Anderson, IN - Sidney, OH
A self-guiding Frograil railfan tour
Formerly the Conrail Indianapolis Line, this line forms part of CSX’s route connecting St. Louis with Baltimore, Cleveland, Northern New Jersey, and Boston.
This tour is part of a larger tour effort to detail trackage from East St. Louis, Illinois, to Cleveland, Ohio. The overview of the entire tour is here. Today, this segment is all CSX, but is ex-Conrail, exx-Penn Central, exxx-New York Central, exxxx-Big Four (Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway) historically. The tour between the west side of Anderson and Sidney is 76 miles long, and the completed segments of the overall tour are 132.1 miles in total.
If you have never taken a Frograil tour before, you are strongly encouraged to visit the Frograil Tour Guide home page, which is loaded with good info for you. Following the advice on that page will save you time, effort, and quite probably, some grief. The page is here.
Contents And Navigation
For information concerning the other Frograil tours which have been put together, go to the Tour Guide.
Bruce Bridges. On-the-ground research and all text. This is his tour.
Dave Bridges. Bruce's Dad -- He helped with the on-the-ground research.
Train Gifs. All train gifs used within this tour are from the Ed Bindler's train gifs site, which is here.
Peter Furnee: CSX logo
Tony Hill: Frograil Webmaster -- the guy who makes it go. Unless otherwise specifically noted, any use of the first person pronoun refers to Tony Hill.
If you'd like to contribute to this, or any other tour, please contact me here, and let me know what you'd like to do. We'll work together: You supply the data/info, and I'll do the HTML stuff and upload it. You'll get a chance to review the fruits of your efforts before the general public sees the finished product, so you can let me have your corrections, additions and changes.
The Railroad: Geography. While there is certainly lots of farming along this route, there is also a lot more contour than most folks associate with Indiana and Ohio. From the western edge of Anderson all the way to just west of the Ohio border, the railroad roughtly follows upstream along the White River. Less than 20 miles south of where the White turns south (near Harrisville) is Hoosier Hill, at 1257' the highest elevation in the state. Once into Ohio, drainage patterns reverse, and flow northwest - southeast, as the railroad remains primarily west - east. In the Sidney area, the railroad encounters the Great Miami River, and railfanning is quite difficult. Sidney was chosen as the endpoint of this tour because of it's proximity to I-75, the main north - south highway in western Ohio.
The Railroad: Traffic Levels. Traffic averages approximately 12-15 trains per day, mostly manifest freights, with some intermodal traffic. The highlight is trains Q106 (eastbound)/Q107 (westbound), dedicated Schneider intermodal trains running between Kansas City and Schneider’s distribution terminal in Marion, OH, in partnership with Kansas City Southern. These trains occasionally feature KCS power on the head end. Union Pacific power is seen occasionally on run-throughs as well, thanks to the connection at St. Elmo/Altamont, IL.
The Railroad:Operations. The line remains double track despite the precipitous drop in traffic, and is signaled for bi-directional operation (Rule 261 TCS signaling) on both tracks to CP-245 on the east edge of Anderson. From CP-245 to CP-198 at Union City, it is operated under Rule 251 current-of-traffic ABS, with eastbounds on Track 1 (the south track), and westbounds on Track 2 (the north track). Trains running against the current of traffic must obtain a Form EC-1 from the dispatcher in Indianapolis, and receive Restricting signal indications through interlockings (CP-245, CP-230, and CP-229).
There are no powered crossovers between CP 245 and CP 198 at Union City, a distance of 47 miles! Bruce believes this may be one of the last double-track mainlines in the country still operated under Rule 251, as a matter of fact. East of Union City, Rule 261 operation resumes, with the portion east of CP-189 (east end of Ansonia Yard) having been installed shortly before the CSX takeover.
When Bruce did his research in the Fall of 2009, the signals between Muncie and Union City were in the process of being replaced with new CSX systemwide standard Safetran hooded vertical tri-lights, but it appears that the Rule 251 operation is being retained. Elsewhere, the signals are the original NYC/CR-style round tri-lights. Some of the new signals being installed are up to 1/2 mile from those they are replacing, with most of the new ones being conveniently located at road crossings. Also, several of the defect detectors have been replaced by new installations at nearby locations, and all have been re-programmed with CSX’s standard voice and messages (they are identified only by milepost, not by town name as in CR days).
The Railroad:Mile Points. The route is designated as the Indianapolis Line. The mileposts decrease as we head east. Mileposts on the Indianapolis Line carry a prefix of “QI”. You will not see these letters on the actual milepost markers, but you will see them on the milepost indicators on every grade crossing, and they will be referenced in all radio communications.
Mapwork: Much of the tour is not easy if you have no detailed map for back country roads. I definitely recommend you get a DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer, study it before your trip, and copy pertinent pages for your field work. Also, the Google aerials all across Indiana are superb, and are a major asset for anyone striking out to tour thru the Heartland. Unfortunately, when you get into Ohio, the quality of the images drops dramatically, and there is evidence that they are rather old.
Photographic considerations: I use a shorthand rating system for photo accessibility. Using a clockwise rotation from northeast up to northwest, each quadrant of a crossing is rated from 1 (best) to 4 (not accessible). Note that these refer to accessibility, not the photogenic aspects of the location. Therefore, the following crossing: NE4, SE1, SW1, NW2 would be interpreted as follows:There is no access from the northeast quad (fence, building, private, dangerous, etc.); the southeast quad gives you excellent photo access, at least in one direction and perhaps both; likewise for the southwest quad; viewing access in the northwest quad is good, but not excellent. In places where there is no crossing, per se, I use a simple N, E, S and/or W compass location: N1, S4 would be excellent from the north, but there is no access from the south. Note that in locations contributed by folks other than me, the photo rating numbers may not be present.
Two important points are worth mentioning concerning photography along this line:
The code lines (AKA telephone poles) are gradually being removed, but where they remain, they are primarily on the south side of the tracks.
