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The Wabash thru the Heartland

Decatur - Danville, IL

NS Corporate Logo


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. This tour segment has been completed, and is 75.9 miles long.It is part of a larger "Wabash thru the Heartland" Frograil Tour, and the overview of the entire tour is here.Today, the line we are following is the Lafayette District of the Norfolk Southern Illinois Division.

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:

About This Tour

Other Tours



Supplemental And Back-Up Data

Site Listing

The Tour

About This Tour:

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.

Tony Hill, Webmaster. Any use of the first person singular pronoun refers to Tony, unless specifically otherwise indicated.

Train Gif Artists.The Wabash train is certainly mixed up, era-wise, but I like it -- and it's all Wabash.Dave Hersrud did those images.Frograil is no longer hosting these Fallen Flags gifs. Ed Bindler has taken over this major task. His Fallen Flags pages are here.


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, 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.

Supplemental And Back-Up Data

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 usually 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, which are officially designated as TripleCrown Service and often referred to on the radio as such. 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, and usually carry symbols in the 600 series. 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. Indeed, in early September 2009, there were signs that traffic was beginning to rebound.

Note that the heaviest traffic segment is between Decatur and Bement, and is slightly lower to the east of Bement.There are also trains that diverge from/to the NS onto/from Union Pacific at the UP connection near Sidney.

Area Attractions:Just 10 miles north of the tour, thru the I-57 corridor is Champaign, and the University of Illinois.Besides plenty of Big 10 sporting events, there are many cultural and entertainment events associated with the University. Life support is excellent throughout the Champain-Urbana region.Bear in mind that, though Champaign-Urbana has ample lodging and dining facilities, sporting events and other periodic activities (like U of I’s graduation weekend) can strain these facilities.

Photo considerations. For most 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.The height of the corn is definitely a consideration for photographers between a few weeks after planting (say, late June) and until harvest (usually October), particularly in long shadows at the beginning and ending of the day’s sunlight!

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, along almost the entire Decatur thru Danville stretch.

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. 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.

Railfan sites: Decatur -- Danville
Alphabetical Sequence Sequential Order:
West to East
Bement -- City Park Decatur -- Edward Street~MP 376.3
Bement -- CR-750E Decatur -- Water Street
Bement -- CR-1000E Decatur -- WABIC
Bement -- CR-1100E Decatur -- IL-121 Overpass
Bement -- CR-1200E Decatur -- Lake Decatur Bridge
Bement -- Municipal Parking Lot Sangamon
Bement -- Piatt Street Oakley
Bement -- Sangamon Street Oakley -- Oakley Road
Catlin -- CR-1020E Oakley -- Angle Crossing Road
Catlin -- CR-1100E Oakley -- Ruch Road
Catlin -- Sandusky Street Cerro Gordo -- Lincoln Street
Catlin -- Vermillion Street Cerro Gordo -- Jefferson Street364
Cerro Gordo -- CR-200E Cerro Gordo -- Monroe Street
Cerro Gordo -- CR-300E Cerro Gordo -- Jackson Street
Cerro Gordo -- Jackson Street Cerro Gordo -- Welcome Sign
Cerro Gordo -- Jefferson Street Cerro Gordo -- CR-200E
Cerro Gordo -- Lincoln Street Cerro Gordo -- CR-300E
Cerro Gordo -- Monroe Street Milmine -- CR-400E
Cerro Gordo -- Welcome Sign Milmine359.5
Danville -- 3rd Street Bement -- CR-750E
Danville -- 4th Street Overpass Bement -- Sangamon Street
Danville -- 14th Street Overpass Bement -- Municipal Parking Lot
Danville -- CSX Crossing Bement -- Piatt Street
Danville -- Main Street Bement -- City Park
Danville -- South Street Bement -- CR-1000E
Danville -- Van Buren Street Bement -- CR-1100E
Danville -- Williams Street Bement -- CR-1200E
Decatur -- Edward Street Ivesdale -- CR-1000N/CR-1300E
Decatur -- IL-121 Overpass Ivesdale -- CR-1400E350
Decatur -- Lake Decatur Bridge Ivesdale
Decatur -- WABIC Ivesdale -- CR-100E
Decatur -- Water Street Ivesdale -- CR-200E
Fairmount -- CR-250E Ivesdale -- CR-300E
Fairmount -- CR-400E Sadorus -- CR-400E
Fairmount -- CR-680E Sadorus -- CR-500E
Fairmount -- CR-750E Sadorus343.3
Fairmount -- CR-800E Sadorus -- Center Street
Fairmount -- Main Street Sadorus -- CR-700E
Fairmount -- Park Street Sadorus -- Unknown Road
Homer -- Coffeen Street Tolono -- Duncan Road
Homer -- CR-90E Tolono -- CR-1000E
Homer -- CR-150E Tolono -- Daggy Street
Homer -- CR-2400E Tolono -- CR-1200E
Homer -- CR-2500E Tolono -- CR-800N
Homer -- CR-2600E Philo -- CR-1400E
Homer -- Ellen Street Philo -- CR-1500E333.5
Homer -- Main Street/IL-49 Philo -- IL-130/Lincoln Street
Ivesdale Philo -- Washington Street
Ivesdale -- CR-100E Philo -- Alley
Ivesdale -- CR-200E Philo -- CR-1700E
Ivesdale -- CR-300E Philo -- CR-1800E
Ivesdale -- CR-1000N/CR-1300E Sidney -- CR-1900E
Ivesdale -- CR-1400E Sidney -- David Street327.7
Milmine Sidney -- CR-2200E
Milmine -- CR-400E Sidney -- CR-2300E
Oakley Homer -- CR-2400E
Oakley -- Angle Crossing Road Homer -- CR-2500E
Oakley -- Oakley Road Homer -- CR-2600E
Oakley -- Ruch Road Homer -- Ellen Street
Philo -- Alley Homer -- Coffeen Street
Philo -- CR-1400E Homer -- Main Street/IL-49
Philo -- CR-1500E Homer -- CR-90E
Philo -- CR-1700E Homer -- CR-150E
Philo -- CR-1800E Fairmount -- CR-250E~318
Philo -- IL-130/Lincoln Street Fairmount -- CR-400E
Philo -- Washington Street Fairmount -- Main Street
Sadorus Fairmount -- Park Street
Sadorus -- Center Street Fairmount -- CR-680E
Sadorus -- CR-400E Fairmount -- CR-750E
Sadorus -- CR-500E Fairmount -- CR-800E
Sadorus -- CR-700E Catlin -- CR-1020E
Sadorus -- Unknown Road Catlin -- CR-1100E309.3
Sangamon Catlin -- Sandusky Street
Sidney -- CR-1900E Catlin -- Vermillion Street
Sidney -- CR-2200E Tilton -- West End Yard
Sidney -- CR-2300E Tilton -- East End Yard
Sidney -- David Street Tilton -- Gendale Avenue/G Street Overpass
Tilton -- East End Yard Danville -- 14th Street Overpass
Tilton -- Gendale Avenue/G Street Overpass Danville -- 4th Street Overpass
Tilton -- West End Yard Danville -- 3rd Street
Tolono -- CR-800N Danville -- South Street
Tolono -- CR-1000E Danville -- Main Street
Tolono -- CR-1200E Danville -- Van Buren Street
Tolono -- Daggy Street Danville -- Williams Street
Tolono -- Duncan Road Danville -- CSX Crossing300.4

