Pardon Me Boy, Is That the Chattanooga Choo-Choo?

This blog entry features my 1991 painting of the the Southern Railways Terminal Station in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The title of this painting, “Pardon Me Boy, Is That the Chattanooga Choo-Choo,” was chosen to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Glenn Miller’s big band era hit song which was recorded May 7, 1941. This painting, which is comprised of two images, shows the majestic building front as viewed from Market Street and the rear where the trains departed, reviving a more tranquil time in railroad history.

By the 1970’s, declining rail traffic to Chattanooga forced Southern Railway to close the doors of Terminal Station. The Birmingham Special, Train No. 18, became the last regular passenger train to pass through Terminal Station. On August 11, 1970, at 11:35PM, the Birmingham Special departed Terminal Station and headed for Washington, DC.  The windows of the station were boarded up, as its once immaculate interior began collecting dust. The abandoned station faced the sad prospects of demolition.

Fortunately, a group of two dozen local investors had a much better idea for the old station; the investors obtained the property from Southern Railway, and with an initial investment of 10 million dollars, converted the old Terminal Station into a family vacation complex second to none.

My two images of the Choo-Choo took five (5) months and 325 hours to complete. I’m including several development photos taken during its creation. When my lithographs were released in 1991, I mailed a set to Jonnie Miller Soper (Glenn Miller’s daughter) along with Paula Kelly Turner and Tex Beneke, both singers of Glenn Miller’s famous song.  Not long after the prints were mailed, I received very nice thank you notes from all three recipients (see images below).  Unfortunately, Paula (d.1992) and Tex (d.2000) have passed away, but Jonnie is still living.  This 8-minute video clip on YouTube shows Tex and Paula performing the Chattanooga Choo-Choo song.

"Choo-Choo" rear Preliminary Development Photo

"Choo-Choo" rear at 30 hrs development

"Choo-Choo" rear at 56 hrs development

"Choo-Choo" rear at 122 hrs development

"Choo-Choo" rear at 150 hrs development (complete)

Click here to view/purchase this print at T.D.R. Productions.

"Choo-Choo" front Preliminary Development Photo

"Choo-Choo" front at 30 hrs development

"Choo-Choo" front at 90 hrs development

"Choo-Choo" front at 175 hrs development (complete)

Click here to view/purchase this print at T.D.R. Productions.

Paula Kelly Turner thank you letter

Tex Beneke thank you letter

Jonnie Miller Soper thank you letter

Click here to visit T.D.R. Productions and view/purchase your “Choo-Choo” print set.  Thanks for your interest!


Rock on Trains © 2011, Tom Rock + T.D.R. Productions.  All rights reserved.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Tom Rock is strictly prohibited.

2 thoughts on “Pardon Me Boy, Is That the Chattanooga Choo-Choo?

  1. I’m glad you like the letters. Its nice to see these individuals that sent the letters to me actually performing on the YouTube clip. Hope you were able to check it out.

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