The Wabash thru the Heartland
Danville, IL -- Lafayette, IN
Formerly the mainline of the Wabash Railroad, this is Norfolk Southern's main line connecting Detroit and Bellevue with Decatur, St. Louis and Kansas City. There are also important connections with Union Pacific at Salem, Illinois, as well as NS's former Conrail Marion Branch at Wabash, Indiana.
The distance covered by this tour is 44.4 miles, but it is part of a much larger "Wabash thru the Heartland" Frograil Tour, and the overview of the entire tour is here.
If you have never taken a Frograil tour before, you are strongly encouraged to visit the Frograil Tour Guide 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.
Contents And Navigation:
WHAT YOU WILL FIND HERE: From a particular starting point, each segment of this coverage will allow you to follow the instructions given, drive to a railfan site, then to the next, etc. etc. Traffic levels and patterns will be given, and the photographic/ lighting considerations for each site will usually be mentioned. You'll be told about area attractions, such as tourist and historic sites, as well as hotels and restaurants which are trackside or otherwise worthy of note. In short, you'll be able to plan an entire family or railfan-only outing, or even a vacation from this guide, as it is completed in the months to come.
WHAT YOU WILL NOT FIND HERE: This is a railfan guide, not a photo collection. There are already many excellent and enjoyable railroad photo sites available, and one more really wouldn't add much value to the general railfan. Besides, photos take up a lot of memory, and your humble Webmaster has to pay for memory. You will also not find fancy graphics, as this is a tour guide, not an exhibition of graphics expertise. You'll be able to load these pages quickly and print them without waiting a week for each page to print. Also, you'll conserve toner in the process.
Major contributors to this effort include:
Bruce Bridges. Content and many suggestions, corrections, etc. This is his tour.
Jon Roma.Extensive clarifications and background information.
Tony Hill, Webmaster -- The guy who makes it go.Any use of the first person singular pronoun refers to Tony, unless specifically otherwise indicated.
The Wabash Railroad Historical Society has an e-mail YahooGroups list, and several members have helped with mile points and other items.
This tour is the result of a lot of effort invested by Bruce Bridges along the route described. If you can provide information that would make this tour more complete and enjoyable, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let me know what you'd like me to add or correct.
Also, if you'd like to contribute tours of portions of other rail lines, 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 -- General.The line is single-track CTC, with frequent passing sidings, but it is double track through the larger towns.Signals are a mix of old original Wabash searchlights (get your pics of them NOW!) and NS's new Safetran tri-lights. Milepoints are measured from Detroit, so they'll be going down as we go northeast towards the Motor City; also, realize that many of the mile points given are accurate (posted marker), but some are approximations.
The Railroad -- Geography.The railroad is basically flat for most of the distance, with curves only being encountered in association with significant rivers. Flat, straight railroads make for fast trains, so you really have to be alert throughout the entire distance of this segment.
The Railroad -- Traffic.Traffic averages approximately 20-25 trains per day, mostly finished automobiles and parts, plus manifest freights and RoadRailers. In addition, there is one TOFC/COFC/stack train each way per day (symbols 20T eastbound, and 21T westbound). Unit grain trains are also quite common. Before the recent collalpse of the automotive industry and overall economy, this line averaged 30-40 trains per day, so there is still potential for future traffic growth as the economy comes back.
Photo considerations. For much of this tour, you are in open agricultural lands. Crossings that people in the piedmont of North Carolina (the Webmaster's home) would die for are merely "grab shots" for natives of Indiana (like Bruce). Bear that in mind as we give you estimates of photo fields at individual crossings.As is always the case with photo ratings in Frograil, we evaluate the openness/availability of photo access, not photogenic qualities.
In several locations, we have provided numeric photo field ratings such as this example: NE4, SE1, SW1, NW2. These go around the quads in clockwise fashion, northeast, southeast, southwest and northwest.The highest/best rating is a 1, and the lowest, 4, means there is no access for photos. 4's are given for private property, severe drop off, security concerns, etc.
Finally, this tour primarily takes place thru extremely productive farm country. When Bruce did the on-the-ground research, he rated the photo fields based on what he could see. Obviously, if there is a field of 7' corn next year where he saw soybeans this year, your photo field may well be 4 rather than 1. Of course, the reverse is true, so last year's 4 may be this year's 1.
Abbreviations. Some phrases are used repeatedly in this tour, so I've developed some standard Frograil abbreviations:
AG. An at-grade crossing.
