What's Your Favorite Out Of The Way Railfanning Spot?

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Posted by catpoppa on Saturday, May 04, 2019 9:44 AM

i always go there when i visit my son who lives about a quarter  of a mile away

 

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Posted by BOB WITHORN on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 12:18 PM

West of Durand, Mi. a few miles where the CN begins the climb to Bancroft. Dbl. track old iron single lane bridge on a gravel road. No place to really park. Great view as they blast under west bound or coast under east bound.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 7:29 AM

Based on what Dad told us when we were growing up, Dalhart is not just off the beaten path, it's the far side of nowhere.  It's where he was stationed for navigator training in early 1944 (San Marcos AAF).

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by plainviewpaul on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 9:59 PM

diningcar

Stratford, TX where the UP (former RI Golden State Route) crosses the BNSF Denver to Amarillo line. Not quite as busy now with diminished BNSF coal trains but still has all of the BNSF Denver to AZ and CA traffic that formerly went over Raton Pass. And of course the UP trains from KC to El Paso and west.

Stratford is about 80 miles north of Amarillo and has a population of 2000+- so there are good motels and restaurants. 

 

 

Another good Texas Panhandle spot is Dalhart.  UP Golden State line crosses BNSF Denver to Amarillo line that is the old FW&D route.

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 6:12 PM

Williams Loop.is a specific location in California on the former Western Pacific RR, now Union Pacific. It is similar to Tehachapi CA where the tracks loop over themselves. You can find it on GOOGLE MAPS. 

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Posted by rmccallay on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 1:50 PM

Cincy Guy

Please tell our readers what STATE you are referring to.

Thanks.

To whom are you asking the question?  I think each post mentions the state, but perhaps I have missed one.

 

 

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Posted by Cincy Guy on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 1:40 PM

Please tell our readers what STATE you are referring to.

Thanks.

 

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Posted by KEN G MARX on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 12:31 PM

I like any spot to watch trains and don't have a favorite remote except a spot where I want to have my ashes scattered near the cross over at Williams Loop.

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Posted by Nortley on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 12:21 AM

 

 

 

Eastern Oregon’s Horseshoe

 

Another Railfanning Spot

 

 

 

            It may be more accurately called a railfanning strip.  UP crosses the Snake River into Oregon on a three span steel truss bridge, and immediately starts up the Burnt River canyon.  Soon the train rolls into Huntington, once a division point and still a vestigial railyard, and from Huntington the train will continue to climb the Burnt River to Durkee, where the Burnt River diverges and the tracks continue up Alder Creek, then up out of the Snake River valley and into the Powder River valley, through Baker City, Haines, and North Powder, where the train climbs out of the valley and passes into Pyles Canyon, which takes us into LaGrande.  The train has been climbing for most of the run, but now comes the climb which will get all that freight over to the easy running of the Columbia River valley.  That is, the Blue Mountains.  From 3025 feet at Hilgard to 3705 feet at Meacham  may not sound like much, but it is a steep twisty grind, and the seasons add to the challenge.  From the Snake River to Meacham is a train chasing run of about 120 road miles, and except for a few blocked views most of the track is visible, and usually not far from, public roads, highways, and freeway.  Outside of the towns, the scenery ranges from ranch to sagebrush to forest and mountains, and wherever the train may be, there is a fine backdrop.  Within this railfanning strip, I do have a favorite railfanning spot, and it is within 5 miles of a state highway in one of the few places where the track disappears from the highway for any distance.  It is the hill overlooking the horseshoe between Durkee and the site of Oxman.  To ease the climb west, OWR&N engineers laid a horseshoe up, then further up and out of a valley which branches off the route.  A westbound train disappears about 260 feet above where it first came into view, as it climbs out of the other side of the valley.  Save for some patches of trees and a couple of cuts, the entire approach, 180 degree curve, climb out, and exit stage left into the sagebrush is entirely visible.  The viewpoint is on public land and reached by public road.  Take old Oregon Highway 30 east from Baker City, in 30 miles or so you will be approaching Durkee.  North of (before) Durkee is a crossroads,  Take Hindman Road, to the left(east).  Follow this road, stopping at the grade crossing, to Iron Mountain Road.  Simply follow Iron Mountain Road for about 2 ½ miles until you see the Horseshoe down below.  Here you are.  You may also continue on Hindman road, which dead ends inside the horseshoe.  You’ll be at track level, and there is one crossing.  It should be mentioned that Iron Mountain Road is steep, narrow, rough, rocky, and subject to seasonal fun such as mud, ice, or dust.  There are no services, stores, or gas between Baker City and Huntington, so hit the road taking what ever you’ll want.  The climb up Iron Mountain road gives a great view of Iron Mountain and a glimpse of Oregon’s desert country.  It is an adventure, and a tiny bit of challenge, but pack a couple of friends and a cooler into an SUV and it’s a great place to spend a day watching trains.

