Call for Submissions: Railroad Photography and Art During the Covid-19 Pandemic

We have a question for you: how have you, as a railroad photographer or railroad artist, continued to practice your art during a time of pandemic and unrest? Our hope is to come together as a community, and share with each other how we are responding to the situations that we all face.

Tell us—and show us—what you have been doing for the past three or four months. Have you been out photographing the masked employees who daily risk their health to keep our rail transit running? Have you turned to photographing empty stations or abandoned places? Are you sticking close to home, rediscovering your local railways, or are you engaged in the ultimate social distancing, and camping alone with your camera in very remote places? Have you been in your studio, working more than ever on drawings and paintings, or at home organizing your old negatives, prints, and slides? Are you researching in books or online, examining photographs of relief trains during the 1918 Influenza outbreak, or studying portraits of Pullman Porters?

We’re looking for short stories⁠—250 to 500 words⁠—that answer one or more of these sorts of questions. Tell us what you have been working on through this moment. Show us, too, with a few images of what you’ve been working on, whether it’s of a train in a wild and lonely place, or your studio with a half-finished painting on the easel.

We want to see what you are already doing, rather than ask you to make new work. Because of that, our deadline is short: please get us your submission by July 15.

Submission Process

To participate, please submit the following materials to

  • Electronic submissions only. Files can be sent via email, Dropbox, WeTransfer, etc.
  • A first-person description of what you have been doing, between 250 and 500 words
  • 1-3 accompanying images, with location, date, and basic caption information; images should be high-resolution JPEG files with a pixel dimension of at least 3,000 on one side.
  • Text, captions, and contact information may be sent in a document (Microsoft Word, OpenOffice, or PDF) or in the body of an email.
  • Be sure to include your name, mailing address, email address, and phone number.

The Center will publish selected stories and images in a future issue of Railroad Heritage, online, or in another appropriate format. The Center reserves the right to retain electronic copies for future publication, use on website, Facebook and other social media, or for public exhibition. In all cases, the photographer retains the copyright to the image.

Send all submissions by July 15 to

A Wisconsin & Southern freight train cuts through downtown Madison, Wisconsin, on June 4, 2020. In normal times, John Nolen Drive at right would be much busier with morning commuter traffic. Aerial photograph by Scott Lothes