Nautical and Aviation Art

B & O Trains Gallery

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This series is called "Planes & Trains" because of the the interesting justaposition of these two modes of transportation in the 20th Century, and their inherent contrasts. The Baltimore and Ohio railroad right of way between Baltimore and Washington borders the College Park Airport,, and is close to a number of airports that serve the Baltimore-Washington corridor.
NOTE: Click on the image to display a larger image.

In this painting, a Blue Angels Grumman F9F-8B Cougar skims over a Baltimore and Ohio “Royal Blue” diesel-powered express passenger train on its run from New York to Washington, in a meeting of two unsurpassed “Blues”. The Cougar was the Blue Angels first swept wing aircraft, having replaced their first jet aircraft--the Grumman F9F-5 Panther--in January of 1955. The Cougar appeared in Blue Angels colors only briefly, being superceded by the superb Grumman F11F Tiger in mid-1957. The Blue Angels are still a familiar sight in skies around College Park, Maryland, frequently starring in air shows at nearby venues, such as Andrews Air Force Base, the Patuxant River Naval Air Station, and of course, the Naval Academy in Annapolis.


Between the late 1930s and early1950s, diesels like this General Motors Electro Motive Division E8A, showing off its elegant blue, gray and black B & O livery, had replaced steam locomotives on “Royal Blue” express passenger train service. The historic B & O “Royal Blue” passenger service, which had it origins in the 19th Century, was prestigious but never economically successful.  Its final run was made on April 26, 1958.

None can compare with the Blue
Blue Angels Cougar and B&O Royal Blue diesel


Planes & Trains:

This limited edition of 50 prints is of a painting I completed in August 2006 (18" X 24", acrylic on gessoboard.)    It shows a Brinckerhoff Air Service Piper J-3 Cub flying over a Baltimore and Ohio Railroad express train on its run between Baltimore and Washington around 1940.  The pilot, George Brinckerhoff, operated the College Park Airport in Maryland for several decades. The locomotive is the "President Harrison," a Pacific P-7 (4-6-2) depicted in its original green and gold livery. It was one of a series of B & O locomotives built by Baldwin in 1927, and named after U.S. presidents.  These classic steam locomotives were gradually replaced by diesels in the 1950s.

All three Trains & Planes paintings are availables as prints--
see Print Gallery.

Inspired by a contemporary photograph, the painting depicts a ‘race’ between the Army’s first aircraft, the Wright Military Flyer, also known as Signal Corps 1, and a B & O locomotive on its scheduled run between Washington, DC, and Baltimore, MD, October 16, 1909.   According to the New York newspaper story accompanying the photograph, Wilbur Wright was piloting the craft, although other stories put one of the Army pilots he trained at College Park at the controls. The reporter proclaimed the Wright aircraft the winner, although its top speed was only about 55 mph, and trains of the period were capable of twice that. Since the specific B & O equipment involved is not identified, the locomotive shown in the painting is a generic American 4-4-0, a type commonly used by the B & O on their Baltimore-Washington run. Artistic license was used to eliminate the numerous telephone poles then lining either side of the tracks, which run along the east-side of the College Park Airport.  These tracks are still in use, although the Washington DC Metro now shares the right-of-way with AMTRACK.

Planes & Trains: The President and the Cub

All images on this website are copyrighed by Chas Downs, and may not be used without permission.