THE magazine of railroading

SEARCH TRAINSMAG.COM

Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

10 best places to watch the trains go by?

5356 views
26 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 282,456 posts
10 best places to watch the trains go by?
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, January 15, 2005 6:57 PM
I know that Rochelle, Illinois is an excellent place for the train lovers, are there any places in the US where you can watch the trains go by often?
  • Member since
    August, 2003
  • 1,092 posts
Posted by oskar on Sunday, January 16, 2005 10:42 AM
here is my list

1. Folkston,GA CSX
2. Hamlet,NC CSX
3. Maroin,OH CSX,NS
4. Crssondra,PA NS
5. Rochelle,IL UP,BNSF
6. Galsburg,IL BNSF
7. Greenwood, CSX on a map it say they have NS running though there but I have not seen any NS
8. Austell,GA NS
9. Waycross,GA CSX
10. Augusta,GA CSX,NS





kevin
  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 282,456 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, January 16, 2005 11:25 AM
Well Im only 15 and have only been doing this for one year but here it goes.

#1 Blue Island - CSX, IHB and CN own the lines but almost every single railroad that operates through Chicago can be seen here. I havent seen EJ&E, NS, and CRL but I am told CRL operates sometimes.

#2 Joliet - BNSF, CN, Metra/IAIS BNSF's transcon passes over the former Rock Island. I love this spot becuase you dont have to worry about tresspassing at all. The diamonds are at Joloet Union station.

#3 State Line- NS, CSX, IHB Former Nickle Plate crossing over former B&O and formerly crossing over Monon and Erie Lackawana. Fascinating place to see.

#4 Homan Ave (Hammond) -NS, IHB The same Nickle Plate line that passes through State Line but two miles or so southeast. The junction is right under an overpass. If you want a good spot to see the IHB this is the place to go.

#5,6,7 LaGrange, Hinsdale, Naperville - BNSF The three best spot to view the former Q around Chicago. LaGrange has the added IHB/CSX joint line that passes through Blue Island also.

#8,9 West Chicago, Lombard - UP Two of my favorite locales on the Geneva Sub. West Chicago has an EJ&E crossing as a bonus. Both locations have great potential for pictures if you like sweeping curves.

#10 Deval -UP/CP, CN, Metra Definately not as busy as all the others but it is the busiest location on the northside (where I live). The former WC track run parallel to First St. for about 4 blocks and can give you some wonderful pictures. The UP/CP joint line can also give you some great pictures, but Ill let you in on a little secret. There are some woods just north of grade crossing on Des Plaines River Rd. Go through the woods to the tracks. BE CAREFUL!!!! I always stay off the tracks and am cautious when a train rolls by. Dont make the UP or CP put fences around the area!!!!! I want to have a senic spot in this urban mess
  • Member since
    October, 2002
  • From: St. Louis Area, Florrisant to be specific!!!!!!!!!
  • 1,134 posts
Posted by bnsfkline on Sunday, January 16, 2005 2:45 PM
#1 Clovis NM (BNSF)
#2 Kirkwood MO (UP Amtrak)
#3 Vally Jct IL (All Local Roads)
#4 Dupo IL (UP)
#5 Nassiu Tower NJ (LI)
#6 Shrewsberry, MO (BNSF, soon Metrolink)
#8 Downtown St. Louis (All Local Roads)
#9 Granite City, IL (All Local Roads)
#10 WR tower IL (All Local Roads)
Jim Tiroch RIP Saveria DiBlasi - My First True Love and a Great Railfanning Companion Saveria Danielle DiBlasi Feb 5th, 1986 - Nov 4th, 2008 Check em out! My photos that is: http://bnsfkline.rrpicturearchives.net and ALS2001 Productions http://www.youtube.com/ALS2001
  • Member since
    December, 2001
  • From: Aurora, IL
  • 4,475 posts
Posted by eolafan on Sunday, January 16, 2005 2:54 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by BNSFLaGrange

Well Im only 15 and have only been doing this for one year but here it goes.

#1 Blue Island - CSX, IHB and CN own the lines but almost every single railroad that operates through Chicago can be seen here. I havent seen EJ&E, NS, and CRL but I am told CRL operates sometimes.