In most cases, crossings which are in between towns are bordered by agricultural fields. The photo ratings for these will depend largely on what is growing in the field at the time of your visit, and the time of year. Soybeans and wheat generally won’t cause any visibility problems, but corn is a completely different story altogether. Bruce has done his best to adjust photo ratings for the fact that the fields which contained corn at the times of his visits, which would have been only a 3 or 4 for him, but very well might be a solid 1 for you. And those that had wide-open panoramic vistas thanks to being planted in soybeans just might be totally taken out of play if you happen to visit when the corn is high.
Anderson: Mounds State Park on the east side of Anderson, at the beginning of this segment, has camping with electrical hook-ups. It might be an excellent home base for this segment and the Indianapolis - Anderson segment.
Sidney: Northwest of Sidney is Lake Loramie State Park, which looks to be a pretty sophisticated place, with lots of electric hook-up sites, movie area, game room, etc. This could be a fine place to spend a few days as you explore both east and west of Sidney.
Abbreviations. I try to limit the number of abbreviations to very common terms, such as CSX and NS. However, some terms get used repeatedly and are given here to help you understand them.
AG. "At-grade" -- It may or may not be a railfan location, but you can be assured that the tracks and street/road are on the same level.
CR."County Road". Any road that is not an interstate, US highway, or numbered Indiana state highway is a county road.
NAG. "Not at grade" -- Usually, a NAG crossing is a poor place to take pix, but not always. However, you should be warned if a crossing isn't at grade, and that's why I try to always clue you in.
NARL. "Not a railfan location" -- In my humble opinion, this location is not worth the visit; indeed, it is probably to be avoided. NARL's result from no photo access, dangerous conditions, or personal security considerations.
NFOG."Not found on the ground" -- A map may indicate a road, crossing, railroad line, etc., but it may have been removed long ago. In some cases, the map may be completely incorrect.
NO."Not observed". During the on-the-ground research for this tour, this location was not observed, so we are going by aerials only, which is risky. Take such observations with a grain of salt.
WEBMASTER'S NOTE: I do not recommend or condone walking along the tracks, as this means trespassing and exposing yourself to danger. You will have to be creative, in some instances, to avoid trespassing while getting to the detailed locations included herein, but you will either have to be creative or not visit those sites. At no point in this tour guide, or any other tour which is part of Frograil, is it recommended that you trespass or expose yourself to danger. If you are a fool and have a leg cut off (or worse), don't come crying to me: You have been warned. Trains are big, powerful, and often surprisingly quiet. Don't end up being a statistic.
Anderson, Indiana - Sidney, Ohio -- Railfan Sites:
We'll start east of the city of Anderson, at the I-69 exit 34 interchange. Take the exit west to the intersection with County Line Road/CR-500E, and take a right to get you up to the intersection with IN-32, which is just north of the crossing (MP 241) of the railroad we'll be following. For those of you following the Indianapolis - Anderson tour, your ending point was this crossing. Everyone needs to go over the crossing to the north, take a right onto IN-32, and head east towards Ohio!
Daleville -- Walnut Street. Drive northeast over the interstate, and as the street veers away from the tracks, take a hard right onto Walnut Street. This is a pretty darned good photo location, at NE1, SE1, SW2, NW2. Walk north about 200 feet for a superb open view to the east, which is a great view for westbounds.
Daleville -- Tennessee Street. South of the crossing, take a left onto Wayne Street. This will bend 90º to the north and become Tennessee Street. The latter will begin to bend towards the northwest, and the crossing will see the following photo ratings:NE1, SE3, SW2, NW1. The railroad's curve here makes a nice shot for eastbounds.
Daleville -- CR-400S. After the crossing, Tennessee Street will angle back to join IN-32. Take a right and drive up to a right onto CR-400S. This will shortly take you to the crossing. Photos here are not spectacular, with all quads rating 2's and 3's, but it is a place to get trackside in a hurry if you know something is in your lap.
Yorktown -- CR-300S. Drive back to IN-32, take a right and continue to the northeast. At CR-300S, take a right and drive to the crossing. The surrounding fields will dictate your photo opportunities, depending on what is growing, but if there is no tall corn in the way, photo fields are NE1, SE1, SW1, NW4. This is a nice location.
Yorktown -- CR-700W. Drive across the crossing to the east, and take a left onto CR-700W. This will take you to another very nice location:NE1, SE1, SW2, NW1. The NW quadrant is occupied by Tri-County Builder’s Supply; you will need permission from the office to shoot here. There is a nice open view to the east.
Yorktown -- Marsh Avenue/CR-600W. Cross the tracks and continue north to IN-32, and take a right to go northeast. At the road signed Marsh Avenue, take a right and drive to the tracks. This road is CR-600W outside of the Yorktown city limits. Whatever the name, it's wide open at 1's all around, but don't block the driveway in the northwest quad.
Yorktown -- Broadway Street/CR-550W. Backtrack up to IN-32, take a right, and drive into the town of Yorktown. At Broadway Street, take a right and drive south to the crossing. This one is decent-good, but certainly not excellent, with 2's all around.
Yorktown -- Andrew Road/CR-500W. South of the tracks, take a left onto Cornbread Road [Webmaster's Note: I feel like I'm back home in North Carolina!]. There is a deck girder bridge over Buck Creek at MP 234 that would make a nice photo prop, but the area is overgrown. This would be a better shot when the trees are bare. Beyond this point, some maps show a crossing on "Russ Street", and it exists, but it is private. At Andrew Road/CR-500W take a left to drive north to the tracks.
Photo ratings are:NE1, SE3, SW1-4 (farm field), NW3.
Yorktown -- Nebo Road/CR-400W. From the Andrew Road crossing, go back south to a left onto Cornbread Road/CR-150S, and take a left to continue east. At Nebo Road/CR-400W, take a left and drive up to the crossing. There is a dragging equipment detector east of the crossing. Photo ops are:NE3, SE3, SW2, NW2.
