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Home > Archives > Artist Gil Reid sketching the Susquehanna River Bridge, 1979.

Artist Gil Reid sketching the Susquehanna River Bridge, 1979.

Black and white photograph from the November 1979 issue of Amtrak NEWS showing artist Gil Reid making a pencil sketch in preparation for a watercolor used on the 1980 Amtrak wall calendar.

Artist Gil Reid sketching the Susquehanna River Bridge, 1979.

Of all the artists whose work has graced the official Amtrak calendar, Gil Reid (American, 1918-2007) holds the record for most pieces featured. His 18 works showcase trains such as the Empire Builder, National Limited, Broadway Limited, Auto Train and Crescent; E-60, AEM-7, F40PH and P30CH locomotives; and significant infrastructure including the Horseshoe Curve, Susquehanna River Bridge and Los Angeles Union Station. As seen in the image above, he would make sketches and take notes during location scouting trips for the annual calendar.

Reid was already well-regarded for his accurate depictions of train equipment and railroading scenes when he began the Amtrak commissions in 1974. Though born in St. Louis, Reid spent most of his childhood in Richmond, Ind. along the tracks of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Like many young boys of the time, he traced his lifelong love of the railroad and its people to Lionel and American Flyer toy trains.

Following World War II, Reid entered a career in commercial art, eventually working full time for Kalmbach Publishing as an assistant artist and then assistant art director. There, he executed pieces in acrylic, watercolor and pen and ink that graced the pages of Kalmbach publications. By 1978, he left to devote himself full time to painting.

Photographer: Unknown for Amtrak.