Railfan Sites in Florida

A self-guiding railfan tour

Railfan, railfan--where do you see trains in Florida? Below is a listing of specific places for railfanning Florida.

Besides the individual sites listed, a self-guiding railfan tour of the CSX main line across the northern part of the state is under development, and a 213-mile stretch has been completed, of which 194 are in Florida. We're calling this tour the Sunset Route -- East tour, and the sites on the tour are identified with an "[SR-E]" annotation. Clicking on any of these latter sites will take you directly to the tour.

Mapwork: If you're going to be looking for railfan locations, you'll need an industrial strength map resource. I definitely recommend you get a DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer, study it before your trip, and copy pertinent pages for your field work. You can find information here about Railfan Maps that are available.

Cities And Sites

(1) Thanks to "Trainman Alex". The Bone Valley phosphate mining area is about 30 miles due east of Tampa on FL-60.

(2) Thanks to Jon Hollahan.

(3) With thanks to Martin Boyask, the editor of the "ROUNDHOUSE", which is the NMRA's British Region's publication. Good to know there are Brits who truly enjoy the finer things in life!

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AUBURNDALE (February 15, 1996)

This is a town right smack in the middle of Florida, and a lot of folks have never heard of it. It is, however, the site of a fairly important railroad junction. In days gone by, the Seaboard Airline crossed the Atlantic Coast Line here. The SAL line went from Miami (via Palm Beach) to Coleman (on the ex-SAL line south of Ocala). The ACL line was between Orlando and Tampa. Today, all trackage is CSX, and the SAL line north of the crossing in Auburndale has been torn up. Even without the latter, however, there's a decent amount of traffic, including 6 daily "Silver" Amtraks in daylight hours. Most Jacksonville - Tampa freight travels via Ocala and Plant City, so it doesn't go thru Auburndale.

To get to the diamond, which is now a wye, go south from I-4, exit 21, and follow local road 559 all the way south to U.S. 92. Take U.S. 92 east (left from LR-559) until you go up and over the railroad tracks. The junction is directly under the overpass. The street intersection at the crossing is McKean and Magnolia. If you're staying in the area, and are from an area which sees few Amtrak trains, the junction can be a treat, but there are a couple of caveats: First, photography of almost anything is difficult, to say the least. The overpass itself presents problems, as do warehouses and other buildings in the area. Second, the area is noisy, with a busy highway directly overhead, so you must be alert. A scanner would be helpful, because there is a talking defect detector at MP A843.3, a little over 2 miles to the west.

Thanks to T. N. Colbert (K3HX) for this railfan location contribution.

BALDWIN -- BURGER KING (December 27, 2001)

This is south of I-10, exit 50, on U.S. 301. At the Burger King, there is an un-named road leading behind the restaurant to the yard's ready track. There are poles between you and the railroad.

Thanks to T. N. Colbert (K3HX) for this railfan location contribution. Rick Tufts vetted this site for us in 2002, and he feels the McDonalds parking area is better for railfans.


From I-10, exit 343, go north on U.S. 301/Main Street into the center of Baldwin. Take a right onto U.S. 90, and then after about 3 blocks, you'll see the restaurant at the corner of Center Street. Decent food available (working man's diner -- opened 5 AM - 2 PM.) at reasonable prices, and a good view of the U.S. 90 crossing from the east side of the restaurant.

Frograil thanks Lee "N4MVL" Boulineau for this data.

BALDWIN -- McDONALDS (January 3, 2002)

This town is west of Jacksonville, on U.S. 301. On that storied road, hit the McDonald's parking lot just south of the I-10 overpass. Go around to the back of the lot, and there is the loco storage part of the yard right in front of you. Watching those simmering babes can make even Mickey-D's fries palatable.

With thanks to Martin Boyask, the editor of the "ROUNDHOUSE", which is the NMRA's British Region's publication. Good to know there are Brits who truly enjoy the finer things in life! Rick Tufts vetted this site for us in 2002.