CR. Because this tour's area is fairly level, the roads tend to be straight and orderly. However, it takes a native to figure out the naming conventions, so I'm calling all non-federal, non-state numbered roads County Roads, and am abbreviating that to CR.
NAG. A not-at-grade crossing. Unless I mention otherwise, it is usually not worth the time and trouble to drive to them.
NARL. Not a railfan location. This is because of any number of reasons, such as lousy photo ops, dangerous, no shoulder on a NAG bridge, etc. As a general rule of thumb, it is wise to avoid NARL's.
NFOG.Not found on the ground.Some roads are proudly displayed on various maps, but no longer exist on the ground.This is especially true in forested areas.
NO. Not observed -- for some reason, Bruce didn't get over to the location, and cannot comment on it.
Mapwork: Much of the tour is not easy if you have no detailed map for back country roads. A DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer is highly recommended; study it before your trip, and copy pertinent pages for your field work.You can use aerial views via MapQuest, Google Maps and other on-line sources, but for some reason, all sources' aerials are lousy across the entire state of Illinois, but improve impressively at the Indiana state line.
Security. As you can imagine, this tour varies from urban to very rural.Even if you are in a very rural area, if you get hurt accidentally it can be a long, long time before someone chances upon you and asks if you need help.In all railfan outings, you are encouraged to have at least one male buddy with you.With respect to the Danville area, much of the tour is thru rough neighborhoods. Bruce and I recommend you skip Danville if you do not have at least one male buddy with you.
The other side of security on railfan tours is the railroad's security. Norfolk Southern takes its property rights very seriously, and so should you.If it looks like it might be railroad property, do not go there.
WEBMASTER'S NOTE: I do not recommend 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.
Danville -- Lafayette -- Railfan sites
From I-74, take exit 215, and go north on US-150/IL-1/Gilbert Street.At Main Street, US-150 goes to the west and US-136 comes in from the east and joins Gilbert Street. Continue north on Gilbert to Fairchild Avenue and turn right to go east.After a few blocks, disregard US-136/IL-1 turning north -- continue due east on Fairchild.You will pass under the Norfolk Southern main line (the route we'll be following) and then the CSX, ex-C&EI. At Bowman Street, take a left, drive one block, and take another left onto May Street. Drive to the end of May, and the crossing of the two before-mentioned lines is right in front of you, at MP 300.4.Stay well back from railroad property.
This is a morning location for photos, but it's a great place to watch trains any time during the day.
Henry Mikus and an unidentified member of the Wabash Railroad Historical Society's Yahoogroups e-mail list provided some information about this site.
The following four crossings are in rough neighborhoods.
Danville -- Norman Street.Drive back along May Street and take a left onto Martin Street. Take your first left onto Norman Street.You will cross the NS tracks and dead end at the CSX tracks. There is about a football field's distance between the two lines, which is a little too much to warrant running back and forth.The NS tracks are at ~40º northeast - southwest, and will remain so for quite some distance.
Danville -- Martin Street.Drive back to Martin Street and find a place to park. If you didn't like the Norman Street crossing, this one is very close, maybe only 200', but the character is different.Bruce rates the photo ops as "fair".
Danville -- Bowman Street.Go east via Norman Street to Bowman and take a left to go north.There is a crossing shortly, and, because the street is much bigger than Martin Street, you'll probably have a little better luck with photos, although Bruce only rates it as "fair" for photos.Bowman is a very busy, major north - south thoroughfare, so be careful.
Danville -- Pries Street.This street was NO during the research phase for the tour, but (based on admitably poor aerials) looks to be more open and less street-busy than the previous three crossings.Continue north on Bowman to a right onto Brook Street.At Pries Street, take a right and drive to the crossing.
Danville -- Voorhees Street.Backtrack up to Brook Street.If Wabash Street is open (it is invisible on the aerials), bear to the right and take it up to Voorhees Road and turn right.If Wabash Street is not open, take a left to either Dakota Street or Bowman north to Voorhees, and turn right to go east.The northeast quad is best, and will work from early AM to early afternoon for southbounds.Voorhees is a major east - west thoroughfare, so be careful.
