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Trains Photo Contest 2023: Icons in Railroading

By | January 23, 2023

Presented in partnership with the National Railway Historical Society

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green train passing end of covered bridge

Trains Photo Contest 2023

green train passing end of covered bridge
The grand prize for the 2022 Trains Photo Contest was claimed by Adam Horgan. The theme — Still soldiering on — is represented by two unlikely survivors in the beautiful north country of Vermont, relics of a time gone by, and beating the odds to carry on. Taken from inside of the Bartonsville covered bridge, Green Mountain Railway Alco RS1 No. 405 leads a fall foliage train as a passerby gives the crew a wave. The original Bartonsville covered bridge, built in 1870, was washed away by a flood in 2011, and this newer lattice-truss covered bridge replaced it in 2013. The 1951 Alco RS1 is one of nine built for the Rutland Railroad, and the only one still soldiering on it its native Vermont. For 2023, where will you find Icons in Railroading?

Trains is excited to continue the partnership with the National Railway Historical Society for the 2023 photo contest. The NRHS is a nonprofit that promotes the interest and study of the railroad industry, a mission shred by the Trains brand. The NRHS, which was established in 1935, is an excellent partner for a magazine that’s been around since 1940. Both groups celebrate railroad history and present-day operations. The two organizations believe that supporting and encouraging photography fosters a greater interest in this art and encourages creativity and further study of railroad subjects.

The 2023 contest theme is: Icons in Railroading

“Icons could be entirely vintage or mixed with modern elements.” says Jeff Smith, NRHS Bulletin editor and head of the photo contest committee. “An icon is a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol or is worthy of veneration. Icons exist all over the railroad landscape. To some, icons are GG1s, Santa Fe warbonnets, the streamlined beauty of the N&W Class J steam locomotives, or PRR position light signals. For instance, a modern locomotive passing an iconic station or Grand Central Terminal in New York City being used by modern commuter trains would be considered Icons of Railroading.”

As always, you can illustrate the theme however you like, but be ready to provide an explanation. Photographs can be taken recently or decades ago as icons transcend time. Please submit no more than three high-resolution images (3,000 pixels on the longest edge). Do not alter your images beyond minor color corrections, burning, dodging and levels adjustments. Send JPGs to no later than June 1, 2023. Please include your full name and phone number. We do not accept mailed submissions.
Winners will be announced in the November 2023 issue of Trains.

Grand Prize

Winner will receive: $1,000 from the National Railway Historical Society

First Prize

Winner will receive: $500

Second Prize

Winner will receive: $250

Five Runners-Up

Winners will receive: a three-year subscription to Trains Magazine or equivalent Trains products

All winners will also receive a complimentary, one-year membership in the NRHS.


  1. Enter up to three (3) digital images at
  2. Contestants must include their name, a daytime phone number, email address, and basic caption information in the digital image’s metadata.
  3. All entries must be submitted by June 1, 2023.
  4. Winning photos will be published in November 2023 issue of Trains.
  5. Trains and NRHS reserve the right to retain electronic copies for future publication, use as a contest gallery exhibition on their respective websites, Facebook walls, Twitter feeds, other social media, or for public exhibition. In all cases, the photographer retains the copyright to the image.
  6. A committee of NRHS members and Trains staff will judge photos on a “blind” basis, meaning they will not know the identities of the entrants.
  7. Multiple prizes will not be awarded to any individual.
  8. Employees of Kalmbach Media Co., or their families are not eligible to enter. NRHS photo contest committee members and their families are not eligible to enter.
  9. By entering the 2023 Trains photo contest, you agree to share your name and contact information with the NRHS and Trains.
  10. Photographs of model railroads will not be accepted.
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