Volunteer Spotlight: Jeff Darter

Jeff Darter, left, has volunteered at the museum for more than 20 years.

Jeff Darter’s sunny disposition and in-depth knowledge of trains and railways makes him a valued volunteer.

Jeff has volunteered at the museum for more than 20 years, and he mainly volunteers in the Education Department as a tour guide. He also lends a hand with the Second Thursday preschool program and the summer day camp leading activities for young train enthusiasts.

Jeff is also the editor of the Hotbox Atlanta Chapter Newsletter.

“I had an interest in railroads,” Jeff said. “By the time I was ten years old, I had ridden trains on 13 different railroads and on streetcars in at least four different cities.”

Jeff has traveled on many railroads, including the Pennsylvania, B&O, C&O, Missouri Pacific, Rock Island Line, Southern Pacific, Pacific Electric, Santa Fe, Southern Railway Atlantic and West Point, Western Railway of Alabama, and L&N. His favorites include The Golden State, chief Capitol Limited, and Crescent.

However, Jeff’s all-time favorite trains he has ridden in later years are the Silver Comet, Nancy Hanks II, White pass and Yukon Alaska Rail Road, TALGO in Spain, Mt. Washington Cog Railroad and Pikes Peak Cog Railroad.

“I enjoy showing off our historical equipment and explaining it to tour groups,” Jeff said. “Many of our younger guests have never been on a train before, while some of the adults will talk about how they have ridden behind some of our locomotives when they were active.”

Jeff has other interest outside of being an active train enthusiast.

“I enjoy bluegrass music and attending live music performances with my wife, Nancy. We go to two or three festivals each year. I am trying to learn how to play the banjo.

Jeff and his wife, Nancy, love to travel and take cruises, including through the Panama Canal and Alaska. Nancy also volunteers with Jeff at day camp, serving snacks for the day campers and volunteers.

Jeff was born in Washington, DC, and grew up in Maryland. He moved to Pennsylvania and then to Los Angeles during WWII. After the war, Jeff returned to Maryland. He moved to Atlanta in 1958, then relocated to Macon. From there he went to Savannah, next Biloxi, Mississippi, and finally retired to his present residence in Tucker.

“I served in the JAG Corps of the US Air Force, and after I retired, I was employed by the Georgia Insurance Commissioner’s Office,” he said.

Now that Jeff is retired, he spends his time with Nancy traveling, going to concerts, festivals, and of course, volunteering at the Southeastern Railway Museum.

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