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The Nickle Plate thru the Heartland

Fort Wayne, Indiana -- Fostoria, Ohio

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Bruce Bridges has given us the data necessary to put together a series of NS thru the Heatland tours, stretching from Decatur, Illinois, to Fort Wayne's NE Interlocking, a distance of 235.3 miles. While that was all previously Wabash trackage, in this tour we enter the ex-Nickle Plate Road at NE to the famous railfan Mecca of Fostoria, Ohio.This tour is about 82 miles long, so you now have a continuous Norfolk Southern Mid-Western route to follow for 317.3 miles.

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.

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 ink/toner in the process.


Major contributors to this effort include:

Bruce Bridges. Content and many suggestions, corrections, etc. This is his tour.

Dave Bridges.Bruce's Dad -- He helped with the on-the-ground research.

Tony Hill, Webmaster -- the guy who makes it go. Any use of the first person singular pronoun refers to Tony, unless specifically otherwise indicated.


This tour is the result of a lot of effort invested by Bruce and Dave 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.Formerly the mainline of the Nickel Plate Railroad between Chicago and Buffalo, this line serves as the link between Norfolk Southern’s massive yard in Bellevue, Ohio, with points west. The bulk of the traffic connects to and from the former Wabash route at NE interlocking in New Haven, IN, but some intermodal trains and occasional unit trains of ethanol, coal, or coke continue onward to Chicago.

Signals are mainly new Safetran tri-lights, but a few former Nickel Plate installations remain as of October 2010 (get your pics of them NOW!). Their locations will be noted in the tour. Also, note that mile points are from Buffalo.

The Railroad -- Geography.This line traverses wide-open agricultural country. The track is almost completely straight, and grades are gentle. Generally, most trains run at 50 MPH (manifest freight and unit grain trains) or 60 MPH (autoracks, RoadRailers, and intermodal) with little interruption. Indeed, this line was the home of Nickel Plate Road’s “High Speed Service” back in the day, and Norfolk Southern proudly continues this tradition today! Few things can match the majesty of a pair of SD70M-2s or ES40DCs screaming along with a mile of TOFCs or RoadRailers in tow… just make sure to keep yourself safe and stay well back from the tracks as you enjoy the sights and sounds of 21st century high speed freight railroading!

Access to the tracks is generally excellent. Ohio state highway 613 generally follows the route all the way from the state line at Edgerton to Fostoria (though local roads will get you much closer to the tracks in most cases), and there are grade crossings at least every mile or so (in some cases, they are only half a mile apart). You will only rarely be more than half a mile from the tracks at any time. Not counting the obvious examples of I-75 near North Findlay and I-469 just east of New Haven, there was only one NAG location to be found along the entire route! All of the local roads (with only a few exceptions) are on a dead north-south/east-west one-mile grid. Most of the crossings are bordered by fields in all four quadrants, so generally you can get wide open shots virtually anywhere (except in mid- to late summer when the corn is high). At the time of Bruce's visit, on October 31, 2010, all of the fields had been harvested, and there was excellent visibility for miles in every direction!

The Railroad -- Traffic. Traffic averages approximately 15-20 trains per day, mostly manifest freights, with occasional unit trains, intermodals, and RoadRailers. Once you get to Arcadia, traffic increases as traffic up from the southwest via NS (ex-LEW) joins the ex-NKP.

Area Attractions:

Putt 'n Pond Park south of Fostoria on OH12 features water slide, toboggan sled, bumper boats, etc.

Van Buren State Park is just a few miles north of the tracks to the east of I-75 via OH-316.


Shady Lake Campground immediately east of I-75 on TR-101.

Van Buren State Park just east of I-75 via OH-613.

Woodbridge Campground in the Hedges area on OH-613.

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) and northwestern Ohio. 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.

There are essentially only 2 real curves on this entire tour, and both of them are either in or close to Fostoria, and unfortunately, the railroad is almost dead west - east.That means you'll be able to get few shots from north of the tracks without facing at least partially into the sun.

General notes on photo ratings for rural crossings for those who don’t live in the Midwest: In most cases, crossings which are in between towns are bordered by agricultural fields. The photo ratings for these will depend largely on what is growing in the field at the time of your visit, and the time of year. Soybeans and wheat generally won’t cause any visibility problems, but corn is a completely different story altogether. A field with tall corn in it can be a complete 4 before harvest, and a solid 1 at all other times of the year.

Irrespective of the crop being grown, during harvest there is a frenzy of huge farm equipment moving all over -- and more trucks zooming up and down narrow country roads than you can imagine if you've not experienced it. Your best bet for harvest-free conditions are Spring and early summer, and mid-Fall on.

Navigating by Road Number.It is easy to distinguish interstate and US highways, after all, US-224 and I-75 are pretty obvious. Numbered state roads such as OH-316 are likewise pretty obvious.However, when you get to TRs and CRs, the correct distinction is probably only understood at the county courthouse or transportation departments. Even GoogleMaps in some places will have something like "Road 123", "T Road 123", and "C Road 123" all on the same stretch of road that is less than a mile long.In the end, it really doesn't matter whether it's TR or CR -- just pay attention to the number. If the map or road sign says "xx-107", and that's the number of the road you need to get on, do so.

Combat Railfan Locations.There are 93 crossings/railfan locations on this tour.It is unrealistic to expect Bruce (or you!) to visit all of them on an 82 mile tour.He has reported specifically on most of them, based on on-the-ground research done by him and his dad.There are quite a few spots not visited, and that's where the very good quality of GoogleMaps along the route plays a part.For such spots, I view the location with the highest possible resolution, and make a general observation about the worthiness of the spot: e.g., "a rural, quiet, fairly open crossing."

If you are truly a Combat Railfan, you will want to visit all the spots, and we encourage you to do so, but just understand, if the [CRL] logo is after the name of the spot, we have not specifically visited it, and you may love or hate the place, based on things the aerials don't show.

Life Support.This tour starts at a city and ends in one, and at one other place, comes fairly close to one.In between, however, you are in as rural an area as exists east of the Mississippi River.Do not expect to find a MacDonald's in most "towns", as few if any have the population to support one. Forget WalMart Superstores and Walgreens Drugs, and nice motels.Have plenty of gas, food, ice, drinks, etc before you leave NE interlocking.

Abbreviations. Some phrases are used repeatedly in this tour, so I've developed some standard Frograil abbreviations:

AG. An at-grade crossing.

CR. County road.

[CRL]. A combat railfan location.

NAG. A not-at-grade crossing. Unless I mention otherwise, it is usually not worth the time and trouble to drive to them. Thankfully, there are almost none of them on this tour.

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.

NO. Not observed -- for some reason, Bruce didn't get over to the location, and cannot comment on it.

TR. A township road -- common in Ohio.

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, GoogleMaps and other on-line sources, but for some reason, for the entire area covered by this tour, the Google images are much, much better than MapQuest's. Indeed, the GoogleMaps are good enough to be a very definite asset to the railfan tourist.

