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The Works of O. Winston Link

This page is dedicated to the work of the renowned photographer O. Winston Link on the documentation of the last mainline steam railroad in America, the Norfolk and Western, from 1955 to 1960.

This page is strictly unofficial. It has no affiliation with nor does it necessarily represent the views of O. Winston Link Railway Productions, the Link Estate or the O. Winston Link museum.

Page by: Christopher D. Coleman
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Last Updated 9-17-04

Last Update - Links updated and tested, news updated, added new poster, upgraded contact info, misc corrections.


Remastered recordings on CD
All of O. Winston Link's audio recordings of steam railroad sounds previously published on vinyl have been restored and reissued on CD. This includes the five LP recordings of N&W sounds, and one 45 RPM recording of the Civil War locomotive "General," which was restored by the L&N in 1962. This boxed set of 5 CDs, each with a 28 page booklet reproducing the original liner notes, but with new photographs.

See the Contact Addresses section for sources.

The O. Winston Link Museum hits 10,000 visitors
May 29, 2004
After just under five months the new O. Winston Link museum has hit the milestone of 10,000 visitors.

Railway Preservation News Brief

The O. Winston Link Museum opens
January 10, 2004
The O. Winston Link Museum opened to over 1,000 visitors on its first day.

O. Winston Link Museum website

Conchita Link Hayes caught again
Tuesday April 20, 2004
Conchita Link Hayes, the former wife of O. Winston Link jaled relating to the theft of much of Link's material, was caught trying to sell off the material on ebay. She was sentenced to up to three years in prison.

News at Steamrailroading.com
News at Steamrailroading.com
News at Steamrailroading.com

1218 returns to Roanoke
1218, after a cosmetic restoration, has been returned to Roanoke and placed in the Virginia Museum of Transportation's new Claytor Pavilion. 1218, 611 and most of VMTs other steamers are under the pavioion also.

Virginia Museum of Transportation

Some prints to be produced from original negs
"Some 40 of Winston's most popular prints are going to be produced in estate editions, printed from the original negatives in limited numbers. Prices are available from me, but Winston's signed prints are now selling for $4,500 -$10,000, and the estate prints will be "a fraction of this price."

See the Contact Addresses section for sources.

From Thomas H. Garver, formerly Link's Agent, now Organizing Curator of the O Winston Link Museum

Museum of Link's photos gets Green Signal
As of August 9th, Center in the Square and the History Museum & Historical Society of Western Virginia have reached an agreement with the Trustees of the estate of O. Winston Link for the purchase of about 275 prints from the estate. Center in the Square owns and will renovate the Passenger Station, providing space free of charge to the History Museum & Historical Society of Western Virginia, which will develop and operate the O. Winston Link Museum, housed within. A planned addition to the station, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, will be the home for the Link exibit and is scheduled for completion by July 2003. The renovation and expantion are expected to cost $9 million, of which about $4 million has been raised.

Following the announcement of the Museum agreement, Norfolk Southern Corporation officially conveyed #1218 to the City or Roanoke. The locomotive will be restored and displayed permanently at the Virginia Museum of Transportation beside still operation sister #611.

Railway Preservation News Brief
Roanoke Times story
Center in the Square

N&W 1218 to be donated to the City of Roanoke
According to a June 4th, 2001 press release by Norfolk Southern Corporation, the present owner of 1218, they have decided to donate her to the City of Roanoke for display at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke. The 1218 has been idled and partially disassembled since the sudden cancellation of NS's steam program several years ago and has been in non-public storage. As a condition of his support of a planned museum in the former Roanoke N&W passenger station, Link insisted that donation of 1218 be part of the deal. With the donation of 1218, the creation of that museum is a step close, but it is unknown how Link's recent passing will affect his promise of a large number of prints for the planned museum.


O. Winston Link Dies
O. Winston Link, age 86, passed away of heart failure January 30, 2001 while traveling to his doctor. He leaves behind the legacy of an era he, almost singlehandedly, preserved for the ages. Thank you Winston, from all of us.

