New Departure illustration and story for Virginia Living magazine
By: Sterling Hundley
Deep beneath the Confederate Sailor and Soldier monument, the row houses, and cobblestones of Richmond’s Church Hill, Steam Engine 231 has lied entrenched since a deadly tunnel collapse on October 2, 1925. Routine maintenance, heat, moisture, and soft earth led to the implosion of the plagued 4,000 foot long Chesapeake & Ohio tunnel. Three men, and possibly a fourth, are known to have lost their lives as a result.
A sailor’s life lost at sea is yielded to the sea. The sunken ship, is left as a memorial to the lives lost. Financial concerns and public outcry have hindered the recovery of the old train. Perhaps it is best that engine 231, her crew, and the legends that surround her remain entrenched in the soil and culture in which they are so firmly planted.
I created this image using photocopies and marker transfers, which I painted into. The final color was added digitally. Of note, all the elements in the image are from old train photos, including the figure on top of the statue, and the train cabs, which I used as row houses.
I was attempting to make a connection between the train buried beneath Richmond's Church Hill and Ships that are lost at sea that serve as the tombs for the fallen sailors. The smoke stack of the steam engine and the sailors monument on top of Church Hill seemed a perfect visual comparison.