Newell -- CR-2000N/Winter Avenue.We now begin to leave the city of Danville behind, and the character of the tour will change considerably.Backtrack on Voorhees Street to Bowman Avenue, take a right, and head north to Winter Avenue/CR-2000N. At the latter, take a right and drive to a very interesting piece of railfanning. The Kankakee, Beaverville and Southern (ex-Milwaukee Road) runs through north-south, and crosses CR-2000N/Winter Avenue at grade. NS passes over both on a bridge, simultaneously. There is an active connection track between the two railroads.Photos are fairly tight due to tree growth, but you will have your best viewing of the NS from the west or northwest.
Newell -- Makemson Road/CR-1970E.Continue east on CR-2000N to a left onto CR-1970E, and then north to the tracks. Whoo-whee, but we're back in the country, with all quads open, and photo ratings of 1-2 all around.
Illiana -- CR-2050E.Drop back down to CR-2000N, and turn left to continue east.At CR-2030E, take a left to head north. This road may be signed as Le Neve Road.You will go thru two whopper 90º turns -- first to right, then to left -- and you will then be on CR-2050E/Le Neve Road. “Eldan” interlocking is to the west; this is the end of double track through the Danville area.Photo ratings are NE4 (trees and tight), NE2, SW1, NW1.
Illiana -- CR-2200N/Poland Road.Continue north on CR-2050E, and then right on Poland Road/CR-2200N to a crossing.NOTE:At this point, the resolution on Google Maps aerials increases to the point that they become quite useful while planning your tour route.They are a pleasure to work with.
There is a defect detector at the crossing, at MP 295.0. For photos, the crossing is wide open all around.
Illiana -- Martin Road.Here's one for Combat Railfans, as it is a bit out of the way, and somewhat convoluted.From the CR-2200N/Poland Road crossing, backtrack west to Martin Road, and head north. Parts of this road are very narrow.It will twist and turn and change names, etc, etc, but will fairly shortly meet the tracks and follow them for a short spell.You should be able to have good viewing, but the photography may be limited to shooting to the north. W2/E4.
State Line City. Once past the parallel stretch on what started out as Martin Road, the street turns due north, and you should look for a right onto 1st Street North.This will take you to the appropriately named State Line Road.Take a right and head to the crossing.The west side of the road is Illinois; the east side is Indiana.The crossing is NE4, SE1, SW2, NW4.
For its size, the combined town of Illiana/State Line City probably has more storage tanks than any city in the universe. There are dozens and dozens of them, ranging from tiny to immense. Good aerials are really fun.
State Line City -- CR-1025W/CR-750S.Head east on Woodard Street to a T at East Street and take a left to go north.This will eventually do a right/left 90º combo and become either CR-1050W or CR-1025W (Google doesn't identify the road at all, Yahoo says it's CR-1050, and Bruce says it's CR-1025W. We'll go with the eyeballs.)When the road approaches the tracks and does another 90º turn -- as CR-750S --to the right, find a place to park.
The bend in the road is a good place to catch photos and videos of trains at speed, but since there’s no crossing nearby, you won’t get any horn action to warn you of something close.. There is an AEI reader here.
State Line City -- CR-1000W.Continue east to CR-1000W and turn left to go north.At the crossing, park in the northwest quad.The crossing here is MP 293, and signal 2931 is here. It’s wide open all around.
Johnsonville -- CR-875W.Go back to CR-750S, take a left and head east.At the T with CR-900W, take the left and drive up to the crossing. Along the way, the road becomes CR-875W.In the community of Johnsonville, there are two crossings, and this is the first. It is not as good as the second, but you be the judge as to where to set up.Photo ratings: NE1, SE4, SW3-4, SW1-2.Be aware that this crossing is an X, not a +, so take the "names" of the quads with a grain of salt.
Johnsonville -- CR-600S.Very close to the previous crossing, but too far to walk back and forth, is one at CR-600S.Go north of the tracks via CR-875W, take a right, and drive to the crossing via CR-600S.Park on the northeast quad. This is probably a better location than the previous spot, with 1-2 in all quads, but check them both out and decide for yourself which works best for you.
There is the start of a passing siding to the northeast, and signals are visible.
Marshfield -- CR-450S/State Avenue.Keep going north on CR-775W, and at the T, take a right onto CR-450S to go east. As you get to the village of Marshfield, the street name becomes State Avenue.The best photos in town are from the northeast quadrant of the State Avenue/CR-450S crossing.
Marshfield -- CR-675W.Depart town via CR-675W, which is on the north side of the tracks. Along the way, there is a beautiful panoramic view to the east, as you head north away from the tracks (subject to corn, of course). Beyond this point, but inaccessible, the siding from back in Johnsonville ends.