Roanoke Times Story
Trains.com Story

Rural Retreat Station Named Endangered
Rural Retreat station, the site of some of Link's better known photos and the famous sound track of an N&W J class passing as church bells rang, has been named to the 2000 "10 Most Endangered Stations" by the Great American Station Foundation .

The Great American Station Foundation was created in 1996 to revitalize communities through new construction or conversion and restoration of existing rail passenger stations, and the possible conversion of historic non-railroad structures to active station use.

GASF's page on the Rural Retreat station


Ogle Winston Link was born in 1914. He was trained a civil engineer, but made his living as a commercial photographer of not small repute. Although the Norfolk and Western was not the only railroad he photographed as part of his personal interest in trains, it was there that he documented history in the making. The N&W, a major coal hauler, was steadfastly dedicated to coal power. It was the last class one railroad in America to use the steam locomotive as a primary weapon in its motive power arsenal. They had continued steam locomotive development well past other lines and makers and had unquestionably built the most advanced steam locomotives ever, the last and finest of their breed. By the time of Links documentation of the N&W, it was the Alamo of steam. Even fellow coal haulers like the Virginian, the Chesapeake and Ohio, and the Pennsylvania had taken the diesel plunge. With parts for steam locomotives getting scarce and efficient and mass produced diesel locomotives available, the N&W relented and began the conversion to diesel in the late 1950's. Link's documentation of the death of steam would last from January 21, 1955 through May 1960, by which time steam had vanished from the main.

Below I have listed, to the best of my knowledge, the sources of Link's works relating to his documentation of steam on the Norfolk and Western.


Three books are currently available containing exclusively Link's photos. Although isolated images were printed in other books, few if any of those are not contained in these books. At present there are no books about Link himself. See the Contact Addresses section for sources.


In addition to photographs and audio recordings, Link made many video recordings of the N&W. The video tape Trains that Passed in the Night included the first publication of these recordings. Sadly, it is reported that Link's ex-wife Conchita, stole many of the films amongst other of Link's historic treasures. Hopefully more of these videos will become available in the future.

Audio Recordings

Link was busy out on the N&W. Some sessions included photos, videos AND sound recording. It was the sounds that first made a name for Link in the railroad circles beginning with the release of the "Sounds of Steam Railroading" in 1957 while his documentation was still in progress. He would not be known for the photography for 25 more years and the videos were not released until the 1990's. Links legendary recordings are no longer published on vinyl. The originals are worth to much to play regularly, but can be found used for from $20 to $100 each.

OWLRP's project in the late 1990s was to re-release the recordings on CD, digitally remastered from the original tapes. "The Fading Giant" was the CD produced from that project. It varied slightly from the LP in having an extended church bell/Train sequence. This CD is still available.

In 2004 a six disk set was released with each disk matching one of the original albums. The "Fading Giant" CD repotedly matches the orignal LP rather than the previously released CD.

See the Contact Addresses section for sources.

Articles By and About


At present there are no traveling exhibitions of Links works although there are likely to be more in the future.

Trains That Passed in the Night: The Railroad Photographs of O. Winston Link

Photographs are comprised of 75 black and white and 10 color prints from the late 1950s and early 1960s. This is the largest exhibition of Link's works ever mounted for museum travel. The exhibition was organized by Thomas H. Garver for the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

I had the opportunity to visit the exhibition while in Cincinnati and would say it was well worth the two hour drive (for me, anyway.) The exhibition is of larger format prints made from Link's original negatives. Few of these larger prints exist and the ones in the exhibition cover most of his best photos.

Jan 7, 1998 - Mar 22, 1998 Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden Lincoln, NE
Apr 21, 1998 - Jun 21, 1998 Virginia Museum of Transportation Roanoke, VA
Jul 21, 1998 - Sep 20, 1998 Virginia Historical Society Richmond, VA
Oct 20, 1998 - Dec 20, 1998 Huntington Museum of Art Huntington, WV
Jan 12, 1999 - Mar 14, 1999 Art Museum of South Texas Corpus Christi, TX
Apr 13, 1999 - Jun 13, 1999 Cincinnati Art Museum Cincinnati, OH
Jul 13, 1999 - Sep 19, 1999 Gibbes Museum of Art Charleston, SC
Oct 15, 1999 - Nov 26, 1999 Cantor-Fitzgerald Gallery Haverford, PA
Jan 11, 2000 - Mar 12, 2000 New York State Museum Albany, NY
Apr 18, 2000 - Jun 18, 2000 Sordoni Art Gallery Wilkes-Barre, PA
Aug 20, 2000 - Nov 5, 2000 Stanford Museum of Art Stanford, CA