 

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Posted by BLS53 on Saturday, March 09, 2019 7:11 AM

 

Don't know if it qualifies as  little known, as most fans in the area are aware of it. But it's Gorham IL on the UP Chester Sub, where the UP's St. Louis and Chicago lines join to head south. A little village of a few hundred people. A small picnic area is adjacent to the tracks. On weekends, it may draw a dozen fans. During the week, I'm usually there alone. The main attraction is it's the only point in far southern Illinois, to see a reasonable amount of fast intermodals.

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Posted by CRIP 4376 on Tuesday, March 05, 2019 5:15 PM

My favorite spot is my own backyard.  We have 4 acres immediately adjacent to the BNSF Chicago to Denver main.  If I want to stay up for 24 hours, I can see thousands of coal hoppers a day without leaving the house.  Amtrak goes by in 7 seconds.  I am slowly cleaning out the junk trees and overhanging branches on my side of the fence.  There is a siding on the north track which provides the opportunity to take detail photos of cars when trains are parked there.  On the west end of the property, I am slightly above the track, in the middle I am even with the track and down by the creek I have to look up.  The creek can be scary.  One derailment and I am dead.  I spend no money on gas to get there, snacks are easily available and there is always a bathroom available.  This is where 5632 spent part of its final days, the Pioneer Zephyr flashed by on its maiden run and real Zephyrs went by several times a day.  The only thing that is the same today is the track gauge.

Ken Vandevoort

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Posted by CMStPnP on Saturday, March 02, 2019 12:32 AM

So I actually had two during two parts of growing up.   First I had a good friend who via his backyard had the Milwaukee Road Southbound Twin Cities Mainline going through his backyard in Brookfield, WI.    An additional plus he also had the CTC Signal with ladder on the back.........which we climbed once or twice while trains sped by until a signal maintainer lectured us why that was not a good idea.   Lots of good times then.

Then my first ungodly hot night in Fort Benning, Georgia, nodding off to sleep, and wondering what the hell I got myself into and if I would make it to graduation...... then a slow rumble which got louder and louder followed by multi-chime air horns, running over to the narrow Sand Hill barracks window to catch a glimpse of three Southern Railway high nose hood units pulling a slow manifest freight.   Big smile on my face.   What were the chances of landing a barracks with a view of not only the railroad tracks but next to a post railroad crossing so I could hear the horns as well????!!!!.    Still have a facebook buddy that was with me that night whom was at another window, only other guy up looking out the window........ah, another railfan!   He lived along the Milwaukee Road as well in Washington State next to that hill where the Milwaukee F units were used as helpers.   We exchanged info throughout the Army Infantry training program on Milwaukee Road operations (heh-heh) when we could communicate.    He is an accomplished writer now.

Back in August 1982-Dec 1982 about 6 trains a day used that line, no idea where it went or where it originated just that it went by my barracks and into Columbus, GA.   Video clip of part of a siding of the line today with NS units delivering tanks for the new Manuever Center of Warfare (actually moved the tanks from Fort Knox, KY as now the Armor Center is at Ft. Benning).   Note the well groomed mainline to the right of the weed grown siding or rail yard in the video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FA98vrHl5YI 

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Posted by plainviewpaul on Friday, March 01, 2019 8:49 PM
Vaughn, NM, where the BNSF Transcon and UP (former Golden State line) cross.
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Posted by PETER H ORMSON on Thursday, February 28, 2019 7:25 PM

if you want very cool, up close non-stop transcon action sit under the portal at the harvey house in belen nm.  you can also ride the railrunner down from abq.  the station is across the tracks.  the station has a micro brewery, too!

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Posted by mbv9415 on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 9:55 PM

Growing up, loved the Emsworth Locks on the Ohio River. Conrail's PFW&C main line between Pittsburgh and Conway. From the observation deck i could watch the tugs and the trains. The tracks actually split here so you could stand on a road between them (and be safe and legal). The locks observation deck was up high enough to put you above the fences and at eye level with the engine crews. Post 9-11 they closed the observation deck.