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The Tour

Decatur -- Edward Street. Here are your driving instructions to get you to the start of the tour: From I-72 in the southwest corner of the city area, take the IL-48 exit, and head north into the city.At US-36/West Eldorado Street, take a right and drive to Edward Street and turn left to drive to the crossing.

This is not a good photo location (NE2, SE4, SW4, NW4), but it is of considerable interest to fans. Just west of the crossing is Mosser interlocking, and you can see the line to St Louis swinging to the southwest, while the route to Kansas City continues due west.Everything westbound out of Decatur rolls across the Edward Street crossing.A much better photo and fanning location is just ahead.

You are starting this tour at approximately MP 376.3.

Clarifications and information thru Decatur came from J. Bordner, Allen Rueter, and Dick Wallen.

Decatur -- Water Street.Go back down to US-36/Eldorado, turn left, and go about four blocks to Water Street; take a left, and park in the free public parking lot in the southeast quad of the crossing, next to the US-51Business overpass.With the tracks virtually dead east - west, and with photo ratings of NE4, SE1, SW1, NW4, it is obvious that this is a good place for photos, as the photo field is open, and the sun will be your friend almost all day.

Decatur -- Wabic.From here, continue east on Cerro Gordo Street (the first street south of the tracks) to Front Street. Park at the depot in SW quadrant of the NS/IC diamond. The location of the diamond is "Wabic", which is an amalgamation of WABash and Illinois Central.The ex-IC is not very busy, hosting only 2 or 3 trains a day, but occasionally CN yard engines working the yard to the north need to cross the NS diamonds for headroom.This is a secondary route linking Peoria with the north-south main in the eastern part of the state. This is a good place to spend some time; you can observe the switching activity at the west end of the NS yard, as well as all mainline Norfolk Southern movements through town.

This is MP 375.6.The building adjacent to the parking lot was the former Wabash Railroad’s division headquarters and dispatching office and now houses an antique mall. An old steam-era coaling or sanding tower can be seen in the NS yard complex east of the CN diamonds.

[NOTE WELL: We encourage visitors to exercise caution in Decatur, particularly west of Wabic, and particularly on weekends when the warehouses/industries in the area are closed and the streets are deserted. These are depressed urban areas near housing projects.]

Decatur -- IL-121 Overpass.Beyond WABIC and well to the east, public access to the yard is severely restricted. The lousy aerials are no help, but Jasper Street is a (long) NAG/NARL underpass.Beyond that, the IL-121 overpass offers a fascinating place to watch a big, modern yard in action.

Go south on Front Street to US-36/Eldorado Street, turn left, and where the main road bears to the right, go straight. At IL-121/North 22nd Street, find a place to park past the intersection.Walk back to 22nd Street, which is a very large overpass of the middle part of the yard, and there is a sidewalk on the east side. Unless you have an inexpensive digital camera with a small lens (or you brought along a stepladder, which might make you popular with local law enforcement folks), photos will have to be thru a high chain link fence. This is a main road, and there is no sidewalk on the west side, so you'll have to stay on the east sidewalk only.

Here's an interesting fact:The yard you are looking at is the largest flat (i.e., non-humped") yard in North America.

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Decatur -- Lake Decatur Bridge.East of IL-121, the street is named IL-105/William Street.Take it east and disregard the crossing north of IL-105 via Brush College Road, as it is NAG/NARL. Just before going over Lake Decatur, take a left onto Lake Shore Drive.Park at the Disabled American Veterans post at the end of Lake Shore Drive; they don’t mind people hanging out in the parking lot to wait for trains at the bridge, and they just might even invite you in for a beer! Take your photos through the trees along the north side of the building, but be careful of the steep drop-off down to the water below! The ground is nice and level, and you might want to consider using a tripod here. Don’t miss this spot; this bridge is a truly impressive structure, a 4-span concrete arch. This is one of the scenic highlights of the entire tour.

At the west end of the railroad bridge is “Brush” interlocking, MP 372.9, which controls access to the east end of the yard and the ADM plants.

[WEBMASTER'S NOTE:Between Decatur and the Indiana state line, MapQuest usually has better aerials than Google Maps or Yahoo Maps. Not good at all, mind you, but a little better.]

Sangamon.Drive back south to IL-105/William Street, and turn left to head east across the lake.At Sangamon Road, turn left to get up to a crossing. “Sangamon” crossovers are to the east of the crossing. Photo ratings here are NE3, SE1, SW2, NW1.

Oakley.Continue north on Sangamon Road to a right onto Kitchen Road.This will take you east into Oakley.Along the way, you will parallel the railroad for about the last 1.5 miles, or so, and there are a few places that might allow you to take some pix, but you're on the north side of the tracks.As a point of interest, the tracks are now striking northeast - southwest at about 20º, and will remain so with minor variation until just southwest of Danville.Just west of the town are the 3688/9 signals.In the center of the town, take a right onto (natch) Center Street, and drive to the tracks.

The crossing is NE1, SE1,SW4, NW4.The areas both north and south of the tracks to the east of the crossing look pretty wide open.

Oakley -- Oakley Road.Cross the tracks going south on Center Street, and at Shelby Street, take a left and drive out of town to Oakley Road, take another left, and drive to the crossing. Park northwest of the tracks.Photo ratings are NE3, SE1, SW2, NW3.

