We recently traveled to Florida to interview Mac Owen to introduce the all new, never before seen release, "Steaming Through the Deep South," which he filmed in the 1960s. Watching and re-watching the footage, we notice many fantastic scenes that capture rail operations the way few of us will ever get to see them again.
In Louisiana, the fireman chunks two-foot logs of wood through the firebox door to make steam. In Tennessee, the brakeman and conductor relax while riding the pilot beam of the engine down the main line. In Mississippi, the locomotive kicks a cut of cars into a siding and waits while the brakeman runs to catch up with them and stop them in time. In Arkansas, passengers lean out the doors and windows to catch the breeze while a real branch line mixed train steams through the woods to deliver the goods and bring the neighbors home. This is southern back-country railroading the way it really was. You can almost smell the woodsmoke, the coal smoke, and the valve oil.
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