West Lebanon -- CR-350S Underpass.Head further north on CR-675W to CR-350S, and take a right to head further east.The road goes under the tracks here, and is, together with the next location, the only rural area underpasses between Decature and Fort Wayne that we're aware of.Good photo angles on both sides (though the west side is better).
West Lebanon -- CR-550W Underpass.Continue east on CR-350S until the intersection with CR-550W.Turn left and drive up to the crossing.This railroad bridge crosses both the road and a small creek, and may be a more interesting photo location than the previous one. Both sides are wide open though the south side is a little more so, and will give you better lighting much of the time.
West Lebanon. Follow CR-550W north to the intersection with IN-28, turn right, and head into Lebanon. Along the way, pass up the Crossing at IN-63, as it is NAG/NARL.Take the right at IN-263, and drive to the crossing.NE3-4, SE1, SW1-2, NW3-4; these ratings have real meaning here because this is a true + crossing, as the tracks are almost due east - west.
This is the only crossing in West Lebanon.
West Lebanon -- CR-175W.The easiest way to get to the next fan location is to go back up IN-263, and take a right onto IN-28 to go east.At Tower Road, take a right to go down to the crossing. The former crossing via Tower Road was cut many years ago, and the road now bends onto what will become CR-175W, and then branch off to the southwest as Tower Road. It is probable that the crossing is with CR-175W/Tower Road, as opposed to just Tower Road, but it's not clear. All that is immaterial, because the crossing is pretty good. Tower Road parallels tracks on the south for a short distance south of the crossing, making for wide open shots.Ratings are NE1-2, SE3, SW1, NW1-2.This is MP 283.
Williamsport -- Meridian Road. Drive back up to IN-28, and, once again, take a right to continue east. Pass up the crossing at CR-100W, as it's virtually NARL.At Meridian Road, turn right and go south.The railroad overpass is treed in on the north, but is somewhat open on the south.You're in the Wabash River area now, and are seeing more trees, elevation changes, and even some curves!
Williamsport -- Washington Street.As you enter the town of Williamsport, the highway curves to the left to follow the tracks, and Washington Street splits off to the east and crosses the tracks at grade.This is a NICE location:NE3, SE3, SW1, NW1, with a curve to the west that makes this a PRIME location for eastbounds.We're talking Rail.Pictures.Net-quality material here.
The defect detector here is MP 280.5.
Williamsport.Go back to IN-28, turn right, and then bear off onto Railroad Street to follow the railroad into town.Along the way, there is a short deck girder bridge which might be used as a photo prop, and there is some access from Railroad Street. Further along, when you get to the crossing at Monroe Street, park on either quad north of the tracks.Signals 2800/01 are at the crossing, and MP 280 is visible a short distance to the west.
There is a curve to the east that makes this a prime spot for westbounds; again these would possibly be worthy of RailPictures.Net (or even TRAINS).Photo ratings are NE1, SE1-2, SW2-3, NW1.
Williamsport -- Cemetery Road.Follow Monroe Street south/east to “T” at 3rd Street, and turn left. Cemetery turns off to the left shortly (it’s a HARD left, up a hill!).An excellent Google Maps aerial shows that this crossing looks like something your Webmaster would see back in the North Carolina Piedmont -- and that's bad news for folks following the Wabash.Your sightlines here are limited by trees. Bruce calls it a 2-3 all around. You can shoot from the top of the hill in the cemetery north of the crossing, but the trees restrict your view to basically the crossing itself. This spot is only recommended as a place to get trackside if you hear your scanner heat up.
Attica -- US-41.Go back down the hill to River Road, take a left and drive thru the river valley to US-41.Take a left and, when the road starts to rise to go over the tracks, park off the road on the shoulder. You can walk up either side of the wide, modern bridge, but be advisied that US-41 is a major highway (even though it's a 2-lane road), and there is plenty of traffic.
Trees provide some unwanted shadows, but the overpass is on a curve that might lend some interesting angles in both directions.
Attica -- Wabash River Bridge.Go back south on US-41/IN-55 to cross the river and enter Attica. The bridge itself has broad shoulders, so park on the bridge.The shot requires a pretty husky telephoto lens to the north -- it's about 2,000', but the river is broad and the view is unobstructed; you can get publication-quality shots from here.
Attica -- Perry Street.Continue into Attica on US-41/IN-55/IN-28, turn left on Perry Street in town. Drive all the way to the crossing, and park in the southeast quad.The crossing here is on a curve, and photos from here aren’t too bad in both directions. “Attica’ interlocking is at the east end of the curve. An industrial branch from the south joins the main here, and a passing siding starts to the east.
