Meet the Webmaster

Jeff Hawkins - Author & Photographer



Thank you for visiting the Rails in Virginia website.  I created this site in 2002 for the purpose sharing information, history, and photographs relating to the many railroads, past and present, that operate throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.  I hope you enjoy your visit and check back often for updates.


Early in my days as a photographer I quickly realized that I wanted to incorporate as much of the surrounding environment into the photos as possible.  Everyone knows what a train looks like.  It is the scenery that really adds to a photograph.  Often Iíve looked at older photos, especially from the steam era, and wished the photographer had included more of the surroundings.  Maybe it was a location that I frequent or somewhere not many photographs were taken at. Trains do indeed change over time, but so does the landscape through which they travel.  With the installation of new signals, removal of pole lines, demolition of trackside structures, and urban sprawl the railroad landscape is changing at a rapid pace before our very eyes.


It is my long term vision to be able to look back 30, 40, or even 50 years from now and be able to appreciate all of those times I waited patiently in the sweltering August heat of the Carolinas, or freezing in the Virginia countryside on a cold January morning waiting for that one shot.


Like a lot of railfans, I had family members who worked for the railroad.  My maternal great-grandfather worked for the RF&P as a passenger engineer.  His tenure spanned over 40 years with an impeccable record of service.  The evening of May 30, 1965 marked the end of his career with a final run into Broad St. Station in Richmond.  Unfortunately I was never able to meet him, but that is something I would have very much liked to have done. 


A number of other family members worked for the RF&P at Potomac Yard in Alexandria.  In addition, two relatives on my father's side were employees of the N&W.  One an engineer on the Shenandoah Division, the other a welder in the East End Shops in Roanoke.  Lastly, my maternal grandfather was a brakeman for the Atlantic Coast Line during the mid-1940's.   


Presently I am a member of several organizations including the N&W Historical Society, C&O Historical Society, and Old Dominion Chapter NRHS.  In recent years I have been a regular contributor to Railpace and Railroads Illustrated.  In January 2010 my first book was released by Arcadia Publishing entitled Richmond Railroads.  I have given presentations for a number of NRHS chapters and historical societies and am available for future engagements upon request. 


It's been a pleasure to meet so many great people throughout the years and I'm glad to call many of you friends. 


Jeff Hawkins


Published Photography    

Published Writings


Jeff Hawkins Pinkey Worth Swaim

Jeff Hawkins - May 2009 (Photo by Cliff Middlebrook)

My great-grandfather, P.W. Swaim - May 30, 1965.




Copyright © 2002- | Jeff Hawkins

All copyrights are the property of their respective owners.