The Wabash thru the Heartland
Lafayette -- Fort Wayne, Indiana
Formerly the mainline of the Wabash Railroad, this is Norfolk Southern's main line connecting Detroit and Bellevue with Decatur, St. Louis and Kansas City. There are also important connections with Union Pacific at Salem, Illinois, as well as NS's former Conrail Marion Branch at Wabash, Indiana. The tour is complete between the Amtrak station in downtown Lafayette to NE Interlocking, just east of Fort Wayne, a distance of about 115 miles.
This is part of a much larger Wabash Thru the Heartland Tour.
If you have never taken a Frograil tour before, you are strongly encouraged to visit the Frograil Tour Guide page, which is loaded with good info for you. Following the advice on that page will save you time, effort, and quite probably, some grief.
Contents And Navigation:
WHAT YOU WILL FIND HERE: From a particular starting point, each segment of this coverage will allow you to follow the instructions given, drive to a railfan site, then to the next, etc. etc. Traffic levels and patterns will be given, and the photographic/ lighting considerations for each site will usually be mentioned. You'll be told about area attractions, such as tourist and historic sites, as well as hotels and restaurants which are trackside or otherwise worthy of note. In short, you'll be able to plan an entire family or railfan-only outing, or even a vacation from this guide, as it is completed in the months to come.
WHAT YOU WILL NOT FIND HERE: This is a railfan guide, not a photo collection. There are already many excellent and enjoyable railroad photo sites available, and one more really wouldn't add much value to the general railfan. Besides, photos take up a lot of memory, and your humble Webmaster has to pay for memory. You will also not find fancy graphics, as this is a tour guide, not an exhibition of graphics expertise. You'll be able to load these pages quickly and print them without waiting a week for each page to print. Also, you'll conserve toner in the process.
Major contributors to this effort include:
Bruce Bridges. Content and many suggestions, corrections, etc. This is his tour.
Tony Hill, Webmaster. 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 Bridges along the route described. If you can provide information that would make this tour more complete and enjoyable, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let me know what you'd like me to add or correct.
Also, if you'd like to contribute tours of portions of other rail lines, we'll work together: You supply the data/info, and I'll do the HTML stuff and upload it. You'll get a chance to review the fruits of your efforts before the general public sees the finished product, so you can let me have your corrections, additions and changes.
The Railroad -- General.The line is single-track CTC, with frequent passing sidings, but it is double track through Lafayette and Peru. 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 straight between Lafayette and Logansport, except for the curve southwest of Colburn and the other in downtown Delphi.Basically, east of East Yard in Lafayette, there are three long straightaways and two curves in this portion.It's mostly flat, except for the area around Rockfield and Burrows; indeed, according to the historical marker in town, Rockfield is the highest point between Decatur and St. Louis, at 740 feet above sea level.There's one pretty good dip just east of Rockfield, and some info Bruce has run across suggests that this may be the ruling grade on the line.Scenery on the western end of the route is mostly corn and soybean fields, with some plots of woodland.There are still some segments of code (pole)lines remaining around Clymers, but most of the pole lines on the rest of the route have been removed. East of Logansport, the route follows the Wabash River Valley to Peru.
Between Peru and Ft. Wayne, the line continues to follow the Wabash Valley up until around Huntington.Then the terrain opens up considerably around Roanoke, and becomes predominantly flatish, open farming country..
The Railroad -- Traffic.Traffic averages approximately 20 trains per day, mostly finished automobiles and parts, plus manifest freights and RoadRailers. In addition, there is one TOFC/COFC/stack train each way per day (symbols 20T eastbound, and 21T westbound). Unit grain trains are also quite common. Before the recent collalpse of the automotive industry and overall economy, this line averaged 30-40 trains per day, so there is still potential for future traffic growth as the economy comes back.
Area Attractions:Purdue University in West Lafayette, with the Boilermakers' football and basketball teams (in season); Wolf Park in Battle Ground (about 10 miles or so north/northwest of the Buck Creek area); several historic iron bridges, including a rare four-span bridge (built 1912) onIN-225 over the Wabash roughly north of Buck Creek.You can get full info on all bridges in the area on www.bridgehunter.com.There's also acircus museum in Peru, but we're unsure of the exact name; it's visible from the gravel lot on Broadway if you look to the south; the building is shaped like a giant "big top", and you can't miss it!There is a small military aviation museum at Grissom Air Reserve Base, located along US-31 south of Peru.For food, there are many good restaurants in Lafayette, plus Harvey Hinklemeyer's Pizza in Peru.
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' tall corn next year where he saw soybeans this year, your photo field may well be 4 rather than 1. Of course, the reverse is true, so last year's 4 may be this year's 1.
Abbreviations. Some phrases are used repeatedly in this tour, so I've developed some standard Frograil abbreviations:
AG. An at-grade crossing.
CR. Because this tour's area is fairly level, the roads tend to be straight and orderly. However, it takes a native to figure out the naming conventions, so I'm calling all non-federal, non-state numbered roads County Roads, and am abbreviating that to CR.
NAG. A not-at-grade crossing. Unless I mention otherwise, it is usually not worth the time and trouble to drive to them.
NARL. Not a railfan location. This is because of any number of reasons, such as lousy photo ops, dangerous, no shoulder on a NAG bridge, etc. As a general rule of thumb, it is wise to avoid NARL's.
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, for the entire area covered by this tour, the Google images are much, much better than MapQuest's. Yahoo Maps are not as good as Google's, but definitely better than MapQuest's.
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: Lafayette -- Fort Wayne
NOTE WELL: As of the summer of 2009, IN-25 between Lafayette and Logansport was being 4-laned. This is a major road project, and it will impact how you must drive thru this tour. Plan ahead, and have your mapwork sufficient to give you options where necessary.
From the East, North, or Southeast: At the I-65 exit (exit 172) on the east side of town, take IN-26/Columbia Street west into the downtown area. Just before crossing the Wabash River, take a right at North 2nd Street. The Amtrak/Transportation center is at 2nd and Main Street.