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Oakley -- Angle Crossing Road.Continue north on Oakley Road to a right onto Angle Crossing Road, and continue east to the tracks. Photo ratings here: NE1, SE1, SW1, NW3.This is a wide open place.

Oakley -- Ruch Road.This location is for wannabe Combat Railfans, and those with 4-wheel drive vehicles. A little further east via Angle Crossing Road is Ruch Road, and it will take you north to a crossing. However, it isn't as open as Angle Crossing's location, and the road is pretty rough. There are intermediate signals there (MP 367?).

Cerro Gordo -- Lincoln Street.Go back to Angle Crossing Road and continue to the east. At a T with County Line Road, take a left and drive up toward the railroad. County Line used to cross the tracks, but it has been cut.County Line will bend 90º to the east and enter Cerro Gordo. At Lincoln Street, take a hard left and drive up to the tracks.In looking at a street map and aerials (even lousy ones), one gets the impression that this is a town that was designed with railfans in mind!There are four crossings in town, and all four will be rated by Bruce, and he will conclude with his personal recommendation for the best place to fan.

This is probably the poorest fan location, at NW2, and the other quads at 3-4's.North and South streets parallel the tracks one-half block north and south, respectively, and all crossings can be reached by both of them.

Cerro Gordo -- Jefferson Street.Between Lincoln Street and Jefferson Street, probably in the vicinity of Madison Street, is the MP 364 marker.Besides being an excellent photo location to the east (NE1, SE1, SW2, NW3-4), there is a bench with a shade tree in the southwest quad, which would be most welcome on a hot, sunny summer day. To the east, both north and south of the tracks, are open, mowed grass fields.

Cerro Gordo -- Monroe Street.The next crossing to the east is Monroe Street, which rates NE2-3, SE4, SW3, NW1.If, for some reason, shooting from south of the tracks doesn't work for you, this is the place for you, as you've got plenty of openness from the northwestern quad.

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Cerro Gordo -- Jackson Street.This is the most easterly crossing in town, and it's excellent:NE3, SE1, SW1, NW1.Since the best photo ops are primarily to the west, this spot offers to possibility of working some props into your photos, as the whole town stretches in front of you to the west.

Cerro Gordo -- Welcome Sign.Head south on Jackson Street to IL-105, but don't head out of town yet. Instead, take a left into the huge gravel lot on the southeast quad of the crossing.Drive towards the east of the lot, park, get out the lawn chairs and coolers, and fire up the scanner.You're just a short distance from the crossing, but worlds apart in ambiance.There is a "Welcome to Cerro Gordo" sign next to IL-105, towards the eastern edge of the gravel lot.This is Bruce's preferred location in Cerro Gordo, and it's easy to understand why.

Cerro Gordo -- CR-200E.Head east out of Cerro Gordo on IL-105.At CR-200E, take a left to head up to a crossing.Full disclosure: This isn't much of a crossing, but if you need to get trackside in a hurry, this will do.

Cerro Gordo -- CR-300E.For a much better location, go back down CR-200E, take a left at IL-105, and then take a left at CR-300E, and get on up to the crossing.Of the three crossings between Cerro Gordo and Milmine, this is probably the best for photos.It is wide open all around, with generally nice views in every direction.

Milmine -- CR-400E.Go back to IL-105, turn left and head east. At CR-400E, take a left to get to the crossing.The crossing is so-so, but will get you trackside if you've got someing hot coming at you.Also, the aerial shows a road paralleling the tracks from this crossing all the way into Milmine, but it is NFOG. It looks to be a public, farm access road, and not railroad property.It may have been a grain elevator spur track back in the day before 65+ car unit trains were the standard.Use your judgement. If it's public and the rails are gone, use this road into the town, although it may be rough.

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Milmine.If driving along the "road" mentioned in the previous paragraph is not an option, continue north on CR-400E to a right onto CR-800N.As you approach this small village, the road will jog 80º to the right, and head straight for the tracks. You'll see the defect detector at MP 359.5 right in front of you.The road will then curve 90º to the left and become Bodman Street.Bodman parallels the tracks on the north side, and there is nothing between you and the tracks but a wide open, mowed field.This was actually the Illinois Terminal Railway (an interurban) right-of-way.There is a power line, but the poles are not close together.

If you want to shoot photos from the south, the crossing at Main Street/CR-500E is not particularly good, so you might try shooting from the west end of the elevator property (get permission first, of course), or along CR-800N as it heads east out of town.

Bement -- CR-750E "Veech".Leave Milmine to the east via CR-800N, and follow it to a T with CR-750E.Take a left and drive to the crossing and park.To the west are the signals for Veech interlocking.North of Bement, a remnant of the ex-Wabash Bloominton District is still intact between Gibson City and the line we are fanning.It approaches Bement and swings to the southwest, joining the main at an inaccessible location well to the east of Veech,designated as Bement interlocking.Between that point and Veech is a 2-track "yard" which essentially can be used for storage, interchange or holding a train.It’s also used by some trains which connect points east of Bement with points on the Bloomington District as a location where trains make a runaround move to finish their journeys. The runaround moves are facilitated by the crossovers at the adjacent Bement and Veech control points.

The two track crossing itself is so-so, and there are better places just ahead.

Bement -- Sangamon Street.Continue north on CR-750E, take a right onto CR-900N, and drive into Bement.You will cross the track going north to Gibson City, and if you see some switching or other action, this is a good place for photos. The southeast quad is especially wide open.

Continue east until you reach an odd T with Sangamon Street, and then turn right to get to the crossing of the Lafayette District. The crossing is rated as NE3, SE3, SW1-2, NW1-2.

Bement -- Municipal Parking Lot.The first street south of the tracks is Bodman Street. Take the left and at the municipal center, there is a public parking lot south of the tracks. This location is especially recommended on weekends and evenings.

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Bement -- Piatt Street. Further east along Bodman Street, pass up Macon Street (NARL), but understand that the MP 355 marker is there.The next crossing is at Piatt Street, and rates NE4, SE2-3, SW2, NW1, so photos are definitely a possibility.

Bement -- City Park.From the Piatt Street crossing, go north over the tracks and take a right onto Wilson. Older maps show a crossing on Champaign Street, but even the cruddy aerials available make it very doubtful that it exists as such. It was NFOG, but even if there is a crossing there, it's obvious that it's surrounded by commercial/industrial property, so it would be NARL.Beyond Champaign Street, Wilson swings to closely parallel the tracks. There is a large elevator complex south of the tracks, and if it is being worked, you should be able to have a good view from Wilson Street.

