Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year

A couple of videos for New Year's eve. Train whistle theme today for we know who.

Here's how to make a 4-toned train whistle for your New Year's party.

Strasburg Railroad: New Year's Eve 2009

Friday, December 18, 2015

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Midnight Train from Georgia

Another photo from Dan in middle Georgia:

But this time with Dan and one of his original Lee railroad caps.

Close up of the logo. The "from Georgia" is a bit hard to see.

B1B Lancer. The unit logo on the aircraft said 116 Bomb Wing. Found this:

Photos taken at the Museum of Aviation located at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Ga.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Railroad that goes to Sea

There is just so much information on the Over-Sea Railroad it was difficult to decide what to post. Dan in Middle Georgia got me started when he sent me this article at about Pigeon Key.  Great writeup by Mr. John c. Dahl with some neat photos. I have fished near Pigeon Key many times both from the 7 mile bridge and from a boat. The bridge had fishing catwalks but you had to walk a long distance out to them on the bridge. Really fun when a semi truck went by - not much room to get out of the way and hold on to the railing. Which was made from the original railroad track. Also note the bridge runs east-west, not north south as some might think.

Video about Pigeon Key

Lots of great photos of the history and building of the railroad in the next video.
Note the photo of FEC crane 3377 in 1935. It is in Ft. Pierce, Fl. now.


Monday, December 7, 2015

Railcar No. 91

Henry Flagler's private railcar, No. 91, was built in 1886 and carried Henry Flagler south to Key West following the completion of his Over-Sea Railroad in 1912. Today thousands of visitors tour the historic railcar at the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach, Florida.

Another longer video that includes Whitehall, Flagler's mansion.


H/T and many thanks to Dan for the link to the first video. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Sunday, November 22, 2015

GE C40s Pulling Double Stack at Night

GE C40s Pulling Double Stack at Night

Folkston Sept. 20, 2015. GE C40-9 No. 9033 and C40 -8 No. 7517 .

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Forsyth Georgia Festival

Our friends in Middle Georgia went to a Festival in Forsyth, Georgia November 7 and visited a privately owned Railroad Museum. He was kind enough to share his photos with us. He and his wife were with us for  Folkston Railwatch Day April 11.

Here  is the information he provided with the photos.
He also sent the train horn ringtone.

"Those 4 or 5 indoor pictures were inside a privately owned museum. The lady owner was there to greet us. That building was the original passenger station but the building with the desk, phone was built later to be used as the new passenger station. The first one became the cotton/freight station. They are about 50' apart.
Btw, the lady owner said this was only about 1/6 of her railroad memorabilia. She's building a station at her home about 12 miles away"

Thanks Dan.

Callahan, Florida Sept. 21, 2015

Stopped by the West Nassau Historical Society and Museum in Callahan on the way home from Folkston. The museum was closed but I took some photos anyway.

The Callahan Subdivision is a CSX Transportation railroad subdivision within the Jacksonville Division on the former Seaboard Air Line Railroad. The sub extends northward 20 miles from Baldwin, Florida, where the Jacksonville Terminal Subdivision's S Line and Tallahassee Subdivision meet just north of Baldwin Yard, a classification yard. According to Jacksonville Division Timetable Number 4 published in 2005,[1] the sub runs from milepost SM-0.18 to milepost SM-20.0, where it joins the Nahunta Subdivision, a former Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, in Callahan, Florida.


This was my first try at turning still photos into a video. Used Open Shot in Linux Ubuntu.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Happy Halloween


And a ghost train ride at Tweetsie from 2013 found online.

A peek at this years ghost train

A promo but a good view of the train in the daylight.

H/T to Chickenmom for the idea. See her post here:

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Tweetsie Double Header

Locomotives No. 12 and 190 on Heratige Day August 30, 2015. Lots of whistles for the steam fans (you know who you are Chickenmom)

Friday, August 28, 2015

Autotrain Folkston Aug 22

First movie with Canon SX50. Northbound Amtrak Autotrain Friday afternoon August 22, 2015.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

FEC #432

Seen in Stuart late last spring. Anybody remember spring? Just missed getting a photo of it going over the bridge on the St. Lucie Rive.
All by itself headed south as train number 920.

