Romance of the Rails

COLUMBUS COUPLE GETS READY TO TAKE THEIR 1925 PRIVATE CAR ON ITS FIRST TRIP AFTER RESTORATION

Some people satisfy their love affair with trains by building elaborate model train layouts.     

Smoky Mountain Trains Museum, Bryson City, NC

Smoky Mountain Trains Museum, Bryson City, NC. It has one of the largest collections of Lionel model trains in the United States.

Others go on vintage train excursions, and some take trips on Amtrak trains.  But, there is a very special group. They buy and renovate private railroad cars.  That is a very expensive proposition, but a Columbus couple has done just that.

Let me tell you about Borden Black and Nelson McGahee.  Borden’s last name is actually McGahee, too, but she goes by Borden Black when she wears her journalism hat.   Nelson is a civil service employee at Fort Benning.

He is also a total railroad buff, and, since Borden is married to him,  so is she.  They are so much into it, they have been restoring a 1925 Pullman private car for years.  I asked Borden for a picture of it and she sent the one below.  For this picture, she changed the color of the paint job to what it will be before they actually hook it to a train.  This color is the way it looked originally, she said.

Borden Black and Nelson McGahee's private car, Charolette, NC.

Borden Black and Nelson McGahee's private car, Charlotte, NC.

Pending a federal inspection,  they plan to couple the car to a special train of 23 private cars that an Amtrak engine will pull from Washington D.C. to Cape Canaveral, ending up in Savannah for the The American Association of Private Railroad Car Owners National Convention on November 5.   Want a ride? They’re selling tickets for day trips.  They’ll run between $290 and $390 (that includes the $90 fee for joining the private car owners’ association) for different legs of the trip.  You can learn more by emailing Borden and Nelson at dearingrr@aol.com.  They can seat nine people and serve them breakfast and lunch. 

Dining room on the Dearing,  Borden Black and Nelson McGahee's private car

Dining room on the Dearing, Borden Black and Nelson McGahee's private car

 Borden says she’s going to do the cooking.

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One Response to “Romance of the Rails”

  1. Gil McBride Says:

    Dick–Enjoy your site, especially the stories about trains and railroading. My uncle was engineer on the Nancy Hanks between Macon and Atlanta; my great grandfather was a boiler maker for Southern; and my great grandfather was a section foreman based in Jackson, GA and died in a railroad accident.

    One of the last portions of Atlanta Terminal Station is facing demolition (or may have been demolished already). This was one of the grandest terminals in the nation–designed by the same architect who built the Fox. Georgians lost an important part of our heritage when it was demolished in the early 70s and replaced with the Russell Federal Office Building.

    Keep up the good work.
    Gil McBride

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