Come For The Swamp, Stay For The Trains | News

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Come For The Swamp, Stay For The Trains
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FOLKSTON, Ga. -- If the sound of a train whistle sounds like the perfect, soothing lullaby to fall asleep to, then there's a new place in Folkston you'll probably enjoy.

"People come here from all over the world," said Dixie McGurn.

McGurn owns a store/restaurant on Main Street called Whistlin Dixie. 

But Dixie and her husband also just bought some lodging for train enthusiasts.

"We've got the Roadmaster's Lodge, and the caboose," she said.

Both are just a few feet from the CSX railroad tracks that run directly through the heart of downtown Folkston.

McGurn, a former mayor of the south Georgia town, said tourism is a major part of their economy. 

Folkston is known as the Gateway to the Okefenokee Swamp, which brings thousands to the area every year.

But, as Dixie said, folks travel from as far away as Europe and Canada to see the trains.

"You can't really explain why it grabs you, but it does," said Martin Boyask. 

Martin and his wife live full time in London, but vacation in Folkston every year.

And Dixie said the key to success in her small town is capitalizing on the resources they have.

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"And that's my goal, to have folks come see the swamp and the trains. Then eat, shop and sleep right here in town."

On average the town gets a train every seven minutes. Folkston is known as "the funnel" because trains coming from all parts of the country bottleneck here on their way through Florida.

"Some places you go train watching and you can sit for 2 or 3 hours and not see anything," Boyask said. "Not here. You always know in Folkston you'll see one pretty soon."

The town has a speaker and monitor system so folks can walk around and know when the next train is coming. 

Dixie even has a live cam set up for folks to watch from home.

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