Attica -- Stone Cut Road.If you continue northeast on Perry Street, it will become River Road after leaving town. [Note: The Google aerials here are still the best of all of them, but they have an oddly bright cast to them -- things look a little strange.] There are several good “grab-and-go” photo locations along the road. The first of which is Stone Cut Road.Actually, the aerials make this appear to be a little better than "grab-and-go", but you'll have to be the judge.This is MP 275.
Attica -- CR-325E.Further northeast via River Road is CR-325E on the right.The “Riverside” interlocking is just west of CR-325E crossing.The northern quads are decently open, but you'll be fighting the sun all day.The southeast quad looks largely treed in. Redeeming the crossing is the fact that the southwest quad is wide open for northbounds from early AM until early afternoon.
Riverside -- CR-1300N.Continue northeast on River Road, and take the next right onto CR-1300N.This is the last crossing before the community of Riverside, and, frankly, it's no big deal for photos.Bruce was unimpressed, and the aerials support his opinion.However, it is a fairly quiet area, and if you just want to sit and watch trains, you could do far worse.
Riverside.Back track to River Road, take a right, and continue on towards Lafayette.At Riverside Road, take a right and drive down to the crossing.Again, it's not much to write home about:NE3, SE3, SW2, NW3. There is an intermediate signal to the east.
Riverside -- CR-1400N/East River Road.Go back north to River Road, take a right, and head northeast out of town.You'll be away from the tracks for a short while, but they'll come back to you, and you may have some nice viewing, albeit from the north. In some areas, trees will definitely be a problem.You'll get to the tracks and perform a sort of lazy S crossing.The northwest quad is a definite 1, while the others are decent 2's.
Riverside -- Flint Road #1.Keep going east on River Road, and then take a left onto Flint Road. This critter kind of goes everywhich way, but if you just stay on it, it will all play out just fine.The road will cross the tracks at a NE2, SE1-2, SW1-2, NW2 crossing, so it's not bad.Indeed, there is a possible panoramic photo from the northeast quad.This is MP 271.
Riverside -- Flint Road #2.Keep following Flint Road as it takes a turn or two thru the countryside. It will curve to the northeast and continue following the tracks, but there is heavy continuous tree growth between the road and the tracks -- signal 2695/6 is along this stretch. Finally, it will make an unusual intersection with CR-820E and the crossing of the NS main. This one really is a little out of the ordinary, and the best photos are from the southwest quad, along CR-820E.Photo ratings at the crossing itself are NE1, SE1-2, SW3, NW1 -- pretty good.
There is a defect detector (MP 268.9) east of the crossing.Between the two Flint Road crossings are at least two private crossings, neither of which are recommended as fan locations.
Glenhall -- County Line Road.Keep eastbound on Flint Road to County Line Road, and turn left to go north. Warren County will then be on your left, and Tippecanoe County is to your right.At the crossing, you are at MP-268, and the photo ratings are SE3-4, with the other quads all being 1-2.
Glenhall -- Turner Road.North of the County Line Road crossing, the road will bend to the northeast and then go east and southeast all the way back to the tracks.Along the way, pass up Burton Road, as it is private.
At this crossing, the "Flint" interlocking is just to the west, and is the west end of the West Point Siding. Photo ratings here are 1's all around!
Glenhall.Keep going southeast on Turner, and it will T with IN-25. Take a left to go north, but do not follow IN-25, instead, peel off to the left to go on a more northerly bias via CR-700W.NOTE WELL:The intersection of CR-700W, IN-25 and Turner Road is complicated and dangerous. Be careful.
The area of the crossing is known as West Point on the railroad, but is shown on maps as “Glenhall”; the actual town of West Point is to south, away from tracks.Photo ops are pretty limited:NE2-3, SE3-4, SW1-2, NW4.
Glenhall -- Connector Road.Depart town on CR-450S, which is a connector to IN-25 (which is signed IN-25 NORTH), take a left to go north, and then look for a small road to the left. This may or may not be private, but it connects IN-25 with CR-400S to the north.The crossing is wide open.Between the highway and the tracks to the west of this road is a large, grassy area. It's a great place to park, get out the lawn chairs and coolers, and just watch the trains go by.IN-25 is pretty busy, so set up well north of it.
