Jul 27, 2012

watching trains in Folkston, GA

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.
There 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 trains.
"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)

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