Living only an hour away from Tampa, Fla., I’ve long been fascinated with the railroad scene in the Sunshine State. When I picked up a copy of Model Railroad Planning 2009
and read Lance Mindheim’s article about the Miami Downtown Spur, I was completely sold. I knew for certain I wanted to model an industrial switching layout. Now all that was left was to find a prototype.
I searched Google Maps for inspiration, looking at short lines like the Florida Northern, First Coast RR, and numerous CSX spurs. My search came to an end when an Internet friend sent me a large collection of official CSX track charts created by Bernie Beaver. While browsing the charts for the CSX Clearwater Subdivision, I found what I was looking for: a small corridor of five industries known as the Southside Spur.