CLEWISTON, Fla. — U.S. Sugar has hired a rail industry veteran to lead its new and growing steam program. Operations Manager Scott Ogle will oversee the day-to-day operations and maintenance of former Florida East Coast 4-6-2 148, dubbed the “Sugar Express.”
The news comes as U.S. Sugar works on growing its steam program. The company eventually hopes to offer regular excursions on its 200-mile network in Florida. Last year, the company restored 148 to service and earlier this month it was announced that it was acquiring a second locomotive: Atlantic Coast Line 4-6-2 1504.
“We are excited to welcome Scott on board to lead the Sugar Express. The re-acquisition and restoration of steam locomotive 148 was a big step in the vision of incorporating historic trains with public education about our local agriculture operations,” said Judy Sanchez, U.S. Sugar’s Senior Director for Corporate Communications and Public Affairs. “I have no doubt that Scott will bring his tremendous knowledge as well as fresh, new ideas to help us expand this exciting project.”
A Tennessee native, Ogle will be heading to Clewiston with over 30 years of tourist-steam and short-line railroad experience. He has spent most of his career overseeing safe operations, performing equipment inspections, and doing maintenance on locomotives. Before joining Sugar Express, Ogle has worked for The Dollywood Company in Pigeon Forge as senior supervisor of their railroad and machine shop, as well as other various railroad companies.
“I am thrilled to be joining an organization that has demonstrated such a strong commitment to preserving history by restoring such an iconic part of Florida’s farming legacy,” said Ogle. “I look forward to helping lead the Sugar Express into the next chapter as it begins preparing to welcome passengers to Clewiston from across America.”
U.S. Sugar’s South Central Florida Express operates on more than 200 miles of track in central Florida, much of which is still used to haul cut sugar cane from field to factory, the last such operation in the country.