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Manchester Train Viewing Platform
Located about 60 miles south of Atlanta, Manchester is a small town (considered a city for the area). Just behind the classic sleepy downtown row of shops, the city built a covered gazebo to watch trains. Manchester is where the Waycross main splits, the line north is the Atlanta Main, and the line west is the Birmingham Main. All trains that pass through Manchester will pass, or at least be seen from the gazebo. Since the viewing platform is on the south side of the tracks, lighting for pictures is good most of the day. There is one issue that puts Manchester a bit lower of my list of favorite train-watching locations. The track closest to the viewing platform, called "the runaround", is often as a siding for trains looking to recrew, or at times a local freight may drop their train on it. This may completely block your view of other passing trains. Don't worry, you’re not totally dead in the water...a two minute walk onto the roadway overpass will get you in a good spot to photograph the passing trains. Trains roll slow through Manchester, so you will have enough time to reposition yourself. Another drawback from this location is the amount of trains that pass daily. Expect about 40 trains during a 24-hour period. Rail traffic is open to everything CSX moves. Some highlights include the Tropicana Juice trains, and deadhead locomotives being moved to / from the CSX shop in Waycross, located south of Manchester.
Town / City: Manchester, GA
Location Name: Manchester Train Viewing Platform
Railroad(s): CSX Transportation
Rail Traffic: Expect about 40 trains during a 24-hour period. In my recent experience (2011), mid days have been slow. You can expect to see any type of train CSX moves. Merchandise, intermodal (including double stacks), coal, grain, automobiles, and orange juice trains. Deadhead locomotives to / from Waycross shops may also be seen on a daily bases.
Site Details: Located along the parking lot behind the Main Street row of shops, its situated in a quiet area. The gazebo includes two picnic tables. It can get very hot here, if A/C is needed, you can sit in your car and wait for trains from there, you can see everything from the parking lot. A short walk onto the Broad Street (Route 85) bridge will offer good view for photography. There are pedestrian walkways on both sides of the bridge; automobile traffic over the bridge is active, but not too busy.
Restrooms on site: No. A 10-minute walk or a quick drive can land you at McDonalds, or a mini-mart.
Food: None on site. A McDonalds, Subway and a mini-mart are just a short drive away.
Picnic Area: Yes, two picnic tables located in the gazebo.
Parking: Yes, free parking next to the gazebo...it’s actually the town parking lot for downtown Manchester....don't worry, its not a busy parking lot, there are always spots!
Lighted for evening railfanning: Yes, but only one bulb currently works (2011).
Scanner Frequencies: 160.590 The gazebo has a control to listen to the railroad radio, although during my last visit, it didn't work too well. Bring your scanner to be safe.
Motels / Hotels: Manchester does have 2 motels (Days Inn & ??, both do not offer railroad views). Warm Springs, GA is the next town north, its a tourist town with additional motels.