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CaterParrott Railnet's Azalea Sprinter Trip Nashville to Willacoochee 4/17/2021

by Chris Guenzler

Elizabeth and I woke up at the Days Inn in Tifton and after checking out we drove to the Cracker Barrel for breakfast. After a good meal, we drove to the station and parked.

Atlantic Coast Line station built in 1910 now Terminal Station owned by CaterParrott.

Southern Pullman Sleeper 2005 Flint River built in 1949.

A trackmobile.

Central of Georgia caboose X17.

Atlantic Coast Line freight house. I drove to Walmart so Elizabeth could get some film before we drove to Nashville and parked near the train.

CaterParrott Railnet

CaterParrott Railnet is a Georgia based company created in 2005. It was founded by two business leaders, Jamie Cater and Christopher Parrott. CPR is set apart from other rail carriers because of our a-hands-on approach to economic development, customer service and a partnership approach to doing business.

History on the Valdosta Division Chartered in 1905, the DA&G (Douglas, Augusta and Gulf Railway) was a creation of John Skelton Williams of a new Georgia and Florida Railway. Organized to purchase and consolidate several small existing lines, the DA&G was a short-lived system that was absorbed into the Georgia & Florida in 1907.

The first acquisition was a line from Barrows Bluff to Douglas purchased from the Wadley and Mt. Vernon in 1905. Next came the Pinebloom-to-Nashville line acquired from the Ocilla, Pinebloom, and Valdosta Railway in 1906 and a line from Broxton to Hazlehurst bought from the Ocilla and Valdosta in 1906 or 1907. Once these were in hand, the company constructed a new line from Douglas to Garrant (near West Green) as a shortcut around Broxton. The result of all of this activity was a railroad from Hazlehurst to Nashville, Georgia that became a critical link in the Georgia & Florida line.

Today the 44 mile rail line starts in Valdosta and goes to Willacoochee; where CPR has re-established rail service into the City of Willacoochee. The railroad interchanges with Norfolk Southern in Valdosta.

Our trip

Now it was time to start taking pictures before we boarded the train.

CaterParrott Railnet SW1500 3000, originally Missouri Pacific 1518.

The southern end of the train.

I always like the front of the train to be at the milepost so it is easy to work out the mileage.

The front of the train preparing to depart.

CaterParrott Railnet GP40 7000, originally Florida East Coast 408. We then boarded the train and took seats in front of two of our friends.

The most wonderful Bart and Sarah Jennings. The train departed Nashville right on time and headed out of the city.

Typical southern Georgia scenery.

Randy Jackson, a good friend of mine, whom I had not seen since 2012 when he left the Santa Fe 3751 trip in Barstow and I drove him to Fullerton so he could fly to New Hampshire for a train trip.

David Smetko, another great friend of mine who has retired to Florida after working for Illinois Central/Canadian National as a disptacher for years and was a guest on Let's Talk Trains.

Views along our route.

Masks were not required to be worn but Elizabeth and I always wear ours.

More views as we made our way north.

The train crossed the Alapaha River.

My last picture before Willacoochee.

CaterParrott Railnet SW1500 3001, originally Terminal Railroad Association 1507. We reached Willacoochee, our turn-around point.

The interior of the Mohave.

Trees on the return trip.

No name lake.

Crossing Alapaha River.

Elizabeth and Sarah Jennings. This trip ended and Elizabeth and I walked down to take pictures of the cars.

Mid-America Railcar coach "Mohave" originally Santa Fe 2826.

Mid-America Railcar coach 4013 "Golden Surf", originally Southern Pacic 2370.

A view of "Mohave" with the name on this side. We said our goodbyes for now and Elizabeth and I drove north to Alapaha to a station there.

The Savannah Florida and Western Alapaha station built in 1881.

Southern Railway caboose X563. We drove back to Nashville and went to Subway to get lunch. We returned to the boarding area and ate it at one of the picnic tables and waited for the next train to board.