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: Fort Wayne -- Fostoria
Alphabetical Sequence Sequential Order:
West to East
Dawkins -- Bandelier Road[CRL] New Haven -- NE Interlocking~MP 362.0
Dawkins -- Doyle Road[CRL] New Haven -- State Street
Dawkins -- Roussey Road New Haven -- High Street
Dawkins -- Ryan Road[CRL] New Haven -- Broadway Street
Dawkins -- Sampson Road[CRL] New Haven -- Green Street
Dawkins -- Webster Road[CRL] Dawkins -- West End Siding
Dawkins -- West End Siding Dawkins -- Doyle Road[CRL]
Edgerton Dawkins -- Bandelier Road[CRL]
Edgerton -- Brobst Road[CRL] Dawkins -- Ryan Road[CRL]
Edgerton -- Morgan Road[CRL] Dawkins -- Webster Road[CRL]
Edgerton -- OH-101[CRL] Dawkins -- Roussey Road
New Haven -- Broadway Street Dawkins -- Sampson Road[CRL]
New Haven -- Green Street Edgerton -- OH-101[CRL]
New Haven -- High Street Edgerton -- Brobst Road[CRL]
New Haven -- NE Interlocking Edgerton -- Morgan Road[CRL]
New Haven -- State Street Edgerton, Indiana
Ohio Ohio
Arcadia -- CR-109[CRL] Payne, Ohio
Arcadia -- CR-254 Payne -- OH-49/Main Street
Arcadia -- Joslyn Street Payne -- Church of the NazareneMP 349.0
Arcadia -- North Main Street Worstville -- TR-59[CRL]
Arcadia -- TR-238[CRL] Worstville -- CR-71
Arcadia -- TR-243[CRL] Briceton -- CR-87
Arcadia -- TR-247[CRL] Briceton -- TR-95[CRL]
Arcadia -- TR-256[CRL] Latty -- TR-107[CRL]
Arcadia -- TR-257[CRL] Latty
Briceton -- CR-87 Latty -- TR-117[CRL]
Briceton -- TR-95[CRL] Broughton -- CR-123
Broughton -- CR-123 Hedges -- TR-125[CRL]
Continental -- CR-22 Hedges -- TR-131[CRL]
Continental -- Main Street/OH-634 Hedges -- TR-137
Continental -- Oak Street Goodwin -- OH-637[CRL]
Continental -- TR-20[CRL] Goodwin -- CR-151[CRL]
Elm Center -- CR-12[CRL] Melrose -- CR-159[CRL]
Elm Center -- TR-11 Melrose -- CR-165MP 334.0
Fostoria -- NS/ex-C&O Crossing Melrose -- OH-613
Fostoria -- Overview Melrose -- Little Auglaize River Bridge
Fostoria -- Poplar Street Oakwood -- Auglaize River Bridge
Fostoria -- Station Area Oakwood -- 1st Street/OH-66
Fostoria -- TR-218[CRL] Oakwood -- 2nd Street
Fostoria -- TR-262 Oakwood -- South Street
Goodwin -- CR-151[CRL] Oakwood -- 6th Street
Goodwin -- OH-637[CRL] Oakwood -- CR-209[CRL]
Hartsburg -- CR-23 Hartsburg -- CR-263[CRL]
Hartsburg -- CR-24[CRL] Hartsburg -- CR-24[CRL]
Hartsburg -- CR-263[CRL] Hartsburg -- CR-23
Hedges -- TR-125[CRL] Continental -- CR-22
Hedges -- TR-131[CRL] Continental -- Oak Street
Hedges -- TR-137 Continental -- Main Street/OH-634
Kieferville -- CR-16C Continental -- TR-20[CRL]
Kieferville -- OH-15 Kieferville -- TR-19[CRL]
Kieferville -- TR-18[CRL] Kieferville -- TR-18[CRL]
Kieferville -- TR-19[CRL] Kieferville -- OH-15
Latty Kieferville -- CR-16CMP 321.9
Latty -- TR-107[CRL] Miller City -- CR-15C
Latty -- TR-117[CRL] Miller City
Leipsic -- CSX/NS Crossing Miller City -- East End Siding
Leipsic -- Orchard Drive[CRL] Miller City -- CR-13[CRL]
Leipsic -- South Street[CRL] Elm Center -- CR-12[CRL]
Leipsic -- TR-4[CRL] Elm Center -- TR-11
Leipsic -- TR-5[CRL] Leipsic -- TR-7D[CRL]
Leipsic -- TR-7D[CRL] Leipsic -- South Street[CRL]
McComb Leipsic -- CSX/NS Crossing
McComb -- East Main Street Leipsic -- Orchard Drive[CRL]
McComb -- OH-186 Leipsic -- TR-5[CRL]
McComb -- TR-119 Leipsic -- TR-4[CRL]
McComb -- TR-123[CRL] Townwood -- TR-3[CRL]
McComb -- TR-131[CRL] Townwood -- TR-2
McComb -- TR-135[CRL] Shawtown -- TR-1E[CRL]
Melrose -- CR-159[CRL] Shawtown -- TR-1/CR-16[CRL]
Melrose -- CR-165 Shawtown
Melrose -- Little Auglaize River Bridge Shawtown -- TR-117[CRL]
Melrose -- OH-613 Shawtown -- TR-53MP 305.6
Miller City McComb -- TR-119
Miller City -- CR-13[CRL] McComb -- TR-123[CRL]
Miller City -- CR-15C McComb
Miller City -- East End Siding McComb -- East Main Street
North Findlay -- CR-16[CRL] McComb -- OH-186
North Findlay -- CR-220 McComb -- TR-131[CRL]
North Findlay -- East End Siding McComb -- TR-135[CRL]
North Findlay -- TR-136 North Findlay -- TR-136
North Findlay -- TR-139 North Findlay -- TR-139
North Findlay -- TR-140 North Findlay -- TR-140
North Findlay -- TR-142 North Findlay -- TR-142
North Findlay -- TR-236[CRL] North Findlay -- CR-220
Oakwood -- 1st Street/OH-66 North Findlay -- East End Siding
Oakwood -- 2nd Street North Findlay -- CR-16[CRL]
Oakwood -- 6th Street North Findlay -- TR-236[CRL]
Oakwood -- Auglaize River Bridge Arcadia -- TR-238[CRL]
Oakwood -- CR-209[CRL] Arcadia -- TR-247[CRL]
Oakwood -- South Street Arcadia -- TR-243[CRL]
Payne Arcadia -- CR-254
Payne -- Church of the Nazarene Arcadia -- North Main Street
Payne -- OH-49/Main Street Arcadia -- Joslyn Street
Shawtown Arcadia -- TR-256[CRL]
Shawtown -- TR-1/CR-16[CRL] Arcadia -- CR-109[CRL]
Shawtown -- TR-117[CRL] Arcadia -- TR-257[CRL]
Shawtown -- TR-1E[CRL] Fostoria -- TR-218[CRL]
Shawtown -- TR-53 Fostoria -- TR-262
Townwood -- TR-2 Fostoria -- Overview
Townwood -- TR-3[CRL] Fostoria -- Station Area
Worstville -- CR-71 Fostoria -- Poplar Street
Worstville -- TR-59[CRL] Fostoria -- NS/ex-C&O CrossingMP 280.0

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The Tour

New Haven -- NE Interlocking. Our tour begins in the eastern Fort Wayne suburb of New Haven, at “NE” interlocking. Here, traffic from St. Louis, Decatur, and Kansas City via the former Wabash route (see the “Wabash thru the Heartland” series of tours) or the former NKP from Chicago feeds onto the former Wabash to Detroit, or the former NKP toward Bellevue and points east. The latter is the line which we’ll be following eastward to the railfan mecca of Fostoria, Ohio.

