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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Plant City, FL railfanning


Date: 10/06/11 17:48
Plant City, FL railfanning
Author: florida581

Just thought I would share some railfanning info for those who live in or are visiting the Central Florida area. This is just a basic guide of day to day operations in Plant City and I'm NOT claiming that all the info is 100% correct, for railroads are ever changing.
Plant City is located 25 miles east of Tampa and is the crossroads of two CSX main lines, the A-line and the S-line. The A-line (Lakeland Sub) is the former Atlantic Coast Line which runs from Jacksonville to Tampa via Orlando, Auburndale, and Lakeland. The S-Line (Yeoman Sub) is the former Seaboard Air Line which runs from Baldwin to Tampa via Ocala and Wildwood. The Plant City Union Station is located at the diamonds and there is plenty of parking available. The A-line runs east-west past the station. The S-line comes into town from the north, crosses the A-line, then immediately makes a sharp turn to the west in which it briefly parallels the A-line before it turns to a southwesterly direction. Another line, the Plant City Sub, runs from Plant City to the south. This is the former Seaboard to Welcome Jct, Edison, Mulberry, and other Bone Valley areas. The PC Sub diverges from the S-line just north of the diamonds at a place called Sandler Jct. It parallels the S-line on the east side and then crosses the A-line before heading south out of town. A connector track is located in the northeast quadrant, allowing trains to move to and from the A and S-lines. Around the sharp turn on the S-line is another connector track. It allows trains to move to and from the S-line to the PC Sub. This is called Lake Wales Jct. A tiny yard is located north of the diamonds and is used by CSX locals.
The trains, symbols, and approximate run times(of course it can vary):
Q045 Jacksonville, FL- Tampa, FL intermodal, runs west on the A-line about 10pm SU-TH.
Q187 Jacksonville, FL- Tampa, FL intermodal, runs west on the A-line about midnight, sometimes later. Q188 Tampa, FL- Jacksonville, FL intermodal, runs east on the A-line about 8pm.
Q214 Tampa, FL- Waycross, GA empty autoracks, about 3x week, run time varies, but usually after dark north on the S-line.
Q235 Louisville, KY- Tampa, FL autos, west on the A-line around dusk. Normally has to dodge around Q188.
Q441 Waycross, GA- Tampa, FL manifest, runs south on the S-line after dark-midnight.
Q652 Tampa, FL- Waycross, GA manifest, runs north on the S-line in the mornings.
Q740 Bradenton/Tampa, FL -Greenville, NJ loaded Tropicana juice train, runs north on the S-line around noon. Doesn't run on Thur or Sat.
Q741 Greenville, NJ- Tampa, FL empty juice train, runs south on the S-line mid to late afternoon/evenings.
O709 Winston, FL- Plant City, FL local freight, switches customers on the A-line in the mornings.
O711 Winston, FL- Plant City, FL local freight, switches customers on the S-line and the PC sub in the mornings. This train also works the Plant City yard and uses the Lake Wales Jct connector track. The locals both have cabooses which are used for the numerous reverse movements.
O800 Winston, FL- Central turn, FL phosphate, runs west on the A-line, uses connector track, then north on S-line around dawn/mornings. It returns in the afternoons doing the reverse routing. Winston is the CSX yard in Lakeland and Central is the location of CF Industries huge phosphate/fertilizer plant.
O821 Central, FL- Hardee County Mine, FL empty phosphate hoppers, runs south on the S-Line to the PC Sub. Nights. Time can vary.
O822 Hardee County Mine, FL- Central, FL loaded wet-rock phosphate, runs north on the PC sub to the S-line. Nights. Time can vary.
O825 Hookers Point, FL(Port of Tampa)-Central, FL turn phosphate/anhydrous ammonia, runs north on the S-line in the afternoon and returns in the evening. This train is known locally as "The Truck Eliminator". It also runs as O925.
Amtrak P091 New York, NY- Miami, FL Silver Star, runs west to Tampa on the A-line about noon and then back east around 1pm.
Amtrak P092 Miami, FL- New York, NY Silver Star, runs west to Tampa on the A-line around 4:30pm and then back east around 5:30pm.
Plant city sees a few coal trains a day on the S-line. These run between coal mines in KY to Tampa Electric's Big Bend plant in Apollo Beach. Symbols include T080, T081, and T082. They can run anytime day or night. Infrequent coal trains to Florida Rock Industries' Portland cement plant in Brooksville also show up on the S-line. They show up anytime day or night using N series symbols. Unit trains of rock and phosphate using K series symbols run occasionally on both the A and S lines to and from Tampa. They run anytime.
CSX will also frequntly route trains through Plant City which would normally run the Vitis Sub into north Lakeland. These trains traverse between the A and S lines using the connector track. The most common of these trains are:
Q251 Waycross, GA- Palm Center(Jupiter, FL) autos This train operates as a turn, so it keeps it symbol northbound and southbound. North in dawn/mornings, south in late afternoons/evenings.
Q452 Miami, FL- Waycross, GA manifest Runs north in dawn/ mornings
Q453 Waycross, GA- Miami, FL manifest Runs south in the afternoons
Also, various unit phosphate trains, K series symbols, to and from Winston yard also show up. They run anytime.
To sum things up, Plant City is one of the busiest locations in central Florida for CSX action, and arguably one of the most diverse traffic wise...intermodal, autos, manifests, coal, phosphate, rock, local switchers, Tropicana, and Amtrak. In all, Plant City sees about 16-20 freights, 2 locals, and Amtrak 4 times a day. For an added bonus, Ringling Bros' Circus Trains are based in Palmetto, FL. This means Plant City is guaranteed a visit from the circus trains throughout the year. They run on the A-Line. Happy railfanning!

