My Train Recollections: Jason Fields

This year’s first blog post and train recollections come to us from my buddy, Jason Fields. Thanks very much for sharing with us, Jason!

My first memory ever involving trains was when I was maybe a year old. We had a VHS tape called “Who Left the Juice in the Caboose?” aimed for preschool kids. My family often would tell me that I started watching that at nine months old, and that my first words were Woo-Woo! A lot of folks seem surprised to learn that Thomas the Tank Engine was not necessarily the jump-start into my passion of trains.

My name is Jason Fields, I’m an ammature railroad photographer and videographer from Chattanooga, Tennessee and I run a YouTube channel called “The ‘Nooga Railfan.” The thrill of a chase and the sights and sounds of a roaring locomotive thundering through various landscapes keeps me going back for more. 

Mom and Dad did the typical Day Out With Thomas things with me, as any young child would have loved to have done, and rode behind many trains at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, mostly the Missionary Ridge Local behind steam engine #610. I had a few picture books here and there, but I wasn’t as deep into the history of trains at the time.

My mother purchased a book for me when I was around 11 years old, Steam in the Valley: A History of the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, written and photographed by John W. Coniglio, as well as tickets for the Summerville Steam Special for October of 2011, which was hauled by the recently-restored Southern Railway 630. That was probably the moment my interest in trains really sparked. 

A few years went by, and I attended Railcamp, a week-long summer camp at the TVRM, where teenagers can get their hands dirty and get a feeling of what it’s like working on engines and cars. My first week there, we repainted the cab of NC&StL VO-1000 36 (originally a unit from the US Air Force). I continued to attend Railcamp from 2013 to 2016, and eventually met one of my best friends there. I’d still come and visit now and then, pre-covid, and would often chat with the kids and counselors. 

By that time, I’d really gotten pretty interested in doing railroad photography and videography. I didn’t have a whole lot, equipment wise, that was, per-say “good;” a fairly used point-and-shoot and a smartphone, but it did the trick for a few years until I got my first DSLR camera. As better quality equipment came along, so did my photography skills, having been published in two calendars and a magazine since 2016.

My main focus on my photos and videos is vintage railroad operations, concerning steam and old diesel locomotives. Traveling from state-to-state, meeting new people and experiencing new (to me) engines and railroads is a pure joy. I always plan for the year with at least five-to-seven railroads to visit and photograph. Naturally, I didn’t get to go to all of them when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, but I know I definitely wasn’t the only one yearning for more to do. 

Railfanning and the history and lore of railroads is a little bit more than a hobby to me, it’s become a part of me. I’ve met so many friends over the years, some of them I’d consider close brothers and sisters, and they are one of the defining reasons for my interest in the hobby. Without them, I would not enjoy this hobby as much as I do. Taking photos of trains by yourself gets boring pretty quickly. I thank them for always being there for me. 

May green signals continue to light your way!

Jason Fields

Chattanooga, Tennessee


Rock on Trains © 2021, 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.

NC&StL Steam Feature for August 2019

Featured subjects this month are of Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway Yellow Jacket and Stripe locomotives in Nashville and Chattanooga:

All images courtesy of Mr. Charles Castner (L&N Historical Society) and Mr. Frank Ardrey.


Rock on Trains © 2019, 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.

Depot Doings: Guntersville, AL / Decherd, TN / Murfreesboro, TN / Nashville, TN / Tullahoma, TN / Winchester, TN

Featured NC&StL Railway depots for this December post include various locations in Alabama and Tennessee:

  • NC&StL Depot – Guntersville, AL – Date unknown
  • NC&StL Depot – Decherd, TN – 1978
  • NC&StL Depot – Murfreesboro, TN – Date unknown
  • NC&StL Depot – Nashville, TN – Date unknown
  • NC&StL Depot – Tullahoma, TN – 1978
  • NC&StL Depot – Winchester, TN – 1978

All photos courtesy of DepotMaps.com and Tom Rock.


Rock on Trains © 2018, 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.

Depot Doings: Andalusia, AL / Wartrace, TN / Johnson City, TN / Newport, TN / Chattanooga, TN

Featured depots on the blog this month are L&N, NC&StL, and Southern at various Alabama and Tennessee locations.


Rock on Trains © 2016, 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.

Depot Doings: Belton, SC / Conway, SC / Heath Springs, SC / Albertville, AL / Andalusia, AL

Featured depots on July’s Depot Doings are located in Belton, SC; Conway, SC; Heath Springs, SC; Albertville, AL; and Andalusia, AL.

The depot at Belton, SC, was constructed by the Southern Railway around 1910. Due to its location near the town square, it was an important focal point of the area. After the loss of passenger service in the 1960’s and a slowdown in freight shipping, the depot was abandoned by the Southern and acquired by the city. The depot was placed on the National Historic Register on August 13, 1979. Restoration efforts were completed in 1983. Following restoration a portion of the museum housed the Anderson County Library until 2004 when it was relocated. In 2006, the depot became the new home to the Ruth Drake Museum and South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame Museum.

Southern Depot - Belton, SC (Credit: www.panoramio.com)

Southern Depot – Belton, SC (Credit: http://www.panoramio.com)

The depot at Conway, SC, was constructed by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad in 1928. It is a long, rectangular, one-story, gable-roofed, frame board-an-batten building. It features wide overhanging eaves. The depot was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 18, 1995. The Atlantic Coast Line was eventually absorbed into the Carolina Southern Railroad which is a member of the Carolina Rails system. Excursion trains on the Waccamaw Coast Line occasionally run from Conway.

Atlantic Coast Line Depot - Conway, SC (Credit: www.condrenrails.com)

Atlantic Coast Line Depot – Conway, SC (Credit: http://www.condrenrails.com)

The depot at Heath Springs, SC, was constructed by the Southern Railway in 1903. Its primary use was in the transportation of cotton, cottonseed and cotton oil products from nearby farms and cotton oil mills, textiles and granite from a nearby quarry. The depot served Southern Railway freight and passengers from 1903-1940. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 4, 1990.

Southern Depot - Heath Springs, SC (Credit: www.sciway.net)

Southern Depot – Heath Springs, SC (Credit: http://www.sciway.net)

The depot at Albertville, AL, was constructed by the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway in 1892, one year after the town was incorporated. The building measures 112 ft x 40 ft and is divided into three rooms: two offices and one large warehouse. Passenger service ended in the 1940’s, although the depot remained in use for freight. The depot was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 20, 1975. The building was renovated for use as a seniors center in the mid-1990’s. A former L&N caboose next to the depot houses the Albertville Museum.

NC&StL Depot - Albertville, AL (Credit: wikipedia.org)

NC&StL Depot – Albertville, AL (Credit: wikipedia.org)

The depot at Andalusia, AL, was constructed by the Central of Georgia Railroad in 1899. It is the oldest and only wooden commercial building in downtown Andalusia. The depot now houses the Three Notch Museum, which includes the depot, several railroad cars, a country store, a log cabin, railroad memorabilia and period items. The restored depot is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Central of Georgia Depot - Andalusia, AL (Credit: www.flickr.com)

Central of Georgia Depot – Andalusia, AL (Credit: http://www.flickr.com)


Rock on Trains © 2015, 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.