Each year, we ask our readers to submit their best shots for consideration in our annual Center Spread Contest. Our theme is the very broad category of “creative photography,” which presents challenges for photographers and judges alike. After sifting through hundreds of potential candidates, we narrowed it down to the few selections seen here. We think you’ll appreciate the creativity that our contributors have shown in capturing these exciting images.
Congratulations to all of this year’s winners! —The Editors
Runner Up: Joseph Trepasso
Two outbound Metra trains are viewed from a parking garage on Clinton Street, during the busy afternoon commuter rush out of downtown Chicago on April 2, 2021.
Runner Up: Gordon Glattenberg
A Ferrocarril Mexicano 2-8-0 with a local freight is in a siding for a meet on the main line at Huehuetoca, north of Mexico City, on February 17, 1962. The culvert is a convenient underpass for the local residents.
Runner Up: Anthony D’Amato
Scottish photographer David Yarrow arrived in Durango, Colo., with a large team of actors, models, animals and crew members for two days for his Wild West series of images. There were some unforgettable moments, but perhaps none as memorable as 2-8-2 476 steamed up and blowing down multiple times on Durango & Silverton’s iconic high line just as the first rays of morning light crept over the mountains on February 4, 2021.
Runner Up: Doug Boudrow
Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 611 is backlit at sunrise in Strasburg, Pa., during the N&W Reunion of Steam event on October 5, 2019.
Runner Up: Alex Gilman
Quite literally snaking its way up the steep grades of Tehachapi Pass, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Red Unit circus train slithers its way toward Bealvile, Calif., on August 25, 2015, as it makes the “jump” between Fresno and Los Angeles show locations.
Runner Up: Eugene Armer
On December 18, 2020, the day after winter storm Gail had swept through the area, the New York City skyline is receding in the distance as Metro-North GE P32AC-DM 225 catches a burst of late afternoon light, hustling its train along the Hudson River near Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., bound for Poughkeepsie. The building to the right of the train is One Vanderbilt, across the street from Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan, where this train started its journey.
Third Place: William Diehl
Under full heads of steam, three leviathans of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad await their next call to service inside the roundhouse at Durango, Colo. The trio of Mikados includes a pair of K-36s bracketing a lighter K-28.
Second Place: Spencer Montgomery
A southbound Amtrak Cascades train is silhouetted as it goes over Mud Bay Trestle, just north of the U.S.-Canada border, on September 28, 2019.