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From I-10, exit 343, go north on U.S. 301/Main Street into the center of Baldwin. Take a right onto U.S. 90, and then after about 3 blocks, you'll see Center Street. Take a right, and the post office is at 199 Center Street South. There is parking at the post office. Baldwin police are used to railfans, but they will be intolerant of those who cross the tracks or otherwise trespass.

The busy Callahan - south and Jacksonville - west main lines cross here, and there are connecting tracks. There is a lot of traffic, and expect the north - south trains to move pretty fast. Stay alert.

Frograil thanks Lee "N4MVL" Boulineau for this data.

BRADENTON (980206)

CSX Tropicana Yard You've probably wondered where those orange and white Tropicana Orange Juice cars come from:

Taking the DeSoto Bridge (U.S. 41 & U.S. 301) south from Palmetto over the Manatee River, follow U.S. 301 south. At the intersection of U.S. 301 and 15th Street East (immediately after going over the yard throat), go north on 15th Street East. At the first traffic light, go west on 26th Avenue. There is a nice area to park under the U.S. 301 overpass. In the hot, muggy summer, this will be most welcome. Here, trains for Kearny, New Jersey (and other parts north?), are made up. They are pulled south, out of the yard, and road engines couple at the end of the train (now the front!), and then head north to Megalopolis, USA. There are lots of vantage points for off-railroad property pix.

NEAT STUFF If you've never been to Florida, or if your only visits have been to Mr. Mouse, et al., then by all means, visit Myakka River State Park and the DeSoto National Memorial Site. These will explain, and show, the real Florida, and the tropical wilderness it was. The Desoto site is very interesting; the Myakka River State Park is a World-Class attraction.

CALLAHAN (June 2008)

The site of a very busy crossing of the SAL and ACL in days gone by, all traffic now comes south on the CSX ex-ACL mainline, and splits to head south into Jacksonville or Baldwin, respectively. This is a very heavy traffic site, as all Atlanta and northeast traffic funnels thru here. (In some respects, this is the opposite of what happens up in Folkston, Georgia.) There is also a significant amount of Amtrak traffic. You can expect an average of over 2 trains per hour here. The town itself is tiny, with only about 1,000 souls. As you might imagine, it's also a crossroads of highways, and is easily reached from any direction.

From Jacksonville, take I-295 to exit 28B, and go north on U.S. 1/U.S. 23. Callahan is 12 miles north of this point.From the center of Callahan take U.S. 1 north to the next red-light (FL-108 Brandies Avenue). Turn left, west, past the historic 1881 depot to the junction.

Frograil thanks John Hendricks for updates to this location.

CLEWISTON (December 28, 2001)

This is a very different type of railfan location than the Callahan's, Baldwins, and Waycross's of the world. This is John D. MacDonald, time-warp 50's and 60's territory. On the south shore of Lake Okeechobee, far from the glitter of either coast, the town nonetheless hosts a most interesting shortline operation: The South Central Florida Express. This railroad comes off the CSX (ex-ACL) secondary main line which went from Sebring thru Harrisburg (where the SCXF begins) all the way to Everglades City. The trackage south of Harrisburg is long gone. The SCXF shows in Steam Powered Video's atlas as having been an ACL line, but the United States Sugar Company may have owned at least part of the trackage. East of Clewiston and Lake Harbor, FEC and SCXF share the trackage up to USSC's Bryant Mill, and the FEC then runs up to Marcy (crossing/connection w/ CSX) and on to the FEC main line at Fort Pierce.

As you can imagine, this is a railroad which primarily exists to support the sugar operations in south central Florida. There is a mill in Clewiston, as well at the engine facility and office for the SCXF. The street location is at the corner of W. C. Owen and West Aztec Avenue. The office is next to the fuel dump area, and photo permission should be requested there before you take any pix. For photographers who competently use the sun in their photos, this is a difficult location, because the sun tends to be very high in such southern latitudes. Making things even worse, the track is on a dead east-west alignment.

All in all, the railroad appears to be a very interesting, almost unique operation. Prior to visiting, I'd suggest you get enough information to maximize your time. During the cane harvest, the place must be jumping!

Note that there is a public housing area right next to the railroad property in Clewiston.

Thanks to T. N. Colbert (K3HX) for this railfan location contribution.

