In General
Getting Here
Map
Sights
Pictures
Signals
Floobydust


RAILFAN GUIDES HOME
RAILROAD SIGNALS HOME

In General

Location / Name:
Folkston GA

What's Here:
Folkston Funnel
Viewing Platform
Former ACL Depot
Railside Lodging using old cabooses
2700 foot long passing siding

Data:
GPS Coordinates: 
30.830335, -82.007597
Phone A/C: 912
ZIP: 31537

Access by train/transit:
None

The Scoop:

Folkston is where the majority of train traffic for Florida passes.  All of CSXs trains moving in and out of Florida (except the few trains that go west) must pass through the Funnel.  It is known to railfans as the Folkston Funnel.

The Folkston Funnel is located at MP 602.2 on the Nahunta Subdivision of CSX's Jacksonville Division.  At this point, the Jesup Subdivision joins the Nahunta Sub.  From this point south it is double track main line to Jacksonville FL.

Heading north from here, trains head to Savannah.  This is the Nahunta Sub, and it handles traffic from Savannah GA and the Northeast.

From the split going northwest, trains head up to Waycross and then Atlanta.  This is the Jesup Sub, and handles traffic to/from Waycross GA and the Mid-west.

The actual interchange for the split is just north of the viewing platform.  Just south of the viewing platform is a 2700 foot long passing siding.

All three lines are double tracked, and you can see about 40 to 45 trains a day, down from about 50 with operational changes made in 2017.  Trains are generally longer tho to make up for some of this.  One of the changes included combining the Tropicana Juice Trains with some of the regularly scheduled intermodal trains - no more separate Juice Trains :-( 

The viewing platform features lights, ceiling fans, and a scanner to listen in on the action.  Adjacent to the platform are picnic tables, a grill, and a restroom facility.  Trains can also be watched from the restored Depot diagonally across from the platform.

There are three defect detectors located in the area:
     The Boulogne defect detector is located at MP 610.6 on the Nahunta Sub.
     The Hague defect detector is located at MP611.0 on the Jesup Sub.
     The Newell defect detector is located at MP 592.0 on the Nahunta Sub.
     These can be heard on the scanner at the platform.

There are six Amtrak trains passing through the Funnel each day: three in each direction, one of which is the Auto Train.  The Auto Train originates in Sanford FL, and terminates in Lorton VA.

The Tropicana Juice Train moves from Bradenton FL to Kearney NJ five nights a week, and passes thru towns such as Richmond VA, Doswell VA, Washington DC, Baltimore MD, and Philadelphia PA.

The town, with help from the local railfans, was responsible for getting a train watching platform built.  The train watchers platform is located on the east side of the Nahunta Sub at MP 602.6.  The platform is equipped with a scanner tuned to CSXs 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.

If you're heading to Folkston, you may also want to stop in Waycross, about 35 miles to the northwest, where CSX has the southeast's largest yard, Rice Yard.

The following comes from the Inn at Folkston webpage:

Folkston is located on the CSX Transportation double-track main line 40 miles north of Jacksonville FL.

To many rail fans, it is known as the CSXT funnel out of Florida, or The Folkston Funnel.  The double track from Jacksonville to Folkston, and north to Savannah, Georgia, and beyond is the Nahunta subdivision.  Within viewing distance, just north of town, the rails split.  The Jesup subdivision cuts off and goes west to Waycross GA (Burt Reynold's home town!) and on to Atlanta.

The main scanner frequency here is 160.590 MHz for road traffic.

During a 24-hour period, train watchers may see and average of 60 trains, at times more, depending on the movement of freight into Florida.  A wide variety of trains can be seen during the 24-hour period.  Six Amtrak trains pass daily, including the AutoTrain, which runs from the nation's capital to Florida and back.  Numerous intermodal and mixed freight trains going north and south keep the Nahunta and Jesup subdivisions busy.  Numerous unit trains pass through nearly every day, carrying coal, phosphate, grain, molten sulfur, auto rackets.

A covered train viewing platform became reality in 2001 to the delight of train fans from near and far who come to visit the famous Folkston Funnel.  As part of this city-sponsored service, a scanner is active where visitors can listen to train engineers as trains pass through the area.  Free WiFi service for laptop computers was added during the summer of 2006.  In addition, the city provides benches, chairs, picnic tables, BBQ pits and rest rooms.

In October, the Orlando Society of Model Railroaders sets up its elaborate train layout inside the restored historic depot during Folkston's annual Okefenokee Festival.  The city of Folkston welcomes rail fans to the area, but asks that they practice good railroad safety while here!