Current favorite is Platte River SP near Louisville, NE on the BNSF Creston main. Line is single track here, following the bluffs. Have to hike through the woods to get here. Best spots on a sandbarso you can pan the trains along the river. Quiet area, but can here the trains blow at the road crossings in South Bend and Louisville, so you always have time to get ready. 

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Posted by SAMUEL C WALKER on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 2:25 PM

alphas

My favorite out-of-the-way is a bluff that over looks the east end of the PRR/NS Spruce Creek Tunnel.    You turn into a back road at Barrie, park at a trail entrance, then hike back on the trail for about half a mile.   I take a lawn chair along sometimes if I'm going to be there for more than an hour or so.   I also get to watch the creek, lots of birds, often see wild turkeys, even occasionally an otter.    Sometimes I take my latest Trains with me to read between trains.    You can hear the west bounds for some time before they come by you but the eastbounds usually only make noise for about a minute before they come out of the tunnel.  There's also plenty of shade to beat the heat in the summer.    The Fall is spectacular when the leaves are changing.

 

CHeck out the book Tomas Moran The Field Sketches, 1856-1923. From what you described the combination of Allegheny Mountain scenery combined with the Juniata River and the nearby confluence of Spruce Reek tells me you appreciate the whole of it. Thomas Moran was a famed landscape artist. He was a Philadelphia who roamed the Juniata and the Connemaugh River valleys sketching. This was in 1864. Hmany of his sketches will probably recobnized bby someone who has scrambled over and around the landscape in the vicinity of Spruce Creek, PA

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Posted by tree68 on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 12:53 PM

There are some well established watching spots that many aren't aware of.  Comments on the YouTube channel for Deshler indicate that.

LarryWhistling
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Posted by BRENDAN BROSNAN on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 9:06 AM

Haven't traveled in a few years due to my health so this may have changed. But my favorite place was Mance, PA on the CSX. A lot less know, "almost a horse shoe curve", and you can view the entire curve from a vanyage point beside the highway. 

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Posted by RAY HEROLD on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 8:42 AM

Cove, Pa. A small burg on the Susquehanna River. A nice opening that you can see and photograph both directions, and has an overhead signal gantry as a photo prop. It is on N.S. main line between Harrisburg and Altoona. Usually very good action.

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Posted by tnbuzzman on Monday, February 25, 2019 9:36 PM

JPS1

JPS1 - what sort of volume of trains through there?  Been wanting to make a trip up from my home in Corpus Christi for a while, and was just wondering!  Thanks!

 

 
Backshop
 What location do you go to that you like and keep going back to? 

 

The UP mainline between Alpine and Marfa Texas.  East or west the trains work the grade to top Paisano Pass.  Listening to the throaty roar of the locomotives as they climb the grade adds to the pleasure. 
 
The station in Alpine is a good anchor point.  Amtrak and the UP change crews at the Alpine Station.  Most of them are happy to answer rail fan questions while waiting for their assigned train.  I have learned a lot from talking with them.
 
The Sunset Limited calls at Alpine on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.  On Thursdays one can see No. 1 and No.2.
 

JPS1

 

 
Backshop
 What location do you go to that you like and keep going back to? 

 

The UP mainline between Alpine and Marfa Texas.  East or west the trains work the grade to top Paisano Pass.  Listening to the throaty roar of the locomotives as they climb the grade adds to the pleasure. 
 
The station in Alpine is a good anchor point.  Amtrak and the UP change crews at the Alpine Station.  Most of them are happy to answer rail fan questions while waiting for their assigned train.  I have learned a lot from talking with them.
 
The Sunset Limited calls at Alpine on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.  On Thursdays one can see No. 1 and No.2.
 

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Posted by Loco2124 on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 5:05 PM
Either Williams Loop near Spring Garden,CA. (Not really that far out of the way.) Or behind my house near the Chandler Creek trestle near Quincy. (Out of the way for you guys.LOL)
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Posted by Semper Vaporo on Friday, February 15, 2019 3:27 PM

I know many places to watch trains, but I won't divulge the "out of the way" spots... if I did that, my friends and family might find out and then know where to find me when I shut my cell phone off to watch trains in peace!