Beyond the elevators, Wilson will soon reach a city park on the north side of the tracks.At the park, going straight changes the name of the street to Park Circle. If you have youngsters with you, this would be a good place to let them get out and run off some steam.Viewing to the south should be fine, but the south side of the tracks are private property:N1/S4.

Bement -- CR-1000E.Go back up Wilson to Piatt Street, turn left, cross the tracks and turn left onto Bodman Street.Depart town on Bodman, which will become CR-900N beyond the city limits.Turn left onto CR-1000E, which will lead you to an open, if not excellent location; the next location is a good bit better.

Bement -- CR-1100E.Retrace your route to CR-900N, take a left, and then another left at CR-1100E.Photo fields are open all around. Just west of this crossing is “Wiggins”, which is the end of the double track from Decatur.

Bement -- CR-1200E.Continue north on CR-1100E to CR-1000N, take a right, and then another right onto CR-1200E.The crossing is at MP 352, and an abandoned grain elevator and an open gravel lot in the NW quadrant combine to create a fine photo location with a nice prop. The other quadrants here are open as well.

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Ivesdale -- CR-1000N/CR-1300E.As you know, the Wabash is streaking across this part of the Heartland like The Arrow of God. It is as straight as an arrow, but so are the roads. The difference is that the roads are due north-south and east-west, and the railroad is that persistant southwest-northeast bias. From CR-1200E, go back up to CR-1000N, turn right, and at the intersection with CR-1300E, find a place to park. The railroad's bias has been working steadily north on the north-south streets within the grid formed by the streets, and at this point crosses just south of the east-west road (CR-1000N) and across the north-south road (CR-1300E), and it crosses the east-west road just east of CR-1300E. Because these two crossings are so close together, I've included them as a single location -- actually, they're about 200 yards apart (walking along the streets, not the tracks).

Both crossings are wide open in all directions, and you should walk around and determine where you want to stand, depending on train direction, time of day, etc.

Ivesdale -- CR-1400E.Head further east on CR-1000N, and then take a left to go north on CR-1400E.The crossing is a nice spot; it is at MP 350, and signals 3498/9 are immediately east of the crossing. Also east of the crossing is a small girder bridge over a ditch that might be a good photo prop. This crossing is wide open all around, but parking and photos are best on the west side of the road because of the proximity of the ditch; just shoot your photos across the road.

Ivesdale.Go back to CR-1000N, take a left, and drive to a T at County Line Road/CR-0E.County Line separates Piatt County behind us, and Champaign County which we are now entering.Turn left, and drive north into the village of Ivesdale; the road will bend to the right and become Johnson Street.Towards the end of the bend and the start of an elevator facility is a large, unobstructed open area between the street and the tracks.It is probably a lawn chair and cooler spot, but make sure you're not trespassing.

The only crossing in town is towards the east end, at Sanford Street.Because the location on the west side is so good, and the area south of the tracks on both sides of Sanford Street are commercial/industrial, this crossing is not recommended. It's not a total NARL, there are just better places east and west of it.

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Ivesdale -- CR-100E. Depart town on Johnson Street. Very shortly, CR-100E will go to the left. There is little distance between the road and railroad, so park on the side of Johnson Street.The crossing area is fairly open, and you will probably want to shoot from the north shoulder of Johnson Street, as you'll get a broader photo field than from the crossing area itself.

Ivesdale -- CR-200E.A little further east on Johnson Street, take a left onto CR-200E. If you remember the situation at Ivesdale -- CR-1000N/CR-1300E, you'll know there are two crossings here, and they are quite close together -- well, almost, but not quite. Just north of the crossing at CR-200E, CR-500N comes in from the west, intersects with CR-200E, and then goes due east over the tracks, or at least it used to -- it has been cut. The on-line maps still show CR-500N crossing the tracks, so be warned.Johnson Street has been a rarity in this part of the country, as it has run at a diagonal, paralleling the tracks from Ivesdale. That ends where the former crossing via CR-500N was, as the street continues east as CR-500N, and Johnson Street ends.

The crossing at CR-200E, like that at CR-100E is tight, because it's right next to Johnson Street. You'll probably want to shoot from the latter. "Sloan" interlocking is just east of CR-200E, and is the start of a passing siding going east.

Ivesdale -- CR-300E.Continue east on CR-500N, and then take a left to go north on CR-300E.At the crossing, you are farther away from the east-west road, you have more maneuver room, and it is also quieter.This is a fairly nice location, with a gravel area to park in the SW quadrant and photo ratings of 1-2 all around.The elevator is known as “Sloan.” The passing siding extends through here.

Sadorus -- CR-400E.Trundle back down to CR-500N, turn left and head east. At CR-400E, take a left to go up to the crossing.Viewing is similar to CR-300E, but with less industrial clutter to the southwest.The passing siding extends through here.

Sadorus -- CR-500E.Continue north on CR-400E and take a right onto CR-600N. At CR-500E, take a right to go south to the crossing.Photo fields are 1's and 2's all around. "Rumple", the end of the passing siding from Sloan to the southwest, is visible to the west, but is not accessible.For photos only, however, it’s accessible enough from the road for those with a long lens.

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Sadorus.Immediately south of the crossing, the street bends acutely to closely parallel the tracks all the way into Sadorus. The street becomes CR-550N, which in turn becomes River Road as you approach the town. Along the way, just a little beyond the crossing at CR-500E, you'll see a defect detector at MP 343.3, and there are some good photo ops near the detector.Shortly, you'll cross over the Kaskaskia River. The latter is one of the most lovely rivers in a state famous for lovely rivers.

When you get to Sadorus, the road will curve somewhat to the southeast, and you should bear left to join Market Street. The first intersection is with West Street. Find a place to park and walk north to the tracks.As seen on the ground, the photo ratings are only NE4, SE4, SW2, NW1. The northwest corner has a nice-looking city park, and is a great place to sit in the shade while waiting for a train. On the southeast quad, there is a grove of trees and then a large elevator facility.You could greatly improve your photo ops from the south by getting permission from the elevator office to shoot just to the east of the trees.The area is open, but be aware that those tall structures east of the spot will cast long shadows most of the day.This entire crossing/elevator area could prove fruitful for a real photographer, i.e., someone who is not just a wedge shot artist.