Muncie -- Proctor Road/CR-300W. Drive north all the way to what is now called IN-32/Kilgore Avenue, take a right, and you are now in Muncie, an interesting railroad town, indeed. At, Proctor Road/CR-300W, take a right to drive to the crossing. Proctor Road is the east end of what used to be Hart Yard, which served the industries in the west Muncie area. Two tracks, along with a hand-thrown crossover between the mains, remain in existence. Photo ratings are NE4, WE3, SW2, NW4, so are nothing to write home about.
Muncie -- West 8th Street. Cross the tracks to the south and turn left onto West 8th Street. This parallels the tracks on the south side (the sun will be your friend), and there is much less traffic on this road than there is on IN-32/Kilgore, which parallels the tracks on the north side. There is also a nice, wide grassy area between 8th and the tracks. Poles are present, so you'll have to work around them. Signals 231.1/231.2 are on each side of the Martin Luther King Jr. Drive overpass (which is NARL; don’t waste your time getting up there).
Muncie -- Batavia Avenue. Beyond the Martin Luther King underpass, 8th Street will bend to become west - east, and meet Batavia Avenue. Take a left and drive up to the crossing, parking in the restaurant parking area in the southwest quad.
The crossing is at MP 231; Mac’s Restaurant in the SW quadrant offers a fine place to eat and view the action outside the front door. Bruner’s Family Restaurant in the NW quadrant offers a sit-down dining experience. The crossing itself is a poor photo location, except for the parking lot at Mac’s.
Muncie -- Perkins Avenue. Go north to IN-32/Kilgore Avenue and turn right to head northeast. At Perkins Avenue, take a right to get to a crossing. This location is mostly to get you trackside in a hurry, as the photo ops are rather limited:NE4, SE2-3, SW2-3, NW4.
Muncie -- Elliott Street. Drive north to IN-32/Kilgore Avenue and take a right. You will very shortly cross the Norfolk Southern (NS) Frankfort District tracks coming from Frankfort and Lafayette. Almost immediately after crossing those tracks, take a right onto West 2nd Street, and drive to a T at Elliott Street. Parking is probably best at the NE quad.
From this point east, things will get rather interesting as the CSX and NS interact over the next several blocks. Just east of the crossing, a connecting track splits off of the NS, crosses CSX at CP 230, and curves south to join NS’s New Castle District at the 6th Street interlocking. These tracks go on to New Castle and Cincinnati. Most of the NS traffic uses this rather than continuing east. The NS line to the east swings off to the northeast, loops around a few buildings, then meets back up with CSX at Walnut St. The crossing here is overall poor for photos, with the NE quadrant being your best option. This is really a train watching location rather than a photography spot. Most of the NS and CSX action thru Muncie will be right in front of you.
Muncie -- Council Street. Cross the three sets of tracks to the south, and take a left onto Willard Street. At Council Street, take a left and drive north. There are three separate crossings here. South to north: NS connecting track between Frankfort and New Castle Districts; CSX Indianapolis Line Sub main; NS Frankfort District main. Again, your photo opportunities here are very limited, with the NE quadrant being about your only real option.
The three crossings are too far apart to allow you to walk north and south to take advantage of a movement. Elliott and Walnut streets are better train watching locations.
Muncie -- Liberty Street. Cross all sets of tracks to the north and take a right onto Powers Street. At Liberty, take a right and cross the NS Frankford District main track, and the CSX Indianapolis Line. Park in the gravel lot behind (east of) the ex-NYC freight house. At the time of Bruce's visit, the building was derelict, and the gravel lot behind was growing weeds and surrounded by brush and trees. So this will not be a good location unless someone comes in and clears the growth out. You will be sandwiched between the NS New Castle District (too far south to be considered part of this location) and the CSX Indianapolis Line, with the NS Frankfort District main a short distance further to the north. You will see all of the action through Muncie here, except for NS trains 123/124, and a few unit grain trains, which use the connection via CP 230. NS uses radio frequencies 161.250 and 160.440 in this area. The Liberty Street crossing itself isn’t too bad, with the NE and SW quads receiving ratings of 1-2 (stay on the sidewalks unless the businesses are closed).
Muncie -- Walnut Street. Go back north across all tracks and take a right onto Powers Street. At Walnut Street (which is one-way southbound), take a right, and then park northwest of all tracks. All land between the tracks is railroad property, so don't park there. In Bruce's opinion, this is easily the most interesting crossing in all of Muncie.
The NS New Castle District crosses CSX about 15 feet east of the street, then the Frankfort District immediately joins in from the west. NS then parallels CSX along the north side for several blocks to the east, before finally splitting away to the north. The NS/CSX crossing here is CP 229; NS crews refer to it as “Walnut Street”. The New Castle District/Frankfort District junction is a separate interlocking known as “Jefferson Street”. Southbound NS New Castle trains will call two separate signals over the radio as they approach: “Diverging Clear at Jefferson Street, Clear at Walnut.” The next signal east on NS is “Bath”, and the usual indication of an approaching southbound is for one to call an “Approach Diverging” here, in preparation for getting the Diverging Clear at Jefferson.
Northbound NS trains will get a “Diverging Clear” at 6th Street; if you hear one call a “Clear” at 6th, it will be taking the west connection via CP 230 to head toward Frankfort. Another clue to an impending northbound/westbound Frankfort District move is the issuance of a track warrant beginning from milepost SP 178 (usually with permission to run either to SP 190 or SP 233); trains are usually around Noell Siding just south of town when they receive this.
The NW quadrant is an open lot and gets a photo access rating of 1. The others are private property, so if you want to move around for better light and angles you will need to stay on the sidewalks and away from the crossing gates.
