after railpix has faded into irrelevance.

  5. i agreed with charles i will never get one picture in trains because it’s not perfect and will never abtain that level with a small digtal camera but i do enjoy seeing others photos and it would be nice if you had a page or two of less that perfect shots but that might not happen

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