From the West: Follow IN-26/State Street until it crosses the river (becoming one way), and take your first left onto North 2nd Street. The Amtrak/Transportation center is at 2nd and Main Street.
From the South:Stay on US-231 into West Lafayette all the way to IN-26/State Street. Take a right, go over the river, and take your first left onto North 2nd Street. The Amtrak/Transportation center is at 2nd and Main Street.
Parking in the area of the Amtrak station is very limited. Your main options are to park along 2nd St. (2 hour limit); otherwise, there are two public parking garages nearby. One is at 2nd and South, and the other is at 3rd and Ferry (just northeast of the station). Or, you can drive across the Wabash via IN-26 into West Lafayette, and turn right on Tapawingo Drive. (the first traffic light after the bridge). There is a third public garage there. Otherwise, continue north on Tapawingo and you will see a shopping center ahead of you to your left. You may park there for free… just walk across the pedestrian bridge back to the station.
Lafayette's Amtrak station is part of the Riehle Plaza complex. This was built during the late 1990s when both the NS and CSX (ex-Monon) mainlines were rerouted onto a new alignment along the riverfront in order to eliminate grade crossings and (in CSX's case) street running. The station itself is actually a former New York Central (Big Four) structure, which was moved to its present location. The NS and CSX mainlines are parallel here, and appear to the uninitiated as a triple-track line. The CSX track is the westernmost track, and the NS is double track here. On NS, you are at milepost 256 from Detroit.
The station itself is a WONDERFUL place to take in the action on both NS and CSX. Actually, you can spend the better part of a day here. There are elevated walkways along both sides of the tracks, a pedestrian bridge over the tracks, and stairs down to the platform on the west side of the CSX main. Using the stairs and landings and the bridge, you can get photos from many different angles and perspectives. You can even go down to the platform if you prefer ground-level shots; the area is not gated or patrolled.[NOTE: If you do see a policeman, Amtrak security guard, or other Amtrak employee, it would be wise to introduce yourself and let him/her know what you're doing there.] This is a busy area, especially on weekends; a pedestrian bridge crosses the Wabash River into West Lafayette, and this area is frequented by Purdue University students. There are lots of places for food and refreshment on both sides of the river here; you're not more than a 5-10 minute walk from just about anything you could want (from fast food to casual sit-down dining).
As far as the station itself, the best photo opportunities are for afternoon westbounds. The track heading south (timetable west) makes a significant curve toward the southeast as it passes under the bridge, and to the south there are some trees that obstruct the view. Photos of eastbounds are not ideal (besides the trees, you're shooting into the sun all day). So I would rate the bridge as: CSX = NE2, SE2, SW2, NW1, and NS = NE3-4, SE3-4, SW2, NW1.Your best bets at eastbound photos are broadside roster shots taken from the elevated walkway and/or stairs on the west end of the bridge. Or, you can get some decent shots of them from the platform, coming toward you around the curve... but it's better to attempt these on a day with some clouds to help diffuse the sunlight. For morning photos, the east side walking/viewing deck is no more than 10 feet from the nearest track, so the viewing is pretty tight. Your best bet if you absolutely must be here in the morning is to stand at the far north end of the upper level walkway (at the NW corner of the depot) and shoot the westbounds as they come toward you.
The only downside at the station area is that, without a scanner, you have virtually no notice of approaching trains. Track speed through here appears to be 40 MPH, so once you hear the vibrations coming through the rail (and sometimes that is the ONLY notice you get!), you have all of 5 seconds (if you're lucky) to get your camera ready and get your shot. The good news is that NS crews call all signal indications over the radio. You will hear westbounds calling signals at East Yard, then Royer. Royer is the last signal before your location, and is a little less than a mile to the north/east of you, obscured by a distant highway overpass. In addition, there is a defect detector at milepost 250.5, about 5½ miles from you. You will hear eastbounds calling Shadeland (an intermediate block signal about 4 miles out), then Demun (pronounced de-MUN; this is where the former Nickel Plate Frankfort District comes in from the east), and Lafayette Junction right before they get to you.
Buck Creek -- CR-400E.As the tracks go northeast from the Amtrak station, they are inaccessible.The main NS Lafayette yard is East Yard, well northeast of the station. The original northeast - southwest mainline thru the city was truncated southwest of the main yard, and a big looping double track was constructed from the southwest area of the yard, over IN-25/Schuyler Avenue and US-52 to the east side of the CSX Lafayette yard. CSX and NS then run thru town to just past the Amtrak station, where they physically separate. To save you time and energy, just believe us when we tell you East Yard is completely off limits to railfans, and there is no photo access from public property.
Between the station and US-52, some of the side streets along Schuyler Avenue going off to the left toward the tracks look tempting, but don’t waste your time. You can see the westbound home signals for Royer interlocking from Underwood Street (you can physically see the signals themselves, but not the indications), just to give you a point of reference as to where the interlocking is actually located. Also, Biltz Drive near the intersection of IN-25 and US-52 is not a location for fanning any longer; the area near the tracks is overgrown with weeds and trees to the point that the trains are obscured. Don’t waste your time here; just continue on towards Buck Creek.
There are far better places to watch trains just up the road, and you won't have the hassle of the city to deal with.
So, from the station, go east on Main Street two blocks to a left onto 4th Street. This will take you up to a right onto Union Street.At 14th Street take a left, jog right one block at Greenbush Street, then jog left to get on 15th Street. This will take you north, bend to the northeast, and magically become Schuyler Avenue/IN-25.When you cross the major intersection with US-52, you'll shortly go under the north leads to the yard, and will be out in the countryside surprisingly quickly.
[Note:As you approach I-65's exit 175 area, there is only limited life support. If you want a meal or motel selection before heading out into the country, go south on I-65 three miles to exit 172, which has beaucoup chain restaurants and motels.]
[Also Note: We are going to take you thru the lush Indiana countryside. It will not be fast; it will be a leisurely, quiet drive criss-crossing the tracks. You are, after all, touring thru Indiana, not just following tracks. If you're in a hurry, or want to get well ahead of a train, just use any decent mapping service to leapfrog from point to point.]