To reach NE interlocking (if you are starting fresh from here and not simply continuing onward from the Wabash tour from Lafayette), your best access is from I-469 on the east side of the Fort Wayne metro area as follows. If you’re coming from the south, take I-469 to Tillman Road (exit 15). Turn left on Tillman, proceed under the interstate, then turn right on Hartzell Road. Follow this on north for approximately four miles until you reach two traffic lights in succession at IN-930 and Lincoln Highway (there will be a Speedway gas station on your right at the latter). Just past the Speedway station, you will see two grade crossings in front of you. The first is the former Wabash; turn right just before the crossing and park in the gravel lot at the Erie Haven concrete batch plant.

Coming from the north, exit at Rose Avenue (US-24 East), and head west (across the ex-Wabash) to Hartzell Road, and turn left. You will see the railfan location on your left after the second grade crossing.

This is a popular lawn chair and cooler location, and a favorite gathering point for local railfans. Here you can see all east-west mainline traffic through the Ft. Wayne area, as well as the switching activity at the east end of East Wayne Yard. Looking to the northeast, you can see the Wabash going straight out then curving off to the left (north) toward Butler; the connection to the NKP peels off to the right and disappears into the trees. This is the route that we will be following.

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New Haven -- State Street.The first grade crossing east of NE is State Street in New Haven. To reach it, either backtrack south on Hartzell to Lincoln Highway and turn left (east), then look for the next major street going to the left; or, you may continue north on Hartzell across both sets of tracks, then turn right on Main Street (crossing the former Wabash again), then proceed around the bend to the right to an odd T intersection; bear right here onto State Street. Your best viewing is from the north, so you will be fighting the sun except on summer evenings.

New Haven -- High Street.Proceed east on Center Street along the tracks (it parallels on the south side) two blocks to High Street. The viewing here is a little better than the previous location, as the SE quad is a wide open, grassy area.

New Haven -- Broadway Street.The next crossing to the east, Broadway Street, is a very nice spot, easily rating 1’s or 2’s all around. Just find a place to park and take your pick (and pix).

New Haven -- Green Street.Proceed south on Broadway to Hartzell Street, and turn left (east). Follow this to a “T” at Green Street, and make another left to get back to the tracks. Again, the viewing here is wide open all around!

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Dawkins -- West End Siding.To continue east, head south on Green Street to Lincoln Highway, and make a left. As you proceed out of town, just before passing under I-469, you will notice a set of signal cantilevers behind the buildings to your left. This is the west end of New Haven siding, and a small yard is here as well as a branch taking off toward the northeast. These are the remnants of a former Wabash route to Toledo; apparently it split off from the main at NE and paralleled the NKP along the north side before diverging here.The tracks are NS to Woodburn, and are Maumee & Western beyond. Occasionally you might see a westbound holding here before entering the Fort Wayne area. Both ends of the siding are inaccessible.

East of here, we begin the long stretch in which we encounter crossing after crossing, few of which possess distinguishing characteristics that make any spot particularly worthy of setting up for any length of time. That said, however, most of them give good viewing, and are worthy of being identified. These locations, for the most part, have not been photo rated by Bruce, so we will rely on Google aerials, which, thankfully, are very good.All such locations will be identified by the Combat Railfan logo used in this tour:[CRL].

Dawkins -- Doyle Road [CRL]. The first road you encounter will be Doyle, and you can take a left to get up to the tracks.The crossing of the previously mentioned line to the northeast is a little north of the line we're following.As rural crossings go, this looks like a poor one, and is only recommended if you need to get trackside in a hurry.

Dawkins -- Bandelier Road [CRL]. The next location is reached by continuing east on Dawkins Road. The crossing at Bandelier Road has been cut, but you can drive to the cut, park, and have good access for afternoon westbounds. There are trees in the SE quad.

Dawkins -- Ryan Road [CRL].Dawkins Road will take you to Ryan Road, and the crossing is so close you might want to park on the shoulder of Dawkins, rather than at the crossing.There's a pole line on the north side, but it's fairly set back.Wide open from the south.

Dawkins -- Webster Road [CRL]. Once again on Dawkins Road headed east, just past Ryan Road you will see a massive Defense Logistics Agency facility immediately north of the tracks. This facility appears to be closed and in a state of dereliction, though the “US Property – No Trespassing” signs are still very much in evidence along the perimeter This was once IN-14, but has been decommissioned and is under local control.

Webster Road is at the east end of the DLA facility, and has a map-scale drainage ditch going under the tracks immediately east of the crossing, and then passing under the road to the west. Do not attempt to park near the south side of the crossing. Views east and west from the south should be good.

Dawkins -- Roussey Road.Half a mile east of the DLA facility, at Roussey Road, is the west end of Dawkins Siding. This site was once home to a Nickel Plate bracket mast signal, but it has been replaced by a pair of Safetran ground masts. The eastbound ground mast, however, is original NKP equipment. The east end of the siding is about a mile east of here, and is not accessible via a crossing (though easily visible from Dawkins Road). The signals at the east end of the siding are noticeably older than those at the west end, but all are ground masts (no trademark steam-era bracket masts); these may have possibly been installed by N&W in the 1970s or so.

Viewing looks to be wide open from the south. During the afternoon, if you catch a westbound sitting "in the hole", you should be able to get excellent roster shots.

Dawkins -- Sampson Road [CRL]. The next road east via Dawkins Road is Sampson Road. There is a map-scale drainage ditch all along the east side of the street here, so do not attempt to park on the west side of Sampson. A wide open, rural, quiet crossing.

Edgerton -- OH-101 [CRL]. Continuing east via Dawkins Road, your next crossing will be on OH-101.The pole line to the north has unfortunately returned, but is far enough set back to not be a problem.However, OH-101 is a busy road, so you will have to be more alert than you might be at the small local roads.You should have no problems getting good shots here.

Edgerton -- Brobst Road[CRL].Once more heading east on Brobst Road, the next crossing is Brobst Road.There is an industrial-sized quarry operation both north and south of the tracks, so unless you've got to get trackside immediately, this is not a recommended location. On Sunday, however, it would be fine.The pole line to the north remains, and there is a map-scale drainage ditch all along the west side of the road.Again, on Sunday, you could probably park at either the north or south entrance to the quarry.

Edgerton -- Morgan Road [CRL].The last crossing before Edgerton is Morgan Road.The pole line to the north remains, but this is really a pretty open, fine location.

Edgerton, Indiana.As you enter the town of Edgerton, Dawkins Road will bend sharply to the north, then back to the east to parallel the tracks. At this second bend, a gravel lot off to your left affords a nice, wide-open view. A large grain elevator to your northeast might make an interesting photo backdrop. The Indiana-Ohio state line is one block to the east; OH-613 begins here and continues all the way to Fostoria.

Signals 353.3 are located just east of town.

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Enter Ohio.

Payne, Ohio.The next passing siding, Payne, begins between Township Roads 21 and 33. The signals at the west end of the siding are all modern equipment.

Payne -- OH-49/Main Street.In the town of Payne, your best viewing is from the SE quadrant of the Main Street crossing, behind the Marathon gas station. The east end of Payne siding is immediately behind you and features all original NKP equipment… including a bracket mast installation for the eastbound signals! Alas, the bracket mast is inaccessible for photos except from behind.

