Todd's Railfan Guide to
 PLYMOUTH MI (Detroit)

In General
Getting Here
Historic Maps



In General

Location / Name:
Plymouth MI

What's Here:
Plymouth Diamond
Plymouth Yards
Station 885 Restaurant
Former C&O Freight Shed

GPS Coordinates: 42.380779, -83.466555 (at the diamond)
ZIP: 48170

Access by train/transit:

The Scoop:

lymouth 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
Plymouth (E-W) and Saginaw (N-S) sub-divisions.  Actually for the mile between mileposts CH24 and CH25, the track is referred to as the Plymouth Interlocker.
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care of that by getting a 2m HT with a high band scanner built in, but somewhere I thought I read that the law has been repealed.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 U.S. 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.


Websites and other additional information sources of interest for the area:


Aerial shots were taken from either Google Maps or www.bing.com/maps as noted.  Screen captures are made with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it! 

Getting Here

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.


Click here for the map in PDF format.

Numerous inconsistencies exist between the map below and the CSX sub-divisions listed on the Wikipedia page of the same name
If anyone has any better and accurate info, it would be appreciated.....


  Plymouth Yard

The bottom end of Plymouth Yard, just north of the diamond.


  Plymouth Diamond

GPS Coordinates: 42.380779, -83.466555

  Former C&O Freight Shed

  the Station 885 Restaurant

GPS Coordinates: 42.380599, -83.462417
885 Starkweather Street, Plymouth MI 48170



Simple double-tracked overpass.  Looks the same from both sides.

  Aren't we glad the bridge really doesn't do this?  :-)

Must be a relatively new overpass, because in my last version of this guide, I had this marked as a good spot for pictures.... not anymore!

Overpass going over highway 14.


If anyone has the inclination and the time, I could use some good pictures of the signals.

  NB Dwarf Searchlight

Google streetview from Farmer Street.

  The Farmer St grade crossing.

  WB Dwarf Searchlight

Google streetview from Mill Street.

Taken from Haggerty grade crossing on Google's streetview.

  Grade crossing at Haggerty Rd.

Historic USGS Maps


This building may have been a former railroad warehouse too.... maybe..... it is at the Mill St grade crossing.

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.  My webpages are an attempt at putting everything I can find of the subject in one convenient place.  There are plenty of other good websites to help me in this effort, and they are listed in the links section on my indexa page, or as needed on individual pages.  Please do not write to me about something that may be incorrect, and then hound the heck out of me if I do not respond to you in the manner you would like.  I operate on the "Golden Rule Principle", and if you are not familiar with it, please acquaint yourself with how to treat people by reading Mathew 7:12 (among others, the principle exists in almost every religion).  If you contact me (like some do, hi Paul) and try to make it a "non-fun" thing and start with the name calling, your name will go into my spambox list! :-)

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, especially if restaurants or gas stations open, close, or change names.  Most of my maps are a result of personal observation after visiting these locations.  I have always felt that a picture is worth a thousand words", and I feel annotated maps such as the ones I work up do the same justice for the railfan over a simple text description of the area.  Since the main focus of my website is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  Since most of us railheads don't have just trains as a hobby, I have also tried to point out where other interesting sites of the area are.... things like fire stations, neat bridges, or other significant historical or geographical feature.  While some may feel they shouldn't be included, these other things tend to make MY trips a lot more interesting.... stuff like where the C&O Canal has a bridge going over a river (the Monocacy Aqueduct) between Point of Rocks and Gaithersburg MD, it's way cool to realize this bridge to support a water "road" over a river was built in the 1830's!!!

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 is here

Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.


NEW 06/09/2009
Last Modified 08-Sep-2016