#2 Joliet - BNSF, CN, Metra/IAIS BNSF's transcon passes over the former Rock Island. I love this spot becuase you dont have to worry about tresspassing at all. The diamonds are at Joloet Union station.

#3 State Line- NS, CSX, IHB Former Nickle Plate crossing over former B&O and formerly crossing over Monon and Erie Lackawana. Fascinating place to see.

#4 Homan Ave (Hammond) -NS, IHB The same Nickle Plate line that passes through State Line but two miles or so southeast. The junction is right under an overpass. If you want a good spot to see the IHB this is the place to go.

#5,6,7 LaGrange, Hinsdale, Naperville - BNSF The three best spot to view the former Q around Chicago. LaGrange has the added IHB/CSX joint line that passes through Blue Island also.

#8,9 West Chicago, Lombard - UP Two of my favorite locales on the Geneva Sub. West Chicago has an EJ&E crossing as a bonus. Both locations have great potential for pictures if you like sweeping curves.

#10 Deval -UP/CP, CN, Metra Definately not as busy as all the others but it is the busiest location on the northside (where I live). The former WC track run parallel to First St. for about 4 blocks and can give you some wonderful pictures. The UP/CP joint line can also give you some great pictures, but Ill let you in on a little secret. There are some woods just north of grade crossing on Des Plaines River Rd. Go through the woods to the tracks. BE CAREFUL!!!! I always stay off the tracks and am cautious when a train rolls by. Dont make the UP or CP put fences around the area!!!!! I want to have a senic spot in this urban mess


I have to agree with a lot of these suggested spots. My personal favorites include (in order of preference) BNSF Eola Yard in Aurora, IL, Rochelle, IL, Naperville, IL, West Chicago (crossing with UP and EJ&E), Blue Island tower, Coal City, IL. Eolafan (Jim)
Eolafan (a.k.a. Jim)
  • Member since
    July, 2002
  • From: Stevens Point
  • 436 posts
Posted by AlcoRS11Nut on Sunday, January 16, 2005 3:19 PM
1.-5. Any place on the UP between Clinton, IA, and Cheyenne, WY.
6-10. The Powder River Basin
I love the smell of ALCo smoke in the Morning. "Long live the 251!!!" I miss the GBW and my favorite uncle is Uncle Pete. Uncle Pete eats Space Noodles for breakfast.
  • Member since
    July, 2004
  • From: Bawlmer Hon
  • 314 posts
Posted by choochin3 on Sunday, January 16, 2005 3:56 PM
What no Fostoria?[:D]
I'm out Choochin!
  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 282,456 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, January 16, 2005 4:04 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by AlcoRS11Nut

1.-5. Any place on the UP between Clinton, IA, and Cheyenne, WY.
6-10. The Powder River Basin
I wi***hat I could go Railfanning in the PRB Coal fields,I just love coal Trains. I know that im a strange person of likeing Coal Trains but that's just the way I am,I go crazy for Loaded Coal Trains.
  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 282,456 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, January 16, 2005 7:14 PM
My list:
1. Altoona,PA.(Horseshoe Curve)NS
2. Galesburg,IL. BNSF
3. Rochelle,IL. UP-BNSF
4. Gorham,IL. UP
5. Terre Haute,IN. CSX-CP
6. Centralia,IL. CN-NS-BNSF
7. Mitchell,IL. NS-UP-KCS-BNSF
8. Effingham,IL CN-CSX
9. DuQuion, IL. CN-UP
10. Kirkwood,MO. UP
I know there are other places, but this is a list of where I have been.
  • Member since
    December, 2001
  • From: Eastern Ohio
  • 615 posts
Posted by cnw4001 on Monday, January 17, 2005 12:10 PM
These are not in any particular order, nor are there 10 but they are among the best.