Payne -- Church of the Nazarine.Avoid the grade crossing at the east end of town (Maple Street). Judging by the signs, the grain elevator here does not take kindly to folks hanging around the property if they aren’t there to do business with them.NARL

Follow OH-613 on out of town; at some point, OH-500 will join your route. At the east end of town, the highway will bend to the northeast and cross the tracks at grade. This is a wide open location, but the highway is much too busy to pull over and take pics. However, you may be able to park at the nearby Church of the Nazarene and photograph trains across a wide mowed grass field. This is MP 349.

Worstville -- TR-59[CRL].Beyond the tracks, OH-613 stays in a northeastly trend as it parallels Flatrock Creek on the north side, while the railroad continues on an almost dead east trend. OH-613 will pass TR-59, and there is a crossing to the south.While we didn’t observe this one directly, the Google aerials (excellent quality!) do show some promise here as this one is bordered by fields in all four quadrants. If you observe this location, continue south to CR-82, turn left, and then at CR-71, turn left to go north to the tracks, and rejoin the main tour route.

Worstville -- CR-71. From the crossing east of Payne, proceed east two miles on OH-613 to CR-71 and turn right (south). At the crossing here, you will find a defect detector (MP 346.8). Photos from the SW quadrant are good, but the other quadrants contain houses and other private property.

Briceton -- CR-87.Continue south to CR-82 and turn left. As you go to the east, DeLorme shows TR-79 going to the north and crossing the tracks but it is NFOG.Turn left again on CR-87 and proceed north to the tracks. This is the town of Briceton. The SE quad is a 1 for photos; there’s a very nice gravel lot to park in. There are some buildings here as well, but they appear to be abandoned. The SW quad is open too, but make sure to stay well away from the propane tanks. Both northern quads are private homes. Signals 344.7 are located on the west side of the crossing. Photo ratings: NE4, SE1, SW2, NW4.

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Briceton -- TR-95 [CRL]. Go back up CR-87 to OH-613 and turn right. At TR-95, turn right to go south to a crossing that Bruce and Dave did not visit. The very good aerials show it to be wide open; Bruce comments that it "might be OK for a grab shot".

Latty -- TR-107 [CRL].Go back up CR-87 to OH-613 and turn right. At TR-107, turn right to go south to a crossing that Bruce and Dave did not visit. The very good aerials show it to be wide open; Bruce comments that it "might be OK for a grab shot".

Latty. If you are at TR-107, go south to a left onto TR-84, and then a left on Lewis Street to enter Latty. If you're still on OH-613, take a right onto Lewis Street to enter Latty.Of the three crossings in town, the two westernmost ones (Van Wert Street and Lewis Street) are the best by far. The tracks are bordered on the north by an open grassy field, and on the south by homes.

The easternmost crossing (Alexander Street) is NARL, except for a spot about 100 feet north of the crossing which affords a view of the west end of Latty siding to the southeast. The signals here are all modern Safetran equipment. Also, you can see the remains of what was the Cincinnati Northern, which connected Cincinnati and Jackson, Mich., and ran north and south through town. MP 342

Latty -- TR-117[CRL]. Continue east on OH-613, and pass up the crossing on US-127, as it is much too busy for safe railfanning. NARL.About 1 mile east of the US-127/OH-613 interesection, take a right onto TR-117, and go south to the tracks. On the east side of TR-117, the entire area between OH-613 and the parallel tracks to the south is taken up by a large elevator which has the capability to load unit trains. While it's doubtful that you'll get lucky and be able to shoot switching activity along the road or down by the crossing, you might want to check it out, as it's not at all a long detour.

Broughton -- CR-123.Further east via OH-613, take a right on CR-123 to enter Broughton.This photo location is only fair in quality; NE4 (private property), SE3 (grain bins close to the tracks restrict your angles), SW2, NW1. The east end of the siding from Latty is here; the interlocking is named “Broughton”. Again, the signals are all modern equipment.

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Hedges -- TR-125[CRL].As you head east on OH-613, you'll come to TR-125, which, while not directly observed, appears on Google Maps to have some photo potential.Take the right onto TR-125 to get to the crossing.

Hedges -- TR-131[CRL]. Same comments as those for TR-125. TR-131 is just a little further east via OH-613.

Hedges -- TR-137.Once again travelling east on OH-613, take a right onto TR-137, and drive to the crossing.Photo ratings here are NE4 (private property), SE1, SW1, and NW1. Both southern quadrants are bordered by fields, and photo ratings may be impacted by crops. The NW quad is particularly nice, as the tracks are on a fill here and you can get nice panoramic shots uphill across a mowed field.

Goodwin -- OH-637[CRL].Further east via OH-613, take a right onto OH-637, and go down the a crossing.This one was NO, but the aerials show it to be potentially wide open; however, it is a numbered State highway, so there will be more traffic here than at a local road crossing.

Goodwin -- CR-151[CRL]. If you're following the DeLorme Atlas, you'll see a passing siding between OH-637 and extending east to just beyond the Goodwin area, but it is NFOG.Beyond the OH-613/OH-637 intersection, OH-613 begins to visibly approach the tracks; the distance between them diminishes as both approach the Auglaize River.At CR-151 take a right and drive the short distance to the tracks.Another wide open-appearing rural crossing.

Melrose -- CR-159[CRL].The next crossing off of OH-613 is at CR-159.Another rural crossing which looks to be wide open, but the best aerials on GoogleMaps has a train going thru the crossing, so it's a little hard to tell how open it is.

Melrose -- CR-165.Continue east on OH-613 to a right onto TR-165. At this last crossing before you enter town, you will find signals 334.7, and MP 334 a little farther east.

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Melrose -- OH-613.OH-613 will enter Melrose, and will be right next to the railroad, but it will then make a small arc to the north, to go all the way to a dead south direction and cross the tracks at grade.With a little caution, you can get some fairly decent photos at the crossing here. Park well off the highway NW of the crossing; there is ample room to do so safely. All of the quadrants (except the NE) offer some potential here; just walk wherever you need to go, but be mindful of the traffic.

Melrose -- Little Auglaize River Bridge.Continuing south on OH-613, you will take a left turn to head east out of town via OH-613, and you will soon come to a bridge over the Little Auglaize River. The NS main crosses the river on a scenic through truss bridge immediately north of the highway. The highway bridge has wide shoulders; just park nearby, walk out onto the shoulder and have at it. The bridge itself would make for a great photo even without a train!

Oakwood -- Auglaize River Bridge.About a mile farther east, you will come to a similar (but longer; this one has two spans!) bridge over the Auglaize River. The OH-613 bridge has very narrow shoulders, but on the north side there is a railing about three feet in from the outer bridge railing. There really isn’t a sidewalk per se as the guardrails leading up to the bridge connect to the inner railing, but you can easily climb over and shoot photos from in between the two north railings while being protected from highway traffic. This bridge is very photogenic, and again would be a good subject in its own right.

Oakwood -- 1st Street/OH-66.From the east end of the Auglaize River bridge, turn north at the first street to head toward the tracks. This is 1st Street/OH-66, and the underpass here is the only NAG crossing on the entire tour! But this one isn’t all bad; there’s a sidewalk on the east side of the street, and it’s wide open viewing from the north. In fact, from North Street northeast of the underpass, you can get fine shots of eastbounds, working in the Auglaize River truss bridge in the background.

Oakwood -- 2nd Street.If you prefer a grade crossing, this one’s for you. Proceed east on North Street one block to 2nd Street. The viewing’s pretty good, except for some small trees/brush in the SW quadrant. NE1, SE1, SW3, NW1.