When you get close to I-65, maps show CR-200N crossing the tracks to the south, but aerials show it as a NAG/NARL underpass.
Go under the interstate, and at Deems Drive/CR-300N, take a right and then another at CR-400E. There is a gravel pull-off to the southeast. Photo ratings are NE4, SE1, SW1, NW4.. The problems from the north stem from too many trees too close to the tracks.Be aware that there is a fairly large subdivision just to the south of the crossing, so early morning and mid-afternoon traffic may be considerable.
Buck Creek -- CR-300N. Backtrack up to CR-300N and take a right. You'll shortly cross the tracks AG, and it looks like there is at least limited parking. However, in the Google aerial, there are 5 cars on the road near the crossing, so traffic is obviously a concern. We really don't recommend this one, but if you need to get a picture fast, this place will do.
Buck Creek -- CR-500E..Keep east on CR-300N and then take a left to go north on CR-500E.The AG crossing is OK for those shots you need when your scanner tells you to get trackside, but there are other, better places ahead shortly.Note that just east of the crossing is a defect detector, at MP 250.5.
[NOTE:In July 2009, Bruce could not observe this crossing, as the road was closed because of highway construction. As that gets completed, the dynamics of the crossing may change considerably.We will give you driving directions assuming construction does not interfere with this road, but you obviously have to make adjustments while it is still on-going.]
Buck Creek -- CR-625E.Further east on CR-400N, a left onto CR-625E will take you to another AG crossing, but there is an agri-support business on the southeast quad, so it's often too busy to be much of a fan location.
[NOTE:In July 2009, Bruce could not observe this crossing, as the road was closed because of highway construction. As that gets completed, the dynamics of the crossing may change considerably.We will give you driving directions assuming construction does not interfere with this road, but you obviously have to make adjustments while it is still on-going.]
Buck Creek -- CR-750E.Finally, at CR-450N, take a right and head towards Buck Creek.This road will meet the tracks, but not cross them. It will bend to parallel them into the town, and at CR-750E/Main Street, take a right to get to the crossing.This one is really not complicated, as Bruce says:"GREAT LOCATION – NE4, SE1, SW1, NW4" The problem from the north is that both quadrants are occupied by grain elevators".You'll be south of the tracks, the sun will be your friend, and this is an excellent railfan location.
Colburn -- CR-900E.Continue south across the tracks on Main Street, and take a left onto Miller Street.As you leave town to the east, some maps will show CR-500N crossing the tracks and joining Miller Street (which has now oddly become CR-500N!), but the old crossing has been blocked for years.At CR-900E, take a left to the crossing.
The southeast and northeast quads are wide open, but be advised that there are hog barns to the southeast. Stay near the road and you should be fine.
Colburn -- CR-600N.Continue north on CR-900E, and take your first right, onto CR-600N to another crossing. This is an interesting crossing, as the railroad and road are kind of squished together, giving a much different look and feel to photo possibilities. You might have to park away from the crossing and hoof it back. MP 245.
Colburn -- CR-1000E.Cross the tracks and go east to CR-1000E. Take a left and go north. Park in the grass between the road and tracks north of the crossing. The tracks have gone thru a major curve between CR-600N and CR-1000E, and are now close to 70º. The roadbed is in a shallow, tree-lined cut; tree growth does limit your angles.Best photo here would probably be of a westbound in the afternoon.
Colburn -- CR-700N.Continue north on CR-1000E, and when it enters the village of Colburn, take a right on CR-700N and go to the crossing area. Your best bet for parking is to the south on Railroad Street (narrow), just before the tracks.. The west end of Colburn siding is just to the south, but trains won't be held south of CR-700N, as that's the only crossing in the village.For those thinking ahead, the east end of the siding is inaccessible.
This is the only crossing in town; photo opportunities are very limited. West side of Railroad Street is residential lawns; east side probably RR property except right along street. Heavy tree growth surrounding tracks, especially on east side. This is not a highly recommended location for photos, but might be OK for train watching.
Colburn -- CR-800N. Backtrack to CR-1000E, take a right, and go north to CR-800N. Take a right, drive to the crossing, and park.The SE quadrant is wide open, but the others are poor to bad due to weeds/brush/trees.
Delphi -- CR-900N.Cross the tracks to the east, and take a left onto CR-900W/County Line Road.At CR-900N, take a left and drive to, and across, the crossing. Park on the right.NE and NW quadrants are probably best;Bruce couldn't stop and observe a whole lot as it was one lane controlled by a flagger due to nearby new IN-25 construction. The interlocking at the east end of the siding is "Delphi".
Delphi -- Industrial Crossing. Go back to CR-900W/County Line Road, take a left and head towards the town of Delphi.Along the way, the street will become Deer Meadow Road.The street will be going almost exactly 90º north, and then bend to the right somewhat. There will be some large industrial buildings west of the tracks, followed by a (probably) private crossing.This is not a spot that one would consider a railfan location, but shots from the east side of the crossing are possible if you know a train is right on you. Take your shot and leave.
[NOTE:In July 2009, Bruce could not observe this crossing, as the road was closed because of highway construction. As that gets completed, the dynamics of the crossing may change considerably.We will give you driving directions assuming construction does not interfere with this road, but you obviously have to make adjustments while it is still on-going.]
Delphi -- McDonald's. Back on Deer Meadow Road, continue north into Delphi. At CR-800W take a left and the street will become South Dayton Road, and then Hamilton Street.Hamilton will end at a confusing intersection with the tracks on your immediate left, Main Street beyond them, and Main Street also to your right. This is confusing because you must turn left onto Main, and then immediately after crossing the tracks, turn right into the McDonald's parking lot.
The McDonald's in Delphi is highly recommended. It's right along the west side of the tracks. Go in, grab a burger and fries, and sit out in your car and eat. You can get great photos here, especially PM westbounds.