Sadorus -- Center Street.Continue west on Market Street until you get to Center Street.Park and walk to the crossing. This, the only other crossing in town, turns out to be better for general pix: NE1, SE2-3, SW1, NW3.

Sadorus -- CR-700E.Depart town via Market Street, which becomes CR-600N east of town. When you get to CR-700E, take a left and drive north to the crossing.This one was NO, but the aerials look to be NE4, SE1-2, SW1-2, NW4. There is private property on both north quads, and tall corn might impinge upon the south quads. This is probably a pretty quiet place.

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Sadorus -- Unknown Road.Backtrack to CR-600N, turn left and continue east. Cross Two Mile Slough, and look for CR-800E on your right. Opposite that road on the left is a road going north, but it is not labled as CR-800E on any map I've seen. It was NO, but appears to go not only to the tracks, but all the way to CR-700N. If it is not signed private, take the left and drive up to the tracks. The crossing looks to be wide open, but that's based on a poor aerial, so this one is really only for Combat Railfans.You are only about 2,000 feet from I-57 at the crossing, so in certain conditions, it may be noisy there.

We have some help here from Jon Romo:"This is in fact a public road (CR 800E), albeit the only road on the tour in Champaign County that’s not paved. I like the WB shot here, but it’s not remarkable enough to recommend to the timid. It’s probably best to have 4-wheel
drive and to use care if it’s rained recently. The location’s not noisy per se, but the truck traffic on I-57 is certainly audible."

Note that from this location, you must go back south to CR-600N to cross I-57, as CR-700N does not go thru.

[NOTE WELL:At approximately the location of Two Mile Slough, the Google Maps aerials improve somewhat. If you were previously using MapQuest (the best aerials amoung a bunch of bad ones!) from Decatur east, you should now switch to Google Maps.

[Housekeeping note:

For those starting their tour in the Champaign-Urbana area, there is no direct access to/from I-57 at CR-600N. Exit 229 is signed for CR-1000N/University of Illinois Willard Airport and is locally known as Monticello Road.Take the exit, go east to Duncan Road and turn right to go south.Once south of CR-700, you'll shortly see the crossing, and join the tour there.Note that Duncan Road is this road’s designation in Champaign; out in open country, it’s signed as CR 900E.

For those leaving the tour in the Champaign-Urbana area, continue via CR-600N under the interstate, and take a left onto Duncan Road. Note that Duncan Road is this road’s designation in Champaign; out in open country, it’s signed as CR 900E.That will take you to the crossing described below, and you can then continue north to CR-1000N, take a left and enter the interstate at exit 229.]

Tolono -- Duncan Road.Go back south to CR-600N, turn left and go east. Go under I-57, and at Duncan Road, take a left to go north. “Dawn” interlocking is the west end of the Tolono siding.The crossing area seems to be quite good for photos.

Tolono -- CR-1000E.Continue north on Duncan Road to a right onto CR-700N.At CR-1000E, take a right and park in either the northwest quad, or southeast, on Woodworth Drive.Photo ratings (based on a quick drive over by Bruce and the aerial view) are NE4, SE1, SW1, NW1.The northeast quad is private, and while both southern quads are open, there is a pole line that you'll have to work around.

To the west of this location is a very large industrial facility, with quite a few railroad cars spread throughout the complex.

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Tolono -- Daggy Street.South of the CN crossing, CR-1000E bends to the northeast, becomes Woodworth Drive, parallels the tracks, and then heads east to intersect with US-45/Long Street. Go across US-45, and take a left onto Daggy Street.Daggy curves to reach the southeast quadrant of the IC/NS diamond along connecting tracks. There are actually three tracks here; the first two are switch leads for the grain elevator located east of the diamond, the farthest one from the street is the actual NS/IC connection (which reportedly is currently not in service). The NS is two tracks through here; Tolono is at the middle of a 3.3-mile siding. There is a crossover (single direction) between the main and the siding, just west of the diamond.

The two tracks closest to you (the switch leads) may be occupied by stored grain hoppers; if this is the case at the time of your visit, you will not be able to see anything on the mainlines and you might as well just move on east.However, if you catch a break and the leads are clear, you can enjoy some good action on both main lines.Further complicating things is the fact that the connection along Daggy is lined by large trees that were planted for cosmetic effect.

About your only shot of the diamond is from the east end of the Daggy Street tree line, but you might need a telephoto lens from here, and the area around the diamond seemed to be quite heavily weed-grown. Honestly, your best bet if you really insist on taking photos here is to view the NS and IC action separately.

For you history buffs, the aerials shows very clearly the foundation of the station at the diamond.

The NS crossings at Bourne and Elizabeth Streets are fair at best, and are recommended only if you have to get trackside in a hurry for a grab shot. The dead-end streets on the south side (2nd, 3rd, and 4th) are treed-in with homes all around.

Tolono -- CR-1200E. From Daggy Street, go over the tracks via Bourne Street, take a right onto Main Street, and drive west out of town.Along the way, Main Street goes thru a sort of flat S and becomes Washington Street, which will parallel the tracks to CR-1200E.MP 337 is just east of Tolono and you will pass it along this stretch.You can park off either Washington Street or CR-1200E.

The crossing itself might be okay for a grab shot, but the viewing is fairly tight.Jon comments:"This is indeed a tight shot but is actually one of my favorite locations. With a long lens, it’s possible to photograph a westbound train descending the stair-step profile of the line for four miles, all the way to CR 1600E (IL-130) in Philo.

“Martin” interlocking is just east of this crossing, and is the east end of the 3.3-mile passing siding through Tolono.

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Tolono -- CR-800N.Continue north on CR-1200E, and it will intersect with CR-800N.Take a right and go east (and south and whatever) to a crossing at CR-800N. This is a lazy S crossing, and not an X or +. You will see what we mean if you do your mapwork.The crossing at CR-800N is open north of the tracks west of the crossing, and on the south side to the east. If you really want to shoot from the north side of the tracks, park on the side of the road opposite the tracks, because there is a very deep ditch between the road and the tracks.

Philo -- CR-1400E.Head east via CR-800N, cross the waterway, and continue until the intersection with CR-1400E.Take a left and drive up to the crossing.The CR-1400E crossing is wide open all around.