Oakwood -- South Street.Between 2nd and 6th Streets, South Street parallels the tracks to the south. The sun will be your friend most of the time, and you can walk around and pick your spots.

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Oakwood -- 6th Street.The last crossing in Oakwood (6th Street) isn’t too bad. It’s a little tight on the south because of South Street coming in, but the NE quadrant is pretty good.

Oakwood -- CR-209[CRL].Departing Oakwood on OH-613, the first crossing is reached by taking a left onto CR-209, and going north. The aerials look good, but also show that there are several houses along the road, and there are crossing gates, both of which indicate a more heavily trafficked road than we've seen at many rural crossings.

Hartsburg -- CR-263[CRL].Virtually all map programs show TR-211, a little east via OH-613, to have a crossing, and it does, but it is probably private, as there are only a few homes north of the tracks, and the road ends there. After only about 1/2 mile east of TR-211, you get to CR-263, which seems to be an anomalous number, but it is also the county boundary between Paulding behind us and Putnam to the east. It looks like a quiet, wide open rural crossing.

Hartsburg -- CR-24[CRL].A little further east on OH-613 will take you to CR-24, where you should turn left to go north to the tracks. The crossing looks good, but there seem to be quite a few houses along this road, so street traffic might be a concern.

Hartsburg -- CR-23.Once again continuing east on OH-613, take a left onto CR-23 and drive to the tracks. This is a nice, open crossing, with plenty of room for pictures. You are now approaching the Continental area, and something railroad important happens here.Starting just to the east of this crossing, maybe 1/2 mile or less, and continuing eastbound, there are two passing sidings situated such that their ends overlap. This allows either for two meets to take place here, or for both of the switches in the middle to be lined diverging to create, in effect, a short section of double track to allow two trains to meet without either having to stop completely.

The west end features a complete original Nickel Plate signal installation, including a bracket mast protecting westbound movements. This interlocking isn’t accessible directly, but is located between CR-23 and CR-22 and is also visible from OH-613. From either of the two crossings, you can get good telephoto shots of the bracket mast in the distance.

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Continental -- CR-22. Go back to OH-613, turn left, and drive east to a left onto CR-22.The crossing is in the middle of the western siding, so you may get "stuck" here occasionally. Other than that, it looks to be wide open.Bruce says you should "spend some time appreciating the original NKP bracket mast signal visible to your west".

Continental -- Oak Street.Continue north on CR-22, and take the first right onto CR-E16, which will become Rice Street as you enter the town of Continental.Follow this to a 4-way intersection at 3rd Street and make another right. Cross the tracks, and you will see the MP 326 marker to your right, and the overlapped ends of the two passing sidings to your left.The high mast signals here are original NKP equipment, but the dwarf signals on the sidings appear to have been installed later (1970s, perhaps?).Immediately south of the tracks, turn left on Oak Street.

The downtown area of Continental is a fabulous place for photos! In addition to the NKP mainline we’re following, two other railroads ran through here at one time: the former NKP “Clover Leaf” route between Toledo and Bluffton, Ind., and the Lima & Defiance, which was an electric interurban line between its name-sake cities.

Oak Street will lead you to the downtown area. Anywhere along here would be a great place for photos if you’re lucky enough to catch a meet in progress! About a block from Main Street, you will see the remains of the Clover Leaf angling across from southwest to northeast.

Continental -- Main Street/OH-634.At the stop sign, turn left on Main Street/OH-634. The crossing is wide open for photos; it easily merits photo ratings of 1 in every quadrant. This might even qualify as a lawn chair and cooler location. There is one more grade crossing in Continental (6th Street), one block east of Main, but the Main Street location is much better in Bruce's opinion, and after looking at the aerials, I certainly agree.

Continental -- TR-20 [CRL].Proceed north on Main Street to Rice Street and turn right. This will become CR-E16 after you leave town. There is a typical, rural, open grade crossing on TR-20, which is the first real north-south road east of Continental.The east end of Continental siding is about 1/4 mile east of TR-20.

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Kieferville -- TR-19 [CRL]. Go back up TR-20 to a right onto CR-E16, and then a right at the next crossroads.This is the next north south-roadafter TR-20, and looks to be wide open on the aerials.

Kieferville -- TR-18 [CRL]. If you hate crowds, and hate street traffic even more, this one might be for you. The last north-south road before Kieferville (via CR-E16) is TR-18.This looks to be a very quiet, rural crossing, as opposed to the next one.

Kieferville -- OH-15.Go back up to CR-E16, turn right, and very shortly turn right onto OH-15. This will take you into the town of Kieferville.The main scenic highlight here is an old PURE gas station sign. The crossing here is fairly open; park in the NW quadrant and walk where you need to go. Photo ratings are NE1, SE2, SW2-3, NW1.

NOTE WELL:OH-15 is no super highway, but it is compared to TR-19, TR-18, etc.Be careful.

Kieferville -- CR-16C.Continue east on CR-E16 for one mile to a T at CR-16C. Take the right to get down to the tracks, One of the last two remaining sets of original NKP intermediate signals is located in this area, at MP 321.9. These signals feature the signals for each direction on a separate mast placed on each side of the track, in contrast to the modern dual-sided signals elsewhere. The other is at MP 315.7, and we will see it shortly.As far as photos are concerned, there may be a drop-off for drainage, so pick your spots.

Miller City -- CR-15C.Keep going south on CR-16C to a left onto OH-613.At CR-15C, take a left and go north to the crossing, which the aerials show to be wide open.The west end of a passing siding is just to the east, and is a modern Safetran interlocking.

Miller City. Go back down CR-15C to OH-613, take a left, and then another left at OH-108 to get up to Miller City. The single crossing in town is decent, but be aware that there is a lot more traffic on OH-108 than at the rural crossings we've been visiting.The crossing at Main Street/OH-108 is rated as follows: NE4 (DEEP ditch!), SE4, SW1, NW1.

Miller City -- East End Siding.The east end of the passing siding from CR-15C is to the east of the crossing. To get there, continue north on OH-108 and take a right onto Main Cross Street/CR-13C, and then another right at the road leading into St Nicolas Cemetery. Go all the way to the south end, and continue around the curve to the very southeast corner of the cemetery. The interlocking is just to the southeast.There, all of the original ex-NKP signals are intact, including a bracket mast!Unfortunately, you will be north of the tracks here, so lighting will usually be a problem.

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Miller City -- CR-13 [CRL].Keep going east on CR-13C, and in time the road will bend due north.There "may" be a road to the east immediately past the curve; if so, take it to a T at CR-13 and go south to the crossing. If that road is not thru, or is private, continue up to CR-E, and take a right to get over to CR-13, and then go south to the crossing.According to the aerials, the crossing looks good, but there is a major irrigation ditch on the southwest corner. Another typical, rural, open crossing.

Elm Center -- CR-12 [CRL].To get to the next location, you have a choice. The shortest distance is to go north to CR-E, turn right, and turn right again at CR-12 to get to the crossing. However, Bruce reports that CR-E is very narrow, and has a major ditch along at least some of it. You might instead want to opt to go south on CR-13 a slightly longer way to OH-613, take a left, and then another left onto CR-12 to get to the crossing. Either way, you'll come to a typical, wide open, rural crossing.

