The Gregarious Railfan
Plant City, FL 33563 (population, 34,822)                Page 2

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 significant 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. 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.

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.

Gregariousness quotient: Low to Medium

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

Clik for TRAINS Trackside article on Plant City     
Denver Todd is The Gregarious Railfan
Todd Sestero publishes the RAILFAN GUIDES of the U.S.
December 2014
“There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness.” - Josh Billings
Disclaimer: I have not been to this location. Information is from railfan friends, the Internet and TRAINS Magazine. I
would welcome pictures, additions, or corrections to this page. Pictures and new info will be credited on the page.
e-mail me at gregariousrailfan@gmail.com
.