Philo -- CR-1500E . Retrace your route to CR-800N, take a left, and drive to a left at CR-1500E. This will take you up to a crossing with the following photo ratings:NE1-2, SE2, SW4, and NW1-2.The signal here is 333.5.

Philo -- IL-130/Lincoln Street.After continuing north on CR-1500E, take a right onto CR-900N/Monroe Street. This will take you to the northwest corner of Philo.At IL-130/Lincoln Street, take a right to go south to a crossing.The crossing looks like a nice spot (NE3, SE1-2, SW1, NW1), but the road is very busy with no shoulder. Park at the Marathon gas station in the SE quadrant.

A skilled photographer can make a good shot here, with this location being about the crest of the grade, but it’s tight for westbound traffic due to foliage and brush. Philo Hill, incidentally, is one of the more noteworthy grades (short stretches of 1%) on this part of what is a relatively flat railroad.

Philo -- Washington Street.From the crossing of IL-130/Lincoln Street, cross the tracks to the south, and take the first left, Washington Street. Find a place to park. The city has provided a few benches, and JC Morgan reports that there are open areas for photos from the south, and that the benches provide a nice, shady place to relax and let the big dogs come to you.

Philo -- Alley.Follow Washington Street to the east, and take the first left, which is a remnant of Jackson Street. Jackson no longer has a crossing, but just before the tracks, take a right and drive along the gravel alley behind the "downtown" stores on Washington Street.You have good access for photos: N4/S1. There is a large elevator complex to the east, and if you catch the local working the elevators, you would be in for a treat.

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Philo -- CR-1700E.The Harrison Street crossing is hemmed in on all four quads by commercial/industrial property, and is NARL.Contrary to many maps, there are no crossings at either Adams or Cleveland streets.Therefore, it's time to head further east.From the alley, turn left onto Harrison Street, cross the tracks, and drive north to a right onto Monroe Street/CR-900N.This will head thru the fields and the railroad will come in from your right, at which point the street will curve to the northeast to parallel the tracks.At the T with CR-1700E, take a right, cross the tracks, and park.

This is a "fair" photo location, and certainly OK if you know a train is imminent, but the next location to the east is excellent.However, this can be a good shot for westbound traffic, particularly with a long lens.

Philo -- CR-1800E.Immediately south of the crossing, CR-900N goes east, and so should you.At CR-1800E, take a left and park in the vicinity of the crossing.CR-1800E is the west end of a passing siding (“Unity” interlocking) which continues to the western edge of Sidney. This crossing is wide open all around, but both eastern quads offer a sweeping panoramic view regardless of what crop happens to be in the fields at the time of your visit, because the tracks are on a bit of a fill here.

Sidney -- CR-1900E.Backtrack down to CR-900N, take a left, and head east. At CR-1900E, take a left and drive up to the crossing.Something out of the ordinary (at least so far on this tour) occurs here:There is a curve in the tracks! Indeed, the tracks have been tangent all the way from Sangamon, just across the river from Decatur.While it's a gentle curve, it makes for a great photo location for westbounds.Also, note that beyond this point, you should figure on an almost east - west bias to the tracks, and that will affect your lighting considerations.

Sidney -- David Street. Continue north to CR-1000N/Sidney Road, and take a right to head east into town.Once in town, Sidney becomes Main Street.You will pass the east end of the passing siding up from CR-1800E, but it is inaccessible.At David Street, take a right and drive south to the crossing.This is the best photo location in Sidney, by far, and is rated NE1-2, SW1, SW1, NW1-2.Actually, most other crossings in the town have been cut, leaving only David and Bryan Street left.Bryan Street is on a busy road with poor sight lines -- NARL.

There is a defect detector at MP 327.7 immediately west of the David Street crossing.

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Sidney -- CR-2200E.Take any street up to Main Street, take a right, and head out of town on Main Street/CR-1000N. Along the way, the name of the street becomes Catlin-Homer Road.You will go over the Union Pacific (ex-C&EI) on a NAG/NARL, and the Norfolk Southern tracks are less than a football field to the south. Unfortunately, the crossing of NS and UP are grade-separated and inaccessible. Catlin-Homer Road/CR-1000N parallels NS on the north, but UP is in a cut below and cannot be viewed from public property. The interlocking where the connecting track joins the NS main is “UP Connection”. The UP is accessible at CR-900N one mile south of town.

The first available crossing east of the town is at CR-2200E.This is OK for a grab shot, but the next location is much better, and also far more interesting.

[Note that, beyond Sidney, you'll follow what logically would be CR-1000N, but it may be signed as CR-1000N, CR-1025N, and CR-1050N.Here is a case where the locals call the road the “Sidney-Homer blacktop". None of that really matters, as you will end up just fine, in the western edge of Homer on West First Street. Beyond CR-2200E, I've called every east bound road "CR-1000N", but take that with a grain of salt. Just go east, young man, go east.]

Sidney -- CR-2300E.After continuing on CR-1000N to the east, take a right onto CR-2300E, and head back to the tracks.There is a very large Frito-Lay grain elevator complex northeast of the CR-2300E crossing, and you'll definitely want to try to work it in as an impressive photo prop.The photo ratings here are all 1’s except the NE quadrant due to private property. This is Frito-Lay’s “Midwest Corn Handling Facility”; your Doritos and Fritos most likely begin life here.

The Frito-Lay plant is a fairly important source of rail traffic and is regularly switched by the NS local in the area.

Homer -- CR-2400E.Go back up to CR-1000N, take a right, and then another right onto CR-2400E.Go south to the crossing and park, probably in the northeast quad. This is another wide open, prairie crossing, and features signal 3242, and is 2/10ths of a mile short of MP 324.

Homer -- CR-2500E.Scoot back up to CR-1000N, take a right, and at CR-2500E, take another right and drive down to the crossing.This is (you guessed it) another wide open, prairie crossing. There is an AEI scanner just to the west.

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Homer -- CR-2600E.Once again, go back up to CR-1050N, turn right, and then turn right again at CR-2600E.This is another very open crossing, but the tracks crest a small hill just west of CR-2600E that might make for an interesting eastbound shot.We now need to enter the village of Homer.