Muncie -- Jefferson Street. Continue south on Walnut to a left onto 2nd Street. Skip Mulberry Street, as the crossing has been cut and is now on private property. At Jefferson Street, turn left and drive up to the tracks. This location is only good if you need to get to the tracks in a hurry for a shot. The northwest quad offers the only decent access.
Muncie -- Monroe Street. Drive south on Elm Street to a left onto Kirby Street. Pass up Madison Street, as it is NAG/NARL. At Monroe Street, take a left and head for the crossing. Fair to poor photos all around. This will do in a pinch, but that’s about it.
Muncie -- Vine Street. Continuing north on Monroe Street to a right onto Howard Street. At Vine Street, take another right and drive to the crossings. All three sets of tracks are here, and the viewing from the north is excellent. Private property takes the south quads out of play: NE1, SE4, SW4, NW1.
Muncie -- Pershing Drive. Further south on Vine Street, take a left onto Seymour Street. Take a left at Pershing Drive to get up to the crossing. This one is rated at 3's and 4's all around, so you can get photos, but the next location is much better.
Muncie -- Hackley Street. Go back south to Seymour, turn left, and drive to Hackley Street. Take a left and park on the NW quad. Photos are excellent from the west, but there is no access from the east: NE4, SE4, SW1, NW1. In Bruce's opinion, this is the best crossing on the entire NS/CSX parallel stretch east from CP 229.
Muncie -- Ohio Avenue. Keep going north on Hackley until you get to Adams Street. Take a right and drive a good ways to Ohio Avenue, a major thoroughfare. The northeast quad is a solid 1 for photo access, but the others are 3's and 4's.
Muncie -- Lincoln Street. Backtrack up Ohio Avenue to a right onto Adams Street. Drive to Lincoln Street and turn right. When you get to the crossing, you'll notice that the NS and CSX tracks are separated more than they have been thru town. Here, the NS swings northeast toward East Yard, and CSX turns due east (the tracks had been on a slight southwest - northeast bias all the way through town up to this point).
A single-direction manual crossover on CSX between Ohio Avenue and Lincoln Street is known as “Vance”. There is also a signal for CSX westbounds just east of here on track 2 only; presumably, it is a hold-out signal to keep trains from blocking grade crossings if they must wait for NS to cross.
Photo ratings: NE1, SE2, SW3, NW1, so you'll fight the sun from the north, but you'll also have excellent viewing.
Muncie -- White River Bridge. From the Lincoln Street crossing, go north to a right onto IN-32, East Jackson Street. This will take you east, and just before going over the White River, park off to the south side of the street. Walk out onto the bridge over the river; it is possible to get photos of trains crossing the White River bridge on the east side of Muncie from the sidewalks along Jackson Street/IN-32. This bridge is not spectacular (it is a multi-span deck plate girder), but you will not see any more bridges of any significance between here and Sidney, Ohio.
There is one interesting geographical feature that is worth mentioning. The Cardinal Greenway -- Muncie Section, a rails-to-trails hiking and biking trail slices northwest - southeast across this area, following the route of an ex-C&O line thru this part of Muncie. It is definitely worth exploring.
Muncie -- Butterfield Road. Continue due east on IN-32/Jackson Street across the White River, and past a few private, NARL roads to the south. Finally, at Butterfield Road, take a right to go south to the tracks. The crossing marks the eastern boundary of Muncie, and the railroad speed limit increases from 30 MPH to 50 for manifest freights and 60 for intermodals. The factory in the SW quadrant is slated to close in October 2009. Photo ratings NE4, SE4, SW1, NW4, a really ugly crossing made OK only if the plant closes, and railfans have access from the southwest quad. Personally, we'd rather the factory remain open, and railfans have to go elsewhere for pix.
Muncie -- Country Club Road. Backtrack up to IN-32/Jackson Street, and take a right. Pass up US-35/IN-3/IN-67, as it is NAG/NARL. At Country Club Road, take a right and head to the crossing. Unfortunately, the crossing is surrounded by heavy brush and trees; it’s really only good for a grab shot at the crossing itself.
Selma -- CR-400E. Between Country Club Road and CR-400E there are a couple of squirrely-looking crossings -- they are either NFOG or private. Therefore, continue east on IN-32/Jackson Road to CR-400E, and then take a right. At the crossing, the photo ops are lousy, with 4's all around, except for the one redeeming quad:The southeast quad is a solid 1, and the sun will be your friend.
Selma -- Whitney Road/CR-475E. Go back up CR-400E to IN-32/Jackson Road and take a right. At Whitney Road/CR-475E, take a right and drive to the area of the NAG overpass. Park and hoof it up the bridge, which is relatively modern and wide. There is a nice view in both directions. This road is lightly traveled, but keep an eye out for traffic.MP 225 is here.
Selma -- CR-550E. Drive back to IN-32/Jackson Road and turn right. You will go due east for less than a mile, and when the road begins to bend to the northeast, look for CR-550E on the right. Take it and drive to the crossing, which carries photo ratings of NE1, SE3, SW3, NW2.
Selma -- Pittenger Road.Just south of the crossing is Miller Road; take a left onto Miller and drive into Selma. Take Pittenger road north to the tracks. The railroad continues almost dead west - east here, and your best photo ops are in the northeast quad. The sun will probably not be your friend.
Selma -- Downtown. North Railroad Street parallels the tracks on the north for several blocks, between Pittenger Road and Albany Street. The aerials show a pole line between the street and the tracks, which must have been hard to put in place, as there is very little distance between the road and tracks.
On the south side of the tracks, take either Pittenger or Albany street to Miller Street. Between Pittenger and Albany, go north on South Railroad Street, which goes up to the tracks, parallels them for one block, and then drops back down to Miller. This one was NO, but it looks like it would give good viewing, good sun, and no poles.