Park on US 20 on east side of Erie PA NS-CSXT-GE Test track
Downtown Cumberland MD CSXT-WM Scenic
Fostoria OH CSXT-NS-Amtrak (several lines cross Amtrak late at night)
Downtown Altoona Mall NS-Amtrak Railroader's Museum
Alliance OH NS
Tower A Cincinnati Union Terminal NS (overlooks Gest St Yard) CSXT (much of Queensgate yard) Amtrak (Tower A closed when due)
Roof of Washington DC Union Station parking garage (not sure about security issues) Amtrak-MARC-VRE
  • Member since
    August, 2003
  • From: Near Promentory UT
  • 1,590 posts
Posted by dldance on Monday, January 17, 2005 3:27 PM
I like the eastbound rest area on Interstate 84 in Weber Canyon, Utah. A comfortable little park with restrooms and good parking. And the UP mainlines are about 30 feet away across the Weber River.

dd
  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 282,456 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, January 18, 2005 5:31 PM
1-10 Anywhere on the Northeast Corridor is a great place. Passenger freight many railroads and not long waiting periods.
  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 282,456 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, January 18, 2005 8:39 PM
1.Matfield Green KS-BNSF
2.Emporia KS-BNSF (UP)?
3.Kansas City KS/MO
4.Augusta KS BNSF
  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • From: Fort Worth, TX
  • 304 posts
Posted by VerMontanan on Tuesday, January 18, 2005 10:40 PM
There are lots of places where one can "watch the trains go by often", but does that equate to one of the best places? Clearly, other factors need to come into play to determine "best." Comfortable surroundings, scenery, and a general atmosphere that focuses on railroading would be a good start. How about a national park that was more or less created by a railroad, with scenery so great it's known as "A place touched by magic" and "The Crown of Continent"? For comfort, how about a railroad-built hotel that has been renovated with all the comforts of home but is still right near the main line? And what if the railroad-built hotel had its own Amtrak stop, and was filled with railroad memorabilia? And what if this hotel was astride one of the busiest main lines in the United States at the base of a still-active helper district? Well, such a place does indeed exist: The Izaak Walton Inn on the edge of Incomparable Glacier National Park in Essex, Montana. Truly, it's the quintessential trainwatching spot in America. For the number 2 spot, go 30 miles east (and during the summer tourist season only, unfortunately) to East Glacier, Montana where you can still get a room in in this 90+ year-old railroad-built grand hotel that faces the track where you can look down the flower-lined walkway to the classic log ex-Great Northern Amtrak station and watch the Empire Builder go through as has been the case for over 75 years.... There are lots of places to watch trains go by. But if you want to be immersed in the railroad experience as you watch them pass, head to Montana's Glacier National Park where the glory days of railroading past coexist with those of today (and BNSF even painted their locomotives to look like those of the GN to help out!).

Mark Meyer

  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 282,456 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, January 19, 2005 10:27 AM
Flatonia, Texas. We have a nice large pavilion there, and no, the police never hassle us for taking pictures. It's a small enough town that they either know us or see us often enough to know who we are. Good interlocker action. Mostly UP, but KCS, and BNSF too. It's out on the edge of town, so it's a nice, quiet rural setting. It's almost exactly half way between Houston and San Antonio, about a mile south of I10. Really a nice spot. The old interlocker tower is downtown, along with an old SP caboose. Then Muldoon and West Point are about fifteen miles north. It's a good place, but not too many people know about it or go there, and there aren't any facilities at all.


m
  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 282,456 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, January 19, 2005 11:59 PM
Once in awhile I would watch the BNSF (formerly BN) trains go by in east part of Kennewick, Washington, the best places to watch them is either at an area around Finley Shopper (about 5 miles SE of Kennewick), on Ainsworth Street (SR 397) in Pasco, WA (across the river from Kennewick and SR 397 between E. 3rd St. and E. 10th St. in Kennewick, so far it's my favorite place to watch those trains go by, they come by as often as every hour or so, sometimes more! There were times when I counted over 110 cars.


QUOTE: Originally posted by oskar

here is my list

1. Folkston,GA CSX
2. Hamlet,NC CSX
3. Maroin,OH CSX,NS
4. Crssondra,PA NS
5. Rochelle,IL UP,BNSF
6. Galsburg,IL BNSF
7. Greenwood, CSX on a map it say they have NS running though there but I have not seen any NS
8. Austell,GA NS
9. Waycross,GA CSX
10. Augusta,GA CSX,NS





kevin
  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 282,456 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, January 20, 2005 7:57 AM
FOSTORIA, OHIO!!!
Marion, Ohio
Attica Junction, Ohio
Bellevue, Ohio
Dennison, Ohio
Deshler, Ohio
Durand, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan
Battle Creek, Michigan
Royal Oak, Michigan
Flint, Michigan
Port Huron, Michigan (coming out of tunnel to Canada)
Some day we will make it to Rochelle.


