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Visiting the Florida Railroad Museum

Photos by Richard Schumacher

A railroad-related side trip needs to be part of any vacation. Since we were in the Tampa area, Alex and I took a morning trip to the Florida Railroad Museum. The Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and operates diesel-powered train excursions on Saturdays and Sundays. Excursions depart at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and run on six miles of a former Seaboard Air Line Railway line in Manatee County from Parrish north to the ghost town of Willow where their restoration and repair work shops are located. The hour and a half roundtrip is pulled by either an ex-US Army GP7 or an ex-US Navy GE 44-ton switcher. The excursion consist included an air-conditioned coach, an air-conditioned concessions car, an open window “Jim Crow” coach, and a covered excursion gondola. The concessions car was remodeled with tables and chairs and served snacks, soda, juices and water.

The Museum recently built a station at Willow, and plans tours of the equipment in its shop area which includes a variety of weathered equipment, a circus bunk car, and a passenger car being renovated to hold a model railroad. A few pieces of restored equipment are on display at Parrish, featuring equipment that ran in Florida. A remodeled baggage car there acts as the ticket office and gift shop. For more information, visit These photos were taken in June 2015.

Richard Schumacher is the webmaster and models the transition-era Saint Louis Southern in HO scale. He is the technology manager for the Workforce Solutions Group of St. Louis Community College. Learn more about Richard by following him: LinkedIn - Twitter - Google+ - WSG Articles - Email
  1. Joseph Haley Reply

    I thought FGC was Florida Gulf Coast with Ft. Myers HQ!!
    Did you purchase the engine from them?

    • Joseph Haley Reply

      Well, nobody answered the last question. I now leave another to see it youall are awake!!

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