Selma -- CR-700E. From the Albany Street crossing, go north to Jackson Street and turn right. This will shortly join with IN-32 (which acts as a mini-bypass around Selma) and head east as IN-32/Jackson Street. Just after the two roads join, look for CR-700E on the right and take it south to the tracks. There is no access to the southeast quad, but the others are open; however, field conditions at the time of your visit will determine actual ratings.
Selma -- CR-800E. Reverse course to get back onto IN-32/Jackson Street and head east. At CR-800E, take a right and drive down to the tracks. This one is wide open, and the pole line seems to be set fairly well back from the tracks. There is a defect detector here.
Parker City -- Main Street. For variety, go south of the crossing to a left onto CR-50S, and take another left. This will take you into the south side of Parker City. Along the way, you will have left Delaware County and entered Randolph County. When you get to Main Street, take a left and drive up to the crossing.
There are three crossings in Parker City, and none are anything to write home about. On the other hand, the code line poles have been removed, so that's a definite plus. Franklin Street, one block to the west, has no public access and is NARL. Main Street itself carries an NW1 ranking, but the other quads are 3's and 4's. However, on the aerials there is what appears to be a public road south of the tracks between Main and Fulton. This was NO, but if it is public, it's the best place in town for train watching and photography.
Parker City -- Fulton Street. If the street described in the preceding paragraph is not public, go south of the crossing on Main Street for one block, turn left and drive one block to Fulton Street. Turn left and cross the tracks one block to the north. Park in either the NW or NE quads. Both northern quads are 1's, and the south siders are 3's.
Parker City -- CR-1100W. Go north on either Fulton or Main to IN-32/CR-200N, and take a right to head east. After about a mile, take a right onto CR-1100W. The crossing offers 1’s all around, and it's nice to be back in the country again.MP 219 is here, and there are new Safetran signals.
Parker City -- CR-1000W. Reverse course to get back up to IN-32/CR-200N, and turn right onto CR-1000W after about a mile. There is no convenient place to park (you'll have to park elsewhere and hoof it), but the photo fields are decent:NE4, SE2, SW2, NW2. Keep in mind that both the prior location and the next are better spots for photography and train watching.
Farmland -- CR-900W. Repeat the process of getting north to IN-32/CR-200N, take a right, then a right onto CR-900N. The crossing is wide open all around, and there is a nice panoramic view to the northwest from approximately 1/4 mile south of the crossing.
Farmland -- Mulberry Street. Once again, head back north to IN-32/CR-200N, take a right, and head into Farmland. At Mulberry Street, turn right and drive down to the crossing. Photo ratings are NE2-3, SE2, SW1, NW1-2.
Farmland -- Main Street/IN-1/IN-32. Go one full block south of the tracks and turn left onto Henry Street. After one full block, turn left to drive to the crossing. Park in the HUGE gravel lot in the southwest quad:NE3, SE4, SW1, NW4. Note that IN-32 is going to the south, and will roughly parallel the tracks east of here, and we'll see that road again.MP 218 is west of this crossing.
Farmland -- Plum Street. Drive back south to Henry Street, turn left and drive to Plum Street, and take another left to get up to the tracks. Compared to Main Street, there are some possibilities, but if you're going to be staying in the vicinity for awhile, the southwest quad at Main Street is the place to be. NE3, SE3, SW4, NW3.
Farmland -- CR-675W. From any crossing in town, drive north all the way to Jackson Street/CR-200N. At CR-675W, go south to the crossing. The crossing is excellent from the north, but not so hot from the south:NE1, SE3, SW2-3, NW1.
Farmland -- CR-500W Underpass. Retrace back up to CR-200N, take a right, drive to CR-500W, and then drive down to the NAG crossing. Park north of the underpass. The north side is wide open, but the south side has some trees. The tracks have become slightly northwest - southeast after leaving the CR-675 crossing area.
Winchester -- CR-375W. Continue southbound on CR-500W, and take a left onto CR-100N. This is a minor connector between 500W and 375W. At CR-375W, take a left and drive up to the tracks. Photo ratings are:NE2, SE3, SW2, NW1.
Wincester -- CR-300W Underpass. Drive back south on CR-375W until a T at IN-32. Take a left and at CR-300W, take another left to drive up to the underpass. Like we saw two miles ago at CR-500W, this is wide open on the north, but the south side has trees.
Winchester -- CR-200W. Once back down on IN-32, head east. On your left as you head towards the next fan location, you'll see Timbers Lane going north. This is the home of the Winchester Speedway, which is probably a great place to spend a Summer Saturday night. Once at CR-200W, take a left and the crossing is just a short distance north. It is not, however, a particularly good one:The NE quad is best, but all are 2's and 3's.
Winchester -- Jackson Street/Stockyard Road. Scoot back down CR-200W to IN-32 and turn left to head into the city of Winchester. This is a small town, but it has a hotel, restaurants, shopping and even a hospital. When you get to Jackson Street, take a left and drive north. Beyond Willard Street, the road will tilt slightly to the northwest and become Stockyard Road. The crossing is pretty decent:NE2, SE1, SW3, NW2.
Winchester -- West Street. Drive south past Willard Street and turn left at the next street; Google doesn't give a name or number for this street. At West Street, drive north to the crossing. There used to be a few more tracks here, and just to the east (where?), an ex-PC line went north - south thru town, but that was many years ago, and I can't find evidence of it on the aerials. However, there is plenty of maneuver room in the area of the crossing, and the photo fields are very good:NE1, SE2, SW1, NW2.
Winchester -- Meridian Street. Immediately north of the crossing, Railroad Street begins to parallel the tracks. There is a pole line along the way, unfortunately. At Meridian Street, park and enjoy the photo ratings:NE1, SE1, SW4, NW1.
Winchester -- Main Street. East of Meridian Street, Railroad Street becomes Omco Square. Your Webmaster has no idea what in the world an Omco is. At Main Street, the quads are all rated as 2's, but each crossing has a different "look and feel".
