I will speak for the Fort Lauderdale area first, the best time is probably
late afternoon and evening. I went down to the Riverwalk area by the
drawbridge last week Friday and also this past Tuesday arriving both days
around 5:00 PM. On Friday about 6:00 PM, two northbounds went by
about 10 minutes apart, first one was no. 290 which is the northbound
"rock train" for Fort Pierce with 141 loads, the second train was no. 218
which is made up here at Fort Lauderdale for Bowden (Jacksonville) with a
mixed consist of freight, pigs and containers. Yesterday (Tuesday), I saw
three movements, the first was a light engine southbound off one of the
locals that runs out of Fort Lauderdale, I will assume that it was train 960.
The second was train 218 out of Fort Lauderdale with two GP-40-2's that
were so clean that you could have your sunday dinner on them and he
went north about 6:15 PM. The third train was 290 the "rock train" which
went north about 6:45 PM, too late for any pictures at this time of the
It is safe to assume with the present schedules that in another month or
so, you will be sure to catch at least two northbounds in late day light
through this area. Will be even better once we go on daylight time.
If you are satisfied to watch trains, all evening is good here in Fort
Lauderdale and after the above mentioned trains, you should see a good
number more up to about midnight or 1:00 AM.
According to the material that I have, locals run as follows
Out of Bowden a turn to Bunnell, Out of New Smyrna Beach a Dorena
turn, Out of Cocoa a Hall turn and a turn which switches the "rock train"
at City Point yard, out of Fort Pierce, a Pineda turn, a turn to Jupiter and Camp Murphy and a K branch switcher which Tropicana juice to the yard.
There are also two other listed jobs at Fort Pierce but I do not have the
information on when they run and what they do. Out of West Palm Beach
there is a north turn to Camp Murphy, and two locals south - a morning job which switches rock at Tarmac-Delray and works at Boca Raton and an afternoon job which works at Lake Worth and Boynton then returns to work WPB yard.
At Fort Lauderdale are three jobs, a job north to work Pompano, Deerfield
and Boca, a job south to work Dania, Hollywood and Ojus and finally a job
that just works the yard at Fort Lauderdale.
There are two through jobs that originate or terminate at Fort Lauderdale
Most of the above locals work in the daytime but some of them are either
evening or night jobs. Most of them work Monday-Friday but one job at
Fort Pierce, one job at WPB and two jobs at Fort Lauderdale work Monday
One particular time that I would say not to look for too much doing is on
the day trick on Sunday's, often track work goes on during that time.
In the daytime northbound there are 4:00 AM, 7:00 AM and 12:00 Noon
departures north out of Hialeah for Bowden while on the north end out of
Bowden there are trains south around 3:00 AM, 12:00 Noon and 1:30 PM.
I am not going to go into detail but some of the through trains do not run
on Saturdays, Sundays and/or Mondays.
If you are an early bird, you should get some southbounds around Fort
Lauderdale and some northbounds between St. Augustine and Bowden.
One more important point, Florida East Coast trains are much more
likely to run on a organized basis than CSX trains do and FEC trains in
Fort Lauderdale at least northbound do not vary too much from day to
day for the most part.
Finally, power -- The Florida East Coast still makes big time use of their
GP-40's and GP-40-2's but they have some former UP SD-40-2's and a
few leased engines which can show up as middle or trailing units. Finally
we occasionally see a GP-38-2 pass by on something too. The GP-9's are
gone, replaced by the former UP engines. All engines are in good shape
and trains north of Pompano generally run at 60 MPH but at 45 MPH south
Once again, a reminder - STAY OFF RAILROAD PROPERTY AND BE SAFE.