  • Member since
    June, 2001
  • From: Lombard (west of Chicago), Illinois
  • 11,995 posts
Posted by CShaveRR on Thursday, January 20, 2005 11:10 AM
We've had a lot of "favorite train-watching spot" threads here in the past, and I've usually responded to each in the same way, but this didn't ask for favorites, just for the "best places to watch trains go by"--not necessarily to photograph them or anything special. So, with that in mind, I offer the following, not in any particular order.

--The UP between Gibbon and North Platte: sheer volume.

--Elmhurst, Illinois (UP): volume, variety (freights and scoots), amenities (food, hobby shop), and the home signal for a control point to observe.

--Anywhere along the BN(SF) triple-track raceway: volume, variety (freights, dinkies, Amtrak), preferably on a stretch straight enough that you can see how a block signal system works. LaGrange is probably the best place for all of this, because it offers food, a hobby shop, and the IHB a short distance east for added volume.

--Rochelle, Illinois (BNSF, UP): The crossing of two busy mainline railroads, a nice gift shop (any day but Monday and Tuesday), and a great gathering spot. You can get three main lines at Fostoria, Ohio (CSX, NS), but it lacks the centralized location for viewing more than two at a time, closely.

--Kirkwood, Missouri (UP): Pleasant surroundings, good volume, hobby shop nearby, and the ability to hear trains climbing grades in either direction.

--Horse Shoe Curve (NS): For a flatlander, the ability to see a long stretch of non-level railroad, and the struggle it takes to move the tonnage up (and down!) same. Volume isn't bad, either.

--North Canal Street, Chicago, during the rush hours: Two levels of Metra choreography, with a little Amtrak thrown in. CTA trains to boot!

--Blue Island or Dolton, Illinois (IHB, CSX, and friends): Volume, variety, and the chance to see how complicated some places can appear.

--Griffith, Indiana (EJ&E and CN): Nothing like it used to be, but it's interesting to see how many lines used to go through here. Probably even nicer when the "museum" is open.

--Durand, Michgan (CN, TSBY): A good place to see how important railroads were to some cities. An astounding station building for a town that size. It's kind of sad to visit for a person who still remembers what used to be there, but for a first-timer, the chance to use one's imagination makes it a worthwhile experience. Still quite a few trains, too.

Wow! I made it to ten, after all! I'm sure there are many other places, just as worthy or meaningful, but these can be enjoyed whether or not you bring a camera.

Carl

Carl

Railroader Emeritus (practiced railroading for 46 years--and in 2010 I finally got it right!)

CAACSCOCOM--I don't want to behave improperly, so I just won't behave at all. (SM)

  • Member since
    January, 2001
  • From: Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 292 posts
Posted by RicHamilton on Thursday, January 20, 2005 12:00 PM
Me, I haven't been at this for very long but I made it down to Cleveland Area this past year. Here are my favourites (sorry, not ten)

Silver Creek NY- NS and CSX are about 20 feet apart in places with good views in either direction

Perry OH - NS and CSX same as above

Cresson PA - NS on the way up to Gallitzin and then to Altoona. A railfan pavillion and railfan hotel across the street from the tracks with scanner antenna to hook into your scanner. Sit on the poorch and have some beverages watching trains. It doesen't get any better than that.

Cassandra PA - Railfan overlook with foot bridge and park. Triple track NS trains fighting their way upgrade to Gallitzin

I would like to offer some Atlantic Canadian places but I haven't been out doing railfanning near here yet.

