Annual Railwatch: Saturday, April 6, 2013
The Folkston Funnel
The "Folkston Funnel" is a double track which serves as the main artery for railroad traffic into and out of Florida.
From the viewing platform in Folkston, visitors can see trains passing on their way to and from Jacksonville, Florida in the south, and a split north of town where trains go west to Waycross, Georgia, and north to Savannah.
The platform features lights, ceiling fans, and a scanner to listen in to radio traffic between trains. Adjacent to the platform are picnic tables, a grill, and a new restroom facility for our guests.
Trains can also be enjoyed from the grounds of the restored Folkston depot, just diagonally across the tracks from the platform.
A recent visitor from Tampa told of seeing "41 trains or engine movements and units from seven different railroads." And rated our viewing site as "fantastic!"
The trains travelling through Folkston carry automobiles, coal, gravel, phosphate, grain, molten sulpher, and orange juice. Several Amtrak trains pass daily, including the Autotrain.
Folkston Funnel on CBS Sunday Morning
Hear Senator Jeff Chapman talk about the Folkston Funnel: FolkstonFunnel.mp3 (1:43)
For the Train-Literate:
The Folkston Funnel is located at MP 602.2 on the Nahunta Subdivision of the CSXT, Jacksonville services lane. At this point, the Jesup Subdivision joins the Nahunta Sub. From this point south it is double track main line to Jacksonville, Florida.
The Nahunta Sub handles traffic from Savannah, Georgia and the Northeast. The Jesup Sub handles traffic from Waycross, GA and the Mid-west.
There are three defect detectors (DD) located in our area. The Boulogne DD is located at MP 610.6 on the Nahunta Sub. The Hague DD is located at MP611.0 on the Jesup Sub. The Newell DD is located at MP 592.0 on the Nahunta Sub. These can be picked up on the scanner at the platform.
All of CSXT’s trains moving to Florida (except the few trains that go west) must pass through the Funnel.
Waycross is the home of CSXT’s Rice Yard, the largest rail yard in the southeast.
Manifest freights originate in the Rice yard and move south to CSXT’s Moncrief yard or Baldwin yard. Trains originating in these yards move north to Waycross and Rice yard.
Intermodal trains that originate in the northeast move south through Savannah, down the Nahunta Sub, to Jacksonville. The Intermodal trains from the Midwest move south through Atlanta down the Jesup Sub to Jacksonville. The northbound trains just reverse the routing. The unit coal trains originate in Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia, and move south through the Funnel to the coal-fired generating plants in North and Central Florida.
When these Trains are empty, they will return to the coal mines by reverse routing.
In addition to these trains you can see loaded and empty automobile rack trains and molten sulfur trains going to the Bone Valley in Central Florida.
There are also six Amtrak trains passing through the Funnel each day: three southbound and three northbound. The Auto Train is one of these. It originates in Sanford, Florida, and terminates in Lorton, Virginia. The Tropicana Juice Train moves from Bradenton, Florida, to Kearney, New Jersey five nights a week.
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 CSXT’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
- 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)