Elm Center -- TR-11.Go north to CR-E, and take a right there and another at TR-11. From the crossing here, you will be able to see the other remaining set of NKP intermediate signals just to your west, at MP 315.7. Immediately east of them is the defector at MP 315.6.The crossing here is like just about any other on the route; wide open, surrounded by fields. Try for a morning shot of an eastbound splitting the vintage signals!

Leipsic -- TR-7D [CRL]. Return to CR-E, and continue east to OH-109. Bear right here to head southeast into Leipsic. The OH-109 crossing has several problems, most notably the heavy highway traffic, and the private crop-dusting service airport in the SW quadrant, with the hangars hard by the road and tracks. NARL.Therefore, take the next left onto OH-613 and continue east toward Leipsic.

[Webmasters Note:Bruce mentions that "(t)he village of Leipsic is laid out somewhat chaotically, with the streets running at various angles in different parts of town. Spend some time studying Google Maps and make careful notes before venturing through here, or you’re bound to get trapped in the maze." He is absolutely correct -- you definitely need to do your homework before venturing into this place.]

From OH-613, look for TR-7D on your left. This street is a connector from West Leipsic to OH-613.It appears to be wide open, and is the last such crossing until we leave Leipsic behind.

Leipsic -- South Street [CRL].Between TR-7D and the junctions in Leipsic are two streets which parallel each other on a southeast to northwest bias. To reach the first, take a left on Werner Street/TR-7, and then veer off to the left at South Street.The aerials show this to be pretty much hemmed in by commercial/industrial property, but the crossing is on a diagonal, which is pretty rare in this part of the tour. We are not impressed by the photo/railfan aspects of the crossing, but you might be able to make it work for you.

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Leipsic -- CSX/NS Crossing.The next crossing is via Werner/TR-7, but there are houses on 2 quads, and industrial properties on the others. NARL.

The NS Fostoria District crosses two other railroad lines near here; first, the Indiana & Ohio (originally DT&I), then CSX's (ex-B&O) Toledo Subdivision, both running between Toledo and Cincinnati. The NS/IORY diamond is just east of the Werner Street crossing, but is inaccessible; however, the original NKP ground mast signal protecting it is located just off of Werner Street.

Not visible in the Google aerials (because it is so new), a track is under construction along the north side of NS, switching off of the CSX just north of the diamonds and appearing to curve north into the IORY. No connection with NS is evident though. The crossings at Easton and Commercial Streets have been cut because of this construction. The result of those cuts may be two good, ex-crossings at which to fan and shoot pix.Hopefully, someone will let us know how things shake out once the construction has been completed.

You may access the SW quadrant of the NS/CSX diamond off of Belmore Street, behind a funeral home.From the intersection of OH-613 and Werner Street, go north on Werner to a right onto Sugar Street.Take this across town until it T's with Belmore Street and turn left. At Broadway Street, turn right and drive to the end of the street and park. The crossing that shows on some map programs has been cut. NOTE:If there are a lot of cars in the parking lot, and a funeral is in progress, do not visit this location. If you are there during the week, you might want to introduce yourself and let them know you'll be way behind the buildings down by the tracks.

The ruins of the former interlocking tower still stand here, and the CSX is protected by vintage B&O color-position signals. The CSX line is single track, but has a siding here; the northbound signals are mounted on a C&O-style cantilever rather than the bracket masts traditionally used by the B&O. A siding starts just east of here on NS, but the westbound signals are new Safetrans on a new cantilever mast.

Leipsic -- Orchard Drive [CRL].Drive back out Broadway Street to a left onto Belmore. At Mathias Street, take a left and cross the CSX tracks. At Main Cross Street, take another left and follow the street until it bends 90º to the east and becomes Sugar Street.Sugar will T with TR-7/Orchard Drive, and you should turn left to go north.At the tracks, the road bends 90º to the east. Further east is the water/sewer facility for the town, but you want to park just after the last turn. There appears to be a large, open gravel area, which seems to have been tailor made for railfans.

Still further east, but unaccessible, is a wye with a track going north to ProTec Coatings. ProTec is a specialty steel and coatings outfit that produces extra-strong steels, primarily for the automotive industries.The strong steel allows less to be used for autos, with no loss of durability.The plant is served by both NS and CSX, and it receives and sends out long strings of coil steel cars.

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Leipsic -- TR-5 [CRL].Go back around the big curve on Orchard Drive, and go south all the way to Mathias/CR-E4, and take a left to head east to TR-5. Turn left, and drive up to the crossing.There are still two tracks here, so you may get "stuck" if a train is sitting there. From the aerials, the crossing is a typical, rural, wide-open jobber.

Leipsic -- TR-4 [CRL].Continue north to a right onto CR-E.At TR-4, take a right and drive down to the tracks.The railfan really can't go wrong along here:The crossing is a typical, rural, wide-open jobber.

Townwood -- TR-3 [CRL].Get back up north to CR-E and take a right.Along the way on CR-E, you will pass a large man-made embankment which appears to be a landfill; this is actually a berm surrounding the Yellow Creek Reservoir. At TR-3, take a right and go back down to the tracks.Still two tracks here, and the comments are the same.

Townwood -- TR-2.Retrace your route to CR-E, turn right, and drive to CR-2. The crossing here is wide open to the northeast.

Shawtown -- TR-1E [CRL].Once back on CR-E, you will shortly come to a right onto TR-1E. Still two tracks, and the comments are the same.Just to the east is the east end of the double track that started at Leipsic. A vintage NKP bracket mast was once located here (a beautiful shot of it can be found on, but this has been replaced by modern Safetran ground mast signals.

Shawtown -- TR-1/CR-16 [CRL].Well, the TR/CR north-south road numbers have gotten smaller and smaller, and they can't get any smaller. One supposes that we are at a county line, and one is correct! We now leave Putnam County and enter Hancock County.Go back up to CR-E, take a right, and at TR-1 (Putnum)/CR-16 (Hancock), take a right to go south.We may be changing counties, but the rural crossings stay the same. This one looks to be typical.

Shawtown.Head back up CR-16 to a right onto TR-103. At TR-115, take a right and drive thru the metropolis of Shawtown to the crossing. The aerials show why Bruce feels the location "...does not appear to hold much promise for photos". However, if you need to get trackside, this will do.

Shawtown -- TR-117 [CRL].Once back at TR-103, take a right to head east. At TR-117, turn right again to go down to the tracks.There is a pole line on the north side of the tracks, but it shouldn't interfere with photos. A typical, rural, open crossing.

Shawtown -- TR-53.Drive back up to TR-103, turn right and drive all the way to a T at TR-53.Make the right turn and drive to the crossing.A defect detector is near the crossing at MP 305.6.

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McComb -- TR-119.Go south to OH-613 and turn left. At TR-119, go left again, and drive up to the typical rural, quiet, open crossing.There appears to be a racetrack southwest of the crossing -- likes like more than just a 4-wheeler deal.

McComb -- TR-123 [CRL].Retrace your route to OH-613, and continue east. You can take TR-120 to the vicinity of the tracks, but it is a narrow (though paved) road which leads to a dead-end at the tracks, at the MP 302.8 signals. If you have a large vehicle, you will not be able to turn around when you are ready to leave, so you will need to back to the nearest driveway to turn around -- and that will be a long back-up move.Note also that the aerials show this crossing to be intact, but Bruce was on the ground.

At TR-123, take a left to drive to the railroad. Same pole line well north of the tracks, but other than that, it looks to be wide open.

