For you train and rail lovers out there, here’s a recent article from the Wall Street Journal on new train-themed vacations. Some towns are even attracting tourists by building train-watching platforms..
The Trainspotting Vacation – WSJ.com
The Trainspotting Vacation
Towns cater to rail nostalgia with covered platforms, train-themed gift shops; Georgia’s ‘Iron Triangle’
By DANIEL MACHALABA
May 19, 2007
Stuart and Mary Beth Lodge sit back in their chairs on an outdoor viewing platform and wait for the show to begin. Suddenly, they hear the blast of a horn, followed by the roar of diesel locomotives. A mile-long freight train races by 70 feet in front of them.
For the Lodges, the trains are what bring them to this small town in southern Georgia. “I love the power, the force and the strength of trains,” says Ms. Lodge, a personal life coach from Atlanta.
It’s been more than 50 years since the end of the railroads’ glamour days, when Hollywood stars still traveled on fast streamliners to the coast and powerful steam locomotives symbolized the country’s industrial might. These days, when even plane travel is passé, trains evoke a passion in some people the way baseball or food might in others. They recall a bygone era when life was simpler and when small towns still thrived before the suburbs took hold.
Now, Folkston is figuring out how to profit from that passion. Officials are turning what many local residents here have considered a major annoyance — the gritty, noisy railroad tracks through the center of town — into a tourist attraction. Several years ago this town near the Florida border built a covered wooden platform next to CSX’s busy mainline tracks and outfitted it with chairs, lights, ceiling fans and other amenities. Thousands of train lovers now flock to the platform each year to watch the 70 CSX freight and Amtrak passenger trains that come through town every 24 hours…