Y-1 5011 with westbound 1947 Empire Builder at Gaynor, Washington
J. Craig Thorpe

Y-1 5011 with westbound 1947 Empire Builder at Gaynor, Washington

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This is one of five color prints by noted Seattle area artist Mr. J. Craig Thorpe.

Each image is a high quality giclee print on 11x14 paper, with unprinted margin of .75 inch to fit a standard 11x14 inch frame, without matte. They will also fit a standard 12x16 inch frame with a matte, or a standard 14x18 inch frame, with a larger matte.

Born and raised in Pittsburgh PA, and blessed with a grandfather who regularly took him for rides on streetcars and commuter trains, he studied art at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, completed a bachelor’s program in design at Carnegie-Mellon University, served in the Army Transportation Corps, worked for architects in Virginia where he honed his illustration skills. Craig completed a Master of Divinity program near Boston, and moved to Seattle as a Presbyterian pastor. He left the ministry in 1985 to concentrate on free-lance architectural and transportation renderings for a range of clients. A 1991 commission to show a proposed Amtrak depot at Olympia, WA opened the door to national exposure when Amtrak used the image for its 1993 Corporate Calendar.

The 5011 is a rebodied class Y-1 with six powered axles rated at 3,000 horsepower built in 1927. Like her sisters, the 5011 was built with a rectangular car body. On March 27, 1945, the 5011 on the head of number 27’s train ‘The Fast Mail’, running as Third Number 1, made a flying leap off the Foss River bridge due to gross overspeed on the 10 degree curve. She was repaired and a new car body utilizing FT diesel cabs was installed in the process, making her visually unique.

In this view the 5011 is pulling the new 1947 'Empire Builder' up the east slope of the Cascade Mountains at Gaynor, where a line relocation is under construction. The relocation eliminated 207 degrees of curvature, reduced exposure to rock falls, and replaced the light loading bridge built in 1901 that the train is on. A new 675 foot long tunnel is being built out of sight to the right, and a new 549 foot long plate girder bridge is under construction. Based on the state of completion of the bridge, the date is about the middle of June 1949.

Prints are shipped in a tube.