By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia
Members of the North American Rail Car Operators Association, or NARCOA, came through Stephens, Franklin, Hart, and Elbert counties Saturday on their Putt Putt’s and Speeders, riding the rails as the invited guests of the Hartwell Railroad.
Bobby Morman is a member from Georgia who led this weekend’s excursion.
Morman said the little cars are vintage rail cars historically used for railroad maintenance.
“These are original yellow or orange motor cars, sometimes called PutPut’s, sometimes called Speeders,” Morman said. “And in the old days, this is what the railroads used to help maintain the tracks and railways.”
Starting in Bowersville, about 30 members rode their tiny rail cars from Bowersville south to Elberton.
Then from Elberton they came back to Bowersville and rode the Hartwell line to Toccoa.
After about an hour’s stop in Martin, they rode back to Bowersville through Lavonia, where train enthusiasts came with their children and grandchildren to watch the little vintage cars go by.
Morman said members of NARCOA are train enthusiasts who come from all over North America and all walks of life to ride the rails in these little cars.
“I don’t think there’s anybody here that’s from the railroad, but we have everything from preachers to airline pilots, to accountants, to retired military,” he said. “We just love trains and this gives us the opportunity to ride on the tracks where others don’t have that opportunity.”
Members on Saturday’s rail ride came from all over the country and British Columbia.