Plymouth Diamond seems to be a local favorite, despite the fact
that you can't actually get to the diamond itself. You can
still get some good shots, but you can also miss trains if positioned in
the wrong spot... It's sort of like railfanning Tower 26 in Houston... you
just can't be everywhere at once, trains might show up somewhere else!
CSX, one of four Class 1 railroads in Michigan (the others are NS, GTW, and CR),
has two mainlines in the state. Plymouth is at the crossroads of them.
The Diamond is at the junction of two sub-divisors, the
(E-W) and Saginaw
(N-S) sub-divisions. Actually for the mile between mileposts CH24 and
CH25, the track is referred to as the
The best places to view the action is from the parking lot of the Station 885
restaurant, or any of the public grade crossings at Mill St, Farmer St, Main St,
Starkweather St, Holbrook St, or Haggerty Rd.
As far as trespassing on railroad property goes in Plymouth, the railroad is
VERY serious about going onto their property. They will call the local
cops to enforce the no trespassing signs posted, as they did for me back in
2000 or so when I was parked near the the cement plant. They also gave
me grief about my hand held scanner, but were nice enough to allow me to put
it in the trunk, showing them my out of state license. I since took care
of that by getting a 2m HT with a high band scanner built in, but
somewhere I thought I read that the law has been repealed.
All of the trackage here used to be the Pere Marquette. In 1947 the C&O
(Chesapeake and Ohio Railway) absorbed the PM, hence the C&O Freight Shed.
The CSX Plymouth Subdivision is a freight railroad line in the state of
Michigan. It connects the Plymouth Diamond at milepost CH 24.5 to Grand
Rapids at CH 148.1, passing through the Lansing metro area en route.
Other towns served include Brighton, Howell, Williamston, Grand Ledge, and
Lake Odessa. Operationally, it is part of the CSX Chicago Division,
dispatched from Calumet City, IL.
From downtown Detroit, take I-96 west. When you get to the
intersection with I-276, and I-96 goes north with 276, GO STRAIGHT
onto 14. Take the very next exit (#20), and take a left onto
N. Sheldon Rd at the top of the ramp. Take a left at Farmer
Street after going over 14. This will take you to the south
leg of the diamond.
From the south, as in Toledo, take I-275 instead of I-75 (which
would take you to downtown Detroit), and then west on 14 at exit 29.
From the north, coming in on I-75 or I-94, take 75 till it runs into 94,
head "south" on 94, till you hit I-96, then take 96 out as in above.
Coming in from the west on I-96, take it till you hit I-275 and head south
till you come to 14 at exit 29 and then follow the instructions above.
If you're coming in from the west on I-94, get off onto 14 at exit 171
on the west side of Ann Arbor. Take 14 to exit 20, Sheldon Rd.
Sits just to the north of the diamond. Plymouth Yard is a yard along the N/S
Pere Marquette (Toledo to Saginaw) line, just north of the crossing of the PM/C&O
(Detroit-Grand Rapids) line in downtown Plymouth.
The bottom end of Plymouth Yard, just north of the diamond.
Plymouth Yard / East
Former C&O yard, about 3/4 of a mile east of the diamond.
Simple double-tracked overpass. Looks the same from both sides.
E/W CSX over Sheldon Rd
A relatively new overpass, because in my first version of this guide, I had this marked as a good spot for pictures.... not anymore!
Thanks to Garry, I now know that the grade crossing was eliminated in 2008, with
a shoo-fly being built around the construction site.
A couple of pictures, courtesy Garry Kaluzny, of the temporary shoo-fly track
CSX installed during the construction of the Sheldon Rd bridge.
Looks like CSX has done a signal upgrade project since I did my last page revision, anyone know the specifics?
If anyone has the inclination and the time, I could use some good pictures of the signals,
especially the old ones.
NB/SB Interlockings Colorlights
One of these signals used to be a dwarf, and I know you can't see it hardly at
all since Google's aerial pictures are pretty much garbage these days.... :-(
Looks like this signal was removed in the upgrade. It also could have
been the dwarf signal depicted down at location 12. Dunno.
EB Colorlights on Cantilever
GPS Coordinates: 42.38121, -83.47210
As of 2/2022, Google is still showing the old signal, and one of the three
"Birds Eye Views" on Bing still shows the old signal.
WB Interlocking Colorlights
GPS Coordinates: 42.38103, -83.46987
Looks like they removed the interchange track signal with the signal upgrade....
GPS Coordinates: 42.38096, -83.46882
Again, it appears that they removed the interchange track signal with the signal upgrade,
and moved the EB interlocking signal a little to the west before the switch
with one of the SW corner's interchange track.
NB Dwarf Searchlight
Google streetview from Farmer Street.
The dwarf signal is gone, being replaced by a pair of high colorlight signals on
the opposite side of Farmer St.
The Farmer St grade crossing.
WB Dwarf Searchlight
Google streetview from Mill Street.
As of 2019 when the Google cameras came thru, this signal has been removed.
Taken from Haggerty grade crossing on Google's streetview.
the "old" signals
the new signals
Grade crossing at Haggerty Rd.
Formerly searchlight signals on a signal bridge, they are now colorlight signals on a cantilever.
Also looks like the siding on the left side of the picture was removed.
the old signals
the new signals
These are new signals since I did my previous update, they are adjacent to Stella's...
WB Signals at Sheldon Rd
Thanks to Gary, we have a picture of the WB signals prior to the signal upgrade and the bridge construction.
This building may have been a former railroad warehouse too.... maybe.....
it is at the Mill St grade crossing, signal location 7.
They used to have a connection to the E/W CSX main in the NW corner of the diamond.......
Like postcards, matchbook covers are an interesting trip down memory
lane, too bad more places today don't utilize them. :-)
From EBay seller: matchbookalbumstore
I love trains, and I love signals. I am not an expert. My webpages reflect what I find on the topic of the page. This is something I have fun with while
trying to help others.
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 :-)
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.
Aerial shots were taken from either Google or Bing Maps as noted. Screen captures are made
with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it!
By the way, 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! Please be NICE!!! Contact info is here
Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly inaccurate, wrong, or not true.