Andrew



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/17/11 11:12 by florida581.



Date: 10/07/11 11:25
Re: Plant City, FL railfanning
Author: retcsxcfm

rantoul Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thank you for the informative report. Plant City
> is a rail gem. An area question; do the trains
> to-from Clearwater/St. Petersburg pass through
> Plant City? Appreciate your work.


No way.St.Pete is way west of Plant City.Trains run from St.Pete around the north side of Tampa Bay
to Tampa via Sulphur Springs.Look at a map.This route (as far as Clearwater) was the old Seaboard Air Line.


Uncle Joe-Seffner,fl.



Date: 10/07/11 11:53
Re: Plant City, FL railfanning
Author: florida581

The St. Pete switcher's symbol is O701 and it's based out of Yeoman Yard in Tampa, so it doesn't go through Plant City. The only two locals that switch or go through Plant City, O709 A-line and O711 S-line, are both based out of Winston Yard in Lakeland.



Date: 10/07/11 14:57
Re: Plant City, FL railfanning
Author: retcsxcfm

florida581 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The St. Pete switcher's symbol is O701 and it's
> based out of Yeoman Yard in Tampa, so it doesn't
> go through Plant City. The only two locals that
> switch or go through Plant City, O709 A-line and
> O711 S-line, are both based out of Winston Yard in
> Lakeland.


Does the Hookers Point-Zepherhills (Crystal Springs) turn still run?
Once known as the truck eliminator.

Uncle Joe-between Plant City and Tampa near the "A" line.



Date: 10/07/11 15:26
Re: Plant City, FL railfanning
Author: florida581

Yes it does. It is symbol O825. It can also run as O925. It runs daily to CF Industries in the early afternoon and back to Hookers Point in the evening. I guess you can consider this a local since it runs only 80 miles round trip. However, since it's an O800 series train, it is classified as a regional haul. O700 series trains are local switchers. That's why I didn't include it as a "local". By the way, I still call it the Truck Eliminator :-)

Andrew



Date: 10/07/11 17:11
Re: Plant City, FL railfanning
Author: DTrainshooter

I just wanted to add to this very informative post that the former depot houses a nice museum including a display of snapshots of Florida depots. Also, they have ATCS set up (this was where I first found out about ATCS). Plus, a wonderful classic car show meets at the depot on the third Saturday of every month between 4pm-9PM. I'll never forget my first visit to the Plant City depot though for another reason...while I was inside between trains checking out the museum a fellow wandered in and asked the person on duty that day where passengers would wait before boarding a train. Turns out his mom was out in the car and the depot was the last place she had seen her brother alive before he shipped off to war...it was too much for her to come inside and relive that moment but her son wanted to see for himself. Brought a few tears to my eyes.



Date: 10/07/11 17:52
Re: Plant City, FL railfanning
Author: florida581

That's the wonders of railfanning, it can touch your life whether directly or indirectly.

Andrew



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