Ric Hamilton
Berwick, NS
Ric Hamilton Berwick, NS Click here to visit my Website
  • Member since
    May, 2002
  • From: Reedsville, WI
  • 557 posts
Posted by wcfan4ever on Thursday, January 20, 2005 12:11 PM
1) Porter/Chesterton, IN
2) Rochelle, IL
3) Byron Hill....South of Fond du Lac, WI
4) Neenah, WI
5) Otis, IN
6) Homewood, IL
7) DeKalb, IL
8) Duplainville, WI
9) Stevens Point, WI
10) Wellsburo, IN

Its great on Byron Hill in spring when the Mississippi River begins to fill up as UP, CP, and BNSF use the CN/WC and the line gets jammed with trains.

Dave Howarth Jr. Livin' On Former CNW Spur From Manitowoc To Appleton In Reedsville, WI

- Formerly From The Home of Wisconsin Central's 5,000,000th Carload

- Manitowoc Cranes, Manitowoc Ice Machines, Burger Boat

  • Member since
    December, 2001
  • From: Austin TX
  • 4,941 posts
Posted by spbed on Thursday, January 20, 2005 1:49 PM
Dagget, Ca
Caliente, Ca
Barstow, Ca
Needles, Ca
Colorado River Bridge between Ariz & Cal (BNSF)
Colton,Ca
Cajon Pass (summit)
Dolton, IL
Rochelle, IL
Ft. Madison Iowa


Living nearby to MP 186 of the UPRR  Austin TX Sub

  • Member since
    December, 2001
  • 110 posts
Posted by halifaxcn on Friday, January 21, 2005 10:04 AM
Here are mine in no particular order
1.) Dolton, IL
2.) LaGrange, IL
3.) West Chicago, IL
4.) Greenwich, Ohio
5.) Palmer, MA
6.) Cresson, PA
7.) Elmhurst, IL
8.) Attleboro, MA (NEC action)
9.) Rochelle, IL
10.) City train station Kharkiv Ukraine, main line through from Germany & Poland to Moscow and points east.

A bit diverse I admit, but makes for great train watching!

Frank San Severino CP-198 Amtrak NEC Attleboro, MA
  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 282,456 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, January 21, 2005 11:02 PM
I dispatch the Marion, OH Diamonds on 2nd Shift Conrail,C&O and NS.

-Casey
  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 282,456 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, January 24, 2005 7:18 PM
The California towns that you mentioned, which RR company goes by there, my guess is BNSF, I'm not sure if both BNSF and UP goes by there or not.
QUOTE: Originally posted by spbed

Dagget, Ca
Caliente, Ca
Barstow, Ca
Needles, Ca
Colorado River Bridge between Ariz & Cal (BNSF)
Colton,Ca
Cajon Pass (summit)
Dolton, IL
Rochelle, IL
Ft. Madison Iowa



  • Member since
    December, 2001
  • From: Austin TX
  • 4,941 posts
Posted by spbed on Tuesday, January 25, 2005 6:39 AM
UnionPacificRR6737 All the places mentioned are both UPRR & BNSF sites except Needles & the bridge between Cal & Ariz which is a BNSF site. Naturall Dolton being in the Chicago area you get all sorts of trains. I saw CPRR, South Shore, NS, CSX, BNSF & UPRR

Living nearby to MP 186 of the UPRR  Austin TX Sub

  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • 282,456 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, January 25, 2005 7:35 AM
WHAT? NO CRAWFORD HILL?(BNSF).
  • Member since
    December, 2001
  • From: Austin TX
  • 4,941 posts
Posted by spbed on Tuesday, January 25, 2005 8:05 AM
BNSF railfan. Sorry have not reached their yet. However, my interest is more of interlocking then of watching trains crawl their way up hills. If you go to the Cajon pass in Ca you can see 3 tracks of trains going up & down hills. To me it becomes boring after a while. More interesting is say Caliente at the bottom of hill where a BNSF EB is being held as the UPRR WBer is coming down & will take the switch & after the UPRR passes the BNSF EBer gets the signal to proceed. Or Dagget where you can see a UPRR WBer entering the BNSF on track 1 . A UPRR EBer on track 2 exiting the BNSF & on track 3 a BNSF East or West bounder intermodal Z going by at speed.

Living nearby to MP 186 of the UPRR  Austin TX Sub

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Trains free email newsletter
NEWS » PHOTOS » VIDEOS » HOT TOPICS & MORE
GET OUR WEEKLY NEWSLETTER DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX
Connect with us
ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER

Loading...