Virginia Museum of Transportation Names Andy Fletcher as Rail Artist in Residence

Andy Fletcher in his studio at the Virginia Museum of Transportation.

The Virginia Museum of Transportation has named Andy Fletcher its first-ever rail artist in residence. Fletcher’s work—technically accurate renderings of historic and contemporary locomotives and rail cars—has a national following. He recently moved from California to Roanoke because of Virginia’s rich rail heritage which is preserved and retold at the Virginia Museum of Transportation.

The Museum has converted former office space into a studio where Fletcher can concentrate on his work while modern trains roll by. “We believe having Andy here really brings a wonderful, new dimension to the Museum,” said executive director Beverly T. Fitzpatrick, Jr. “He captures the railroad heritage of this great country so beautifully, both of modern railroads and those which have ceased to exist. Seeing his work brings back great memories for so many people, especially of family members long gone who worked proudly in the rail industry.”

Fletcher began drawing trains as a teenager, and quickly developed a following in the executive offices of many rail lines. When he was just 18, the then Burlington Northern commissioned him to design a paint scheme for its new fleet of SD70MAC freight locomotives based on the color palette of its executive train. In all, Burlington Northern painted 350 locomotives per Fletcher’s design.

Just as his career was beginning to take off, Fletcher began to develop major seizures. His epilepsy prevented him from drawing for a decade. Today, he has been seizure-free for nearly ten years and his popularity is again building as railfans rediscover his work.

Fletcher has been invited to participate in rail events at museums, train shows, and corporate functions around the country. “I live the most fulfilled life, being around trains and drawing trains,” said Fletcher, who was recently diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. “All the rail sites and all these trains are so rich to me, they all have stories. My drawings help people appreciate those stories.”

Fletcher focuses on accuracy and historic integrity to produce drawings of locomotives, freight and passenger cars, and cabooses that were and are a part of railroads across the country. He uses watercolor pens on hot press illustration board to enable him to blend colors authentically. He estimates he has completed 2,500 drawings to date and is looking forward to drawing many more trains here in Roanoke.

“This location by the tracks inspires me,” said Fletcher. “This building, an old freight station, inspires me.” His studio at the Museum overlooks the active Norfolk Southern mainline tracks that run through downtown Roanoke. “This is the perfect location for railfanning,” he said. “A variety of NS and other locomotives, so many different types of freight cars, old equipment still painted with historic logos, and even cabooses are going past all the time.” A web cam over the tracks shares Fletcher’s view of the NS mainline and can be seen at

Fletcher offers his art in a variety of forms for all to enjoy: commissioned and original works, prints, posters, magnets and children’s sticker books. Several of Fletcher’s original artworks are on display in the Museum Store. To purchase his work, visit the Museum Store, the Museum’s Online Store or Fletcher’s web site, to order from the complete catalog.

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