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Hamlet Amtrak Station
Hamlet, NC is a small town (population 6,018) around 50 miles southeast of Charlotte. CSX has an important yard located here on the east side of town. The yard itself is off limits to the public, but the train station is not only fair-game for railfans, they are welcome! The City of Hamlet purchased the station from CSX and moved it across the tracks to its current location. The station was completely restored and is used by Amtrak as a waiting room for the Silver Star trains (# 91 + # 92, both daily, both stop in Hamlet overnight). The station was also home of the inappropriately named "National Railroad Museum and Hall of Fame". The museum has since moved into a store front. They provided a nicely detailed history and photo's of Hamlet and the area, but is too small to carry the title "National". The station has benches to rest between trains, along with a beverage machine and rest rooms inside. Across the street, a cosmetically restored Seaboard Air Line SD35 and caboose is displayed.
As for train-watching from the station, you can see just about every train that CSX puts trough Hamlet, the problem is most trains use the Monroe or Wilmington connecting tracks, both visible from the station, but too far off to really enjoy them and get nice pictures of them. Many fans access on open parking lot across the way to be right next to the action, but I am not sure who owns the lot, and are you really supposed to be there?
I have only visited Hamlet once; I stayed at the station for about 3 hours, and saw 5 trains which was average for that time span. None of the trains used the tracks that cross the diamond by the station, but I was able to see them and get pictures of them using a zoom lens. For photographers, light is also an issue for photographing trains from the station since its located on the north side of all the tracks. Another reason many fans move across the tracks to the south side. I plan to return to Hamlet, when I do, I'll report it here first!
Town / City: Hamlet, NC
Location Name: Hamlet Amtrak Station
Railroad(s): CSX Transportation / Amtrak (# 91 + # 92, daily)
Rail Traffic: Expect around 40 freights during a 24-hour period, plus 2 Amtrak trains.
Site Details: The station building is a good center point for local railfanning. It has benches for waiting, and is located at the single track diamond. Many trains run to / from CSX's Hamlet Yard, problem is the majority of trains will be coming off the Monroe or Wilmington Subdivision connection, visible from the station, but not close enough to enjoy. Many fans locate across the tracks to an open parking lot, where a majority of the trains operate; it also helps with lighting for photography since the station building is on the north side of the tracks.
Restrooms on site: Yes, in the train station building.
Food: Beverage machine located in the train station, other food is a short drive away.
Picnic Area: No, but benches around the train station provide a place to rest between trains.
Parking: Free parking in the train station parking lot.
Lighted for evening railfanning: Yes, but you will not be able to trains using the Monroe and Wilmington connecting tracks, too dark.
Scanner Frequencies: CSX Road: 160.590 (Road Channel/ Hamlet Yard) / 161.100 (Road Channel) /
CSX Dispatcher: 160.230 FE (Andrews Sub.) / 160.410 FD (Aberdeen and Hamlet Sub.) /
160.920 FC (Monroe Sub.) / 161.370 FA (South End Sub.) /
161.520 FE (Wilmington and Hamlet Terminal Sub.).
Motels / Hotels: There are not motels in Hamlet, but several a few miles down the road in Rockingham, NC. Rockingham does have some motels that do overlook the railroad, but have not been checked or included in RailfanMotels.com .