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 Trainweb.org 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: http://www.taplines.net/jalw/jalwry.htm
"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."
After Thanksgiving the CSX Office Car Special is used as the CSX Santa Train in NE Tennessee
and SE Kentucky.
THE CSX SANTA TRAIN
SERVES CLINCHFIELD COUNTRY
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.
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.
- 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
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.