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Cater-Parrott Azalea Sprinter 1/12/2024 and Our Activities on Seminar Day 1/13/2024

by Chris Guenzler

Elizabeth and I awoke at the Holiday Inn Express and after our Internet duties, went down for breakfast before returning to the room, after which I drove us to Georgia Veterans State Park and the Convention Center where we waited for the buses to arrive, as well as a van from the hotel. Once all Railroad Passenger Car Alliance members were on board, the bus took us east on US 280 to Interstate 75 south to Tifton, then east on County Road 547, east on Coy Hannock Road then east on County Road 125 to Nashville, our boarding location for today's excursion.

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.

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.

Our Trip

Our train in Nashville, Georgia with a surprise on the north end.

Cater-Parrott E8A 5000, ex. Tennessesse Central 6902, exx. New Goeorgia Railroad, exxx. New Jersey Transit 4251, exxxx. Penn Central 4327, exxxxx. Penn Central 4084, nee New York Central 4084, built by Electro-Motive Division in 1953. Elizabet and I had ridden behind this locomotive during the 2017 National Railway Historical Society convention.

Cater-Parrot coach 4013, ex. Mid-America Railcar coach 4013 "Golden Surf", nee Southern Pacic 2370, built by Budd in 1950.

Cater-Parrot table car 481, ex. Mid American Railcar 800651, exx. Amtrak 4725, exxx. Amtrak 4819, nee Santa Fe 2826, built by Budd Company in 1953.

Cater-Parrot diner 8511, ex. Amtrak 8511, exx. Amtrak 8333, exxx. Penn Central 4554, nee New York Central 454, built by Budd Company in 1948.

Cater-Parrott baggage car 1857, ex. Amtrak 1857, exx. Amtrak 1209, exxx. Amtrak 1028, nee Santa Fe 3511 built Budd Company in 1953.

Cater-Parrott SD70M2 9001, nee Norfolk Southern built by Electro-Motive Division. Everyone boarded then we departed Nashville bound for Moody.

Norm Orfall, owner of "Tioga Pass" was aboard our coach and Bart and Sarah Jennings were sitting across the aisle from us.

A Christmas tree farm.

Fruit trees waiting for spring.

These evergreen trees stood out amongst the bare branches of the deciduous trees.

These cows always stampede every time the train passes.

A cemetery along our route.


A branch of Cat Creek.

These deciduous trees were waiting patiently for spring.

Moody Air Force Base American Batterfield Airmen.

A view into the base.

One of the many base buildings.

Team Moody Attack-Rescue-Prevail.

Civil Engineer Building.

United States Air Force Moody Air Force Base Entrance.

The Closed Entrance where our train stopped and the location where pizzas are loaded when the Azalea Sprinter offers their Pizza Trains. We would return to Nashville.

A blue Moody station sign.

The Ray City sin. Upon our return to Nashville, everyone detrained and walked over to the bus.

The bus driver drove us back to Georgia Veterans State Park then Elizabeth drove us back to the hotel, Later I went to Kentucky Fried Chicken for my dinner and Elizabeth went to Denny's for a National Railway Historical Society Convention planning meeting. I finished today's story and we called it a night.

1/13/2024 This day started the same as yesterday. Seminars were on the schedule for today and the two of us had the morning free so planned to photograph area railway depots but changed our plans mid-morning. We did drive to Arabi and found the depot south of town.

Georgia Southern & Florida Railroad Arabi station built in 1888. The Georgia Southern and Florida Railway, also known as the Suwanee River Route from its crossing of the Suwanee River, was founded in 1885 as the Georgia Southern and Florida Railroad and began operations between Macon and Valdosta in 1889, extending to Palatka, Florida in 1890. The railroad went bankrupt by 1891, was reorganized as the Georgia Southern and Florida Railway in 1895, and was controlled by the Southern Railway.

In 1902, the GS&F purchased the Atlantic, Valdosta and Western Railway that ran from Valdosta to Jacksonville, Florida. The GS&F also owned the Macon and Birmingham Railway and the Hawkinsville and Florida Southern Railway, both of which were operated as separate companies; both ended up going bankrupt and being mostly abandoned. The GS&F was eventually acquired by the Norfolk Southern Railway and still operates as a subsidiary.

Southern Railway caboose X747 built by the railroad, year unknown. I kept driving but stopped when I spotted another depot.

Albany Northern Railroad station, year of construction unknown. In 1895, the Albany & Northern Railway was organized to take over the assets of the Albany, Florida & Northern Railway, a 35-mile shortline constructed around 1890 to connect the south Georgia communities of Albany and Cordele. In 1910 the 15-year-old ALN was then acquired by the Georgia, Southwestern & Gulf Railroad, whose grandiose name belied the dreams of its management to extend the railway beyond Albany to the south as far as St. Andrews, Florida. By 1932, however, the little road was in receivership and its grand Gulf Coast goal was never realized. By 1940, the financially ailing line was under control of the Pidcock shortline family of Moultrie, who operated the Georgia Northern and several other shortlines in the region. With Pidcock control returned the Albany & Northern Railway name for the second time, which persisted until the line was acquired by the Southern Railway in 1966, merged in 1971. The Albany to Cordele route was abandoned by 1977.

