Best places to photograph trains in the La Crosse area?

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Best places to photograph trains in the La Crosse area?
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, June 19, 2007 12:45 PM


Does anyone know of some great places to photograph trains in the La Crosse area?  Any tunnels or other interesting spots? 

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Posted by t.winx on Tuesday, June 19, 2007 5:54 PM

Well, no tunnels in La Crosse. but If that is what you are looking for, there is one on the Canadian Pacific about 35 east of there in Tunnel City. Other than that, there are probably hundreds of locations along the river that could produce great photos. I'm not much of a photographer myself, but I know that many people shoot from ontop granddad bluff and probably the area around grand junction.

Hope this helps,


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Posted by jimfrazier on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 8:08 PM

We stayed in Trempealeau, WI which is north of La Crosse about 30 to 45 minutes...spectacular scenery with BNSF running along the Mississippi river.  Here are some pictures from last year. 


Jim Frazier
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Posted by Noah Hofrichter on Sunday, July 1, 2007 7:32 PM

I get up to the La Crosse area (about 1 3/4 to 2 hours away from me) 6 to 10 times a year specifically to photograph trains. I love that area up there, and in my humble opinion it's the best place to railfan in this part of the midwest (although admitedly I haven't seen it all). Almost no matter where you turn up there, there are good spots to take photos.

My personal preference is south of La Crosse on the BNSF (WI side of the river). There are good shots to be had in almost every town and inbetween towns along highway 35 all the way to Prairie du Chien. One just has to spend some time investigating the photo spots, but if you look, you'll easily find some.

North of La Crosse on the BNSF if okay for photos, but at least to me it lacks the photo quality spots as of those south of La Crosse. To me, the better photos to be had aren't found until you get up towards Alma. Alma offers lots of different angles throughout the day.

The Canadian Pacific Mainline offers good shots both east of La Crosse and North accross the Mississippi. My preference again though is North along the river, because the photo angles the river offers are a little better than those found inland on the CP to the east. But there are some angles over there too.

The Iowa Chicago, and Eastern is a regional that runs the line south of La Crosse on the Minnesota side. There are a number of good photo spots on this line too, including street running in Lansing Iowa (about halfway south to PDC). The problem here is that ICE trains are realtively rare; I know of only two trains the regularly travel the line daily. They are the eastbound and westbound manifest trains between St Paul and Kansas City. The ICE trains use CP tracks up the river to St. Paul from LaCrescent northward (just across the river from La Crosse).

With all these lines, a good scanner will help you find traffic to shoot. The frequencies, incase you don't know them, are:

BNSF St. Croix dispatcher, St. Croix sub (Twin Cities - La Crosse) 160.695 BNSF La Crosse dispatcher, Aurora sub (La Crosse - Savanna, IL) 161.100 CP River dispatcher, River sub (St. Paul - La Crosse) 160.770 CP Wisconsin dispatcher, Tomah and Watertown subs (La Crosse - Milwaukee) 161.520

Good luck railfanning the area, and be sure to post any photos you take in the forum if possible!

Noah Hofrichter

Reedsburg, WI

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Posted by dknelson on Friday, July 6, 2007 8:13 AM

The area is filled with good locations but I strongly recommend GrandDad Bluff.  You are high above the tracks, looking west over the river, with great camera angles looking north and south along the BNSF mainline.  Down below you is a golf course where on some holes the carts have to cross the tracks.  I believe this is the general area where the old CB&Q depot used to be located back in Zephyr days.   You can see for miles.  On a fall day the colors are spectacular.

Dave Nelson

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