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trainmaster 10-20-2005 09:14 AM

Alabama Railfanning
Where is the best place to go in Alabama to see lots of rail activity beside Birmingham and Montgomery?

Flowing 10-20-2005 03:20 PM

In the north part of the state, Decatur and Stevenson are your best bets. Decatur is where the CSX S&NA Sub (former L&N) and NS Memphis District (former SOU) join to cross the Tennessee River drawbridge. The two lines converge for the single track bridge and then immediately split at each end. The depot, at the south end of the bridge, is the best place to sit and watch the action, since all trains pass by there, but photo angles there (and on the bridge) are limited; there are many good photo angles on both lines in all directions but some might require a 5 or 10 minute drive from the depot. Some good spots are the north and south ends of CSX Oakworth Yard (south of the depot about a mile) and Harris (north of the bridge) on CSX and Decatur Siding, Belle Mina, and Greenbrier on the NS.

Stevenson is also on the NS Memphis District (further east), where it joins the CSX Chattanooga Sub or "J-Line" (former NC&StL); NS trains run on trackage rights from here towards Chattanooga. There is a nice depot there with a museum. There are many photo angles possible around the depot and the area in general; this area is a little more scenic than Decatur (hills and valleys vs. flat flood plains).

Calera, located south of Birmingham, is also a good place to visit, though not quite as busy as the above locations. This is the location of the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum and where the CSX S&NA Sub crosses an NS branch to a power plant that they run coal trains over.

Flomaton, in the south part of the state on the CSX M&M Sub, is also very busy but I haven't been there.

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