Christmas & Trains, Train Art, Train Books

Get To Know…Train Artist, Andy Fletcher!

Andy Fletcher’s career as an artist started early. He began drawing trains—one of his first loves—from his own photos when he was still in school. All of his drawings are done by hand with a pencil and watercolor pens. Andy’s first engine to draw was BN’s 1991 “DESERT STORM” SD60M.

Then in 1992, Burlington Northern Railroad asked him to design their popular SD70MAC Executive color scheme. Altogether, Andy has drawn over 1,500 trains, from steam to modern diesel and cars, cabooses and other equipment. He has been commissioned to paint trains for railroads, railroad historical societies and museums.

Andy has epilepsy and was unable to draw from 2001-2007. During his hiatus from drawing trains, he did some watercolor paintings, but as soon as he was able, he came back to trains. People often ask, “Why trains?” and the answer is he just loves them.

He feels rewarded by the joy his drawings have brought others. His magnets and prints make great gifts and promotional items. If you are interested in having Andy draw a piece of equipment you can e-mail him for more information.

Here are a couple of excerpts from Andy:

Rocky Mount, North Carolina.  The year is 1952.  Spring is in the air.  The engineer blasts two sounds of whistle and the Atlantic Coast Line Florida Special gives its 7:10pm highball.  The train gains momentum.  Eager passengers await their vacations and loved ones along the southward trek.  Onto Fayetteville and Florence, through the night the Special rolls, onto its 11:25am arrival in Miami.

Coal Runs on Norfolk Southern’s Winston Salem District. One hundred cars of coal roll at Belews Creek, NC.  This is Norfolk Southern’s Winston-Salem District.  A pair of SD70M-2’s keep the southbound unit train on time as it rolls from Roanoke. Coal from the Appalachians rolls to the Carolinas.  Coal to power industry.  Coal to light the cities, to power the South.  Norfolk Southern rolls coal into North Carolina.  This is railroading on the Winston-Salem District.

To learn more about Andy Fletcher and to order prints, magnets, etc…..visit his incredible website at

To order Andy’s book, “The ABC’s of America’s Railroads” …CLICK HERE! 

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Train Books

Awesome List of Illustrated Train Books

The following are books on railroading and Western America by Lucius Beebe or Lucius Beebe and his partner. Charles Clegg.

1. High Iron: A Book of Trains. (New York: D. Appleton-Century Company, 1938).
2. Highliners: A Railroad Album (New York: Bonanza Books, 1940).
3. Trains in Transition (New York: Bonanza Books, 1941).
4. Highball: A Pageant of Trains ( New York: Bonanza Books, 1945)
5. The Narrow Gauge Railroads of Colorado (Railway & Locomotive Historical Society Bulletin
No. 671, August 1946).
6. Mixed Train Daily: A Book of Short-Line Railroads. (Berkeley, CA: Howell-North, 1947).
7. Virginia City & Truckee: A Story of Virginia City and Comstock Times (Oakland, CA:
Grahame H. Hardy, 1949).
8. U.S. West: The Saga of Wells Fargo (New York: Dutton, 1949).
9. Legends of the Comstock Lode (Oakland, CA: Grahame H. Hardy,1950).
10. Cable Car Carnival (Oakland, CA: Grahame H. Hardy,1951).
11. Hear the Train Blow: A Pictorial Epic of America in the Railroad Age (New York: Dutton,
12. Comstock Commotion: The Story of the Territorial Enterprise and Virginia City News
(New York: Dutton, 1954).


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Train Books

“The Little Red Caboose”

Little Red Caboose

This is another children’s book about trains that I grew up with. It’s still as popular today as it was 30 years ago.

The story helps improve self-worth as the little red caboose is sad about never getting waves from people like the big steam engine or other cars.

One day as the train starts it’s way up a tall mountain, the train starts to slip and the little red caboose throws on the brakes and works hard to keep the train from sliding down the mountain or derailing.

It manages to hold on long enough for 2 steam engines to come to the rescue and push the train up and over the mountain. So, the little red caboose sves the day and ends up becoming the most p0pular part of the train.

Probably the best lesson here is that you’re never too small to make a difference in life.

Children’s books about trains are magical because of the stories and images that manage to stay in our heads for decades. It’s hard to believe this book was first published in 1952, but I remember loving it as a child…and my 7-year old has loved it since he was born.


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Train Books

Book Illuminates Railroad Impact on Region’s Small Towns



By Phyllis McGuire
Special to iBerkshires

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Some boys never grow up, Brian A. Donelson freely admits when talking about his passion for trains and model railroads.