CRAWFORD (December 27, 2001)

With all the northeast Florida hoopla associated with Callahan and Baldwin (and deservedly so), it's somewhat strange that this excellent location is seldom mentioned as a railfan location. It deserves more notice. Located between Callahan and Baldwin on U.S. 301, Crawford is the site of an at-grade crossing of the NS main from Atlanta to Jacksonville, and the CSX main from Callahan to Baldwin. This latter line carries about 50% of the traffic south of Folkston, Georgia, so expect 1 train per hour or so. The NS line is probably about half as busy. But that's still 36 trains per day, and there are 2 railroads, not just one.

In the crossroads of Crawford, take Crawford Road or Crawford Kent Road west towards the tracks. Since the actual crossing is about 750' west of the overpass, noise isn't too bad. Mr. Colbert points out many photographic possibilities, but these details are up to you, as such things are dependent upon the weather, time of year, and your personal preferences. The only advice would be to bring plenty of film, stay 100% alert, stay off railroad property, and have fun.

Thanks to T. N. Colbert (K3HX) for this railfan location contribution.

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DADE CITY -- CSX/AMT (9 February 1996)

The Amtrak depot is west of the U.S. 98/U.S. 301 By-Pass on the far east side of town, at the end of East Meridian Highway. As of early 1996, the depot was scheduled to be restored. The depot is at mile point AR830.1, and there is a defect detector just north, at AR827.9, which is usually easily heard at the depot. The west track is usually used for northbounds, and the east track for southbounds, so stay alert. There is a "house" track west of the "northbound" track. The track curves to east south of the station, and a signal is visible from far south of the depot.

The most likely shot is from the parking lot south of station of southbounds in PM. Unfortunately, the east side of tracks is blocked by poles, brush, etc, so no pix are possible.

Thanks to T. N. Colbert (K3HX) for this railfan location contribution.


To reach the Ft. Lauderdale "yard" (John's note: This is all mainline trackage. Trains approach with no warning at 45 mph. Stay away from the tracks!), take I-95 to exit at SR-84 East. Continue east to SW 2nd Avenue, just past Lester's Diner (which is a good place to visit). Turn right/south on 2nd, and continue south until the road curves to the left. Bear left around the curve and you will come to the south end of the yard and piggyback ramp. Park along the road. This area is safe during the day, but watch out for trucks. At night, stay close to the ramp.

Operations in Fort Lauderdale are quite visible, and seem to be concentrated in the early morning and evening hours. Evenings are best for catching through trains, but switchers are working at all times except between about 11 AM to 3 PM.

Update from John, Oct. 2012: Port Everglades trackage is out of service and has been removed pending construction of the new intermodal ramp inside the port itself. Access to the port is now restricted to those with federal ID cards.

Thanks to John Hollahan in Florida for this info.

FT. LAUDERDALE -- STATION (February 27, 2002)

From I-95, take exit 29 west (following the signs to the Amtrak/Tri-Rail station -- which is below the overpass itself. A better entrance might be the flyover ramps that dump you out right in front of the station, without the loop-to-loop arrangement to wind your way there.

You can park at the south end of the station lot and be within about 100' of switching operations at night as they build the two locals, plus you'll see at least one freight coming south during the wee hours of the morning, and several Amtrak and Tri-Rail runs throughout the day. This is a safer area than Davie Boulevard and you can still hear the "Carmen" defect detector to the south. When you hear the scanner calling the "Manatee" signal, you'll know a train is just north of you, headed your way.

Do not railfan this area alone at night.

With thanks to John Boteler, who has been kind enough to provide this information to us.

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GREENVILLE -- CSX EAST (August 5, 2002)

East of the crossing with the GLOP line, the Greenville siding's west end is encountered. You can follow the siding eastward for much of the way via North Grand Street on the north, and South Grand Street south of the tracks. After perhaps 1/2 of the length of the siding, South Grand ends, and you cannot cross the tracks here. If you want to go further east, use North Grand which will end at U.S. 90, but at that point and beyond, U.S. 90 is very close to the siding. The east end of the siding is immediately east of where NW 228th Street goes north from U.S. 90. There are plenty of off-railroad property photo locations.

