Runner-up: Before I was of driving age, I railfanned Tacoma, Wash., using my father’s small boat: buzzing up and down the Tacoma Narrows and other waterways, gathering knowledge of photography and railroad operations. After getting my license, I continued to photograph trains from the water. From my boat, May 5, 2013, in Tacoma, beachgoers watch Amtrak Cascades train 509 as it passes by, heading south to Portland. Photo by Dale Skyllingstad
Runner-up: A Union Pacific Belvidere Subdivision train weaves through downtown Belvidere, Ill., on its run from Belvidere Yard to West Chicago on Jan. 7, 2016. In 30 minutes, the train will pass through my hometown Marengo, Ill. Belvidere Subdivision, which extends from West Chicago to Rockford, Ill., is part of Illinois’s first railroad, Galena & Chicago Union. Photo by Robert Jordan
Runner-up: Jan. 9, 2015, was just another major snowstorm in the Buffalo, N.Y., area. A city where I was born and raised now was more special to me as this was my last winter there. The city placed Buffalo statues on William Street a year earlier, but never was I able to shoot them until I made a quick decision to snap Norfolk Southern train H53 departing the yard, rolling past them. Though it looks like somewhere out West, it’s actually symbolic to me of the winters I spent trackside in my former home city. Photo by Stephan M. Koenig
Runner-up: “Baby, if you’ve ever wondered, wondered whatever became of me. I’m living on the air in Cincinnati, Cincinnati, WKRP.” Well, not quite, but Cincinnati is well represented by CSX Transportation ES40DC No. 5500, named the Spirit of Cincinnati, as it powers eastbound train Q312-19 on former Chesapeake & Ohio rails across the Licking River bridge at Newport, Ky., with the Cincinnati skyline across the Ohio River in the background on July 19, 2008. Photo by Erik Landrum
Runner-up: Thousands lined Cincinnati’s riverfront for fireworks in 2017. Many traveled aboard the Cincinnati Railway, led by GP7 No. 55. I was lead passenger-conductor, working with a crew who grew up riding behind and later operating No. 55. As colors flashed and whirled above, I felt privileged to work with a fantastic crew from my hometown railroad. Photo by Brian Sellers
Second Prize: Brampton, Ontario, located outside Toronto, is bisected by Canadian National’s busy Halton Subdivision, which cuts a narrow, diagonal swath through the downtown core. For years, the city has installed promotional banners on two of the line’s bridges, and early in 2018 I noticed how the current “There’s No Place Like Home” campaign dovetailed nicely with the contest theme. As a long-time resident and seasoned GO commuter, I realized how an image like this could sum up my own experience with the early morning rituals of the modern workday. Under the watchful eye of the Dominion Building clock tower, eastbound GO train 260 crosses Queen Street East in downtown Brampton. Photo by Ron Bouwhuis
First Prize: The picture was taken in September 1993 along Burlington Northern’s (former Frisco) crossing of the Gasconade River at Jerome, Mo., which is on the far side of the river. While Jerome is the boy’s hometown, the location of the picture is actually at his home along the banks of the Gasconade. So the railroad pictured is more than just his hometown railroad, it actually runs past his home. Photo by Charles Dischinger
Grand Prize: Having lived and worked in Chicago for nearly my entire adult life, the city continues to nurture two passions — buildings and trains. The Chicago River and the Loop elevated rail are two key components that define the urban core. The newly opened Chicago Riverwalk invites residents and visitors to stroll along its banks through parks, cafes, and overlooks. This image attempts to capture the joy of walking the esplanade at sunset, experiencing people, boats, and trains in a peaceful, park-like atmosphere deep within a forest of skyscrapers above. Photo by Todd Halamka
Nineteenth-century American poet, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. wrote, “Where we love is home, home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.” Thank you for sharing your hearts with us. We received 331 images of hometown railroading from 141 photographers for the 2018 Trains Photo Contest. Presented here are the eight winners.
Please let us know what you think of the winners in the comments section below.