Semper Vaporo

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Posted by Ulrich on Friday, February 15, 2019 3:19 PM

JPS1

 

 
Ulrich
In the summer I cycle there after work.. about 60 km return to my house. Makes for lovely summer evenings.  

 

I failed to mention in my post that a rail fan - cyclist or vice versa can multi-task between Alpine and Marfa.  U.S. 90/67 parallels the UP all the way.  A cyclist can ride and watch trains at the same time. 
 
Alpine to Marfa and back is 52 miles.  Better yet is the Alpine, Marfa, Fort Davis, Alpine triangle.  It is about 75 miles.  It is some of the most wonderous country that I have ever seen.  The area is great for cycling.  Good shoulders and light traffic.  The only downer is the wind, which can be stiff, especially in the spring.  
 

Sounds like a great ride.. will have to check that one out...thanks.. 

 

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Posted by alphas on Friday, February 15, 2019 12:11 AM

My favorite out-of-the-way is a bluff that over looks the east end of the PRR/NS Spruce Creek Tunnel.    You turn into a back road at Barrie, park at a trail entrance, then hike back on the trail for about half a mile.   I take a lawn chair along sometimes if I'm going to be there for more than an hour or so.   I also get to watch the creek, lots of birds, often see wild turkeys, even occasionally an otter.    Sometimes I take my latest Trains with me to read between trains.    You can hear the west bounds for some time before they come by you but the eastbounds usually only make noise for about a minute before they come out of the tunnel.  There's also plenty of shade to beat the heat in the summer.    The Fall is spectacular when the leaves are changing.

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Posted by mudchicken on Thursday, February 14, 2019 11:03 PM

Carl: Clark Junction, Tolleston and the IHB-Gary & Western were spooky enough. Pine Junction can wait another day. (an NS contractor did find a bodyDeadWilted Flower on that project, on a piece of ground still owned by PC/American Premier Underwriters - something that CR and USRA didn't want for any reason. Ick!

As long as DC is nominating Stratford, I'd nominate Frick, CO or Las Animas Junction for the really out of the way prize on that line along with Hilton, CO)

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by RailEagle on Thursday, February 14, 2019 4:02 PM

Hufsmith Siding/Lloyd Yard, Spring Tex. (UP Navasota Sub).

You may have seen it last December on TV.   ;)

Timetable:

http://jeffstrainsite.com/railfan_info/up/navasota.pdf

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Posted by ADRIAN BALLAM on Thursday, February 14, 2019 1:07 AM

I have several locations which I love that are isolated and along mainlines:

1. Boulder Creek: location in which is assessed by ferry and logging road 100 km north of Kamloops, BC up the North Thompson River along CN's Clearwater Sub. There are at least 30 daily trains, plus VIA and Rockymountaineer.

2. Swan Landing: just outside of Hinton, AB along both the Athabasca River and CN's busy Edson Subdivision and close to the junction where the Grande Cache Sub heads north to Grande Praire, AB. Has nice views of the Rockies as well.

3. Bitter Creek: off Interstate 80 between Rawlins and Rock Springs, WY and about 15 miles south of the highway along a rough road. Along UP's Overland Route in which trains climb the grade to the Continental Divide. Extremely underrated. Despite the prominent grade, trains go very fast through here and there are around 50 to 70 daily. Wonderful arid and mountainous setting. Lots of rabbits and creatures in the area to make it more fun.

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Posted by Harrison on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 8:41 PM

tree68

Utica Union Station in NY is usually rewarding.  A lot of traffic (CSX's "Chicago Line") including Amtrak, and several sheltered spots (including the overhead walkway - all glass) from which to watch the action.

It's not really "out of the way," but it's not in the same "class" as the name hotspots.

 

Yes- I agree, love Utica Union! Amsterdam is another of my favorites. Another one is Wells, ME Amtrak station, nice little spot with interesting freight and Amtrak.

Harrison

Homeschooler living In upstate NY a.k.a Northern NY.

Modeling the D&H in 1978.

Route of the famous "Montreal Limited"

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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 7:36 PM

When I get to Colorado I often drive to various places along the Rio Grande Moffat Route.  Back in th day, I also visited Minturn and Malta on the Tennessee Pass Route.  There is a moving hot spot of shorts along the light rail line south from Denver along-side the Joint Line as far as Littleton.  It may have been better before Burnham Yard was downgraded.

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