Iron Horses & Paintbrushes: My Life as a Railroad Man & Artist

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by Charles L. Amos with Brook T. Amos

Publisher: The Garbely Publishing Company
Released: November 20, 2019
Pages: 180
Format: 8.5"x11" softcover
ISBN: 978-1-7331566-6-0

Iron Horses & Paintbrushes: My Life as a Railroad Man & Artist is the memoirs and personal recollections of lifetime railroader and railroad artist Charles L. Amos. An official for the Western Maryland Railway in the 1950s and 1960s in places like Port Covington, Hagerstown, and Cumberland, Amos left to join the Federal Railroad Administration and later the federal Department of Transportation, becoming an integral force in the passage of the 4R Act of 1976 that created Conrail from six bankrupt eastern railroads. Amos retired from his final post at the Association of American Railroads to pursue a new career in art.

Amos’s lifelong passion for realistic painting, coupled with several years of professional artistic training under acclaimed Baltimore Impressionist Marjorie Martinet and three decades of railroad experience, quickly made him one of the most influential American railroad artists ever to put a brush to canvas. His talents and fame placed him alongside greats Howard Fogg and Ted Rose in the world of railroad art. Lucrative commissions from railroads, companies, and individuals across the country supplied his income, while his directorship with the Western Maryland Scenic Railway kept him firmly entrenched in the railroad industry. Over 30 of Amos’s original artworks are reproduced throughout the pages of this book in stunning quality.

Amidst his life’s unique combination of railroading and artistry, Amos’s family was peppered with intriguing happenstance. This memoir includes stories of an uncle that was the inventor of the modern electric string trimmer (weedwacker), a brother-in-law that held a museum-quality collection of rare light bulbs, and another brother-in-law that was none other than U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew. The book's two forewords are provided by former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and CEO of CSX Transportation John W. Snow, as well as renowned railroad writer and former New York Times columnist Karl Zimmermann.

Charles, along with his son Brook, deliver this compelling narrative of his extraordinary, fortune-filled life in exquisite detail. From Amos’s time as a teenager on the volunteer fire brigade to the re-dedication of CSX’s Cumberland, Maryland locomotive servicing facility in his honor, the story of Charles L. Amos is a tale of vintage Americana, railroading innovation, and unparalleled artistry that will appeal to historians, railfans, and art lovers alike.