my sisters did a little train watching on their trip home:
"..we stopped on the way back for a
few minutes at Folkston GA to watch the trains come thru the
Folkston Funnel. It's where the tracks from all over FL converge
into one N, one S so a train goes by just abt every 20 min.
is a platform where people (and there were at least 7 there
already) can sit and a speaker where you can listen to the
dispatcher send the cars down the line, telling what track and how
many axles on the train. After abt 3 came by S. was ready for
ice cream and P. was deaf from the horns, shaking his head to
clear his drums so we went to find the store. It had moved to the
other end of town so we had to drive in the air conditioning to
get there. The owner was real chatty and somehow we got on to the
fact that she owns two overnight places to stay, a caboose and a
station masters cabin and "let me show them to you in case you
come back." I couldn't resist that cause I know I'm coming back
there, probably alone, to watch trains!
"Could have knocked me over with a feather when we toured them and
S. asked if we could rent the stationmaster's cabin for the
night. It's right on the tracks so I can watch trains all night
and has some space so P. can run and far enough from the
track that he won't be run over and his ears won't shatter. What a
treat that was. And I never knew there was so much to know abt
"We saw whole trains of coal cars filled with coal going south to
the coal-fired utility plants in FL and back empty to the mines
in wherever, there is a nightly (5 nights a week) Tropicana Orange
Juice train, quite long, that goes from Bradenton FL up to NJ loaded
with OJ and back empty, and there are specialized cars to carry
all kinds of specialized cargo, and they all went by Horn Honking
and Engineers waving.
"I didn't stay up all night. Just couldn't do it, but I could hear
them go by. Seems the night trains frequently pass each other
going N and S right at the spot instead of one train at a time.
Lots of rumbling and roaring. Very relaxing.
"In the morning when we went to settle up with the ice cream lady
we asked where the tracks split north of town cause one set of
tracks sends trains up thru Valdosta to the east and one set to
Waycross toward the west. "Well, let me just show you where that
is. I own the land up there." I think the woman owns most of the
town. She told us she bought this plot of land with trailers on it
for her husband for Christmas. also has 3 camping spots and again
right next to the tracks.
"What a treat.! I'm going back someday. "
(note: we grew up near Baltimore MD, a train city if ever there was one, then lived in south FL and could hear both the east coast RR and the Fla central RR going by at night. we were the sort of family that said "oh boy!" if we got to a RR crossing and a train was coming)