What the heck is a Pickens Doodle?

Doodle Trail Pickens South Carolina

•All aboard•

While driving through Pickens, South Carolina I spotted a Baldwin VO-600 Diesel Locomotive. It was a really neat find, and I enjoyed photographing the old train. This one was built in 1945 and was used on The Doodle line between Pickens and Easley. I didn’t know it at the time, but in 2015 a 7.5-mile trail was created that runs where the railway used to be. The train signifies the trailhead.
Doodle Trail Pickens South Carolina
I think that it is a wonderful use for the old railroad. The citizens of Pickens and Easley also seem to be very proud of the project’s success. You can go biking, rollerblading, or stick to the basics like walking. I really hope other towns will make similar use of the numerous depots found throughout the Upstate. One thing did bother me though.

•Doodle?•

I’ve been trying to figure this out and I’ll admit I’m completely stumped. Pickens website says that the locals can be blamed for coming up with the name. The Pickens Doodle line was nicknamed because of the way the freight train moved or couldn’t move. The engine would leave from Pickens and on the return was forced to move in reverse since it couldn’t turn around. That reverse motion reminded people of a doodlebug.
Doodle Trail Pickens South Carolina
So what is a Doodlebug then? I googled it and if you wish to have nightmares CLICK HERE. I really could have gone my entire life without seeing that. So what does that thing have to do with a train moving backward? I have no clue. A Doodlebug does drag its butt around and make lines in the dirt though. That was kind of a neat fact… Though not exactly relevant to the backward motion of the train.
Doodle Trail Pickens South Carolina
That is when I discovered the Doodlebug railcars that had become popular around the same time. These railcars were used in rural areas in between towns just like this rail line had been between Pickens and Easley. Perhaps that is what Pickens meant? It isn’t so much the movement, but that the railway is similar to that of a Doodlebug line. What do you think?

#88 on the Adventure Map

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