Arcane Opening Procedure at the Moore Haven Railway Bridge (Okeechobee Waterway, St. M. 78.5)
Wow, this sounds like something that might have taken place during my Dad’s cruising days in the early 1950’s! Note the VERY HELPFUL phone number provided by Captain Regina below, if you should find yourself in this same fix!
Moore Haven is located north of Clewiston, FL, and is the gateway to the western 1/2 of the Okeechobee Waterway!
Today our destination was Indiantown, eastbound across Lake Okeechobee, so we wanted to get an `earlier’ start at 8 a.m. We had spent the night at Moorehaven and as we went under the Moorehaven bridge, we noticed that the Moorehaven Railway Bridge was down. It’s supposed to be open unless a train is coming. Several of the cruising guides suggest sounding the horn for someone to open it. We tried that several times to no avail. Finally, we called the lockmaster at Ortona Lock for suggestions. He gave us the phone number of the CSX Dispatch in Clewiston. After a chuckle, the man at CSX we spoke with said they’d send someone in about 5 minutes to open the bridge ‘“ SO NO BRIDGETENDER ON DUTY???. After 30 minutes, a man in a pickup truck came and in 10-15 minutes the bridge was open.. So our early start wasn’t so early ‘“ we lost over an hour waiting for the bridge to open. Oh, one of the joys of cruising’¦’¦
If you are crossing Lake O and have a questions or problems with a railway bridge, here is the number we were given for CSX Dispatch in Clewiston: 863-983-3163!
There appears to be a lot of RR activity in Moore Haven lately. We came through on 2/16 and the RR bridge was down. There was a short train preparing to cross. A couple of men got off the train and walked back and forth across the bridge like they were inspecting it. The train finally crossed and we had to wait about 10 minutes to go through. I don’t know of any of RR bridges that have bridge tenders on duty.