Delphi -- Monroe and Market.When you leave Mickey D's, go out the north exit to Franklin Street and take a right. The crossing of Franklin will give you photo ops, but it's busy and NARL.At North Wabash Street, take a left and drive to the T at West Monroe Street.Take a right, and there is a small park on the north side of Monroe just before Market. You are on the inside of a curve here, on the south side of the tracks, and this is a good spot pretty much all day except late afternoon.
For late afternoon shots, go to the Market Street crossing. It's NW1 all the way; you can get beautiful shots of westbounds passing the intermediate signal here (MP 238). You'll notice a second track coming in from the west here. This was the Monon RR's mainline to Indianapolis; it switched into the Wabash just east of Market Street briefly before switching out and heading south. It is now a spur operated by NS to serve a rock quarry.
While the Monroe/Market area is probably the best single location in Delphi, you can also see trains from (in order, going east) at Washington, Union, Indiana, and Wilson Streets.All are AG, have sidewalks (so you can safely cross the tracks), and all offer their individual photo props and backgrounds.
Once you leave Delphi, the railroad is at about 38º, arrow straight, all the way into Logansport.
Delphi -- CR-525W.To leave Delphi and continue the tour, head south on Market to Main Street/IN-25, and turn left (you'll be heading east here, but the road is signed as “IN-25 North”). As you head out of town, you'll pass under the former Monon right-of-way (it's now a hiking/biking trail), then over the NS on a bridge. This overpass is NAG/NARL, as it's a major highway, on a curve, with a 55 MPH speed limit.If you've done your mapwork, you'll have noticed that Old Main Street crosses the tracks about a mile and a half out of town, but it's a NAG/NARL underpass.
Another road, IN-218, is somewhat further northeast, but it's a busy road, and carries heavy truck traffic in and out of what appears to be an Andersons major ethanol distillery. The crossing is right at the point where the traffic enters and leaves the facility, and would definitely be considered a sensitive location. NARL.However, for reference purposes, the signal is at ~MP 236, and there is a defect detector at MP 236.7.
When IN-25 meets the tracks and bends to the northeast to parallel them, take a right to get on CR-525W. The crossing is immediately ahead of you.This is a good place to watch and shoot trains, and is also a good place to wait for a train to pace to the northeast. [NOTE WELL: Trying to pace/watch a train while driving is dangerous. Frograil recommends that you have a driver and at least one other person to operate the scanner, check the maps, etc..]
Rockfield -- CR-400W. Continuing northeast on IN-25, the crossing on 500N is fine for photos/fanning, but we'll stop next a little northeast of there, as it is the start of a passing siding. The interlocking is named "YUILL" There is a little gravel patch in the SE quadrant of the crossing that makes a nice place to photograph westbounds. Photo rating: NE4, SE1, SW2 or 3, NW4.The siding is referred to as Rockfield Siding.
Rockfield -- CR-600N. This crossing was NO, but aerials show it to be open and it appears to be a fairly quiet road. Go back to IN-25, cross it, and continue north on CR-400W. At CR-600N, take a right and drive to the crossing.
Rockfield -- CR-640N.When you are east of the tracks, CR-600N swings to the northeast, becomes CR-265W, and hugs the tracks all the way into Rockfield.At CR-640N, take a left.This will take you to the crossing.[NOTE: Google shows CR-265W to be Lake Street, and CR-640N to be Walnut Street, but no such signs appear in the field.] There is a very nice wide open area south of the tracks, at the corner of CR-245W and CR-640N, at the westernmost of the two grade crossings in town.
Park along the street across from the fire department; the street is wide enough for parking on both sides. There is a small public park with a playground and volleyball net in the SW quadrant; the SE quadrant is an open mowed grass field. Photo rating 1 for all quadrants. Great place to break out lawn chairs and coolers, but bring your own shade.
Rockfield -- Oak Street.If the street traffic is too much for you, a more relaxed crossing is a little further east.Cross the tracks via CR-640N, and take a right onto Rockfield Road. This will shortly come to a Y, and you should take a right onto what may or may not be signed as Oak Street.This will take you to a fairly open AG crossing, with much less vehicular traffic than at Walnut Street.However, the SE quad is a private home/property, and both northern quads have a pole line. This is a train watch spot, and not much of a photo site.
Rockfield -- CR-100W. From the Y mentioned in the previous paragraph, go northeast, and you will soon arrive at IN-25. Take the right, and as you continue northeast on IN-25, you'll come to CR-100W, and the crossing just south of IN-25. Parking is tight, but for a quick visit to shoot an oncoming train, you can park in the vicinity of the signal cabin, or, if you'll be there for a longer period of time, park along the highway and walk south to the crossing. The SW quad is treed in.
Burrows -- North Meridian Road.From the crossing at CR-100W, go back to IN-25, take a right, and continue to the northeast.At North Meridian Road, take a right to go south to the crossing.A crossing with a dead north-south road crossing a dead northeast-southwest railroad.
Burrows -- Downtown. This is drop dead easy railfanning -- MidWest style.Cross the tracks to the north and turn right onto IN-25 to head northeast. As you come into town on IN-25, take a right onto CR-876N/Madison Street. Cross the tracks and take a left onto CR-95E/Walnut Street. Finally, take a left to go back up to the tracks via Washington Street.This entire area is wide open, and if you insist on taking pix from north of the tracks, you can parallel them via Elm Street, as opposed to Walnut to the south. If you have young children or grandchildren, this is a great place to introduce them to thrill of modern railroads.Find a nice, open area, get out the cooler, lawn chairs and scanners, and enjoy the Wabash in the 21st Century.
Mile marker MP 228 is at the CR-876 crossing.
Burrows -- CR-100E.If the downtown area is too busy for you, another location you might consider is just to the east.This is a good location, and certainly worth a look. From the intersection of Washington and Walnut streets, continue northeast on Walnut to a left on CR-100E.This is a quiet spot, and is the last crossing in the village of Burrows.
Burrows -- CR-150E.Continue north on CR-100E until you reach IN-25; take a right and you'll soon be back along the tracks, heading towards the northeast.The first crossing is via CR-150E, and it's wide open.
