Absolutely Alabama: Foley, Ala. - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Absolutely Alabama: Foley, Ala.

(WXTX) -

You may only think of Foley as the last small town you pass through on your way to the gulf beaches. But this is more than just a whistle stop along the way.

You hear a train whistle and you hit the door running because there's got to be a train somewhere.

Paul Hartline's father and grandfather were railroad men and he tried it for awhile.

"I worked for the Redding one year as a gandy dancer, a section gang; too cussed hot in the summer and too cussed cold in the winter so I said this ain't for me," said Hartline.

But trains were in his blood so after he retired from the telephone company he moved to Baldwin County where he met some like-minded folks with a group called the caboose club. He also met a Foley councilman, the late Charles Ebert Jr., who shared a love for the romance of trains.

And somewhere along the line Mr. Ebert heard about this layout being available.

"He gives me a call and says Paul I'm going to Montgomery tomorrow morning. You wanna go with me to look at a railroad layout?" said Hartline. "We drove to Montgomery. I walked into the gentleman's kitchen into his train room and I looked and I says, Mr. Goldman, you're giving this away? He says, Yes. I says We'll take it."

Alan Goldman had spent years building up his train set but he was moving to Florida and simply wanted someone who would do what any good railroad man would do: keep the trains running.

"We came in, we started laying out plans," said Goldman.  

The layout took us 14 months to build and then another year to get the bugs out of it.

"We have little bit over actual quarter mile of track; 26 locomotives right now on controllers that we control. I'm gone a say 13 named trains."   

"We've had over 40,000 people in the past seven years come through this layout and from every country in the world."

If you can't find something interesting at the Foley Railroad Museum it's probably because you've never taken the time to stop or to watch the Union Pacific go roaring by and maybe the trains still have something to teach.

Next time you're headed for the beaches of south Baldwin, block off a little time for a trip back in time and visit with the Caboose Club and the Foley Railroad Museum. It's a whistle stop you'll love and it's Absolutely Alabama. 

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