Winchester -- East Street. Further east on what has now miraculously become Railroad Street once again, the next crossing is East Street. It carries ratings of NE3, SE2, SW1, NW2. Between this point and the underpass of Union Street isMP 208.
Winchester -- CR-100E/Middle School Road. Railroad Street ended at East Street, so to continue east we have to vary the routine. Go north one block to a right onto Short Street. Pass up both Union Street and US-27, as they are both NAG/NARL. At CR-100E/Middle School Road, take a right to get trackside. The southeast quad is a solid 1, but the others are all 4's because of private property.
Winchester -- CR-200E. Cross the tracks to the south and drive down to IN-32/Washington Street. Take a left to continue eastbound; at CR-200E, take another left and drive up to the crossing. The tracks were mostly flat west - east thru Winchester, but have now begun a gradual bias to the northeast. The crossing is wide open all around, and the curve to the west is a bonus.
Winchester -- CR-300E. Keep northbound after the crossing at CR-200E, and take a right onto CR-100N. This crossing is a little different than most in the rural countryside. CR-100N T's at CR-300E, which then crosses the tracks, and CR-100 is revived and heads east south of the tracks. That makes for some interesting photographic opportunities. Bruce rates the crossing as wide open all around, with the SE quad being superior to the others.
Winchester -- CR-350E. Take that revived CR-100N eastward, and at CR-350E, take a left to go up to the tracks. The crossing is definitely wide open, the pole line is to the north and well back from the tracks, and you will be bothered by very little vehicle traffic here. This is a lawn chair and cooler location in the Heartland.
Harrisville -- CR-500E. This location is a prime example of why on-the-ground research must be done prior to a Frograil tour. The very high resolution aerials on GoogleMaps and other providers show a nice, simple crossing in the village of Harrisville. Bruce tells us what there is to see in late 2009; there is much more than that simple crossing.
From the crossing on CR-400E, go south to IN-32 and take a left to continue to the east. At CR-500E, take another left to go north to the tracks. The new Cardinal Ethanol plant is located east of here, with two new interlockings installed for access from both directions. This plant handles unit trains of inbound grain and outbound ethanol, as well as significant volumes of dried distillers grain outbound. These movements are significant increases in traffic here, and well worth exploration. In Harrisburg, the crossing is rated at NE2, SE2, SW3, NW4.
It is worthwhile wondering why a huge industrial facility such as this would be built in the tiny hamlet of Harrisville. Look at your Steam Powered Video Railroad Atlas for the Great Lakes East. Huge amounts of past active railroad lines have been long since abandoned in both Indiana and Ohio in the general area. So, if you're a farmer, and you've got 640 acres of corn to deal with, where do you send it? Harrisville. There really isn't much of an alternative.
Union City -- Arba Pike/CR-700E. It's six of one/half a dozen of the other to drive to Arba Pike/CR-700E's crossing. So, we'll just continue north to CR-250N/Union City Pike, and take a right. At Arba Pike/CR-700E, take a right and drive to the crossing. The crossing is wide open all around.
Union City -- Walnut Street. Drive back north to Frank Miller, take a right, and drive to Jackson Pike. Take a right, go under the tracks (NAG/NARL), and then take a left to get onto Chestnut Street/IN-32. On the aerials, you can see the remains of the ex-PRR leaving to the northwest, but it was abandoned in Conrail days. At Walnut Street, take a left to drive up to the tracks.
Wide open all around, and the northeast quad is the best.MP 199 is here.
Union City -- Howard Street. Continue north one block to a right onto Pearl Street. This is a good city location:NE1, SE4, SW1, NW1. An additional goodie here is the restored NYC/PRR depot, currently the home of the Arts Association of Randolph County.
Union City -- Columbia Street/IN-28. Continue south one block to IN-32/Chestnut Street, and take a left. AtColumbia Street/IN-28, take another left and drive to the crossing. There is a MacDonalds in the southwest quad. The crossing is wide open all around.
Union City -- State Line Street. So far in Union City, the north - south streets have been perpendicular to the tracks, which means they tilt northwest - southeast, because the railroad has a slight bias northeast- southwest. This next street is 90º vertical, contrary to all those other streets. That's because it's the state line in fact, and not just in name.
Keep going north on Columbia Street to a right onto Pearl Street. At State Line Street, take a right and drive to the tracks. This is an excellent location, at NE1, SE1 (in Ohio), SW1, NW4 (in Indiana).
Union City -- Sycamore Street. Go south over the tracks, and there will shortly be a minor street/alley on the left. It does not appear to be a private street. Take a left onto the alley and drive to Sycamore Street. Photo fields are all 1's except the northeast, which is private property.
About a block south on Sycamore, the aerials show the alignment of the ex-PRR coming up from the southeast; further southeast, where East Main Street makes a big bend to the south, is the point where an ex-B&O line joined the PRR, and that junction can still be made out on the aerials.
Union City -- Division Street. Go further north on Sycamore to a right onto Elm Street, and then take a right on Division Street. The crossing is certainly a good one:NE2, SE2, SW1, NW1, especially from the west quads.
Union City -- Deerfield Road. Drive north on Division Street to a right onto Railroad Avenue. At Deerfield Road, take a right and drive to the tracks. The ratings are so-so, but the southeast quad is a winner:NE3, SE1, SW2-3, NW2-3.
Union City -- Hillgrove - Fort Recovery Road. Beyond Union City, you will notice an immediate degradation of the quality of the aerials. Google's maps seem to show the old, pre-911 numbering days' county and township road numbers only. Mapquest's maps show up-to-date road names, and display a crisper set of images; although Google's offer higher resolution, they look like they were shot thru hazy clouds.
From the Deerfield Road crossing, go north to a right onto Elm Street/OH-47. As you leave Union City, the street swings around to go due north. A Union City - Elroy Road, take a right, drive to Hillgrove - Fort Recovery Road, and take a right to go south to the crossing. The latter is wide open, but there are a few trees on the south side. There is a NICE panoramic view from the north.
