Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Riding the rails

I promise to stop riding this logo design hobbyhorse soon and turn to another topic, but first, look at these spiffy emblems for mostly long-gone US railroads! These geographically nostalgic items and many more were assembled by designer Christian Annyas.
This is the Louisville Nashville Railroad Company (1886). Remember the old song "The L&N Don't Stop Here Any More"? I hadn't realized it was written by Jean Ritchie. Kathy Mattea's live performance of it is downright awesome.
Some of these samples seem a mite fancy pants. (left: Delaware Hudson Railroad, 1889; right: Atlanta Birmingham Coast, 1926; below right: Baltimore Chesapeake Atlantic, 1905)

At left and below are three of my favorites in the representational vein.

Below, Detroit, Memphis, and Frisco seem fairly jaunty for the time period (late 19th century), whereas I love the yin/yang thing of Northern Pacific and the typographic experimentation with the next three.

 Finally, here is another venerable train song and logo:

If I've made a train enthusiast of you, why not peek into Nothing Like it in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863–1869?


  1. I've always wanted to hop a freight.

  2. I really dig these, especially the "Memphis Route."

  3. This was my first seeing some of these logo designs. Some of these are super cool and so sleek!

  4. I like the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad logo. It's neat how they combined the letters for "New" and "Haven" and "Hartford".

  5. Honestly, this is one of my favorite themes!! Walking the tracks is one of my favorite head-clearing things to do. Here's a fair trade--a brand new tune from my favorite trainhopper...


    1. I love this Woody Guthrie song -- here's a version by emmylou

  6. The Canadian Pacific Railway was intrinsic to the formation of Canada itself. And the extreme difficulties of its construction--the cost in the lives of the (mostly Chinese) laborers-- make for a story rivalling any fictional adventure. As we ride on the very comfortable trains that unite Canada, it's easy to forget the hardships that made the trip possible.

  7. Very nice. My father worked for 38 years, going from office boy to executive vice president, for the Reading Railroad (of Monopoly board game fame), so we grew up with train logos like these, as well as much else concerning the railroads and their history. By now, many years later, I've ridden almost all of the long-distance trains in America... although not, for some reason, ‘The City of New Orleans'.

    p.s. The late, great Doug Sahm (aka Sir Douglas) also wrote a song about a train route cancellation, "The Railpak Dun Done in the Del Monte," for his Quintet's 1971 album The Return of Doug Saldaña.