Road number 432 EMD GP40-2 Builder #857078-1 to 2 date 12/85

Richmond Naval Air Station

Off topic but the Gold Coast Railroad Museum is located at the old base. Zoo Miami is also located here, University of Miami has used parts as a research facility ("South Campus") since 1948 and the CIA had a facility from 1961 until 1968. The base has a rich history but unfortunately all three hangars were destroyed by a fire that broke out during a hurricane on September 15, 1945. All the blimps, 366 planes and 50 cars were also destroyed.

The Huge Airship Hangars

From a sign below the picture. 
What would fit in each hangar: Easily, 4 Boeing 747's, or over 1,200  parked automobiles could be placed on the open floor space of any one of these amazingly huge hangars. The total interior floor space of each hangar covered almost seven acres (297,000 sq. ft.). Four massive concrete door supports located at the corners of Hangar #1 were 148 ft. high and had a base of 28 ft. wide x 50 ft. long. They were one-of-a-kind, huge thick columns with a door pocket 12 ft. wide x 37 ft. deep. Only one of NAS Richmond's great door support columns remains - the east corner of "A & R" Hangar #1. It now "towers" over the Train Display Building and Museum Store of the gold Coast Railroad Museum. On the northwest face of the massive east door receptacle (the tower now remaining) you can see a long black arc. The arc traces the point at which Hangar #1s outer roof covering met the concrete face of the tower. Project this arc up beyond the concrete and you may imagine how the roof extended twenty-two feet above the 148-foot height of the concrete door pocket. At their highest point, the hangars were the height of a seventeen-story building, the fifty-one parabolic; wooden trusses in each of the three hangars contained approximately 2 million board feet of Oregon Douglas Fir. The use of wood saved over 16,000 tons (32,000,000 pounds) of war needed steel on this base alone! Roof construction of each hangar was facilitated by the use of a "Traveler", a huge mobile, wooden scaffold 150 feet high that spanned the inside width of the hangar. It moved along the hangar's roof and could have built approximately 250 three-bedroom homes. The openings at each end of the hangar #1 were 121 ft. high, and 197 ft. wide. To secure these huge portals, a set of six separate steel sections together formed the doors for each opening. Each of the six sections were 122 ft. high, 35 ft. wide and 4 ft. thick. Door sections weighed 39 tons each. Under the base of the doors the concrete was poured five feet thick. Hangar #1 was the first of these mammoth hangars to be completed. The first airship, "K-46", occupied hangar #1 on June 9, 1943. Hangars #2 and #3 were completed and in use shortly thereafter. 


East door receptacle on the remaining tower. Museum store also shown.

Above two photos show the concrete bases for the hangar wood structure.
The trains are in the structure on the left.

Gold Coast Railroad Museum web pages about the base. Includes some first person accounts and photos from both before and after the hurricane.

An outstanding paper on the history of the base written by David Macfie, 23,
is a Senior at Florida International University, Miami, Florida, majoring in English. He is a native Miamian.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Ferdinand Magellan / U. S. Car No. 1

Presidential Rail Car, U.S. Number 1

A National Historic Landmark

A Pullman  observation originally built in 1929 as a private car and converted for presidential use during WW II. It served as Presidential Rail Car No. 1 from 1943 until 1958.

The Gold Coast Railroad Museun acquired the Ferdinand Magellan in 1958 and it  arrived at the museum on January 15, 1959. In 1984 the Ferdinand Magellan was briefly loaned to the presidential re-election campaign of Ronald Reagan, who gave a series of "whistlestop" speeches from the rear platform during a one-day trip in Ohio.

Above photos July 7, 2015 at Gold Coast Railroad Museum, Miami Fl.

More photos and information at:

Update: Thanks to Chickenmon I  found this while looking around YouTube.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


A mural on the side of the barber shop in Jensen Beach, Florida. It was painted about 7 years ago by students at a local Martin County High School. Reportedly took about three days but I am not sure how much of that time was spent painting and how much was spent being teenagers. :-)
Note it is a 1 cent stamp.

The shop is only one building away from the FEC crossing on Jensen Beach Blvd.


H/T Chickenmom for the stamp image

Monday, July 20, 2015

BNSF Office Car Special

I did a post on the CSX Office Car Special and Chjristmas Train earlier. Just ran across this great video of the BNSF Office Car Special in Southern Calafornia. The description on YouTube by Jaanfo is worth reading.
Note the last car with the observation window is the same as CSX has.

