Tampa, Fla., Amtrak railfanning questions

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Tampa, Fla., Amtrak railfanning questions

Postby ohle » Tue Sep 06, 2005 9:09 pm

How easy is it to get good shots of Amtrak arriving and departing Tampa?

How is access to this bridge that the train crosses.

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=lakeland, ... 1272&hl=en

Where does the train back up? How does it enter and leave the city?

Also, any good shots, such as bridges, etc., east of Tampa en route to Orlando and Miami?

Thanks.
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Postby ACLfan » Fri Sep 09, 2005 1:57 pm

Generally, there are quite a few good locations to catch Amtrak action in the Tampa area.

However, much of the areas along the tracks are built-up, and consist of commercial warehousing/industrial development. So, convenient and safe parking can be limited in some locations.

The places that I like are at:

1. Just east of the Amtrak terminal at Tampa Union Station (N. Nebraska Av). Amtrak activity is visible from the roadway.

2. At the abandoned TN Tower (one of only 2 railroad interlocking towers left in the entire state of Florida!), located SW of the E. 7th Ave and N. 31st St intersection);

3. The RR bridge across the Tampa Bypass Canal, which is easily visible from the E. Broadway bridge and vicinity. I think that this is the bridge that you asked about in your post. The canal is approximately 150 - 200 feet wide, and the bridge is a concrete span that was built in the late 1960's - early 1970's. A good place for great shots; and

4. The RR bridge across the Tampa Bypass Canal north of SR 60 (Adamo Drive) is another great shot. No Amtrak trains, but a lot of freight trains (no intermodals, they use the bridge in 3. above). As I said, NO Amtrak trains on this rail line (the south rail line on your map). Use 78th St. off of Adamo Drive on the east side of the Bypass Canal to reach the rail line.

There are lots of other places along the rail line in the Tampa area that you can take photos, so you have a lot of choices, depending on the types of background scenery that you prefer. The primary limitations are tight shot angles due to the rather close proximity of buildings, etc.

In some locations, heavy amounts of vehicle traffic and available parking places may result in difficulties in getting shots.

Amtrak trains use CSX's former ACL mainline to the Amtrak terminal. Amtrak locomotive and equipment turning are done on tracks to the east of the terminal. The former ACL mainline is the northern of the two E - W lines into/out of the Tampa area.

Hope this info. helps you!

ACLfan
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Postby ohle » Fri Sep 09, 2005 10:15 pm

That was a good explanation. Thankfully someone finally answered. It's hard to find good railfan info on line.

Are there any good Florida or Southeastern rail discussion groups such as RAILSPOT (southwest) and MIDRAIL (midwest)?
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Postby ACLfan » Sat Sep 10, 2005 12:23 pm

Yeah, three discussion groups come immediately to mind:

Yahoo Florida Railfan Group;

Yahoo Southeast Railfan Group; and

Florida Rails (flrails) website

After noticing your post again, I don't know how far east of Tampa that you were thinking about, but a lot of good photo locations are located along the railroad line east of Tampa, starting in the Mango community area and eastward. Just stay on E. Broadway, as it is the closest parallel roadway to the railroad tracks. Some elevated curves in the Mango area and eastward will produce some great "at speed" photos!

Plant City: the former ACL - SAL interlocking and the tower and depot offer some good photo positions.

West side of Lakeland: Overhead signal bridges spanning several tracks offer great "railroad scenery" for at-speed photos. These signal bridges are slated for replacement by new "Darth Vader" hooded signal masts. Location: Take U.S. 92 to the Gay Road intersection, located at the "Silver Moon" outdoor drive-in theatre, and go south 2 blocks on Gay Road to the RR tracks. This site is also the location of the wye/north entrance to CSX's Winston Yard and the mainline. Good photo action on freights moving into and out of Winston Yard, as well as through Amtrak, intermodal and freight traffic on the mainline.

Take care, best wishes, and great railfanning!

ACLfan
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Postby ohle » Sun Sep 11, 2005 7:27 pm

ACLfan wrote:Amtrak trains use CSX's former ACL mainline to the Amtrak terminal. Amtrak locomotive and equipment turning are done on tracks to the east of the terminal. The former ACL mainline is the northern of the two E - W lines into/out of the Tampa area.


Where is this turning done?

Is it at that wye that crosses east 7th between 36th and 39th?

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=tampa+fl& ... &t=h&hl=en

That wye shows up on Google Map's satellite view, but the tracks aren't on the regular map nor on Mapquest.

I made it to the trolley crossover and got some shots there today of the SB/WB to Miami, as well as inside the fence east of the terminal for the NB/EB to NYC.

I kept hearing the train whistle, so it sounded like the turning took a lot of time.

I also made it to the causeway bridge on the east side. No trains but scoped it out, amongst kids fishing and swimming and hiking on the bridge. Will get shots there later.

I also found the abandoned TN tower.

Thanks again for all your help here.
-Doug
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Postby ACLfan » Mon Sep 12, 2005 3:07 pm

My understanding is that arriving Amtrak trains head into the Tampa Station, locomotive first.

After the passengers / baggage are unloaded, if the train is turned, it is backed out of the terminal and turned on a wye located south of the Station in the old, mostly abandoned SAL's Downtown Yard, near the ConAgra Mill.

ACL passenger trains used the wye referenced in your post, but the issues of public safety / liability risks associated with the back-up moves of a rear-end forward passenger train across so many busy grade crossings put a stop to this practice some time ago.