Homer -- Ellen Street.Go back up to CR-1050N, take a right and the road will take you into Homer. Along the way, the street name may change from the county road to West 1st Street.At Ellen Street, take a right and drive to the crossing. Park on the northeast quad before going over the tracks.A passing siding starts east of this, the first westerly crossing in town. The interlocking you see to the west is “Homer”, and is the west end of double track eastbound.Based on the aerials, this is rated NE1, SE1, SW4, NW4. This is definitely a morning location.

Homer -- Coffeen Street.Cross the tracks to the south via Ellen Street, take a left on Coffeen Street, and find a place to park.There is a 4 block area that is wide open on the south side of the tracks between Ellen Street and Main Street/IL-49.This should be a cooler and lawn chair location, BUT... There is a major elevator complex to the east, and you stand a good chance of seeing nothing but a wall of standing covered hoppers. If you're skunked, just continue the tour; if not, sit back and relax, and let Norfolk Southern put on a show for you.

Homer -- Main Street/IL-49.This crossing, reached by following Coffeen Street to its eastern intersection with Main Street, is a nice representative crossing in a small town in the Heartland. The crossing is rated at NE1, SE1, SW2, NW1.Sweet, and there are sidewalks on both sides of the crossing.There is an N&W wide-vision caboose #518550 on display on Main Street, 1 block north of the tracks.

Homer -- CR-90E. Further to the east, there is a crossing on Maple Avenue, but it is definitely NARL because of private property.Therefore, from the Main Street/IL-49 crossing, just continue south to a left onto East South Street, which will become CR-1150N as it leaves town.Just to the east of Homer, you leave Champaign County, enter Vermilion County, and see the county road numbers reset.When you reach CR-90E, take a left to go north to a crossing. “Vance” interlocking is just west of the crossing, and is the east end of the siding that started at Homer. The crossing here is open all around.

Immediately east of the CR-90E crossing, the Google aerials go up another notch, and are even better than they have been since you reached the Sadorus area. Oh, Happy Day!

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Homer -- CR-150E. Zip back down to CR-1150N, turn left, and head east.At CR-150E, take another left to go up to another wide open crossing (subject, of course, to the tall corn disclaimer).

Fairmount -- CR-250E.Continue north on CR-150E to Catlin-Homer Road and turn right to head east.At CR-250E, take a right and drive down to the crossing.Along the way, Google Maps aerials lose about 2 levels of resolution, but they're still good enough to indicate that the crossing is pretty open.This crossing is approximately MP 318, with a signal visible to the east, most likely ~MP 317.

Thephoto ratings here are NE1-4, SE1, SW1, NW1-4, as the north ratings will depend on what is growing in the fields when you visit. Bruce would say they would be 1s or 2s if there’s something other than corn there.

Fairmount -- CR-400E.Go back up to Catlin-Homer Road and turn right to head east.At CR-400E, take a right to go south to the crossing.Along the way between CR-250E and CR-400E, skip the crossing at the Material Service Corporation quarry before CR-400E, as the crossing has flashers and gates, but it’s clearly private property and NARL

Fairmount -- Main Street.Continue south on CR-400E to a left onto CR-1200N, which will take you into Fairmount.Somewhere along the route, the Google map aerials have taken a nose dive in clarity.The West Street crossing, prominent on many maps, has been cut, and is NARL.Therefore, continue east on CR-1200N, to a left onto Main Street. Take the left and drive up to the crossing.Bruce rates the crossing as NE4, SE4, SW2, NW1, so it is certainly nothing to write home about.

Fairmount -- Park Street.The only other crossing in town is two blocks further east of Main Street.On the north side, take State Street to Park Street, and park on the southwest quad of the crossing. There’s no park per se, but one can park on the street and shoot in either direction from public property. It’s a “down the barrel” shot in both directions and is subject to shadow from nearby foliage during early morning/late afternoon.

Fairmount -- CR-680E.Drive back to Main Street, take a left, and drive south to CR-1200N. Take a left to continue east.At CR-680E, take a left and drive up to the crossing.Bruce describes the road as "narrow and in very poor condition", but the crossing is certainly wide open on the aerials. Park in the NE quad.On the Maps view, Yahoo Maps shows this road as a very narrow line, although Jon says it's an OK gravel road. Unless a train is imminent, or you're a Combat Railfan, you'll probably want to pass up this location and the next, at CR-800E.

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Fairmount -- CR-750E.The same comments relative to CR-680E above apply to this location. Continue east on CR-1200N and take a left on CR-750E to get to this crossing.To the west, between CR-680E and CR-750E, is "Ryan" interlocking, at the beginning of double track that continues all the way thru the Danville area.

Fairmount -- CR-800E.This is the best crossing since CR-400E on the west side of Fairmount. On CR-1200N head east from CR-750E, and take a left to go up to the crossing on CR-800E.Photo ratings are NE4, SE1-2, SW1, NW1, and there's a small bridge just west of the crossing.There is a large fertilizer facility on the northeast quad.

Catlin -- CR-1020E.Instead of going back to CR-1200N, continue north on CR-800E to Catlin-Homer Road, take a right, drive all the way to CR-1020E, and take a right to drive south to the tracks. The crossing is open for grab shots, and there is an intermediate signal visible to the west.

Catlin -- CR-1100E.Head back up to Catlin-Homer Road, take a right and then at CR-1100E, take another right to get trackside.Pretty much a duplicate of the last crossing, at least as far as visibility is concerned.About 1500' to the east is the MP 309.3 defect detector, and there is also an intermediate signal east of the crossing.

Catlin -- Sandusky Street.Once back on Catlin-Homer Street, take a right and drive into Catlin.Pass up God's Acre Road, as it is private.However, you should know that at the foot of that road, the railroad has begun a major curve to the northeast, changing its basic direction from about 10º from true east - west, to almost 45º. This dramatically changes your photo lighting opportunities.

Once into Catlin, the name of the street changes to Vermillion Street.When you reach Sandusky Street, take a right and go two blocks to the area of the crossing and park. The difference that the change in the direction of the line made will be striking.Photo ratings are NE1, SE3, SW4, NW2, which is not very good, but the "look and feel" of the spot is quite different than the up-coming Vermillion Street crossing, so it boils down to personal preference.

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Catlin -- Vermillion Street. On the south side of the tracks, drive northeast to Paris Street and turn left.At the Paris Street crossing a triangle is formed between that street, Vermillion Street and the tracks, with the Paris crossing inferior to the crossing on Vermillion.Both crossings are quite close together, so we consider Paris Street to be NARL.Therefore, cross the tracks to Vermillion Street, take a right and find a place to park.