#1) The Special in Rose Canyon
#2) In Sorrento Valley
*After a mad dash I beat them to Carlsbad, but they got held up by regular Commuter Traffic for a few minutes.
#3) First up is Coaster 648
#4) Then Amtrak 566 (running late, with the single level trainset)
#5) Finally the special gets the go-ahead and flies up through Carlsbad.

Above video from 2010. The next video is from 2015 by Michael Love. Lots of Amtrak at the end. 

H/T to Mrs. Blog for finding an online puzzle of the BNSF Special near Caliente, Ca. Looked like maybe Tehachapi Pass.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Jupiter and Lake Worth Railroad

The Jupiter and Lake Worth Railroad was a 7.5 mile narrow gauge (3') connection between the south end of the Indian River at Jupiter Inlet and Lake Worth. It carried passangers form the steamboats traveling south from Melbourne and Titusville to connect with boats on Lake Worth. It was completed in 1889 and the end came in 1895 when it was bypassed by Henry Flagler's Florida East Coast Railroad.

More information and photos at:

 A very long, scholarly report "Retracing the Celestial Railroad" by Geoffrey Lynfield is found here:

Jupiter is about 30 miles south.

Here is a photo of The St. Lucie steamboat on the Indian River at Eden, just east of my location.

From the Library of Congress

Monday, June 22, 2015

Boxcar News

And it isn't good. I have to wonder why boxcars have a 50 year service life. Seems like periodic inspections and repair could extend service life almost indefinitely.

A Shortage of Railroad Boxcars Has Shippers Fuming


"A shrinking supply of boxcars--once the ubiquitous symbols of U.S. railroads and a rolling bellwether for the economy--is causing a freight-hauling crunch for the industries that continue to use them.

The number of boxcars in service in North America fell by 41% in the past decade to just under 125,000 last year as 101,600 cars were scrapped and only about 13,800 replacement were added."

Maybe not quite this long:

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Moon, Jupiter and Venus

Not Train Related but Chickenmom wanted me to post it.

Photo taken with iPhone 6 about 9:30 EDT June 20, 2015.

Moon, Jupiter and Venus in the western sky from SE Florida  Easier to see if you can enlarge it. Moon lower left, Jupiter up a bit and to the right, then Venus on the right.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

CSX Santa Train

After Thanksgiving the CSX Office Car Special is used as the CSX Santa Train in NE Tennessee and SE Kentucky.


By Jack M. Turner
 Photos By John C. Turner

On the Saturday before Thanksgiving the sounds of gleeful children fill the small communities and hollows of rural Appalachia as the annual CSX Santa Train makes its way from Shelby, KY to Kingsport, TN.  At each stop Santa Claus makes his appearance on the rear platform of the last car from which he and a handful of volunteers toss candy and soft toys to the crowd of children encircling the back end of the train.  Meanwhile, several other volunteers detrain and walk among the crowd distributing gifts, wrapping paper, and other goodies.

    Clinchfield Railroad ran the first Santa Train in 1943 in conjunction with the predecessor to today's Kingsport Chamber of Commerce.  Initially the Santa Train consisted of a couple of extra cars added to the rear of the local passenger train that served the route between Kingsport and Elkhorn City, KY.  When the scheduled passenger train ceased operation in the mid-1950s, the Santa Train continued as its own special train.  The idea behind the Santa Train was to give to the children of the impoverished Appalachia region north of Kingsport which was connected by the railroad.  The Santa Train marched on when the Clinchfield was absorbed into the Family Lines rail system in the 1970s and later the Seaboard System in 1982.  And when the CSX mega-railroad was formed in 1986, the tradition lived on in magnificent fashion.

See the entire report with some great photos here:

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

CSX Office Car Special


Screen Shot from Folkston Virtual Railfan Web Cam

Was watching the Folkston webcam and listening to the scanner Friday evening and heard the defect detector (DD) north of town announce a train that had all the characteristics of Amtrak but I knew it couldn't be. Train number P901-29 There was some interesting chat and pretty soon it came into view with locomotive 9998 lead followed by passenger cars. I asked what it was and the folks in the chatroom said it was an OCS. I looked it up and discovered it was the CSX Office Car Special. When it went through the DD south of town at A610.6 I copied the following: No defects, #1 track, length 1980 ft., 74 mph and 58 axles. Lead engine was 9998, an EMD F40PH-2 (one of four at CSX).