Frograil extends thanks to Lee Boulineau, an FSU alumnus, indeed, for this contribution.

GREENVILLE -- FL-150 (August 5, 2002)

From I-10 south of town, go north on U.S. 211 at exit 35 (about 45 miles east of Tallahassee). As you come into Greenville, until you come to FL-150, which goes to the west (sign will say south), and take a left. You'll get to the tracks, and the road will do about an 80° turn to the south-southwest. These tracks are those of the Georgia - Florida Railnet, and some info about them is in the Greenville -- GLOP Crossing entry. You'll be within touching distance of the tracks all the way back to the interstate. If you continue south on SW 288th Street, you'll eventually reach U.S. 221, and this will closely follow GLOP all the way into Perry.

Frograil extends thanks to Lee Boulineau, an FSU alumnus, indeed, for this contribution.

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This town is 45 miles east of Tallahassee on I-10/U.S. 90, and features a crossing of what is now known as the Georgia - Florida Railnet and CSX. The former is a ex-Southern-controlled line that came from Albany, via Valdosta, and on down to Perry (or something like that -- it's quite confusing, as the different segments of the various lines have been known by, and controlled by, any number of names and owners, respectively. Anyway, one of the more recent monikers was the Live Oak, Perry & Georgia Railroad, or LOPG. Locals love to call the line the Georgia, Live Oak, and Perry, or GLOP. What a name!

The CSX is the ex-SAL from Jacksonville/Baldwin on its way to Chattahoochie. The crossing is downtown just south of the joint U.S. 90/U.S. 221, on Leggett Street. Check with locals to get the time of the GLOP train, although during the summer of 2002, it was a late afternoon southbound effort, with the return northbound some 2 hours later.

Frograil extends thanks to Lee Boulineau, an FSU alumnus, indeed, for this contribution.


Beaver Street is U.S. 90 just west of the St. Johns River and I-95. Just south of McQuade Street, you'll come to another historic rail junction. The ex-SAL mainline comes in from Baldwin and the west, the Norfolk Southern main goes down to the Florida East Coast's Bowden Yard, and CSX's ex-ACL north-south mainline comes south from Moncrief yard and on towards Miami. THIS is a junction, folks.

There are trains making a virtual 180° turn, lots of them making 90° turns, and none going straight thru without several track changes. Because all trains must thread their way thru the tangle of tracks, speed is very slow -- a great recipe for photos and train watching.

An interesting thing has happened in the early 2000's, as the city and state have completely rebuilt the Beaver Street overpass. It has 4 lanes and a decent shoulder, so pix from the bridge are now a distinct possibility, but the traffic is heavy, so you'll not be able to casually walk back and and forth. Keep your wits about you.

The real news about this site is that, in building the bridge, the governments have created a train watchers' paradise UNDER the bridge. When they built the bridge, they cleared out all the old underbrush, fences, trees, etc, next to the Farmers Market. The result is a spot about 60' long that is no farther than 25' from the tracks, and it is on non-railroad property. If you get there during the right hours, be sure to patronize the market, as nothing beats farm-fresh produce! For photos, this is an afternoon location.

[WEBMASTER'S NOTE: This area is not the tourist Mecca of the city -- it's pretty rough. We always advise that you fan with at least one male friend, and that you do so during the day only.]

We owe John Buckley of Florida for this updated information -- Many thanks John.


From prehistoric times, the site of present day Jacksonville has been a transportation crossroads -- it still is. Over 100 years ago, trains threaded their way thru Jacksonville, and still do today. One of the best places to see the rail crossroads in Jacksonville is from the pedestrian overpass on the south end of the big CSX Moncrief Yard. From Beaver Street/U.S. 90, just west of the St. Johns River and I-95, cross the tracks westbound (see here for a description of this location) and take the second right onto Baker Avenue. Then, take your the third right onto McQuade. The latter, other than the big, busy Beaver Street to the south, is the only street crossing on the south end of the yard.