Clymers -- CR-1000N.As you head further northeast, via IN-25, you'll come to the Cass (north)/Carroll (south) County line. This fact may have confused Mr. Google, who labels the road along the county line as both CR-1000N and CR-500S. Mapquest shows it as CR-1000N only, as does Yahoo Maps.Never the less, the crossing, while NO, looks on all aerials to be wide open.
Clymers -- CR-300E.Arrowing ever northeast on IN-25, the next crossing is at CR-300E, and it's also wide open. Immediately north of the crossing is a defect detector at MP 225.5.[NOTE: The detector, apparently for dragging equipment, is visible on Google Maps. However, it was not seen during on-the-ground research, and may have been replaced.If anyone knows if the detector is still there and broadcasting, please let the Webmaster know.]
Clymers.Here, the NS main crosses at grade what was at one time the Pennsylvania Railroad's main line between Logansport and Indianapolis. Today, this is nothing more than a spur which serves a grain elevator a few miles south of here (see below). The diamond with the NS is protected by vintage PRR position light signals! Clymers is quite a busy location; there are two grain elevators here which are jointly served by NS and WSRY, and there is an interchange track in the northwest quadrant of the crossing.
Follow IN-25 until you get to CR-400S. Take a right and you'll soon be at the ex-PRR track; cross that (and gawk at the position lights to your right!) and continue to the NS tracks. There are two tracks here, as this is a passing siding which begins just east of the diamond. Unfortunately, the diamond itself is remote and not publicly accessible. Cross the NS tracks and park on the south side of CR-400S in front of the playground between the church and fire station. There is an open grassy field bordered by the NS main, and two streets. By the way, the east end of the siding is “Penn” interlocking, at MP 222.Beyond the tracks, take the first left onto Main Street. Scope out both the CR-400S and Main Street crossings, and figure out where you want to fan.
The shortline is/was called the Winamac Southern Railway (WSRY), and may now be part of US Rail. It operates from Brighthurst in the south, thru Clymer, and on to the western edge of Logansport. There is grain, fertilizer, a power plant (?) and other business along the line, so it might make for an interesting several hours of exploration and fanning if you have some time available.
Logansport -- CR-175.Drive north via Main Street to the intersection with IN-25, take a right, and continue on towards Logansport.There is a railroad crossing on IN-25 -- it's a spur going into a large grain elevator complex.Further northeast, there's a crossing at CR-325, but there is a large commo tower there, plus some stored materials, so it's not recommended as a fan location.[NOTE:At this point, Google Maps has completely stopped identifying the north-south county roads. Mapquest gives a number, but no direction letter.] The next crossing is at CR-300S, but that one is right at the site of an industrial facility of some sort, so it's also not recommended as a fan location. As you continue along, you'll pass the end of the passing siding from Clymers.
At CR-175, take a right, and the crossing is right in front of you.This crossing is wide open, and is the last such crossing that, from Delphi to this point, follows a completely straight line to the northeast.
Logansport -- Burlington Avenue Bridge.The railroad -- and railfanning -- will now change considerably.Indeed, after you leave this location, you might want to have a clothespin (or two) for your nose, as there is a pork packing plant located south of the river. It will make its presence abundantly clear as you approach the US-35 interchange; the stench will permeate your car even with the windows up, and vents closed. So unless you have a cast-iron stomach, or simply lack the sense of smell, you will not want to spend any length of time here. Just get through the odor cloud as quickly as possible, and follow IN-25 on into town.
As you enter town, IN-25 intersects Cicott Street and turns north towards the Wabash River. The NS main crosses the river on two separate bridges, via a large island. You can access the west bridge easily by turning right onto Cliff Drive, immediately before you cross the river on IN-25. This street follows the river, and passes under the westernmost span of NS's bridge.Then, take a left onto Burlington Avenue.[NOTE WELL: This is a difficult place to turn left, as the sight distance to the left is severely hampered by a curve and bridge railing. Therefore, an alternative is to take Tanguy Street to the right one full block before you get to Burlington. Take a left onto Colfax Street, and then a left onto Burlington.]
This is not at all a snatch and grab photo spot; the east side of the Burlington Avenue bridge over the river offers some potential for real photographers. Another potential location here is from Cliff Drive up to the eastern side of the bridge, but you will have to shoot thru the trees.
[Webmaster's comments: Bruce will now take us thru what used to be a very major terminal town -- back in the day.When I first passed thru here several decades ago, it was obvious that a huge terminal had been here, but there was little left. It was like Colonie Shops in New York, the MKT yards in Parsons, Kansas, and the immense DeCoursey Yard south of Cincinnati.I stopped by a few more times, and noticed the car repair facility that Bruce mentions, but the entire area has a sadness that only time's passing can produce -- and, eventually, disperse.]
Logansport -- TP&W Diamond.Once across the river, immediately turn right on Melbourne Avenue. You will have just crossed what was once the PRR's mainline from Chicago to Columbus, Ohio. This was once double track, and carried traffic from at least five different destinations (Chicago, Peoria, Indianapolis, Columbus, and Cincinnati). The PRR had a major yard and shop here in town (you will see what's left of the shops shortly, and the yard was southeast of town along the river). This is now RailAmerica's Toledo, Peoria, and Western, and traffic is very light. If you look off to the right (southeast), you will see NS's eastern crossing of the Wabash River on a pony plate girder bridge (normally, a deck bridge would be used at a location such as this). Interesting to look at, but the girders block your view of trains on the bridge.
Follow Melbourne east; shortly, it will make a curve to the right and become Lytle Street. This will lead you straight to the NS/TP&W diamond; just pull to the side of the road and park! Unfortunately, the viewing area is north of the tracks, but it will do quite nicely on a cloudy day, or any time when photos aren't important.. Actually, you might want to park in the lot for the city park, then walk to where you can have a good view of the NS tracks. Just stay on the street or north of it; anything south is RR property! The interlocking here is simply referred to as “Logansport” on NS. Four or five decades ago, this would have easily been one of Indiana's premier train-watching locations, with the huge amount of traffic on the Pennsy; but unfortunately things are far different today.