A couple of neat videos.  Note the last car with the huge window on the back. That is the theater car and the second video shows it from the inside.

The following information on the individual cars from here:

Georgia - Theatre / observation car - Originally built as a 58 seat coach for the Crescent by Budd in 1953.  Named the Georgia in 1993.  Car was rebuilt as a track observation car by Waycross shops.

Kentucky - Power car - Built about 1950 by Pullman-Standard as a dining car.  L&N acquired the car and rebuilt as an electrical power car about 1980.  This car also contains four office car-quality staterooms and a small lounge.

Youngstown - Crew car - Built in 1954 by Pullman for the Erie Railroad as a five double bedroom / 10 roomette sleeper.  The car was originally named the "Spirit of Youngstown.  Youngstown was conveyed to Conrail on April 1, 1976 and renumbered to CR 11.  Passed to CSX in 1999.

Mississippi - Sleeper - The Mississippi was built in 1923 by Pullman as a tourist car.  The Southern acquired the car in 1954 and converted it into a coach.  Conrail acquired the car in 1983 amd renumbered it CR 24. It was converted into an eight stateroom sleeper car in 1980 and renumbered CR 8.  Passed to CSX in 1999.

Waycross - Sleeper - Built by Pullman in 1926 as a private car and owned by W.R. Kenan, president of the FEC.  Purchased by C&O in 1943 and later included in the track teometry train for road inspections.  After creation of CSX, the car was renamed Waycross and modified into three one bedroom suites.

New York - Observation / diner - Car was built in 1925 by Pullman as a parlor observation car for service on New York Central's Empire State Express.  Renamed the Hudson River, it served the Empire State Express into the early 1930's when a large rear platform was constructed to accomodate President Franklin D. Roosevelt's wheelchair.  In 1942, the car was renamed Kalamazoo River and it served on the Twilight Limited.  In 1952 it was converted to a track inspection car No. 30 and then renumbered to 76 by Penn Central in 1976.  The car was part of the funeral train for slain presidential candidate Robert Kennedy.

Greenbriar - Lounge/Diner - Built by Pullman for the Illinois Central about 1915-1920.  CSX predecessor SCL acquired the car in 1985.  The car was completely rebuilt at Waycross shops with a dining seating capacity of 24, lounge seating capacity for 12 and a stand up bar.

Tennessee - Cafe/lounge/diner - Built by Pullman as a 52 seat coach in 1957.  Car was originally named the Southerner and used in a variety of excursion services prior to being acquired by CSX in 2008.  Interior was rebuilt at Waycross shops to simulate a former L&N car, #3001.

Ohio - Diner - Built by Budd in 1948 as a diner/theater car with a seating capacity of 52.  The car was originally intended for use on C&O's new daytime streamliner, The Chessie.  Car was purchased by CSX in 2008, refurbished and renamed Ohio.

Michigan - Meeting car - Built by Budd in 1951 for the PRR as a lightweight parlor/drawing room car named the Baron De Kalb and assigned to The Senator.  It was later used for first class service on the Boston-New York-Washington corridor.  Rebuilt by Penn Central into a galley/club car in 1968.  Acquired by Conrail in 1976 and converted to a meeting/boardroom car in 1980.  It became part of the CSX fleet in 1999 and was renamed Michigan.

West Virginia - Observation - Built as an Army hospital car in 1953 by St. Louis Car Company, this car was later acquired by Chessie System.  The car has a small lounge, two roomette style sleeping rooms and a large open room.  For all but two days each year, the car serves as a conference/reception car.  The weekend before Thanksgiving, the West Virginia is transformed into Santa's "sleigh" as tons of gifts are loaded aboard and distributed along a 110 mile route through Appalachia.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Gandy Dancers

I was watching the video Chickenmom posted for Friday Night Steam and the condition of some of the track made me think they needed Gandy Dancers. I thought that would make a good post so here are a couple of videos from You Tube.

