Author Topic: Anyone remember THE MANDARIN TRAIN?  (Read 4565 times)

Ocklawaha

  • Phd. Ferroequinology
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10437
  • Monster of Mobility! Ocklawaha is Robert Mann
    • LIGHT RAIL JACKSONVILLE
Anyone remember THE MANDARIN TRAIN?
« on: November 15, 2007, 11:19:51 PM »

Mandarin, back in the day!

Anyone else have fond childhood memories of the Mandarin Train? The tiny St. Johns and Eastern Railroad which operated way out in the woods in Mandarin, from the mid-1940's until well into the 1960's. The land was on the site of the Publix Supermarket, and before the Publix Plaza buried all of the history, the old Mandarin Supermarket still had the tracks in it's entry drives. Mr. Ward, of Jacksonville's West Side built the Live Steam Locomotives in his garage on Lexington, Avenue. He operated the best train ride in the World for .10 cents! My sister lived across the street from his West Side home, and we talked with him many times. Maybe he is to blame for the railroader's blood in my veins?

Parade Magazine ran a feature story on "JACKSONVILLE'S IRON PONY" in a 1946 issue. The train was recommended as a tourist attraction in area brochures of the time. It was truly wonderful. Could we do it today? Could we regain those little trains? Yes! Did you know as an outgrowth of the "LOVE" put into many a Jacksonville boy and girl, today, Jacksonville has a CLUB for people that build and operate their own little "Mandarin Trains" with membership scattered all over the region. They even have an extensive club track and railroad in Bostwick. If any City Officials, Parks or Council types ever get this idea, we could be host to something really unique. I have the details if your interested, meanwhile, anyone else remember The Mandarin Train?
South of Green Cove Springs today!
Ocklawaha
« Last Edit: February 05, 2018, 11:31:46 AM by Ocklawaha »

Lunican

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3894
    • MetroJacksonville.com
Re: Anyone remember THE MANDARIN TRAIN?
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2007, 11:24:46 PM »
That thing is actually pretty big. I bet that locomotive weighs more than a car.


Ocklawaha

  • Phd. Ferroequinology
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10437
  • Monster of Mobility! Ocklawaha is Robert Mann
    • LIGHT RAIL JACKSONVILLE
Re: Anyone remember THE MANDARIN TRAIN?
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2007, 11:33:28 PM »
Huge. I think it ran on 15 inch gauge track. Most of the trains in the hobby today use 7.5" gauge, though the larger ones are gaining ground again fast. The North East Florida Live Steamers have both 7.5" and 2' gauge, nearly a mile of each, exclusive of the yards and terminals. Most of the guys have special trucks or trailers to haul their equipment around. The local club has all manner of lifts available for loading or unloading. I know a fellow with a 7.5" Northern Type steam Locomotive, wet, it weighs in at over 9,000 lbs! I added another photo to the post to contrast todays operation with the original. I would love someone at the City to call me and talk about how to bring this home to one of our large parks.
Ocklawaha
« Last Edit: February 05, 2018, 11:29:51 AM by Ocklawaha »

lindab

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 304
Re: Anyone remember THE MANDARIN TRAIN?
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2007, 07:08:16 AM »
We remember it. Loved that whistle. To me the charm was also the way the track wove in and out of beautiful woods so you had the effect of deep shadow and then sun.

nice

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Re: Anyone remember THE MANDARIN TRAIN?
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2018, 01:14:20 AM »
I'm 70 and when I was a kid mom & dad would go to an orange grove out on the river in this area and we would buy a bushel of oranges that the grove owner would get for us. We would stop at the little train. My uncle lived in the area and we would stop and see him, Uncle Harold (Bo) Hall and my aunt Mandy.

Snaketoz

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 584
Re: Anyone remember THE MANDARIN TRAIN?
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2018, 08:15:21 AM »
I remember.  I also remember all of the citrus groves in Mandarin.  In the 40s and 50s you could get citrus fruit at many places.  I also remember how far Mandarin seemed to be from Jacksonville proper.  Even going to Goodsby creek was quite a journey for a kid.

billy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 945
Re: Anyone remember THE MANDARIN TRAIN?
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2018, 11:38:08 AM »
Anyone recall the Ponderosa BBQ on State Road 13?