Keep your long-distance friendships rolling along whilst celebrating American railroad history with these retro postcards, which capture freight trains in motion from the 1920s to the 1970s. These cards use rare images from the collection of the railfan designer Ian Logan.
Ian Logan’s passion for vintage railroad graphics was rooted in a Fifties and Sixties childhood attuned to the sounds of folk, skiffle and blues. Hearing Lonnie Donegan’s hit ‘Rock Island Line’ on the radio in 1961 Ian was inspired to pack up and go to America to see the names, the places and the trains for himself.
He has selected the images on these postcards from his collection of Kodachrome slides and printed ephemera, built up over a lifetime of journeys across America. You can now join him on a time traveller’s overland train trip, complete with an engineman’s pass.
Union Pacific EMD SD4 Locomotive 446, Vernon Yards, Los Angeles, 1972
Nickel Plate Road Engineman’s Pass, 1926
Santa Fe Boxcar, Burlington Yards, Kansas City, 1972
Salinas Valley, California, Christmas Day 1972
Illinois Central Gulf Caboose, Burlington Yards, Kansas City, 1972
Ian Logan was at the centre of the design revolution that marked the end of post-war austerity. He studied at the Central School of Art and Design in London (now Central St. Martin’s), and won a scholarship to the Konstfack, Stockholm’s University of Arts, Crafts and Design. In the early 1960s he joined JRM Design, a fabric print company set up by a group of Central graduates in an almost derelict building in London’s East End. Ian and his partners produced prints for up-and-coming fashion designers such as Mary Quant and Jeff Banks, and designed a tin tray with a Middle Eastern-inspired motif that became enormously successful, first in Carnaby Street and then all over the UK.
Mad on Americana
In the mid-1970s he set off in a new direction. Inspired by decorative Victorian tin boxes, he produced a range of tins for Harrods, Fortnum & Mason, Whittard of Chelsea and the National Trust. Commissions came from France, the Netherlands and the United States, for which he developed the Americana range featuring diners, gasoline stations and collectable cars. His obsession with Americana has inspired a book, too. Logomotive is a visual tribute to the design and marketing of mid-century American railroads, full to bursting with pictures and ephemera from Ian’s collection.