Folkston is where the majority of train traffic for Florida passes. All of CSX’s trains moving in and out of Florida (except the few trains that go west) must pass through the
Funnel. It is known to railfans as the Folkston Funnel.
The Folkston Funnel is located at MP 602.2 on the Nahunta Subdivision of CSX's Jacksonville
Division. At this point,
the Jesup Subdivision joins the Nahunta Sub. From this point south it is double track main line to Jacksonville FL.
Heading north from here, trains head to Savannah. This is the Nahunta Sub, and it handles traffic from Savannah GA and the Northeast.
From the split going northwest, trains head up to Waycross and then Atlanta. This is the Jesup Sub, and handles traffic to/from Waycross GA and
The actual interchange for the split is just north of the viewing platform.
Just south of the viewing platform is a 2700 foot long passing siding.
All three lines are double tracked, and you can see about 40 to 45 trains a day,
down from about 50 with operational changes made in 2017. Trains are
generally longer tho to make up for some of this. One of the changes
included combining the Tropicana Juice Trains
with some of the regularly scheduled intermodal trains - no more separate
Juice Trains :-(
The viewing platform features lights, ceiling fans, and a scanner to listen in on the action. Adjacent to the platform are picnic tables, a grill, and a restroom facility. Trains can
also be watched from the restored Depot diagonally across from the platform.
There are three defect detectors located in the area:
The Boulogne defect detector is located at MP 610.6 on the Nahunta Sub.
The Hague defect detector is located at MP611.0 on the Jesup Sub.
The Newell defect detector is located at MP 592.0 on the Nahunta Sub.
These can be heard on the scanner at the platform.
There are six Amtrak trains passing through the Funnel each day: three in
each direction, one of which is the Auto Train.
The Auto Train originates in Sanford FL,
and terminates in Lorton VA.
The town, with help from the local railfans, was responsible for getting a train watching platform built. The train watcher’s platform is located on the east side of the Nahunta Sub at MP 602.6.
The platform is equipped with a scanner tuned to CSX’s frequency 160.590 and 160.320. It is controlled by a timer switch located on the southern-most center post. Ceiling fans were installed for
those warm days and nights. Lights and electric outlets are available. Flood lights shine on the tracks from each end of the platform for night viewing. A Picnic table and grill are also
available for visitors.
If you plan on staying over, you are in luck! There are a bunch of choices, and two specifically cater to the railfan: the
Roadmaster's Lodge and Railside Lodging.
Please note: That if you are not from a noisy home location, you may not be able to sleep very well at these places due to their nearness to the trains!!!
If you're heading to Folkston, you may also want to stop in Waycross, about 35 miles to the northwest, where CSX has the southeast's largest yard, Rice Yard.
The following comes from the Inn at Folkston webpage:
Folkston is located on the CSX Transportation double-track main line 40 miles north of Jacksonville FL.
To many rail fans, it is known as the CSXT funnel out of Florida, or The Folkston Funnel. The double track from Jacksonville to Folkston, and north to
Savannah, Georgia, and beyond is the Nahunta subdivision. Within viewing distance, just north of town, the rails split. The Jesup subdivision cuts off and goes west to Waycross GA (Burt Reynold's
home town!) and on to Atlanta.
The main scanner frequency here is 160.590 MHz for road traffic.
During a 24-hour period, train watchers may see and average of 60 trains, at times more, depending on the movement of freight into Florida. A wide variety of trains can be seen during the 24-hour
period. Six Amtrak trains pass daily, including the AutoTrain, which runs from the nation's capital to Florida and back. Numerous intermodal and mixed
freight trains going north and south keep the Nahunta and Jesup subdivisions
busy. Numerous unit trains pass through nearly every day, carrying
coal, phosphate, grain, molten sulfur, auto rackets.
A covered train viewing platform became reality in 2001 to the delight of train fans from near and far who come to visit the famous Folkston Funnel. As part of this city-sponsored service, a scanner
is active where visitors can listen to train engineers as trains pass through the area. Free WiFi
service for laptop computers was added during the summer of 2006. In
addition, the city provides benches, chairs, picnic tables, BBQ pits and
In October, the Orlando Society of Model Railroaders sets up its elaborate train layout inside the restored historic depot during Folkston's annual Okefenokee Festival. The city of Folkston welcomes
rail fans to the area, but asks that they practice good railroad safety while here!
The City of Folkston hosts an annual train festival the second weekend in April.
This is the first of hopefully many railfan guides to be done in collaboration with Denver Todd. Pictures and info are supplied
by him unless noted.
Chuck Till / updates
Folkston is in the extreme southeast corner of Georgia, as seen in the picture from Google on their Folkston page.
Folkston is about 21 miles from I-95. If you're traveling SB on 95, take exit 3 onto East King Ave (GA 40) and head west.
If you're coming up from Florida, you'll have to take exit 1, Scrubby Bluff Rd, and head west (about 2 miles) to Ocean Highway, US 17. Take a right
and head north to GA 40, about 1.3 miles.