The fascinating thing here is that there are 7 tracks, and besides the yard throat, these include a by-pass/thru track for trains such as the several Amtrak trains per day which go thru, a connector track from FEC up to the NS Simpson Yard to the north, and the chance to see CSX, NS, FEC and Amtrak locos in one spot. There may be stopped cars blocking your view, but another big plus here is that there is an overhead pedestrian walkway above the whole deal. This is an active place to watch trains.

[WEBMASTER'S NOTE: This area is not the tourist Mecca of the city -- it's pretty rough. We always advise that you fan with at least one male friend, and that you do so during the day only.]

We owe John Buckley of Florida for this information -- Many thanks John.

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From I-95, take exit 87 and head east on FL-706/Indiantown Road. At FL-811/FL-A1A Alternate, take a left to go north. At Center Street, park and walk to the crossing. The tracks are parallel to, and west of, FL-811/FL-A1A Alternate. Old Dixie Highway parallels the tracks to the east. There is plenty of open area, especially on the west side, north of the crossing.

This location has been contributed by Charlie Gerow.


At the extreme northern edge of Palm Beach County, at the intersection of County Line Road and Old Dixie Highway, there is good viewing of the Florida East Coast main line north towards the town of Camp Murphy. Northbound signals are visible. You are advised to remain on public property, as Charlie has seen "one 10-foot rattler in there," and you'd be trespassing anyway. There is a local park on the northeast quad of the crossing, and it looks to be a good place for the kids to run off some energy while you wait for trains back at the crossing.

This location has been contributed by Charlie Gerow.

JUPITER -- FL-811 Bridge (May 2008)

Just north of Jupiter Inlet, U.S. 1 splits, with FL-AIA Alternate and FL-811 going west and then southwest thru Jupiter, and U.S. 1 going more straight south and closer to the coast. The railroad follows the former route, and for simplicity, we will refer to the street name as FL-811. At the south end of the bridge over the Laxahatchee River, there is limited parking under the bridge for fishermen. Park there and hoof it back up to the bridge on its north side.

The bridge was recently rebuilt, and there are nice views from the sidewalk. There is a swing span that the dispatcher leaves open until 15-20 minutes before a train will arrive. If you see the bridge swing shut, get in position. This is a morning shot.

This location has been contributed by Charlie Gerow.

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From I-95, take exit 87 and head east on FL-706/Indiantown Road. The street will cross Old Dixie Highway, FEC's main line, and FL-AIA Alternate and FL-811 all in one humongous "intersection/crossing". Walk around and pick out your spot, depending on the sun, but you're advised not to hang around the intersection/crossing itself, as it is very busy, and you would be rather conspicuous.

This location has been contributed by Charlie Gerow.


From I-95, take exit 87 and head east on FL-706/Indiantown Road. The street will cross the FEC main line, and then intersect with FL-AIA Alternate and FL-811. Go north on the latter, cross the Laxahatchee River, take a left on Riverside Drive, cross the tracks, and then take a right onto Cypress Drive and park. There are several relatively open areas for photos, but you are advised to avoid the area of the crossing itself.

This location has been contributed by Charlie Gerow.


From I-95, take exit 87 and head east on FL-706/Indiantown Road. At Old Dixie Highway, which parallels the FEC main line to the west, take a right and go south to the intersection with Toney Penna Drive. Park away from the intersection itself. The combined "intersection/crossing" via Toney Penna crosses, respectively, Old Dixie Highway, the FEC main line, and FL-AIA Alternate and FL-811 (called Glynn Mayo Highway in this area). There is plenty of open area for pix, but you are advised to avoid the area of the crossing itself, as it is very busy.

This location has been contributed by Charlie Gerow.

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JUPITER -- VFW (May 2008)

From the intersection of Old Dixie Highway and Silver Beach Road, cross the tracks to the east via the latter, and take the first left onto 10th Street. At 354 10th Street, the VFW will be on your left. This is a nice, fairly safe area for train watching from the east side of the FEC main line. Between the VFW and the firehouse, there are some nice open fields, and the viewing is excellent.

This location has been contributed by Charlie Gerow.