Logansport -- 18th Street.After you've had your fill of NS trains pounding across the TP&W diamond, continue east on Lytle Street; it will make a sharp 90-degree bend to the north, then back to the east and become Woodlawn Avenue. Follow this all the way to the “T” intersection at 18th Street, turn right, and cross the NS tracks. You will see the former PRR shops ahead of you on the right. This is now a contract freight-car repair facility; their main business nowadays seems to be autoracks.
Logansport -- Pottawatomie Road.Take the first left immediately after crossing the tracks; this is Pottawatomie Road, and it will follow the tracks for a considerable distance to the east. Unfortunately, for the most part there is heavy tree growth between the road and the tracks. There are a couple of places that might be good for a grab shot if there's something imminent.After a couple of miles, Pottawatomie Road will make a sharp turn to the north (left), and cross the tracks at grade.
At this point, you are at “Danes” interlocking, the west end of Logansport Siding. Park along the west side of the road, but be careful of the steep slope. You might want to park farther away where the ground is flatter and walk in. Photo ratings: NE4, SE4, SW1, NW4.
If you remember, we remarked that the railfanning was going to change after leaving Clymers. Now you see the evidence, as there are many more trees, the ground has more relief, and it will be harder to get a good, open, accessible crossing.
Danes. Continue north on Pottawattomie until it T's with US-24Business.Take the right and drive on US-24Business/Market Street/Logansport Road to a crossing with CR-600E.Turn right at CR-600E (there will be a sign for Adamsboro here). Park along the driveway for the Tall Sycamores Family Campground (but stay out near the street); you are at MP 213 here.
Unfortunately, the photo ratings at the crossing are mostly lousy:NE4, SE1, SW4, NW4. The east end of the siding (“Sycamore”) is approximately 1/4-1/2 mile east of this location and is inaccessible.
New Waverly -- US-24 Business Overpass. Trundle on east via US-24Business. Shortly, the road will curve to the southeast and cross the tracks on a bridge. Unlike most of the other overpasses on the tour so far, this one is a great photo location. The shoulders are nice and wide, and there is a photogenic S-curve to the west (actually, the bridge is in the middle of a curve, which continues for some distance east. Photos are good in both directions. There is a lot less traffic on the road now that US-24 has been rerouted to its new alignment in the area, but the speed limit is 55 MPH, so exercise caution at this location.
New Waverly -- CR-800E. Less than a mile to the east of the overpass, look for a road to the left, Division Road. This will T at CR-800E, and you can take a left to get to a pretty nice crossing:NE1, SE3, SW3, NW2.This crossing is at MP 211.
New Waverly. Go back south on CR-800E all the way to US-24Business, take a left and continue to the east. You'll be away from the tracks for awhile. When you get to CR-950E, take a left to get into New Waverly. The crossing is worth a visit, as there are some possibilities (see below).South of the tracks, there is a private dirt road going from CR-950E to CR-975E/Cedar Street; along the way, just look for a good photo location.About 1/3 of the way along this street, there is a defect detector at MP 209.5.
New Waverly -- CR-975E/Cedar Street.This is a decent location: NE1, SE3, SW3, NW2, but the clutter north of the tracks, especially to the west, is certainly not the most desireable backdrop for photos. The contrast between this crossing and the one back at CR-950E is rather stark. Depending on the time of day and year, and which direction a train is approaching from, pick your spot.
New Waverly -- CR-1100E.Drive south on CR-975E to US-24Business/Logansport Road. Take a left to head east, and you will intersect with the new US-24. Continue straight across this highway, and at CR-1100E, take a left to go north to the tracks.This road is on the boundary between Cass County on the west, and Miami County on the east.The tracks are pretty much east-west here, so being on the south is important, and even though Bruce did not get a chance to observe this crossing on the ground, the aerials look good for shots from the road to both the northeast and northwest.
Peru -- CR-250W.Go back south to US-24Business/Logansport Road and take a left to head to Peru. You will parallel the NS tracks on the south side. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of heavy tree growth between the tracks and the road, and your photo opportunities along here are rather limited. But there are places for decent grab shots if you’re desperate.When you get to the crossroads at CR-250W, take a left and go the short distance to the crossing.Rather than park in the NE quad by the crossing electronic box, go a short distance further and park on the east shoulder of the road.
Bruce was unable to visit this location, so it's NO, but it's obvious you could get at least a record shot here, and might even do better than that.
Peru -- Kelly Avenue.Get back to US-24Business/Logansport Road, take a left and enter the town of Peru.The road will drop southeast away from the tracks. At Kelly Avenue, take a left to the crossing.At this point, you are a little east of “West Peru” interlocking, which is the beginning of double track; this extends all the way through town to “Peru Junction”, at the east end of the yard. The best view here is from the cemetery on the hill; you will have a panoramic view overlooking the inside of a curve. Use considerable discretion if you are going to shoot from this or any other cemetery.
Alternatively, you can park along the paved road NW of the crossing if you want a close-up view.
Photo ratings for the crossing are:NE3, SE2, SW1, NW1.
Peru -- Harvey Hinklemeyer's Pizza.There are grade crossings at Dukes and North Grants Streets, in Peru, but they are fair photo locations at best. Fremont Street does offer a sidewalk on the west, and possible decent photos, but there is a much better location straight ahead.Continue east on US-24Business/Main Street to Broadway in the center of town, and take a left. You will see the Miami County Courthouse ahead of you on your left. After 5 blocks, the road will dip down to pass under the tracks. Turn right on 8th Street (the last street before the bridge), and there is a HUGE gravel lot south of the tracks next to Harvey Hinklemeyer's Pizza. This is a lawn chair and cooler location, for sure! Sit back and relax, and let the trains come to you. Just don't get too close to the tracks, and do not venture beyond the old N&W trespass signs under any circumstances.
This lot tends to get quite full of cars on Friday nights and weekends though. There is also a Hardee's fast-food joint across the tracks here, but the parking lot there is simply a crummy photo location. First of all, it's on the north side. Then there are billboards, a radio tower, and fences and bridge railings in the way. The south gravel lot is far superior.