The crossing is rated 1 all around, but stay well clear of the agri-support business in the NE quadrant. With the angle of the crossing, you can get great shots from the mowed grassy area and be far enough away so as not to attract any attention.There are large open areas in NW and NE quadrants, and the NW quad looks good for PM westbounds.

Tilton -- West End Yard.Go back to Paris Street, and take a right to go north.Follow the main road to the northeast as it bends to travel towards Danville, and becomes the Catlin-Tilton Road.Make a hard right turn south onto CR-1450E; this bends 90 degrees to the east and becomes Ross Lane. This crossing is at the west end of Tilton Yard and is a good place for pix. It’s NW1, with the other quadrants being a 2 or a 3. There is a crossover just west of here (“Ross Lane”); unbelievably, this is the ONLY crossover on the entire double track stretch through Danville! This is MP 305.

Actually, there are four crossovers in the Danville area, but they are all hand-throw. Ross Lane control point is the boundary between TCS (Train Control System) to the west and directional ABS (Automatic Block Signals) to the east. On the east end of Danville, TCS begins anew at Eldan on the Danville-Lafayettesegment of the line. NS reportedly wants to install TCS between Eldan and Ross Lane but
this would depend on changes being made at the Danville Junction crossing with CSX. This is a likely location for new power crossovers. Until CSX and NS agree to terms, this sometimes cumbersome directional running will remain.One blessing to the railfan is that the Danville area is under the jurisdiction of theyardmaster at Tilton. All trains approaching Danville from either direction must call the Tilton yardmaster before proceeding eastbound at Ross Lane or westbound at Voorhees Street.The YM then tells trains to hold up or “OK to proceed and OK to call”, meaning they have permission to enter yard limits and to call CSX for a route at Danville Junction. The radio traffic
can be helpful for the railfan wanting to get in position ahead of time without getting caught in urban traffic, one way streets, and the like.

Tilton Yard is the base for the locals that serve the industries in the Danville area, but no trains originate or terminate here. However, many manifest freights stop here to make pickups and/or setouts.

Tilton -- East End Yard.The east end of the yard is also somewhat accessible, in the town of Tilton. Continue east on Ross Lane to Kingsdale Avenue, then turn left (north). This will bend to the northeast and become Patterson Street. At Central Avenue, this will peter out and become a gravel road. Park anywhere along Central or Patterson; you will be on the south side of the tracks here. This is MP 304.

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Tilton -- Glendale Avenue/South G Street Overpass.Go south one block on Central Avenue, take a left, and then another left onto Glendale Avenue.Glendale is a long, 2+ block overpass, but it's definitely a railfan location.This bridge has a sidewalk on the west side only, but looks like a great spot for eastbounds. Glendale Avenue becomes G Street after crossing the tracks.

[WEBMASTER'S NOTE:For the most part, you have enjoyed driving thru beautiful, open farmland and small towns.You were as safe out there as you would be any place in America.That will now change dramatically. You must pay close attention to your driving, as you are entering a city some 8 times larger than anything you've encountered since you left Decatur.

The entire city of Danville is quite rough; you will need to exercise considerable caution here. Bruce and I both recommend that if you’re by yourself, just skip the city entirely and proceed directly to Newell.]This recommendation does not apply to the Tilton area.

Danville -- 14th Street Overpass.Continue north on G Street to 5th Street and turn right.You'll go over a CSX (ex-Conrail, exx-Big Four/New York Central) branch line, and then should take a right at 14th Street. The latter will cross the tracks on a brand-new overpass, which was constructed to eliminate a grade crossing.There is a sidewalk on the north side of the road, and (except for the portion directly over the tracks), the railing is low enough that you can easily shoot over it. Apparently there is a signal under this bridge, as Bruce heard NS 15E call a clear signal at 14th Street while he was waiting to photograph it at the Patterson Street location. He never did see the signal though.

Danville -- 4th Street Overpass.Continue east on 14th Street to IL-1/US-150 (it’s a limited access highway; there is a cloverleaf interchange on what is now known as 14th Street), and head north into Danville. You will shortly cross I-74, then the NS main via an overpass. This overpass is NARL; even though there are wide shoulders, the road is simply too busy. Continue to 4th Street, and turn right to cross the tracks on another overpass. This one has a sidewalk on the south side.

Danville -- 3rd Street.Go back to the west, and at Jefferson Street, take a right, then another at 3rd Street.This one is treed in all around except for the NE quadrant, which is an open mowed grass field. It’s down in a bit of a dip, and it’s a quiet oasis in the midst of Danville. NE1, all others 4. Very nice spot though, especially for westbounds.

Danville -- South Street.Go back to the west, this time all the way to Gilbert Street/US-150/IL-1, and take a right to go north.Once north of the Vermillion River, take the exit onto US-136/Main Street.After 2 blocks, turn right onto Walnut Street. This will swing around to head east as South Street.All quadrants open.

Danville -- Main Street.Continue east on South Street to the first left onto College Street. Go north one long block, take a left and park.This one has an open lot in the northwest quadrant.

Danville -- Van Buren Street.Go across the tracks to the east; take your first right onto Washington Street. Go north one short block, turn right onto Van Buren Street and find a place to park.Photos in SW quadrant only.

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Danville -- Williams Street.Backtrack to Washington Street, take a right and drive all the way to Williams Street. Pass up Seminary Street, as it is NARL.At Williams, take a right and drive to the crossing.The best crossing for some ways -- you have fairly open access all around, especially from the west, where there is room to move around a good bit.

Danville -- CSX Crossing.Drive east on Williams to a left onto Bowman Avenue.Disregard the tracks as you drive north on Bowman.At May Street, take a left and drive until it dead-ends just before the tracks. Stay back and do not trespass. What you have in front you is the at grade crossing of the busy Norfolk Southern (ex-Wabash) Fort Wayne - Decatur main line, and the even busier CSX (ex Chicago & Eastern Illinois.The crossing is at MP 300.4.

This is a morning photo location, but is a great place to see the action at any time.

Henry Mikus and an unidentified member of the Wabash Historical Society's Yahoogroups e-mail list provided some information about this site.

We have now reached the end of the Decatur - Danville segment of the Frograil Wabash Thru the Heartland Tour. Go here for a complete overview of the tour.