There are other videos out there worth watching. Gandy comes from the company that made the tools. The dancing part is obvious. :)

A couple of things I found interesting in the first video. Note the shape of the hammers used to drive the spikes. The head is much longer than a normal sledge hammer. Made that way to clear the rail if the spike is on the other side.
Also look at the expressions on the faces as they watch the machine drive spikes. They are watching automation replace them.

This one from 1929 is interesting also.

My best friend's grandfather was a section foreman on the Apalachicola Northern Railroad in the Florida Panhandle. His grandmother was a station agent in Greensboro, Fl. That was in the 1930's and 40's.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Tweetsie #190

Pictures from Railfan Weekend at Tweetsie Sept 12, 2010.

Edited May 25 to add a video

One of the engines, #190 Yukon Queen, at Tweetsie is from Alaska. (Baldwin #69425)

From Wikipedia:
"Tweetsie acquired another coal-fired steam locomotive, USATC S118 Class 2-8-2 #190, the “Yukon Queen” from Alaska’s White Pass and Yukon Route in 1960. Built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1943 for the US Army, the engine was part of an 11-locomotive fleet of “MacArthur” 2-8-2s originally purchased for use overseas. During World War II, the locomotives were sent to Alaska for use on the White Pass and Yukon."

Here it is double heading behind #12. Note name on tender. I have been told they only do this on Railfan Weekend. 

Edited to add Whistles for Chickenmon, 5/25
Big difference between #12 and #190

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Tweetsie No. 12

Baldwin 4-6-0 No. 45069 built 2/1917. 16" X 22" Cylinders, 45" Drivers
36" Narrow Gauge

My all time favorite locomotive.
Photo taken on first visit to Tweetsie October 2008.
Lots more Tweetsie photos to come.

Southern Railway System "The Tennessean"

When "The Tennessean" leaves for Tennessee

Copyright 1940 by Josephine Crisler McCormak

Blow yo' whistle, Engineer, Fireman les'go ;way frum here, My heart
___ is racin' n-head of you. Run'er faster than you oughta,
Gotta see a man a-bout his daughta, I know___ she's gonna say "yes" to me.

When the "Tennessean" leaves for Tennessee,
They won't have to holla "all a-board" for me,
'Cause I left my heart on a rail-road track,
And I'm goin' down home and get it back,
When the "Tennessean" leaves from Tennessee.

Oh the birds and bees wont have a thing on me
When spring-time comes this year in Tennessee
Now, I might be broke, but I tell you fair,
I would'nt swap my place with a billionaire,
When the "Tennessean" leaves for Tennessee.

When the "Tennessean" leaves for Tennessee,
It's a streak of green and silver Glory Be!
If your neck's stuck out you bet-ter draw it back,
When that new stream-lin-er hits the track
And the "Tennessean" leaves for Tennessee.

Sheet music from 1940 probably found in some old family papers.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Ballast Cleaning

Ballast cleaning between Stuart and Hobe Sound. Fla. Dec. 19, 2009
Sorry for the low quality of the photos. Had seen the machine in Jensen Beach a couple of days earlier and went looking for them.
Ran into the same crew in downtown Stuart in April 2015. They were waiting on permission to start work. The gentleman I talked to remembered talking to me in Jensen Beach before. 

Not sure who makes the equipment. Loram is one manufacturer but the machine on YouTube looks slightly different.

A British company with divisions all over the world.

Another view.

Edited to add a link to the Wikipedia article about ballast cleaners in case you wondered why it is done. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Tweetsie Coach #5

Coach #5 was built for the East Broad Top Railroad in the late 1870's. It remained in service until it was sold to the Shenandoah Central Railroad in 1952. It was then sold to Tweetsie in 1955 along with Engine #12.

Photos were taken Railfan Day at Tweetsie in September 2010 when I rode in the coach. It is beautiful.

Another view.

A couple of photos of the interior.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Speaking of FEC #253

Here are a group of pictures of the move of #253 and several other pieces of equipment from Dade County to Ft. Pierce on June 13, 2009. Taken in Palm Beach and Martin Counties.

The next four photos were taken just south of Hobe Sound (the town) from the side of Dixie Highway. The road is quite a bit higher that the tracks in this area. (for Florida anyway) Approximately milepost 275.