O. Winston Link: Memories and Machines
This exhibit was organized by Thomas H. Garver for the William King Regional Arts Center located in the Arts Center's Glenn C. Price and Strongwell Cultural Heritage Galleries. The exhibit is comprised of 25 black and white and 5 color photographs.

??? - ??? William King Regional Arts Center Abingdon, VA
Nov 15, 1997 - Jan 11, 1998 The Light Factory Charlotte, NC
??? - May 23, 1999 Asheville Art Museum Asheville, NC
May 28, 1999 - Jul 25, 1999 Waterworks Visual Arts Center Salisbury, NC
Jul 31, 1999 - Oct 31, 1999 San Diego Model Railroad Museum San Diego, CA
Thomas H. Garver will be speaking at this opening.

Images of Steel and Steam: O. Winston Link Railroad Photographs

Feb 19, 1998 - Apr 5, 1998 Aspen Art Museum Aspen, CO


The O. Winston Link Museum in Roanoke, VA is the pre-eminent display of Link's work. Housed in the former Roanoke N&W station, it has possesion of the largest collection of Link's works in existance, transferred from the Link estate after link's passing with his prior consent.


Here are a few galleries I have found advertizing Link's works.


Up to his passing Link still printed and sold original prints of his photographs. Original prints are understandably expensive (four to five digits). Original prints from Link's negatives reportedly start around $3,500. Subsequent generation prints seem to be available for considerably less.

Link once printed a limited number of larger 20"x24" prints from his negatives. Most were stolen by his ex-wife, Conchita. Some survived in his personal collection and in another collector's private collection. Many of those were in a traveling exhibit Trains That Passed in the Night: The Railroad Photographs of O. Winston Link. Those that were stoled are presumably part of the recent recover of material from Conchita and will likely find their way to the OWL Museum.

Reported sources for Link's prints are:


Several poster prints are available of Link's works. There are two styles with style 1 subtitled "O. WINSTON LINK/RAILROAD PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE 1950'S" and style 2 subtitled "O. WINSTON LINK" followed by the name of the photo and the year it was taken. The posters retail for about $30-50.

Style 1

Poster Sample Colomna Shipyard (color)
Poster Sample Bridge 52 - Train #201 (color)
Poster Sample Hawksbill Creek Swimming Hole
aka Night Train at the Swimming Hole
Poster Sample Hot Shot Eastbound
aka Night Train at Drive-in Theater
aka Iager Drive-in

Poster Sample Mainline on Main Street
Poster Sample Maud Bows to the Virginia Creeper
Poster Sample Shaffer's Crossing
Poster Sample Sometimes Electricity Fails
Poster Sample Swimming Pool

Style 2

Poster Sample Luray Crossing
Poster Sample Max Meadows
Poster Sample Seven-Mile Ford
Poster Sample Montgomery Tunnel
Here are some sources for the posters:

Contact Addresses

O. Winston Link Railway Productions
Roanoke Division
4920 Buckhorn Road, SW
Roanoke, VA 24014
Phone: (540) 774-8668
FAX: (540) 772-853
no E-mail address
CD Set $120 plus $12.95 priority mail or $7.00 media mail
Video $39.95 plus $5.00 s+h
Fading Giant $23.95, plus $3.00 s+h

O. Winston Link Museum
101 Shenandoah Ave, NE
Roanoke, VA 24016
Phone (540) 982-6956
Fax (540) 982-5683
O Winston Link Museum Gift Shop

Roanoke Chapter of the NRHS
P.O Box 13222
Roanoke, VA 24032-1322.
540-366-2169 between 6-10 PM EST.

Norfolk and Western Historical Society
CD set

Steam Powered Videos
CD set

Link Links

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