Glenhall -- CR-575W.Further east on IN-25, take CR-575W north to the crossing.To the east of the crossing is a spur into an agricultural services industry/dealer, as well as the east end of the West Point siding. at "West Point" interlocking, MP 264.The crossing looks wide open, with the exception of the northeast quad, which is a 4 -- private property.
Shadeland -- CR-500W.Get back to IN-25 and head east to CR-500W.It's open on both northern quads, but the two southern ones are on house lots; however, you've got plenty of room for decent shots without trespassing.
Shadeland -- Prime photo location.Go back to IN-25 again, and head further east. The highway will leave the tracks for awhile, and then you'll see them come in on your left.When they are getting close, look for the Shadeland signals (2608/9), and when you see them, do a U-turn to face west.Park along the shoulder of IN-25 in the vicinity of an old farmhouse.There is a panoramic shot across the field, on the outside of a curve. Photos are not possible with standing a corn crop in the field. You must be facing southwest to see this location.
NOTE WELL:We are approaching Lafayette now, and the fanning will get much more difficult -- you'll be longing for a wide open, farm field crossing, but you won't get one.In order, the crossings at CR-300N, CR-200N/Lilly Road, and US-231 crossings are all NAG/NARL. On the other hand, there will suddenly be railroad tracks all over the place, and we'll try to sort them out for you.
As you head northeast on IN-25, the railroad will get progressively further away from you. You will go under the CSX (ex-Monon) Chicago - Indianapolis line. This is a NAG/NARL, also, but if you want to see something on the line, the Shadeland Road overpass to the north would probably be OK.Shadeland Road is just west of the underpass on IN-25.North of this point, and very close to the immense (and sensitive -- stay away) Eli Lilly pharmaceutical plant, the NS line we've been following and the CSX cross, NAG -- and very much inaccessible.Beyond that point, CSX curves to the northeast to parallel the NS tracks (but not very closely) into Lafayette.
Continuing on IN-25 to the northeast, go across the major intersection with US-231, and look for the intersection with Beck Lane.Take the left to head north, and you will soon pass under two sets of tracks.The first is the NS (ex-Nickle Plate) from Muncie and Cincinnati, and the second is the ex-Wabash we've been touring.These are actually the south and west legs, respectively, of a wye, which ends just to the southwest. In the vicinity of the "West Demun" interlocking is a large cemetery with lots of trees between it and the railroad, and next to it is what appears to be a major open pit sand and gravel facility. On the north side of the interlocking is woods -- you cannot get to West Demun without trespassing.
Further along Beck Lane, you'll cross CSX at grade, and then the street turns to the northeast to parallel CSX.Somewhere in this area, probably just north of the tracks, the street name changes to Wabash Avenue.You can probably get photos of CSX here, but you'll have to contend with the city's sewage treatment plant in the process.
Lafayette -- Lafayette Junction/Smith Street Pedestrian Bridge.Follow Wabash Avenue northeast to a 4-way stop at Smith Street. There is a pedestrian bridge here over the tracks, and you are directly over the Lafayette Junction interlocking. Four tracks go down to three (the Kankakee, Beaverville, and Southern switches into the CSX, and crossovers allow movements between all tracks). This is a nice place to take photos, but be aware that there is no shade or even a place to sit down anywhere close to it. But you’ll see lots of photos taken here on various photo sites. Park anywhere you can find room, and where there isn't a yellow curb or a No Parking sign, and just walk on up the pedestrian bridge.
At the junction, the KB&S (formerly a Nickel Plate line that once went to Peoria) comes in from the west, crossing the Wabash River on a double-track through truss bridge (this was shared with New York Central's Indy-Chicago main) that is immediately south of and parallel to the IN-26 bridge. This line switches into the CSX main, and a double crossover connects CSX and NS. NS’s double track ends here, and the easternmost track becomes the connection to the ex-NKP leading into South Yard and on to Frankfort. The NS main to Decatur is the center track. The entire interlocking plant is controlled by NS's dispatcher in Decatur, Illinois, and CSX trains must call the NS dispatcher to be lined up through the plant.
This part of the city is not Beverly Hills, so have at least one male buddy with you if you're going to spend any time on the bridge.
To get to the Amtrak station, continue north on Wabash Avenue, go under the CSX/NS tracks, and the street will become 2nd Street. Follow 2nd all the way to the Amtrak station. At the station, you'll be able to continue the Wabash tour by going here, which will wisk you all the way to Fort Wayne and New Haven.