George Williamson

Always interested in steam machinery, I began working life as an apprentice fitter in the York Road Locomotive Works of the Ulster Transport Authority, in Belfast, N. Ireland then emigrated to Canada in 1954.
Started involvement in restoring Steam Machinery in 1964. Have since worked on restoration, repair, and maintenance of 10 locomotives plus associated work on antique machine shop rebuilds, stationary boilers and machinery, including design and production of spare parts.
I started painting in 1980 ,using oils and later acrylics, subjects were mainly locomotives and railways.
The experiences gained in bringing back to life and operating the old steam machines have helped me bring atmosphere and feeling which I try to include in my artwork.
Now 76 - still painting, still interested in steam, and also still employed as Locomotive Engineer on the Alberni Pacific Railway on Vancouver Island.


This Canadian Pacific 4 - 6 - 4 Locomotive of class H - 1 - b was built during the 1930's for fast passenger work. The class were later semi - streamlined and became the "Royal Hudsons" One of these plus the 2816, still remain in operating condition and the painting is based on a special working over the C.P.R. shortly after the 2816 was restored to operation.

Big Boy

The Union Pacific Railroad's claim that these were the biggest locomotives in the world was not exactly true, but they were impressive pieces of machinery weighing in at just under 600 tons and capable of developing 6000 HP. They were built to haul heavy freight over the mountains in Wyoming and were sometimes used in tandem on the long, heavy grades. They were coal burners, and being stoker fired, produced prodigious amounts of smoke when working hard. This is what the gentleman who commissioned this painting remembered from his youth and although large amounts of smoke are signs of inefficient combustion - How can you argue with someone who has actually witnessed the passage of these monsters? Four cylinders and sixteen driving wheels must have been an unforgettable sight.

Big Power

2-10-4 Locomotive 5911 of class T 1a, when built in 1929 was the largest locomotive in the British Empire. They were built to haul freight and passenger trains on the C P R over the Selkirk mountains and were often used two or three to a train.

Loco No.7

An imaginary protrayal of a 90 ton Baldwin 2 - 8 - 2 saddle tank locomotive hauling a string of empty log cars and a water car up hill to the loadout. Baldwin built many industrial locomotives using a standard configuration with minor alterations to the customers preference. The bridge construction is also typical of logging railways where use was made of easily obtainable materials. Design was for a limited life span as the tracks were often re-located as the various locations were "logged out".

Mountain Goat

A Grant C 16 narrow gauge 2 - 8 - 0 heads east out of the Colorado foothills towards Denver. The C 16 class was constructed by a number of builders to a common design and the wheel configuration proved very popular for the narrow gauge railways in Colorado as it provided for a relatively large boiler with acceptable axle loads, suitable for light track and heavy grades. The year is about 1905 and narrow gauge rails were laid all through the mountains.

O'Brien Lumber Co

This painting shows a fictitious, but typical, Climax geared engine crossing a logging trestle. These were a popular type used for logging as they were geared down and driven on all wheels by a centre shaft. logging locomotives were not normally very big with 90 tons being a large engine, and most weighing in at 40 to 60 tons due to the track conditions. The misty scene is typical of Vancouver Island and, although the scene is imaginary, many viewers have been insistent that thay know exactly where it is!.

Trout Creek Trestle

When the Canadian Pacific Railroad built the Kettle Valley sub division across southern British Columbia, They constructed the bridge over Trout Creek. At the time it was the highest railway bridge in Canada and is still in use by the Kettle Valley Steam Railway, a tourist line. This was a commissioned painting which specified the bridge must appear as it was originally built, with wooden trestlework at each end. These were later filled in to reduce maintenance costs, a typical type of construction used by North American railways which enabled a bridge to be built relatively quickly and economically,and upgraded later as time and money became available. The double headed freight train, heading west out of Penticton is fighting a 2% grade using two P class 5300 2-8-2's built in the 1920's.