If coming in from the west, via I-10, it looks like maybe exit 335 might be your best choice. This will drop you onto GA 121, which takes you northward
into Folkston. Haven't tried it, so I don't know if it's the best choice.
From the Atlanta area, head south on I-75 and get off at Tifton, exit 62. Head east on GA 520/US 82 about 72 miles to Waycross. From there, it's about
another 35 miles southeast to Folkston via GA 4/US 1/US 23.
GPS coordinates for Folkston are N 30.380, W 82.010.
The Roadmaster's Lodge is a separate overnight facility than the one below. Their accommodations include the roadmaster's lodge, and the Family Lines
System caboose. The former lodge used to house railroad employees when staying over in Folkston.
The lodge is $140 a night for up to 6 railfans, and the caboose, which holds up to 4, is $115 a night, plus taxes
From their website: The Lodge was originally constructed in the late 1800s and served as the office for the Roadmaster of the railroad in the Folkston
area. The Roadmaster’s office was located where the Folkston Post Office is now, on Main Street along the railroad tracks. The office became obsolete in the mid
1900’s. We obtained the building and restored it for the pleasure and enjoyment of train watchers visiting Folkston. Our desire is to provide comfortable
accommodations while allowing our customers to appreciate some of the Railroad history of our area.
We moved the Roadmaster’s Lodge to the property we own on First Street, which also fronts the Railroad right-of-way ... right along the tracks. We feel like the
location is great because it’s walking distance to all of downtown and the Funnel, just in case your heart desires fellowship with other train watchers.
Several years later, in 2010, we moved the FLS Caboose to the property and remodeled it to accommodate up to four people. Much of the interior of the Caboose is
exposed, so you get the "real" experience of sleeping in a genuine caboose.
The Roadmaster's Lodge, Denver Todd photo
The SBD caboose is to the left
The SBD caboose is situated a couple hundred feet south of the lodge
The caboose is on the left side of the picture, the lodge is between the two buildings where the arrow is pointing
Railside Lodging provides the railfan an opportunity for a place to stay that is up close and personal to the action. They offer a Chessie System caboose, a
cabin, and the Folkston Funnel Crew's Quarters. Pricing is below in the pictures.
The Chessie caboose in the early stages of completion and restoration
The Chessie caboose is situated diagonally across the tracks from the train watchers platform
The ex ACL Depot
The former Atlantic Coast Line depot has been restored and now houses a train museum.
Denver Todd photo
These Google streetview shots are from the north side of the depot
The Folkston Funnel
No trains, but this is the view from the Okefenokee overpass, looking in both directions. These pictures are from the Google picture bar when in the
The following two screen captures come from the Charlton County website.
Although the Inn at Folkston is not located adjacent to the RR tracks, it nevertheless offers the railfan a quiet place to
stay. It is a deluxe Bed and Breakfast that is handicapped accessible and offers a wide range of accommodations, including Wi-Fi. Their website
is http://www.innatfolkston.com/. Both pictures are from Google Maps.
Mileposts and Defect Detectors
A576.6 : Nahunta (Jct. Brunswick Sub)
A588.7 : Winokur
A592.0 : Defect Dectector - Newell
A598.3 : Burch - Begin Double Track
A602.2 : Folkston (Jct. Jesup Sub)
A608.3 : South Hilliard
A610.6 : Defect Detector - Boulogne
A617.2 : South Hilliard
A624.3 : Callahan (Jct. Callahan Sub)
ANA587.8 : Begin Line Back to Nahunta Sub
ANA591.7 : Defect Detector - Braganza
ANA598.4 : Braganza
ANA607.8 : Race Pond
ANA611.0 : Defect Detector - Hague
ANA618.5 : Hague
ANA621.1 : Folkston (Jct. Nahunta Sub)
If you Google Folkston, the picture they use is my screen capture from above, at least for now :-) Interesting 040915
I love trains, and I love signals. I am not an expert. I do these pages because I love spending my time doing them - although I do a reasonable amount of research to make sure the information
presented is accurate! :-) :-)
Please Note: Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them. For those of you into
the modeling aspect of our hobby, my indexa page has a list of almost everything railroad oriented I can think of to provide you with at least a few
pictures to help you detail your pike.
If this is a railfan page, every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct. Once in a while, an error may creep in, oooooooops,
oh well! :-)
My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a thousand words, especially for railfanning. Text descriptions only get you so far, especially if you get lost or disoriented. Take along good maps....
a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still better if you get lost! I belong to AAA, which allows you to get local maps for free when you visit the local branches. ADC puts out a nice series
of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their state maps do not have the railroads on them. If you can find em, I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and concise
graphics, and they do a really good job of showing you where tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads. Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.
BTW, floobydust is a term I picked up 30-40 years ago from a National Semiconductor data book, and means miscellaneous and/or other stuff.
Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given! BE NICE!!! Contact info
Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.