Union City -- Staudt Road. Backtrack up to Union City - Elroy Road and take a right to head east. At Staud Road, take a right. In the vicinity of the crossing, there is a nice view to the northwest. At the crossing itself, all quads are wide open, except from the northeast, due to trees.
Elroy -- Young Road. Shoot back up to Union City - Elroy Road and take the right to head east. At Young Road, take a right to the tracks. This one is wide open, with the tracks on a slight fill. Great views all around!
Elroy -- Coletown - Lightsville Road. For the last time, backtrack up to Union City - Elroy Road and take a right. The road will T with Coletown - Lightsville Road. As near as I can tell, Elroy has about 7 houses. The crossing is technically with Coletown - Lightsville Road, but Elroy - Ansonia Road is immediately south of it. The photo ratings are 2's and 3's all around.
Ansonia -- Detling Road. From the OH-49 crossing, continue east on Elroy - Ansonia Road to a left onto Detling Road. At the crossing is CP 191, which is the west end of Ansonia Yard. Photos are good from the east, but not the west NE1, SE1, SW3-4, NW4 (posted by CSX).
[Webmaster's Note:If you're following the tour via aerials, switch back now to Google. Somewhere between a little east of Union City and Ansonia, they've become a little better (although terribly contrasty at higher resolutions), and MapQuest's seem to have gotten worse.]
Ansonia -- Jackson Street. Backtrack to Elroy - Ansonia Road, turn left and head into Ansonia. Take a left to go north on Jackson Street. The crossing is at the east end of Ansonia Yard. The Greenville Industrial Track heads south to Greenville, OH. The interlocking here is CP 189. The northwest quad is a 1 as there are no trees along the tracks, but you'll have to shoot from the street. The northeast quad is a 2. Bruce was not able to observe the south quadrants because Q358 was stopped here blocking the crossing, but the aerials lead me to believe that they are both 4's because of private property.
The Greenville Secondary track comes in via the southeast quad. Note that Steam Powered Video's atlas shows this track to be out of service, but it clearly is not. We don't know if it goes all the way to Greenville.
Ansonia -- Main Street/OH-118. Keep going north on Jackson Street to a right onto High Street. Several blocks later, take a right onto Main Street/OH-118. Jackson and Main streets are the only crossings in Ansonia, and this one is a good deal better than Jackson's:NE2, SE1-2, SW1-2, NW1.
Dawn -- TR-125/Kester Byard Road Underpass. Retrace back up to OH-47 and turn right. At Township Road (TR) 125/Kester Byard Road, take a right to drive south to the underpass. This is NAG, of course, but photos are possible. Open on the north side; trees on the south.
Dawn -- US-127. The remains of Demming Road (actually part of a predecessor of today's OH-47) are just north of the underpass at Kester Byard Road, and will take you east into Dawn. At Greenville - St Mary's Road, follow the curve to go north. This will T at US-127, and you should take a right to go back south. Park before going up the overpass, but whether north or south of it, you'll have to do some hoofing. You will end up on a modern bridge over the tracks, complete with 6' shoulders.
You can get good, uncluttered down-on photos from the bridge, but remember:US-127 is a numbered Federal highway, and is busy, with a 55 MPH speed limit. Don't plan on hanging around or walking back and forth between shoulders. If you know something is coming, get up there, get your shot, and get gone. Bruce points out that if you’re doing video you will get traffic noise.
Dawn -- Burch Road. Drive south over the overpass, to a right onto Greenville - St Marys Road. At the tracks, the road will turn right to parallel the tracks and go under the overpass as Burch Road. East of the overpass, park along the tracks for ground-level photos.
Dawn -- Shaffer Road. Keep going north on Younker until a T with OH-47; take a right. At Shaffer Road, take a left and drive south to the crossing. There is a dragging equipment detector here. The photo ratings are:NE2, SE4 (hog barns), SW1, NW3. This may not be a place to linger.
Versailles -- West Street/OH-47. Drive back up to OH-47, and turn right to drive east and enter the town of Versailles. At West Street, OH-47 will go 45º to the southeast, and you should take that curve. The crossing at West Street is rated at:NE1-2, SE3, SW1, NW1, so stay on the west side of the crossing.
Versailles -- West Main Street/Grand Avenue. South of the West Street Crossing, take a right onto West Main Street. The road runs due west, and when it begins to bend to the southwest and become Grand Avenue, park in the gravel lot at the bowling alley on the inside of the curve. There are nice views of the Stillwater River bridge, but you’ll need to work around some poles and power lines.
Versailles -- Center Street. Turn around and head back east on Main Street. Pass West Street, and at Center Street, take a left to cross the tracks. This one is not a crossing to write home about:NE2, SE4, SW3, NW2
Versailles -- 2nd Street. Continue across the tracks to the north, and take a right onto Water Street. Park anywhere in the vicinity of the tracks, Water Street or 2nd Street. The 2nd Street crossing is NE2, SE4, SW3, NW2.
Versailles -- Water Street. Keep going east on Water Street to Steffin Street and turn right to cross the tracks. Steffin is a possibility for photos, but even if you're in a hurry to get trackside, you're only moments from a much better location. After going over the Steffin Street crossing, take a left to go east on Water Street, which parallels the tracks along the south side. The south side is wide open for photos, and there is no pole line. This is probably the best railfan area downtown.
Versailles -- Olive Street. Water Street extends for several blocks to a T at Olive Street. The crossing at Olive looks to be private, and the photo ratings reflect that:NE4, SE4, SW1, NW4, but the southwest quad is wide open.
Versailles -- Monument Street. Head south on Olive to a left onto Main Street/OH-47, and at Monument Street, take another left to head up to the tracks. There’s a nice paved lot on the south side of the tracks with a view of the MP 180 signals. This is MP 181.