It was then that Sarah Jennings sent a text message to Elizabeth to let her know that the Vulcan steam train at the Georgia Museum of Argriculture was operating today. Since they only operate on Saturdays and Elizabeth had never been there, we changed our plans and I drove us to Tifton.

Georgia Museum of Agriculture

Hear the whistle blow and climb aboard the only steam powered train in regular operation in Georgia! Vulcan steam locomotive 5 was built by Vulcan Iron Works in 1917 for the Hardaway Contracting Company of Columbus, Georgia in 1923. Every Saturday the Museum is open, visitors can enjoy this full display of steam and transportation technology from the seat of open air wooden rail cars pulled by the Vulcan 5 steam locomotive.

We arrived then paid to just ride the steam train and walked the path to the train, boarding the first of two open cars. Soon we started moving and I thought about Chris Parker, who had ridden this with me in 2007.

A side dump ore car.

Another of their passenger cars can been seen through the trees.

The Vulcan engine pulling our train.

Agrirama Lake.

This is not a real cow.

Part of the historic village.

An old steam tractor along our route.

Destination AG.

An old engine used to power the building.

Main Street highlights independent stores, like the Feed and Seed, which are owned by an individual and thus operated differently from company owned stores such as the Commissary in a mill town.

The Montezuma Railroad Depot was built most likely between 1895 and 1905 and was a "prefab" building- a common means of constructing the depots used by the early railroads to keep up with the rapid pace of railroad expansion. The Depot was donated to the museum by the Seaboard Coast Line and was restored on site and includes artifact-populated freight warehouse space, meeting rooms, ticket office and telegraph office.

The engine pulling our train.

The saw mill is typical of the small mill operations throughout the wiregrass region that, during the 1890's, cleared large tracts of virgin yellow pine in Georgia and then moved on into lorida and Alabama, following the timber supply. Small "portable" mills like this one made it easy for the lumbermen to move with the timber supply. The use of the tram steam engines made it possible to get the inland timber to saw mills and then to market. After the loggers felled a tree in the woods, it was picked up with a high-wheel log cart and the whole tree was taken to the saw mill yard, where it was cut into saw lengths. This was called the Georgia System of logging.

In other places, the logs were cut – or bucked – into the correct lengths in the woods. The Museum's sawmill is powered by an 1892 Atlas 25 horsepower steam engine which uses a boiler to heat water into steam and is then sent to the steam engine to move a piston. The piston then turns a flywheel. A belt is connected from the flywheel to the saw, which cuts the timber into lumber. A saw mill like the one at the Museum had a maximum daily output of about 10,000 board feet.

The turpentine still. The turpentining, or naval stores, industry came to the wiregrass region of Georgia in the early 1870's. This industry moved to the region (known for its longleaf pines) from the piney woods area of North Carolina, where the best timber had been worked out (meaning that the trees were no longer useful for turpentining). The work of turpentining started in the woods, where crews of men, usually black labourers, worked year-round under the supervision of a foreman, called a woodsrider, to collect the gum (or sap) used to make turpentine and rosin. The still components located here were donated by Beverly and Lonnie H. Pope, while other pieces of equipment and still parts were donated by a great many people throughout Georgia, Florida and Virginia.

Hope National Gas Company 3, ex. sold to Wright & Wulfson, Incorporated in 1956, exx. Cranberry Creek Railroad 1957, exxx. sold to Woodland Museum Incorporated in 1960, exxxxx. Raritan River Sand Company 0-4-0 2, nee Hope National Gas Company 3, built by H.K. Porter in 1925.

The train returned us to the station at the front of the museum and we detrained for some pictures of the engine.

Hardaway Contracting Company 0-4-0T 5, ex. Georgia Agrirama Park 5 1976, exx. Hall Carmichael 5 1973, exxx. donated to Kings Mountain State Park in 1963, exxxxx. Little Palmetto Railroad 2609 1963, exxxxxx. Winding Gulf Coal Company in 1923, exxxxxx. Rinehart & Dennis, nee Hardaway Contracting Company 5, built by Vulcan Iron Works in 1923.

A look down the track from where we had come.

Elizabeth then drove us back to the Lake Blackshear Conference Center and attended the Federal Railroad Administration's steam seminar which we both found very interesting and enlightening. Afterwards, we returned to the hotel and I finished this story to this point then returned to the conference centre for the banquet, where I had the steak and Elizabeth the chicken.