Old Engine Retires At 77

| February/March 1990

1018 West Dixie Avenue, Leesburg, Florida 32748

Friday evening about 10:00, June 22, 1989, we finally arrived home with the old 20 HP Fairbanks-Morse type N, hit and miss engine that was used to open the CSX Railroad bridge over the Altamaha River at Doctors Town Road, Jesup, Georgia. This culminated three years of effort on my part.

It all started while talking with a Mr. Jeffords with the then Seaboard Coastline R.R., now CSX, in Waycross, Georgia. This was in the summer of 1986. I had called him about having my name placed on their bid-list so I could bid on one of their Fairmont R.R. motor cars. He just happened to mention that he bet I would be interested in an old engine they had over at Jesup, Georgia that opened a R.R. bridge over the Altamaha River.

During hunting season, my wife and I go though Jesup almost every weekend, so on my next trip up we drove down Doctors Town Road and there the bridge stood with the engine house 25 feet high right over the R.R. track, 20 feet out on the span and about 25 feet above the river, a total of 50 feet to the top of the ladder. I tried twice to go up that ladder but half way up, I froze-I could not go one step higher. I am afraid of heights, especially when my body is hanging out over whatever it is, and if I slipped it could mean my death.

My next trip the following weekend, I took my climber's safety belt and was determined to see that old engine. It was a white knuckle climb all the way for me. When I got to the top of the ladder, I hooked my safety belt before climbing onto the platform.

The door was not locked and when I opened it, there was this beautiful old Fairbanks-Morse. It was hooked up with a direct drive off the crankshaft over to all these huge gears that raise and lower the R.R. bridge.