U.S. Sugar to Run First Cane Train of the Season Behind Steam

In what is becoming an annual tradition, U.S. Sugar 4-6-2 148 will lead the first cane train of the season on Friday. Photo Courtesy of U.S. Sugar.

U.S. Sugar to Run First Cane Train of the Season Behind Steam

By Railfan & Railroad Staff

CLEWISTON, Fla. — U.S. Sugar 4-6-2 148 will stretch its legs this week leading the first sugarcane train of the season in Florida. On Friday, October 1, locomotive 148 will lead a freight to the Clewiston Sugar Factory before spending the rest of the day on display. 

The former Florida East Coast locomotive was restored to service last year and U.S. Sugar uses it for public events and excursions under the banner “Sugar Express.” 

On Friday, the train will depart 1st Avenue and Florida Avenue NW in Moore Haven, Fla. at approximately 9:30 a.m., and pull south through Clewiston over U.S. 27 to the Clewiston Sugar Factory. Then between Noon and 5 p.m., the 148 will be under steam and on display for the general public at the Sugar Express facility at the corner Basilian Cres and South Deane Duff Avenue.

The oil-fired locomotive was built at Alco’s Richmond Works in April 1920 and worked in passenger service for Florida East Coast before being sold to U.S. Sugar in 1952. At U.S. Sugar, the locomotive moved sugar cane from the fields to a mill at Clewiston, Fla. After it was retired by US Sugar, 148 briefly returned to passenger service in the 1970s at New Jersey’s Black River & Western and Morristown & Erie. The locomotive saw a number of owners after that and spent time in Colorado, Michigan and Connecticut. In each instance, hopes to restore the locomotive to operation always faltered. In late 2016, U.S. Sugar repurchased the locomotive and brought it back to Clewiston for restoration. The restoration was completed in partnership with FMW Solutions, LLC. 

U.S. Sugar’s South Central Florida Express operates on more than 200 miles of track in central Florida, much it still used to haul cut sugar cane from field to factory, the last such operation in the country.

This article was posted on: September 29, 2021