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Waycross's Steam Locomotives

Old Nine, a 1912 Baldwin 2-8-2, is part of a railroad exhibit at the Okefenokee Heritage Center at Waycross. Along with the engine are a coal tender, a passenger car, a mail/baggage car, a caboose, and three other cars making up 365 feet of historic rolling stock. The locomotive and coal tender were brought to Waycross in 1973 from the Rockton & Rion Railway in South Carolina.

The locale that later became Waycross was first known as No. 9, as it was the ninth stop on the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad. Oldtimers often called the community "Old Nine" long after it was given the name Tebeauville, then Waycross. As a reminder of this heritage, the museum designated the engine as No. 9.

The museum's train is nicknamed the "Okefenokee Chief."

A close-up view of the driving wheels.

Unlike today's trains, the Okefenokee Chief has a caboose at the rear.

Next door to the Okefenokee Heritage Center is the Southern Forest World museum. Among its exhibits is Argent Lumber Company's No. 3, a narrow-gauge 2-6-0 steamer built by the H.K. Porter Company of Pittsburgh in 1905. (A period photo of this locomotive is online at, along with information on the Argent Lumber Company).

The running gear: Power cylinder (at left) turns reciprocating motion into rotational motion by pushing a piston rod guided by a crosshead which pushes a main rod that connects off-center to the main driving wheel. Side rods transmit the main wheel motion to the other driving wheels.

Old Argent Lumber Company locomotive, Waycross

The locomotive ran on 36-inch gauge tracks.

The "cabbage stack" was designed to minimize the escape of cinders from wood burning in the firebox.

Waycross was established as a railroad center well over a century ago and remains so today. Its Rice Yard is a major classification yard and locomotive repair facility for CSX. The city also has a long and important history as a forest products center.

Suggested Reading:

Susan Lott Clark. The Unusual Story of the Okefenokee Heritage Center and Southern Forest World. Privately published, 2010. Georgia's Railroad History & Heritage. © Steve Storey

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