McComb. There are several grade crossings thru town, and none of them are particularly good:

Rader Road: NE2, SE4, SW4, NW4
Walnut Street: NE1, SE1, SW4, NW3
Church Street: NE3, SE4, SW1, NW2
Todd Street: NE3, SE1, SW4, NW1
Liberty Street: NE4, SE4, SW1, NW4

Use OH-613/West Main Street as your west-east point of reference. All of the above streets run north from OH-613. In this whole area, probably the best place to see trains is on Railroad Street, south of the tracks between Walnut and Church Streets. There are two spots west of these 5 streets that are much better for fans and photos.

McComb -- East Main Street.OH-613 approaches the tracks and crosses them via a long narrow "X".All quads are NARL, except for the southeast, which has East Main Street going to the east. It runs for several blocks along the south side of the tracks and offers an unobstructed view from the south.This is a lawn chair and cooler location, and clearly is the best spot in McComb.

McComb -- OH-186.East Main ends at OH-186, which crosses the tracks immediately to the north. If you want a perspective that is different than the prior location, this one rates very highly, indeed:All quadrants are 1's, but be careful of traffic.

McComb -- TR-131 [CRL].Head out of town via OH-613, which is just north of the last crossing via OH-186.At TR-131, take a right and go south to a crossing.We're back in the country, and this is an open, rural, quiet location.

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McComb -- TR-135 [CRL].Go back to OH-613, go right, and then right again at TR-135.Same pole line, same environment for fanning.

North Findlay -- TR-136.Once back on OH-613, follow it east to a point where it intersects with TR-136 and turns sharply to the north. A right turn here will bring you to a dragging equipment detector and a set of signals (MP 297.4). This is your only real reason for coming to this crossing, unless you need to get trackside for a photo.

North Findlay -- TR-139.Go back north on TR-136, and where it joins OH-613, continue north briefly to TR-19 and turn right.This will wind around a bit -- watch out for two sharp 90º turns -- and bring you out to TR-139.Turn right here, and the crossing is rated NE1, SE3, SW4, NW2.

North Findlay -- TR-140.South of the tracks, turn left on TR-107 and follow the tracks east to TR-140. Much of this stretch is treed in somewhat, but there are some open areas, especially as you approach TR-140.There is a pretty nice crossing here which looks wide open.On the other hand, if you look to the northeast, you are staring at the end of a runway; if crop dusting operations are underway, you do not want to be here.

North Findlay -- TR-142. Head further east via TR-107 to TR-142.The crossing here has a major attraction: a vintage NKP bracket mast for westbounds, located just feet from the road! If you like signals, this is a place to take some interesting detail shots. This is the west end of North Findlay Siding, another double siding similar to that at Continental.

Life Support.At this point, you are probably seriously in need of some decent life support.You can go south on TR-142 to a left onto TR-99, which will take you to exit 161 of I-75.Get on the interstate and go south for two miles to exit 159, which has motels, gas, restaurants, etc.

North Findlay -- CR-220.Go south on TR-142 and take the next left on TR-101. This road will bend to the north and parallel the tracks briefly under I-75. An interesting situation visually, but poor for photos due to surrounding trees, shadows under the bridge, and bridge piers between the road and the tracks. The road will again turn south, then east to a “T” at CR-220. A left turn here will bring you to a crossing. Both eastern quadrants are fine for photos, but stay well back from the road as well as the tracks, as this is a major road with a 55 MPH speed limit and heavy traffic. To your east, you will see the signals (all original NKP equipment) for the siding overlap, as well as the diamond for the CSX (ex-Conrail) Toledo Branch. Unfortunately, the diamond itself is not accessible. Traffic on the Toledo Branch is light, but includes daily stack trains Q131 and Q132, which usually feature Union Pacific power.

Just east of I-75 via TR-101 is Shady Lake Campground which has a small lake, electric hook-ups, etc. It might be noisy from the interstate, but it could definitely serve as a base of operations for visiting Deshler, Findlay, Tiffin, Fostoria, and the rail hotspots in northwestern Ohio.

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North Findlay -- East End Siding.Backtrack south on CR-220 less than 1/4 mile to CR-216, and turn left (east). Shortly you will cross the Toledo Branch, and you will see the diamonds to your left. Continue on to a crossroad at CR-230, and turn left. From the crossing, you will see the end of the siding (featuring yet another vintage NKP bracket mast signal) about 1/4 mile to the east.

North Findlay -- CR-16 [CRL].Once back on CR-216 heading east, the road will roughly parallel the tracks all the way to the junction with the ex-Lake Erie & Western Sandusky-Peoria route at Arcadia.The first two crossings from CR-230 are close together, but are also quite different.At CR-16, take a left and drive to the vicinity of the crossing.It will be obvious that this is a crossing the likes of which we've hardly seen on this tour.CR-16 intersects the tracks at a 60º angle, allowing the photographer much more leeway in selecting shots. The street is, however, quite busy.

North Findlay -- TR-236 [CRL].Continue north to a very hard right onto TR-236, and go south to the crossing.This crossing is back to the normal + pattern, and is fairly wide open. The road will have less traffic than CR-16.

Arcadia -- TR-238 [CRL].Keep going south to CR-216, take a left, and continue to the east until you reach TR-238. A left will get you up to the tracks. However, there is no access from the southeast quad, so I'd go up here only if I had to get trackside in a big hurry.

Arcadia -- TR-247 [CRL].Go down to CR-216, take a left, and drive all the way to TR-247. Turn left and go up to the tracks.The crossing looks fine, with the exception of the northeast quad, which houses the large Blanchard Valley Farmers Co-op (complete with it's own spur, probably for nitrogen(?)). Obviously, the Co-op will be a fairly sleepy place much of the year, but when those places get busy, they really get busy, and you don't want to be fanning at this crossing then.

Arcadia -- TR-243 [CRL].Get down to CR-216, take a left, and then another at TR-243.The crossing looks to be the typical, wide open, rural crossing, but TR-243, like CR-16 a ways back, is on about a 60-63º angle to the northeast.

Arcadia -- CR-254.Head back down to CR-216, take a left and head in towards Arcadia.This tour is going to change dramatically, and for the better.You will cross a stout set of tracks; this is NS, ex-N&W, exx-NKP, exxx-Lake Erie and Western. NS owns the line thru Findlay to Lima, where it connects with Rail America and RJ Corman lines.We do not know the traffic levels, but there are probably at least unit grainers and a merchandise local or so.There is a Ford Engine plant in Lima, which is jointly served by NS and IORY (and probably CSX).

Take your first left after the crossing, on CR-254.You'll cross the LEW again, and when you come to the NS line we've been following, park on the right before the crossing (this is the busiest street we've been on in some time, so stay alert). Walk -- carefully -- across the street at the crossing and look to the east. You'll see something you haven't seen for seemingly ages: An honest-to-God curve!There is no photo access from the north, but the south looks to be OK.

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Arcadia -- North Main Street.Keep going north on CR-254, and take your first right onto North Street.At North Main, find a place to park and walk to the tracks. There are sidewalks on both sides of the crossings, and with the possible exception of the southeast corners of both lines, the area around the tracks (and especially between them) is wide open -- it's only about 70 yards between the two railroad lines.

Arcadia -- Joslyn Street.Continue east on North Street, and it will bend 90º to the north, become Gibson Street, and T at Peters. Take the right, and that in turn will all bend 90º to go south as Joslyn Street.This may be a better location (depending on the sun and your preferences) than North Main, as the two lines are even closer together, about 30 yards, and the southeast quads of both of them are good.

