The Gregarious Railfan
Plant City, FL 33563 (population, 34,822)                

GPS: N 28.01532, W 82.12227    Google Map  

Scanner: CSX 160.230 [8], 160.590 [32], 161.100 [66], 161.520 [94]

Railroads: CSX Jacksonville Div, Lakeland Sub (A line), MP 861; Jacksonville Div, Yeoman Sub (S line), MP 823;
Jacksonville Div, Plant City Sub, MP 823

Description: Railfans choose Plant City because of its crossing of CSX’s Atlantic Coast and Seaboard rail lines. It
remains one of the busiest junctions in Florida.  In 2014, Plant City built a two story railfan observation platform at
that junction giving railfans a sheltered place to watch trains.  Named for railroad entrepreneur Henry B. Plant, this
city located between Tampa and Lakeland, offers rail enthusiasts a mildly busy crossing of two CSX main lines and a
branch from the nearby “Bone Valley” phosphate mining region.  The Plant City Railfest marked the opening of the
Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum at the city-owned Union Depot, which once served Atlantic Coast Line and
Seaboard Air Line. Across the tracks from the brick depot is a two-story train-watching platform, handicapped-
accessible and equipped with a radio scanner and plenty of parking in city lots.  The facility’s name acknowledges the
many contributions of a local retired CSX engineer who donated to the project. Marking the heritage of the site are
two of Willaford’s most signi
ficant gifts: a late-model Seaboard extended-cupola caboose and a small Whitcomb diesel
switcher painted as ACL No. 508.  CSX provided a $25,000 grant, and local contributions brought the total to more
than $200,000. Visitors to the museum will find an interesting assortment of local railroad artifacts in and around
the station. They also can expect to see the Tropicana orange juice train, which passes northbound on the ex-Seaboard
S-Line during midday, five days a week. Amtrak’s Silver Star makes four passes daily as the northbound and southbound
trains make their trips in and out of Tampa on the former ACL A-Line.  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. In all, Plant City sees about 16-20 freights, 2 locals, and Amtrak 4 times a day.

Approximate # trains per 24 hours: 20+ includes Amtrak’s Silver Star (?), and the Tropicana Juice Train. This is
busy for places in Florida south of Jacksonville.

Local Breakfast: Snellgrove’s Restaurant, 109 S. Collins St, N 28.01483, W 82.12308

Fast Food: On N. Park Rd near I-4,  N 28.03502, W 82.10474

Local Food: Strawberry Hut, 1505 N Wheeler St, N 28.02856, W 82.12574

Pub and Grub: Top Shelf Sports Bar and Grill, 110 East Reynolds, N 28.01645, W 82.12295

Lodging: Comfort Inn, 2003 S Frontage Rd, N 28.03494, W 82.10356   
Plant City Overview    
Google image
Plant City, Florida Railfanning (2007) by Distant Signal
All of the pictures below © by Darla and Richard Minuth in 2015 unless otherwise stated. A big thank you for their contribution.
© R. Minuth
A little bit more.
The Railfan Platform is located downtown at 102 North Palmer Street.
GPS Coordinates: N 28.01532, W 82.12227

The A-line (Lakeland Sub) is the former Atlantic Coast Line which runs East and West past the Station from
Jacksonville to Tampa via Orlando, Auburndale, and Lakeland.

The S-Line (Yeoman Sub) is the former Seaboard Air Line which runs North and South past the Station from Baldwin
to Tampa via Ocala and Wildwood.