Sunday, March 30, 2014

3/29 & 30/'14 Trolley stop # 1 - Railroad Museum

     Stop #1 on the Old Savannah Tours trolley is the old railroad depot.  We are greeted there by Darin Farr, who is playing the role of a pirate today.  Savannah has a strict policy and tough testing for those who would do any sort of tour guiding, and Darin is in the process of getting his license.  There are 120 pages of history to memorize, and taking the test costs $100.  If you fail three times you are out - no more tries.  

    Jamie is semi-retired after working with Disney, working his way up through the ranks to Entertainment Manager.  He handled preliminary production work for Beauty and the Beast and other productions.  He works as a play-write full time now, having written plays on Will Rogers and Jack Benny.  He is currently writing a play on Kennedy.

Jamie Grafton

     Right behind the old depot lies the Georgia State Railroad Museum, the largest 19th century railroad museum in the country.  

     In the center of the old railroad yard lies a big circular turnstile, where trains could pull on and then be pivoted to run onto different sets of track that lie inside a big repair facility.  Today the building houses a couple of dozen old railroad engines and nuerous types of cars.

Brad Shields and Sam Youngblood

     One of the old locomotives is kept in running condition, making trips around the yard a few times a day for the museums visitors.  Brad Shields and Sam Youngblood keep the engine running, which is hard and dirty work.

     A number of other engines from various eras dot the landscape.

     Here is an old crane used among other things to lay track.  The old controls look like a couple of hand-fulls to operate.

     There were a couple of the old luxury coaches that have been restored, but the only one open for inside tours was a mid-level coach.  

     And a caboose - I always wondered what was in a caboose.  Turns out it is a bunkhouse, cooking and bathroom facility for the crew.  Interesting to observe the huge vents in the roof of the warehouse to exhaust the fumes when they were working on the engines.

     Numerous other old passenger cars are undergoing restoration.

      Another area of the complex used to be the machine shops.  The old steam engine was used for power.   It turned a shaft, which after running through the walls into the next building, turned large leather belts that powered numerous different tools.

     Yet another area is an educational area, where an operating steam engine is fired up to show how they worked.

     The oldest photo I have seen yet showed a fellow named Benjamin Armstrong who was a brick mason working on the facility when it was built in 1850.  Can you imagine wearing a suit to build a brick building in the Georgia heat?  

Benjamin Armstrong

     There is even an extensive miniature train display that depicts what the train system looked like in Savannah at its peak.  

    If you stop in, be sure to say "hi" to Sara and Jessica at the gift shop.

Sara Bolow and Jessica Ortiz

      A late evening rain shower passed through, but that didn't slow down the night-life.  One of the pedal bars was cruising right along through the shower.  I didn't see a single dry drunk on the wagon. 

Have a great Monday all !!

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