Versailles -- OH-47 East. Once back down at Main Street/OH-47, turn right to head east. As you leave town, the street will bend 90º to the north, pass McGreevey Road on the right, and get to a crossing. It's open all around; the new BP gas station in the SW quadrant has a nice view of the action.
Versailles -- H. B. Hole Road. South of the OH-47 crossing, go east on McGreevey Road to a left onto H. B. Hole Road. Photo ratings are good, at NE1, SE1, SW4, NW1, and the tracks are southwest - northeast on no more than a 15º angle.MP 180 is here.
Russia -- County Line Road. Drive back down to McGreevey Road and turn left to continue east. At Darke-Shelby County Line Road, take a left and drive to the crossing. The signals for MP 178 are located here, and all quads offer WIDE OPEN SHOTS.
Russia -- Simon Road. On the northeast quad of the crossing at County Line Road, Russia - Versailles Road parallels the tracks to Simon Road, crosses the tracks via Simon, and then continues east on the south side from there into Russia. The crossing is wide open all around.
Russia -- Russia Road. When Russia - Versailles Road gets near to the village, it jogs to the east and intersects with Miller Road. There is a crossing on Miller, but it is NARL, as it is all private, industrial property. Therefore, continue east on what is now Main Street, and drive to your third left, which is North Street. Take it to a T at Russia Road, turn left, and drive to the crossing. This baby is wide open with signals to the east.
Houston -- Rangeline Road. Continue north on Russia Road to Russia-Houston Road, and then east to Rangeline Road. This crossing is on a gentle curve that makes for great shots. Wide open, in general, but a few trees in the NE quadrant.
Houston -- OH-48 Underpass. Russia - Houston Road will continue to the northeast just south of the Rangeline Road Crossing. The best viewing in the vicinity of the underpass is from the south along Russia-Houston Rd (not OH-48 itself; it’s busy and has a 55 MPH speed limit); the south side of the underpass is open, but the north side has trees. It’s an arched concrete structure which might be worth a look or two.
[Webmaster's Warning: Beyond this point, the geography of Ohio will force some unpleasant effects upon railfans. You're about to cross the Loramie Creek and the Great Miami River watersheds, so there are hills and curves. Instead of wide open crossings that seem to offer infinite visibility, you'll be lucky to find a decent one, period. Also, hills and curves seem to be associated generally with an increase in trees, and that's the case beyond here. Folks who fan in the mountains or foothills will give a collective yawn after reading the previous few sentences, but if you're used to easy access fanning, your patience might be tried.
This won't be Combat Railfan stuff, but it won't be drop dead easy, either.]
Houston -- Pampel Road. Further east along Russia - Houston Road, you''ll T at OH-66. Take a left to drive north, and take a right onto Roeth Road. Pass up the OH-66 overpass, as it is NAG/NARL. At Houston Road, take a left and go northeast towards the tracks. You can park off Houston near Laramie Creek, but you're at least 1/4 mile south of the bridge, and you'll have to fight the trees. The bridge itself is northing special, as it's just a 2-span deck plate girder. Beyond the Creek via Houston Road, you'll come to the underpass of Dawson Road, which is NARL, as the concrete retaining wall on the south side of the tracks seems to be a popular teen hang-out, judging by all the graffiti.
Continuing ever northeast on Houston Road, you will reach Pampel Road on your left. Take it north to an AG crossing. This one’s rather treed-in, so it’s a 2-3 all around.
Houston -- Wright - Puthoff Road. Keep northbound on Pampel Road to a T at Stoker Road. This will T at Wright-Puthoff Road, and you should turn right to get to the crossing. All photo fields are 1-2, and this one’s right smack in the middle of a curve that makes for some NICE shots in both directions. The heavy tree growth a bit north of the tracks is evidence of the original alignment that was bypassed by the present gentler curve; it stands out clearly on the aerials.
Hardin Station -- Lindsey Road. Backtrack north via Wright - Puthoff Road, and at Smalley Road, take a right to go east. At the T with Patterson - Halpin, you can turn right to go south to a NAG/NARL, chain-link fenced overpass. Instead, continue east on Smalley, paralleling the tracks on the south side to a bridge over Turtle Creek, but heavy tree growth limits your photo opportunities. So, continue east on Smalley to Hardin-Wapakoneta Road. You can take a left and drive to the underpass of the tracks, but your photo options here are scuttled by persistent heavy tree growth along the right of way, as well as a huge gravel pit SW of the bridge.
Instead, take a right onto Hardin - Wapakoneta Road, and then take a left onto Mill Creek Road to head east. At Lindsey Road, take a left to drive up to the tracks, and an AG crossing. NE1, SE1-2, SW1-2, NW1. There is a defect detector here, just west of the crossing.
Sidney -- Kuther Road. Once north of the tracks, Wright Road bends 90º to parallel the tracks on the north, heading east. At the Kuther Road overpass, the old mainline alignment switches off to the northeast here, and serves several industries on the west side of Sidney. There is a power-operated single-direction crossover here (and the industrial switch is presumably powered as well, though Bruce could not see it due to it being directly under the bridge), but there are no signals.
Sidney -- Vandemark Road. Drive south via Kuther Road to Mill Creek Road, and take a left to go east. At Fair Road, take a left to go a very short distance to another left onto Vandemark Road. This will take you north to a crossing. Indeed, this is the last access to the tracks (PERIOD!) until Pasco-Montra Road, 5 miles to the east -- and that's on a different segment of this tour altogether! This spot is far from ideal, but will do in a pinch.
This is approximately MP 165.
It is at this point that we will end the Anderson, IN - Sidney, OH segment of the ex-CCC&StlRy tour thru the heartland. Continue north on Vandemark Road until the intersection with OH-47; turn right, and within one block, you are within the motels, restaurants, and shopping places of the I-75 exit 92 complex. It's time to check in, open a cool one, and just relax.