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  Trip Report: Georgia and Florida 2007 - Chapter 1
  Bone Valley I
Saturday, 20 Jan 2007
  From: Georgia and Florida 2007
Dates: 7 Feb 2007 Author: Nathan Holmes

Nearly five years ago, I spent about two weeks running around Tampa and discovering CSX's extensive operations out in the Bone Valley - a phosphate mining region approximately half an hour east of Tampa. To see photos and notes from that trip, have a look at the first couple chapters from that trip report. This time, I'd actually be working up in Tallahassee, but I had a weekend to kill between flying in and actually having to do any work. I actually flew into Jacksonville, and headed down state early Saturday morning. I figured since I only had a day or so before I needed to head into Tallahassee, somewhere with a lot of Class I trains would be the best, since shortlines don't tend to work weekends. CSX's Bone Valley operations fit the bill nicely. Better yet, the weather was promising to be warm and clear down around Tampa, so off I went.

That Saturday actually turned out to be a bit of a bust. Despite spending most of the day zipping around the area, checking and rechecking mines, junctions, and the Mulberry yard at the hub of it all, I came up with two lousy trains. The first was a single SD70M that brought a cut of cars from Mulberry out to the Nichols yard, and then immediately returned light. The other was a pair of SD40-2s that ran east out of Mulberry - away from the sun - and went in to switch the plant north of Hwy 60 near Bartow until well after dark. Like I said, pretty much a bust, although the weather was beautiful and it was good to familiarize myself with the region again.

Unfortunately, since this was, after all, a work trip, I did have to head for Tallahassee on Sunday morning so that I could be around for work that evening. The west coast of Florida is now largely devoid of railways, since the Florida West Coast ripped up its last few miles of track. I did find one relic on the drive north, however - a small Vulcan 2-8-0 in a roadside park at Gulf Hammock, FL. The unit apparently originally belonged to a local logging operation called Patterson & McInnis. That's about all I know of the unit's heritage, though.



Photo 1
CSX SD70M 4679 stops at the yard end of the Mulberry, FL, wye to allow the crew to line themselves westward towards Nichols.
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Photo 2
Arriving at Nichols, the train has reached the end of its run. The crew will drop the string of empties in the yard and head back to Mulberry.
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Photo 3
Meanwhile, back in Mulberry, these two SD40-2s (CSXT 8006 and 8001) are ready to leave the yard with a mixed freight going east.
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Photo 4
Leaving the east end of the Mulberry wye, headed for downtown Mulberry and then out to switch the phosphate plant on the north side of Hwy 60 near Bartow.
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Photo 5
Heading east in the last light of the day...
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Photo 6
Just west of downtown Bartow, we find this work train tied up for the day. This unit would have started off life as L&N GP38-2 4110.
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Photo 7
Here's a wanderer, far from home. Yes, it's a Rio Grande covered hopper, now with NAHX reporting marks and sitting in the Mulberry, FL, yard.
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Photo 8
On my north from Tampa to Tallahassee on Sunday, I found this little steamer beside US 19 in Gulf Hammock, FL. It's Patterson & McInnis #3, a Vulcan 2-8-0, and belonged to a local lumber mill by the same name.
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Photo 9
The thing's darn hard to photograph through the fence, but I suppose that's part of what keeps it safe way out here.
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Creative Commons License This work is copyright 2007 by Nathan D. Holmes (maverick@drgw.net), but licensed under a Creative Commons License. This allows and encourages others to copy, modify, use, and distribute my work for non-commercial purposes (only), without the hassle of asking me for explicit permission or fear of copyright violation. I encourage others to consider CC or other Open Content-style licensing of their original works.

All photographs in this trip report were taken with a Canon EOS 20D using either a Canon 24-105mm F4 L IS/USM or a Canon 75-300mm f4-5.6 IS/USM.