In most cases, the Amtrak passenger cars are not turned at all. Instead, the locomotive and head-end cars are switched off, and the head-end cars are repositioned in the car line-up without the use of wye turn-around movements. The Amtrak locomotives are turned around on the wye near the ConAgra mill, or in the Tampa Terminal (Yeoman/Uceta) yards.

I'm not sure that the old wye mentioned in your post is still used. I have a dim recollection that one of the legs has been removed.
At one time, this wye was the south end of ACL's mainline northward into Georgia.
But, with rail line abandonments, this line was reduced to nothing more than a local service line to customers in the Temple Terrace area of northeast Tampa.


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At Tampa wye

Postby ohle » Wed Oct 05, 2005 7:17 pm

I made it to the wye recently.

Here are some pics of the train turning before No. 91 makes its long backup into Tampa Union Station.


The lighting wasn't great on this first image, of No. 81 heading NB before backing west, but you have to get the train when it rolls in.

http://www.railroadforums.com/photos/sh ... 500&page=1

Here it is backing in.

http://www.railroadforums.com/photos/sh ... 500&page=1

--

I was in the area a couple of Saturdays ago when both 91 and 92 were scheduled to arrive at the same time. I drove to TUS hoping to see them both there, alongside each other, since there are a couple of tracks.

However, the other train apparently took the wye and waited north of the wye until the other departed TUS and headed east, clearing the wye.

What a sight both trains would have been in the station's tracks.

--

Anyone notice those humongous WASP NESTS in the east doorway of the old passenger car on the east end of the station? I've rarely seen them that big. I tried to get some shots of them with my digital but since it's only 3.4 megapixels, the CU are a blur. They would look that way with a tripod as well.
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Postby ACLfan » Fri Oct 07, 2005 12:11 pm

GREAT shots!!

Congrats!

ACLfan
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Postby crazy_nip » Tue Oct 18, 2005 2:33 pm

ACLfan wrote:My understanding is that arriving Amtrak trains head into the Tampa Station, locomotive first.

After the passengers / baggage are unloaded, if the train is turned, it is backed out of the terminal and turned on a wye located south of the Station in the old, mostly abandoned SAL's Downtown Yard, near the ConAgra Mill.


that is actually incorrect.

There is no more wye into old tampa yard from tampa union station anymore and has not been for about 8-10 years.

There is only an eastward facing turnout that is used to load in and out grain hoppers to con-agra and that is it.

There is a signaled wye that is used east of 34th street (between 34th street and 41st street) also known as the neve spur or neve lead which is the former ACL mainline from vitis to tampa, through temple terrace which now ends at the seaboard terminal at harney road and sligh ave.

Trains wye here and back into the station (40MPH to the 20mph curve at ybor city). They have been doing this since the tampa section of the silver star was annulled in the mid 90's and the only train was the palm.


Previously, the star and other amtrak trains came in locomotive first, unloaded and then wye'ed and overnighted.

As to your post about where to shoot them, as mentioned there is a bridge over the tampa bypass canal. There are actually 2, one is the 4 track lead out of yeoman yard which is the s-line, there is another one about 1000 feet north of this one, which is the a-line. Amtrak goes over this single track bridge, at a pretty good clip too.

As far as scenic views closer to the station, the lead into tampa union station is about it. Also, through ybor city, you may find this scenic. I dont.
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Re: Tampa, Fla., Amtrak railfanning questions

Postby Champlain Division » Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:15 am

The SPV Southeastern States Railroad Atlas shows a small turning loop immediately to the Southwest of TUS. Is this an error, a trolley facility or a historical refernece to what once was? It being solid black lined indicates something currently in existence.
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Re:

Postby FLRailFan1 » Fri May 23, 2014 9:57 pm

ACLfan:

Amtrak backs up into TUS (Tampa Union Station). The trains backs up from the Thonosassa(sp?) wye through Ybor to the station. TUS is a restored station at the edge of downtown.

ACLfan wrote:My understanding is that arriving Amtrak trains head into the Tampa Station, locomotive first.

After the passengers / baggage are unloaded, if the train is turned, it is backed out of the terminal and turned on a wye located south of the Station in the old, mostly abandoned SAL's Downtown Yard, near the ConAgra Mill.

ACL passenger trains used the wye referenced in your post, but the issues of public safety / liability risks associated with the back-up moves of a rear-end forward passenger train across so many busy grade crossings put a stop to this practice some time ago.

In most cases, the Amtrak passenger cars are not turned at all. Instead, the locomotive and head-end cars are switched off, and the head-end cars are repositioned in the car line-up without the use of wye turn-around movements. The Amtrak locomotives are turned around on the wye near the ConAgra mill, or in the Tampa Terminal (Yeoman/Uceta) yards.

I'm not sure that the old wye mentioned in your post is still used. I have a dim recollection that one of the legs has been removed.
At one time, this wye was the south end of ACL's mainline northward into Georgia.
But, with rail line abandonments, this line was reduced to nothing more than a local service line to customers in the Temple Terrace area of northeast Tampa.


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Re: Tampa, Fla., Amtrak railfanning questions

Postby Ocala Mike » Fri May 30, 2014 9:55 am

It's called the Neve Wye. Here's an interesting youtube video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bD7bDZwyL00
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Re: Tampa, Fla., Amtrak railfanning questions

Postby Noel Weaver » Sat May 31, 2014 1:39 am

I rode trains 92 and 91 in and out of Tampa a year or two ago and both trains inbound to Tampa turn on the wye the entire train consist and back in to the station. When it is time to leave town they simply leave in a normal manner. It is not a very difficult move but it does consume a little bit of extra time. I will probably ride 91 and 92 between Jacksonville and Tampa in September when I attend the FECRS convention in Jacksonville.
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