At one time, Peru was a very busy location. Two other lines – the former C&O main between Chicago and Cincinnati, and the Nickel Plate branch from Indianapolis to Michigan City, Indiana -- also passed through here. The C&O crossed the NS at an inaccessible location west of town, near the Kelly Avenue photo location mentioned above, and the NKP briefly shared trackage with the Wabash through the area you're at now before splitting off to head north.
Peru is still a noteworthy point on the NS, however. Here, the Lafayette District which you've been following from Lafayette, which is part of the Illinois Division, meets the Huntington District, which is in the Lake Division. Every train passing through here must change crews, and many do some switching at the small yard east of town. The actual crew change point is at the IN-19/Chili Ave. crossing, which we will see shortly.
Peru -- East 9th Street.If you absolutely insist on being on the north side of the tracks (or if the Harvey Hinklemeyer's lot is simply too crowded), proceed north on Broadway, under the tracks, and turn right on Daniel Street, immediately past Hardee's and before the high school. Take this east (it will make a jog south toward the tracks and possibly become Elm Street, and then a turn to the east to become 9th Street), and park in the area of the tracks.There is ample parking during evenings or weekends, and there is always parking for those willing to hoof it for a few hundred feet. The former Nickel Plate Michigan City line split off to the north just east of the Square D plant.
Peru -- Tippecanoe-Water.If the sun is wrong, and you need to be south of the tracks, continue east on 9the Street, and take a right onto Tippecanoe Street. There is plenty of room well south of the tracks between an area west of Tippecanoe all the way to North Water Street.If Harvey Hinklemeyer's is too busy, and you don't want to be north of the tracks, this is the place to be.
MP 202 is close to the Tippecanoe crossing.
Peru -- West End Yard.There is a small yard in Peru (four tracks, according to Google Maps imagery) and crew change point at the meeting of the Huntington and Lafayette Districts. The crew change point is at the Chili Avenue/IN-19 crossing, which is also the west end of the yard. You might see a set or two of power sitting here, and a few cars stored in the yard.
From either Tippecanoe or Water streets, go back north to a T intersection with Chili Avenue/IN-19. Turn right and cross the tracks; you will see the yard, yard office, and any idle power immediately off to your left. In Bruce's opinion, the crossing here is NE4, SE1, SW2, NW1 due to the main access road to the yard being in the NE quadrant and the lack of sidewalks on the west side of the street. Park along the street and just walk up on the sidewalk (east side of the street only) to take your pics. Your best photo here would be of a westbound in the afternoon, leaving town after a crew change.
Peru -- East End Yard.From this point, either take IN-19 (now called Benton Street) back south two blocks to Old US-24/Main Street and turn left (east), or take 6th Street (the first street south of the tracks) east along the south side of the yard if you see something interesting in the yard. You might get a glimpse or two of the yard in between the houses.Take any of the residential streets here south to Main and turn left to head further east.When you reach the edge of town, US-24Business will be called Wabash Road, and will make an S-curve to the left, toward the tracks. You are at the east end of both the yard and the double track; the interlocking here is known as “Peru Junction”.
Look for Lovers Lane on the left, and park on the shoulder of US-24Business/Wabash Road near the intersection. Walk up to the crossing, about 150', or so. You can certainly do some train watching here, but probably not photography, as the NW quad is all NS property and there is vegetative clutter along the two south quads. Parking is a problem -- that's why we recommend you park on the highway.
Peru -- Country Club Road.This crossing is only a short distance to the west of Lovers Lane, and offers better photo potential. However, parking is still a problem, so we again recommend you park down on the highway and hoof it up to the crossing.
Peru -- Paw Paw Pike.The next crossing is apparently a private drive to a farmer's home. It is therefore NARL. Beyond that, look for Paw Paw Pike coming in from the right, crossing the tracks, and then heading off to the northeast. Take the left to the crossing, and park. This is reasonably open, but better spots are just a little further east.
Peru -- CR-450.Once back on US-24Business/Wabash Road, head east.The road will get away from the railroad for a while, and when you get to CR-450, take a left, drive to the crossing, and decide for yourself if there is enough parking space for you. If not, just continue north for a few hundred feet to CR-60, and park in the vicinity of the intersection.The crossing is pretty open: "Out in the middle of the fields," is how Bruce describes it.
Peru -- CR-550E.Another mile further east via US-24Business/Wabash Road is the CR 550E crossing; this one seems to be a bit better than the previous few, as there is a nice gravel area in the SW quadrant of the crossing where you can pull completely off the road and park. There are some forested hills to the north that might make a nice backdrop. Photo rating for CR-550E: Wide open all around!
Richvalley.After this location, there is nothing but trees between US-24Business and the tracks for about the next four miles or so. There’s one road that goes off to the north via a NAG/NARL underpass, but your next left turn after this (after another 2 miles or so) will take you in to the small hamlet of Richvalley. The single grade crossing here has a gravel lot in the SE quadrant. The SW quadrant is home to a small grain elevator that still appears to be an active rail customer that takes about 5 or 6 cars at a time… these are getting rare! Park in the SE or SW quad, but be mindful of traffic in or out of the elevator, and don’t block the drives. There is a defect detector here, and a signal is visible to the west.
Photo rating: NE3, SE1, SW1, NW3
Richvalley -- US-24Business Overpass.Just past Richvalley, US-24Business/Old US-24 will make a curve to the northeast and cross over the tracks on another bridge… which is a great photo location, both east and westbound! Just park on the shoulder and walk on to the bridge. [The same cautions apply here as at any other bridge: You are close to traffic and need to keep your wits about you at all times.] Then it curves back to head due east while the tracks angle toward you from the right.As the tracks actually approach the road, Old US-24 makes a sweeping curve to the left away from the tracks once again.
Wabash -- Mill Street. North of the overpass, as the tracks actually approach the road, Old US-24 makes a sweeping curve to the left away from the tracks once again.You will pass CR-530W going south to the tracks, but it leads to a farmer's home, and the crossing is NARL because it's private property.Further along Old US-24, there is another road leading south, but immediately south of its crossing is a very large industrial facility, and you do not want to be down there -- NARL.
