From July 1-4, the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City, Nevada, hosted the Great Western Steam Up to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad’s completion. My family and I were fortunate enough to visit this once-in-a-lifetime event with many visiting locomotives on the property. My brother and I had the rare opportunity to ride on Coach 4 pulled by the “Inyo,” and I cosplayed as Secret Service Agent James T. West from the classic TV series, “The Wild, Wild West” (1965-69), in addition to meeting new friends in person for the first time!
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas again! Here is a holiday greeting card featuring one of my artworks!
I just learned that my friend Craig Miller had passed away in September of this year according to the Golden State Toy Train Operators’ newsletter. I have known Craig since 2014 when I met him at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History‘s toy train exhibit. He shared with my brother and I a passion for model trains and an ever-enthusiastic outlook on life that was truly inspiring and one that helped him persevere in the face of his declining health in his later years. He was such a generous and giving soul who not only helped build my O-gauge collection but was a dear friend whom I shall truly miss.
Thirty-two of Ken Muramoto’s original American train arts will be displayed at the Hotel Paradox, Santa Cruz during this holiday season. This exhibit include a recently completed canvas piece entitled “From Sea to Shining Sea“. Ken was the featured artist for the 2015 and 2016 Orchard Supply Hardware® Train Calendars and the youngest artist for the train calendars’ 41 year history. He is a member of the American Society of Railway Artists. Currently Ken participates in the Claraty Arts Project in Santa Cruz, CA, who organized this exhibition.
Traveling across the United States, the 1947-1949 American Freedom Train runs past several of this country’s historic cities, landmarks, and breathtaking landscapes. It has been updated to feature emblems and insignias representing the important issues from the unprecedented year of 2020.
Ken Muramoto ©. Acrylic on Canvas. 24 x 48 inches. October 2020
High up in the mountains of West Virginia, there is a logging railroad that carried spruce and hemlock for the West Virginia Spruce Lumber Co. The Cass Scenic Railroad operates historic geared locomotives up the steep grades of the Back Allegheny Mountain to the summit of Bald Knob. Here, Shay No. 5 awaits clearance at a switchback. The No. 5 is the world’s oldest operating Shay and is West Virginia’s official state locomotive.
Ken Muramoto ©. Watercolor/Acrylic. 11 x 14 inches. November 2020
My brother and I rode our first Polar Express train together at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown, California on December 13, and we loved it.
On May 10, 1869, the “Golden Spike” was driven into place at Promontory Summit, Utah as part of the completion of the first Transcontinental Railroad. 150 years later, the Golden Spike National Historical Park celebrated the sesquicentennial anniversary of that historic event complete with two operating replicas of the Central Pacific Railroad’s “Jupiter” and the Union Pacific Railroad’s No. 119. The replicas were constructed by inventor and steam enthusiast Chadwell O’Connor in the 1970s, yet they don’t look a day over 100.
Ken Muramoto ©. Colored Pencils/Acrylic. 11 x 17 inches. September 2019
“Passing Gold Hill”
Under a bright blue Nevada sky, an excursion train of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad passes by the Gold Hill Depot on its return trip to Virginia City. Pulling the train is engine No. 29, a 1916 Baldwin-built Consolidation that formerly operated as Longview, Portland and Northern Railway No. 680. It was purchased by Robert C. Gray, who reopened the V&T in 1976 after the line’s abandonment in 1939.
Ken Muramoto ©. Colored Pencils/Acrylic. 9 x 12 inches. April 2019.
“The Ghost Train of Old Ely”
Nevada Northern Railway ten-wheeler No. 40 exits a tunnel with a pair of vintage passenger cars in tow. This 1910 steam locomotive was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works and was used to haul passengers on the Nevada Northern from 1910 to 1941. No. 40 is the official “State Locomotive of Nevada” and continues to haul excursion trains as well as the historic “Steptoe Valley Flyer”.
Ken Muramoto ©. Colored Pencils/Acrylic. 9 x 12 inches. April 2019.
Happy Holidays to you all from Ken.
I am saddened to learn about Orchard Supply Hardware going out of business after 87 years. I will miss their friendly customer service and yearly train calendars. It was an honor to have been a contributing artist to their train calendars in 2015 and 2016. Thank you for the wonderful memories! There will never be another store quite like you!!
Happy Holidays to You All from Ken!
“Christmas at Crossroads” is an annual tradition at the historic Crossroads Village in Flint, Michigan, which is also the home of the Huckleberry Railroad. This locomotive is a former Denver & Rio Grande Western #464, one of the last two members of the K-27 class in existence. The engine was acquired by the railroad in 1981 and has been in active service since. Here, #464 with an excursion train in tow, passes through the crossing towards the depot during the holiday season.
Ken Muramoto ©. Watercolor/Acrylic. 10 x 14 inches. October 2017.
The John Bull, an English engine built in 1831 by Robert Stephenson and Company was shipped from England to the United States for operation on the Camden and Amboy Railroad in New Jersey. Originally built as an 0-4-0 wheel configuration, it was later converted to a 2-4-0 with the addition of a two-wheel pilot truck at the front. The John Bull, now under the ownership of the Smithsonian Institute, is seen here traveling under its own power on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad’s Georgetown branch line near the Potomac River on September 15, 1981 as part of its sesquicentennial celebration.
Ken Muramoto ©. Watercolor/Acrylic. 10 x 14 inches. April 2017.
Ken was featured in Railfan & Railroad Magazine’s March 2017 issue under the article, “On a Positive Note” by James D. Porterfield who introduced two train artists with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) and their passion for art and trains. Mr. Porterfield is the Acting Executive Director of the American Society of Railway Artists. Ken joined the society in 2016.
On a cloudy yet sunny day, Strasburg Railroad No. 90 approaches Fairview crossing just nearing the Red Caboose Motel with her regular passenger train in tow. Built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1924, she once hauled long sugar beet trains for the Great Western Railroad in Colorado prior to being sold to the Strasburg Railroad, where she operates to this day.
Ken Muramoto ©. Colored pencils/Acrylic. 9 x 12 inches. January, 2017.