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KISSIMMEE -- STATION AREA (February 9, 1996)

Take exit 249 on the Florida Turnpike, and go west on the Osceola Freeway to U.S. 17/92, the Orange Blossom Highway. Take a left to go south on U.S. 17/92, and go straight south in to the old Kissimmee downtown area. The road will distinctly join Broadway and dogleg to the southwest. After 2 blocks, take a left onto West Dalkin Avenue and go southeast over the tracks. The Amtrak station is located at the corner of East Dalkin and parallel to Thurman Street. The actual depot is on the west side of the tracks, located about a half a block north of the corner of East Dalkin. There is a covered platform that runs south from the depot to East Dalkin, breaks for the street crossing, and then continues about 300' to Monument Street. The platform then continues another 3/4's of a block, but is uncovered.

Poles are on the east side, about 30' from the tracks, and the area between the poles and tracks is mown lawn. While obviously a wedge shot, this is a nice place to watch trains. While most freight traffic up and down Florida does not use this line, there are some freights and passenger trains to keep it interesting.

ONECO (Bradenton Area) (980206)

From the US 41 & US 301 DeSoto Bridge over the Manatee River, take US 301 south to the light at 15th Street East (just at the foot of the Tropicana yard--see Bradenton). Go south on 15th Street East. After you cross the tracks, you will see on your left (east) an auto junk yard. Behind the junk yard is the Gator Asphalt Company. This area, about 47th Street East or so (there is no street sign), has a small, paved road that goes east past the auto junk yard to the asphalt plant. This narrow road dead-ends into the tracks. The Seminole Gulf Railway usually has an engine or two here. A quick, off-RR property picture or two, and be on your way.

PALATKA (August 2000)

If you railfan in Palatka, you get to see some of the effects on railroads that periods of boom and bust in the state have wrought. At one time, Palatka was a major rail center, including the following rail routes:

  • FEC from St Augustine
  • FEC from Bunnell and the south
  • Ocklawaha Valley from Ocala
  • Seaboard System from Gainesville
  • Norfolk Southern from Lake City
  • CSX A-Line, Jacksonville - Miami

Alas, only the ex-Atlantic Coast Line's CSX A-Line is still in existence. However, it's a fairly busy line, and the Amtrak station downtown provides good photo opportunities. To get to the station, Get on U.S. 17 from north or south, and go into downtown Palatka. U.S. 17 is Reid Street, and the station is at 11th Street and Reid. Five of the six scheduled Amtrak trains go thru during daylight hours, providing some nice variety.

The city is pretty much in the middle of an area surrounded by Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, Ocala, and Gainesville. There is extensive recreational opportunity in the huge Ocala National Forest southwest of the city. Throw in 16-20 trains per day, and you might have a nice place to serve as a base for an extended vacation.

This entry is adapted from a Mike Cole entry in the Greater Capital District Railfan Association pages. Used with permission.

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PANAMA CITY (9501xx)

ASAB From the corner of US 84 and US 231, go north on US 231. Almost immediately turn right on Industrial. Go to the office Monday thru Friday for release--not the diesel shop. This is a pretty impressive facility. 6-10 engines.

PENSACOLA (9501xx)

BNSF Today, what remains of the Pensacola Branch is operated by the BNSF to Kimbrough at which point Mobile trains enter and leave the Norfolk Southern. Kimbrough to Pensacola is operated by the Alabama and Gulf Coast Railway, which is owned by a short-line holding company, RailAmerica. The data here is from 1995, but the shortline kept the facilities BNSF used. The yard is immediately south of US 98, where US 98 crosses it in the central west part of town. Maybe 1 engine--pretty dead yard.

Some info Pensapedia, the Pensacola encyclopedia.


Thanks to Joh Hollahan in Florida for this info.

There is one place in South Florida where you can see the FEC, CSX, Tri-Rail, and Amtrak all from one spot -- the Farmer's Market in Pompano Beach. To get there, exit I-95 at Atlantic Boulevard (not Avenue), and go east to Dixie Highway. Turn left on Dixie and take it 'til 15th Street. [Note: Dixie Highway parallels the FEC mainline, and the Goodyear blimp base provides a nice backdrop for mainline freights.]

