Trains and SIGMA present the 2020 photo contest

on Wednesday, March 11, 2020

This year’s photo contest theme is “In the City.” I hope you enjoy this completely different photographic direction after 2019’s “Go West!” theme. Don’t get hung up on the definition of city. One could make a case that everyone lives in a city. We’re not just looking for Chicago or Los Angeles railroad landscapes. I know the definition of city indicates that it is “an inhabited place of greater size, population, or importance than a town or village,” as stated by Merriam-Webster. Poppycock! For the purposes of this contest wherever you occupy space is a city. I love the imposing buildings and hustle and bustle surrounding big city railroading, but just as cool is a small town’s local. Remember that as long as you can justify your submission to our contest should you be selected a winner, your photo (or up to three photos) are eligible.

Thanks to our sponsor, SIGMA, the grand prize is a SIGMA 100-400mm lens like the one pictured below. First and second prizes are cash, $500 and $250, respectively. Five runners-up receive a three-year Trains subscription or equivalent Trains products. That’s no less than eight opportunities to place in this contest. Upload your digital entries to Choose “Trains” and label your submission “PHOTO CONTEST.” It is so important that you indicate your photo(s) is for the photo contest otherwise it will get filed elsewhere. That would be sad for you and for us. Be loud. Be proud. Label it “PHOTO CONTEST.”

So, let’s say your fabulous image is chosen. What happens next? I stalk you until you answer your phone to inform you that you placed in our contest. Then, you write a short paragraph about how you believe the winning photo suits our theme. Finally, your photo and prose are published in the November 2020 issue of Trains. But until that magazine shows up in your mailbox, mum’s the word. You can’t go on social media and brag to all your buddies and acquaintances until you have that magazine in your sweaty hands.

The city in the photo above has a classic small-town downtown, and a mere 15,000 humans call it home. A Canadian Pacific grain local, led by GP38-2 No. 3023, serves Bimbo Bakeries at Oconomowoc, Wis., May 4, 2019. It will stop at the bakery momentarily to drop off two hoppers and pick up empties. Photo by yours truly.

You have nothing to lose. Enter by June 1, 2020. For all contest details, go to

Got questions? Comment below. Best of luck! I might just be calling you.

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