“It was in 1946 that I got a Lionel train for Christmas from my parents,” said Donelson. Asked if he still has that train, he replied, “Sure do!”

From his Shelburne Falls childhood, he “knew the ‘Hoot, Toot and Whistle Railroad,'” using the local nickname for the long-defunct Hoosac Tunnel and Wilmington Railroad.

Now 70, the railroad buff is hoping to share some of his love for trains with “The Coming of the Train,” the first in a two-volume set on the history and importance of rail in the region.

About 10 years ago, his concern that the history of the railroad was being forgotten sparked an interest in gathering information that he could share with historical societies — and anyone else who would appreciate the knowledge. As he became immersed in extensive research, however, the seeds of  “The Coming of the Train” was planted in his mind. 
“I wanted it to be more than a railroad book. In order to convey the importance of the Hoosac Tunnel and Wilmington Railroad, its impact on the industries and the people of the upper Deerfield River Valley needed to be understood,” Donelson writes in the book’s foreword.



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Train Books

The Story of Choo-Choo – By Virginia Lee Burton


This legendary train book by celebrated author, Virginia Lee Burton, is a fun story about a steam engine named “Choo-Choo” who isn’t content and wants to show off.  The engine is tired of pulling heavy coaches and wants to run by herself so everyone can see how shiny and fast she is. The story then continues to describe Choo-Choo’s adventure as she runs away. The book is beautfully illustrated and makes for a fun read for any train fan with it’s captivating and imaginative story line.

Purchase Choo-Choo Online!

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Train Books

Mr. Puffer Bill – Train Engineer

Ah…another incredible children’s book about trains. They seem to just keep on coming, which is fine with me. This one again dates back to the 1950’s. I remember it well.

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This is the wonderful story of how the engineer’s cap came into existence. Mr. Puffer Bill tried many different types of hats that were supposed to keep his head and ears warm, but none worked until he stitched up his own creation that became commonplace engineer attire all over the world. This story is very well-illustrated and the pictures bring back memories from my childhood. Golden Books has always done such a fine job with trains. I wonder if they need any help?

Train Books

The Little Train That Saved The Day

This is another one of those train books that I grew up with. It’s a great story about a little freight train that was unappreciated by the big excursion trains. It went along it’s merry way collecting freight cars and delivering goods until one day the big, bad excursion train had broken down. All the passengers climbed on board the little freight train who brought them all home safely to the station. The little freight train had saved the day.


The illustrations in this book are awesome. It displays the freight train going from stop to stop to pick up tank cars, box cars, flat cars and more. My favorite is the camp site that it travels through. This train book dates back to the 1950’s.

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Live Steam Hobby, Train Books

Children’s Book About Live Steam Hobby

We have so many train books in our house. Many of them were bought for my son. Many were bought for me and passed down to my son. Many were bought for my Dad, passed down to me…and passed down to my son. A couple of years ago I rummaged through the collection of children’s books about trains at my parent’s house and one book in particular really stood out. The book is titled “Mr. Punnymoon’s Train.”

Also, a few years ago my son and I became members of the live steam club in our area ( We love it. It’s been incredible and he shows no signs of losing interest as he gets older.

This particular book had been my father’s and it stood out to me because it’s the story of an old steam locomotive engineer who retires and can’t find anything to do with his time. His wife suggests he build something in his shop. So, he decides to build a steam engine since that’s all he knows. He builds it, a neighbor suggests an air pump for the chuffing sound and he puts a nice whistle on it. He starts blowing the whistle and children come running from all over the neighborhood all excited. The children ask him to build some cars so they can ride and the engineer does just that. However, there’s nowhere to lay track because his yard is too small.

So, he puts on a nice suit and goes to town to talk to the City Park Commissioner who agress to let the engineer build his railroad in the city park. It’s such an awesome little story and one that parallels our club’s recent development. We’re in the middle of building a new live steam railroad in the city park down in Harrisburg, NC.

Check this book out for yourself and your kids. You’ll love it.

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Train Books

Train Coming!

One of the topics I’d like to cover on here is children’s books about trains. I’ve managed to hold on to most of the books about trains I grew up reading. One of which is titled “Train Coming!” By Betty Ren Wright, copyright 1955. In fact, I think it could have been my father’s book when he was a child. I’m not sure. I got my hands on it when I was visiting my parent’s house and going back through it, the pictures brought back some amazing memories. The town through which the train travels reminds me of Vermont for some reason. It seems like such a peaceful and scenic area. I would give anything to live in a setting like that. This book is a must-have for train fanatics. I’ll cover some of the others in my collection later.

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