Turn away from the FEC on 15th Street, and go under I-95. This area is known as the Farmer's Market, and is served here by the FEC via the track you crossed on Dixie Highway. Seven customers account for over 40 cars per day here, with switching performed by the "Boca local", aka train 960. 960 goes on duty around 0200 in Villa Rica, which is Boca Raton to the non-railfan. Within 50 feet of the switching lead is the CSX mainline, now owned by the State of Florida, and used by Tri-Rail, Amtrak, and CSX.

Daytime freight action is hit-and-miss on CSX, but there will be plenty of commuter and passenger trains to see. The CSX track is in the process of being double-tracked in this area. The FEC local will arrive here some time in the vicinity of daybreak, and spend several hours switching the industries here and on the mainline just to the north. This local job will later make a run back to Villa Rica, and almost the entire trip will be along Dixie Highway. There are a few customers along the way that will offer a great view of mainline switching.

You can access the switching lead in the Farmer's Market by continuing over the CSX on 15th Street to Andrews Avenue, and turn right. Work your way back in the business parking lots, and you will come right to the CSX mainline and the FEC lead. NOTE: Jon Hollahan says: "In the daytime, do not go into the residential neighborhoods, and do NOT go anywhere alone in this area or get out of your car before daylight! It's a rough neighborhood."

PORT ST. JOE (October 6, 1999)

AN Just north of US 98 in the western part of town. Get release in the office, which is in the very large brick building. This is the cleanest, neatest railroad yard I've ever seen.

Kent Robbins provides this update on the status of the railroad and it's yard: The railroad has fallen on hard times. It's major sources of traffic have vanished, and they are down to just a few locomotives, which pull but a few trains per week. Personnel levels are also way down, from 55 to 19 or so. The yard is on U.S. 98 on the edge of downtown Port St. Joe, and, while there is hope that the paper mill will open up again, you're advised to get your pix sooner, rather than later, as you may not have a chance for very long.

SANFORD (August 2000)

Sanford hosts 15-20 trains a day, including 8 Amtrak big-time long distance named trains. Actually, there's another set of passenger movements, and that's the Auto Train. Sanford is the southern terminal for AT. Indeed, there are 2 separate Amtrak terminals in town, and they are quite close together: The Amtrak terminal is at 800 Persimmon Avenue, and the Auto Train dedicated terminal is at 600 Persimmon Avenue. If you've never seen the Auto Train, you may not understand why a separate facility is needed. Actually, the "station" consists not only of the passenger building, per se, but also tracks holding the passenger cars, automobile rack cars, and support equipment. It's a sort of pocket yard, really. Watching the train being made up is interesting, and you can view and photograph it from non-railroad property.

To get to Persimmon Avenue, take exit 51 from I-4, and go east on FL-46 into Sanford. Persimmon is in the near west side of town, and you'll go south only 4 blocks to the Auto Train station, and then about 3 more blocks to the Amtrak station.

This entry is adapted from a Michael Christie entry in the Greater Capital District Railfan Association pages. Used with permission.

WINTER PARK (June 3, 2001)

A northern suburb of Orlando, this is a quiet railfan location in one of the more bustling cities in the southeast. From I-4, take exit 45 and go east on FL-426. Go thru the major intersection with U.S. 17/92, Orlando Avenue, and continue east on FL-426. Go over the CSX tracks, and then take your second left to go north on South Park Avenue. In 5 blocks you'll come to Morse Boulevard. Take a left and park at the Amtrak station, which has free public parking.

Just north of the station is a public park where the kids can unwind while dad waits for some growlers. The police station and fire department are 1-2 blocks from the park, and the park area is well-lighted. It's open 24 hours a day, so a group outing/overnighter would be doable here. For those who will be here for awhile, there are stores and restaurants in the area for life support.

Traffic-wise, there are 6 scheduled Amtrak stops a day, and they are all scheduled for daylight hourss. While phosphate and Tampa freight goes north via Plant City to the west, you'll still see enough to keep you interested, and the park can shorten the perceived time between trains.

Clay Fugitte provided some of the details for this location.

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