The City of Folkston hosts an annual train festival the second weekend in April.


This is the first of hopefully many railfan guides to be done in collaboration with Denver Todd.  Pictures and info are supplied by him unless noted.

Acknowledgements:
Denver Todd
Chuck Till / updates

Websites and other additional information sources of interest for the area:
     http://www.innatfolkston.com/trains.htm
     http://www.folkston.com/trains/trains.htm
     https://www.facebook.com/FolkstonRailfanPlatform
     http://railfanlocations.tripod.com/folkston-ga.html
     http://www.charltoncountyga.us/


Getting Here

  Folkston is in the extreme southeast corner of Georgia, as seen in the picture from Google on their Folkston page.

Folkston is about 21 miles from I-95.  If you're traveling SB on 95, take exit 3 onto East King Ave (GA 40) and head west.

If you're coming up from Florida, you'll have to take exit 1, Scrubby Bluff Rd, and head west (about 2 miles) to Ocean Highway, US 17.  Take a right and head north to GA 40, about 1.3 miles.

If coming in from the west, via I-10, it looks like maybe exit 335 might be your best choice.  This will drop you onto GA 121, which takes you northward into Folkston.  Haven't tried it, so I don't know if it's the best choice.

From the Atlanta area, head south on I-75 and get off at Tifton, exit 62.  Head east on GA 520/US 82 about 72 miles to Waycross.  From there, it's about another 35 miles southeast to Folkston via GA 4/US 1/US  23.

GPS coordinates for Folkston are N 30.380, W 82.010.


Maps



    


Sights


  The Viewing Platform

   Picture from http://railfanlocations.tripod.com/folkston-ga.html





  Railside Lodging

Railside Lodging provides the railfan three opportunities for place to stay that is up close and personal to the action.  Available for rent are two cabooses and a former roadmaster's "lodge" that used to house railroad employees when staying over in Folkston.  Their website is here

  The Roadmaster's Lodge, Denver Todd photo

  The Chessie caboose in the early stages of completion and restoration

  The Chessie caboose is situated diagonally across the tracks from the train watchers platform

  The caboose is on the left side of the picture, the lodge is between the two buildings where the arrow is pointing

  The SBD caboose is to the left

  The SBD caboose is situated a couple hundred feet south of the lodge







  The ex ACL Depot

The former Atlantic Coast Line depot has been restored and now houses a train museum.

   Denver Todd photo

           



 These Google streetview shots are from the north side of the depot




  The Folkston Funnel

No trains, but this is the view from the Okefenokee overpass, looking in both directions.  These pictures are from the Google picture bar when in the streetview mode.







The following two screen captures come from the Charlton County website.






Signals


  Interlocking Signals north


  Interlocking Signals south



Pictures

   Looking south, Denver Todd photo

  Train meet!, Denver Todd photo

   NB Auto Train, Denver Todd photo

  NB Silver Meteor, Denver Todd photo

   SB Silver Star, Denver Todd photo

   SB Silver Star, Denver Todd photo

   Picture from http://railfanlocations.tripod.com/folkston-ga.html

   Picture from http://railfanlocations.tripod.com/folkston-ga.html

   Picture from http://railfanlocations.tripod.com/folkston-ga.html

  

It's not often that the Google camera gets stuck at a grade crossing with a train, but here are three screen captures of a freight rolling through town





  Another picture off the Google toolbar

  Yet another picture off the Google toolbar, a SB CSX freight



Floobydust


the Inn at Folkston

Although the Inn at Folkston is not located adjacent to the RR tracks, it nevertheless offers the railfan a quiet place to stay.  It is a deluxe Bed and Breakfast that is handicapped accessible and offers a wide range of accommodations, including Wi-Fi.  Their website is http://www.innatfolkston.com/.   Both pictures are from Google Maps.







Mileposts and Defect Detectors


  • 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)


  • If you Google Folkston, the picture they use is my screen capture from above, at least for now :-)  Interesting   040915





    Disclaimers:

    I love trains, and I love signals.  I am not an expert.  I do these pages because I love spending my time doing them - although I do a reasonable amount of research to make sure the information presented is accurate! :-)  :-)

    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, oooooooops, oh well! :-)

    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.

    BTW, 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! 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.

    RAILFAN GUIDES HOME
    RAILROAD SIGNALS HOME


    NEW 3/1/2017
    Last Modified 18-Jan-2018