On this warm May afternoon, a patient Williams sits slouched, legs crossed and arms relaxed, donning his vintage CSX railroad company cap littered with miniature train pendants.
He is waiting for a train.
A scanner, listening for oncoming train signals, crackles in the background as it picks up some conductor chatter.
He waits some more.
“A lot of people in this town thought I was on the kooky side,” said Williams, who is retired from the paper and pulp industry. “But I love it. I’ve loved these trains ever since I was a kid.”
Folkston, Georgia, where Williams lives, is one of many train hot spots nationwide. Here, the blasting train noises are jokingly called “Folkston music.” With up to 60 trains crawling loudly through the quaint town each day, it’s become an attraction for fans eager to collect train images and sounds.
In 2001, Williams, who grew up by a train track, pushed town officials to construct a viewing platform with picnic tables, wireless Internet and a scanner to detect oncoming trains. The Southeast Georgia town reports that at least 12,500 visitors from all over the world visit the platform to watch trains each year.