From the crossing at Joslyn Street, looking to the northeast you can see “DA” interlocking, featuring yet another NKP bracket mast for the westbound signals. This is the last bracket mast signal on the tour. At one time, it appears that the LE&W and NKP crossed here and paralleled all the way to Fostoria, with the former on the north side and the latter on the south. Today, the two lines are both NS, and run as a double-track railroad between here and the “FS” crossovers just outside of Fostoria; the mains are far enough apart that the grade crossings feature separate sets of flashers and gates for each track.This makes for great railfanning.

Arcadia -- TR-256 [CRL].Keep south on Joslyn all the way to OH-12/Fremont Street, and take a left. This will parallel the tracks along the south side, about 1/4 mile away.At TR-256, take a left to go up to the tracks. Both crossings look wide open.

Arcadia -- CR-109 [CRL].Instead of going back down to OH-12, keep going north on TR-256, until you get to CR-109.Take a right.When you get to the tracks, you are going dead east, while the two tracks are going about 35º to the northeast -- interesting photo angles, indeed, and with the exception of the southern southeastern quad (trees), the crossings are wide open.

Arcadia -- TR-257 [CRL].Before you get back to OH-12 via CR-109, take a left onto TR-257, and go up to the crossings. Here, the tracks are still going northeast on the same bias, but the road is dead north-south -- interesting -- and different -- photo angles, indeed. All quads look to be wide open.

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Fostoria -- TR-218 [CRL].Keep going north on TR-257 to a right on TR-218.The crossing at TR-261 is not recommended, as the NE quadrant is rated 4 due to private property, and the two south quadrants are home to an extremely deep ditch. Your only real shot here is from the NW quadrant, or from in between the tracks due to the spacing between them.The TR-218 crossings also feature some ugly ditches, but the various angles are good, and you should have no trouble getting good viewing here.

Fostoria -- TR-262.Continue heading east via TR-218 to OH-12, and turn left.As you head northeast towards Fostoria, TR-262 will appear on your left. Take the turn and drive up to the crossings -- the ex-NKP crossing is fairly decent, and rates NE1, SE4, SW1, NW3. There is a nice gravel parking area in the NE quadrant. From here, looking to the east, you can see an interlocking in the distance. This is “FS”, and appears to have been installed (or upgraded) relatively recently. FS has crossovers between the main tracks in both directions, and serves as the beginning of a small yard to the east which serves several local industries (including a couple of fairly large grain elevators).

Fostoria -- Overview.Return to OH-12 and continue northeast. You are just moments away from some of the best railfanning our entire nation has to offer!However, before driving further, some understanding of the overall railroad layout in the city will be helpful.There are three thru main lines in the city, two CSX today, and the NS ex-NKP line we've followed since Fort Wayne.The major player is the ex-B&O CSX Chicago - Willard Yard main.CSX, after the Conrail break-up, sends Northeast and MidAtlantic traffic thru (primarily) Buffalo and Cumberland, respectively, to Willard Yard, which is about 40 miles to the southeast of Fostoria. All that traffic heads west thru Fostoria on its way to Chicago.The tracks in Fostoria are on a gently rising southeast - northwest bias, and are pretty much a straight line all the way thru town.

Next in traffic rank is the NS line up from Arcadia, which continues on the southwest - northeast bias we last saw at TR-262, and then bends to the east to go right thru town on a dead west - east direction.This "bend" is north of 4th Street, and occurs as the tracks are passing the huge Mennell Milling complex.Once east of the CSX (ex-B&O) crossing, the southwest - northeast bias returns just west of Poplar Street.

The third line in Fostoria, and the lightest in traffic volume, is the CSX, ex-C&O up from Marion, and on its way to Toledo.The two CSX lines cross at grade in the southeastern part of town, with connecting tracks in all four quadrants, and a connection between CSX and NS to allow CSX to access NS’s auto mixing center east of town.Just north of this latter point, the ex-C&O crosses the NS main.

So, we will describe a driving route that will take you thru Fostoria, and which will allow you to cross all the tracks, but we will only detail a few spots for (primarily) fanning the NS line.

Go back down TR-262, and take a left on OH-12 to continue northeast.As you enter town, OH-12 will peel away to the right, but do not take it. As you drive this area, a very large Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) grain facility is on your left.ADM is a major rail customer -- one of the largest in the nation.To continue on this "scenic" tour of the rail scene in Fostoria, continue straight ahead on Findlay Street, and soon you will cross the NS as it curves due east.

After you pass the huge Mennel Milling complex, you will cross CSX’s ex-B&O Garrett Sub main line up from Willard.Findlay will T at an angle with County Line Road, and you should take a left, and then at Tiffin Street, take a right and go across the downtown area. At Columbus Avenue/OH-18, take a right, and this street will cross first the ex-C&O and then the NS in rapid succession, as the diamonds are immediately to your left.

Stay on Columbus all the way until there is a jog to the right, where you will join Lytle Street heading due west.Just before you get to that jog, the yard throat for the ex-B&O' Fostoria Yard is visible on your left.Lytle becomes US-23 in a block or so, and is a major east - west thoroughfare, so be alert.You will go under the ex-C&O and the two southern wye connections to the ex-B&O, and at Main Street, take a right to go north.

Just before you cross the ex-B&O, take a right into the ex-B&O station area.

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Fostoria -- Station Area.The Amtrak (ex-B&O) station parking lot is between the CSX (ex-B&O) and NS mains east of Main Street. The station area itself is no longer in use for passenger service, and is used by CSX to park their maintenance trucks. The area of the station is posted No Trespassing by CSX, but fans tend to congregate around the platform south of the tracks despite the signs. Frograil does not recommend that you trespass anywhere, so we ask you to not do so here.The parking lot between the tracks is not posted.

Fostoria -- Poplar Street.Go north across all the tracks via Main Street, and take a right onto Taft Boulevard.After one block, take another right onto Poplar Street.A gravel area is between the tracks, on the east side of Poplar Street. This is the access road to CSX’s “F” Tower, but it is not posted. Stay out near the street, do not block the access road, and you will probably be OK.

Fostoria -- NS/ex-C&O Crossing.Head back north on Poplar to a right onto Crocker Street. At Columbus Avenue, turn right and after crossing the NS, there is a gravel area on the southwest side of Columbus Avenue. This is between the NS and CSX (ex-C&O) crossings. This site is under development as a public railfan park by the City of Fostoria, though as of late October 2010 it’s nothing more than a picnic table and a port-a-john. On the other hand, that's a great start!

A short distance to the west is MP 280, and we are at the end of this tour.

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There are a couple of interesting spots which are not part of the NKP tour we're taking.One is another gravel area just across the ex-C&O to the south; this is just north of the leads to the mixing center. Stay well clear of all tracks.

Another is the Columbus Avenue crossing of the ex-B&O main. This is practically the only place in town to view traffic using the southeast quadrant connector; otherwise you’ll need to head east of town towards East Fostoria interlocking.

The sprawling layout of the tracks in Fostoria ensures that you will probably not be able to see every train that comes through town. Bruce's personal favorite location is at Poplar Street, as you will be able to see virtually everything, including north-south C&O movements (and even photograph them if you have a tripod and a long telephoto lens). About the only thing you won’t get a good view of from here are moves on the southeast connector (though you will certainly see them).