As you come into Wabash, Mill Street will veer off to the right.There is parking in the area, and since you haven't been trackside for several miles and minutes, you can use this crossing to catch something that might be very close.
Wabash -- Olive Street.Follow Mill Street for a bit. You will see Olive Street going off to your left. Take the left, and in the SE quadrant of the crossing here is a business with a paved parking lot. If it’s closed at the time of your visit, I don’t see why you couldn’t set up here for a short while.Photo ratings from the south are excellent:NE4, SE1, SW1, NW4.
Wabash -- Bond Street/City Park.The next road heading north off of Mill Street is Bond Street Turn left here, and just before the tracks make a right turn to enter the Wabash City Park. The drive here runs along the tracks for a bit; this is a GREAT photo location. Or continue across the tracks, and there is a paved lot in the NW quadrant of the crossing, with a SUPERB view of approaching eastbounds rounding a curve! This is MP 190. Photo ratings for Bond St. crossing: NE4, SE1, SW1, NW1.
Wabash -- Railroad Street.Return to Mill Street, take a left, and then another left where Mill Street splits. The left you take should put you on West Hill Street. Pass up Thome Street and its crossing, as there is a much better location just 60 seconds ahead.Continue to Comstock Street and take a left.Drive north to just before crossing the tracks and take a right onto Railroad Street, which is an alley that runs right along the south side of the tracks all the way from Comstock to Huntington Street.You are treated to excellent viewing -- mostly with the sun right where you want it to be, all along this section of the city.
Wabash -- Eastern Street Crossings.There are numerous grade crossings through town, most with sidewalks and photo opportunities. Bruce's favorites though, are a little east of the busy downtown area, at Allen, Spring, and East Streets -- these are the three easternmost crossings in town. These crossings are on a curve that gives excellent photo angles (but especially for PM westbounds).Depending on the light and time of year, scope out these three crossings, and find out which works best for you.
Wabash -- Marion Branch Connection.From any of the three crossings discussed in the preceeding paragraph, head south to Hill Street, turn left (east), and follow this all the way out of town. After crossing East St., Hill turns north and northeast to closely parallel the NS main for a bit. Shortly after, you will cross the former Conrail Marion Branch at grade. Look to your left, and you will see the Huntington District going over the Marion Branch on a bridge. This would be an intriguing place to catch a southbound on the Marion Branch, if only the spot weren’t quite so treed-in. It might still work, though… just park along the road (there isn’t really any good parking at the crossing itself, so you will need to park farther away and walk in). The actual connection between the Huntington District and the Marion Branch is east of the bridge, and takes the form of a long crossover. The two lines parallel each other briefly just after the crossing, and the connection allows eastbounds on the Huntington District to head north on the Marion Branch, and vice versa. This was installed shortly after the 1999 NS/CSX takeover of Conrail, but unfortunately the connection itself is not publicly accessible.
Lagro -- West End Siding.Continuing east on Hill Street, you are once again on Old US-24. This section was bypassed by the new alignment years ago, and the road you are on resembles a country back road more than a former state highway. About three miles east of the Marion Branch crossing/connection is the start of a passing siding (believe it or not, the first since we left Peru!). There are no roads to access the tracks until you reach the town of Lagro, at the east end of the siding, but there is an (apparently no longer being used) private driveway near the west end that might be a good spot. Just don’t cross the tracks, and stay close to the road. Actually, you might want to park along the road and walk up to the tracks, because the approach to the crossing is on a steep incline. This is a great photo spot, especially for westbounds.
Lagro -- Davis Street.As you go further east via Old US-24, you'll enter the town of Lagro, and should take a left onto Davis Street. The Davis Street/IN-524 crossing is wide open from every angle (1's all around!). Park along Webster Street leading west from crossing, or at the Marathon gas station NW of the crossing.
Lagro -- Canal Street.Just east of here, via either Main Street or the Blue Star Highway, a railroad bridge goes over Canal Street and a small creek. This is another GREAT location; just park along the street and walk where you want to go.
Lagro -- CR-500E.Leave town via the Blue Star Highway (a more recent Old US-24 alignment) towards Andrews.We include this location only because you'll be unable to get trackside for a mile or so since Canal Street, and if you know something is almost on top of you, take a right onto CR-500E. You'll probably have to shoot from the road.Somewhere in this general area is the MP 181.9 defect detector. The aerials aren't sharp enough to identify it positively, but it may be just to the east of this crossing, behind the farmer's compound.
Andrews -- CR-600E.Once back on the Blue Star Highway, continue east until CR-600E; take a right and drive to the crossing. The northeast quad offers a beautiful panoramic view, and the other quads are 1's to 2's, generally wide open photo fields. Signal just east of here, not sure of MP, but it may be MP 179.
Andrews -- CR-750E. Backtrack to the Blue Star Highway and take a right to continue east. The road will sweep broadly to the northeast, and you'll be well away from the tracks for some distance. At CR-750E, take a right and drive south to the crossing.The railroad has begun its own turn to the northeast, but the crossing is still a good quarter mile south of the highway.The crossing is pleasant, with photo ratings of NE1 with panoramic view, SE3-4 (house), SW1-2, and NW1-2.
Andrews -- McKeever Road.Cross the tracks to the south, and take the next left onto CR-100N. Cross the bridge, and follow this to the “T” intersection with CR-975W; you are now in Huntington County. Turn left, and this road will eventually curve to the right and start paralleling the tracks along the south side as McKeever Road. This will take you into the town of Andrews, but unfortunately there are really no good photo locations until you get into town. However, there is a private crossing at MP 178 that will do if you need to take a grab shot.Do not, however, go north of the tracks.
Andrews -- West Jefferson Street.McKeever Road will eventually take you into the town of Andrews.Turn left on Berry Street, and follow this north to tracks. It will turn into Jefferson Street at the curve; the area along the tracks is wide open.
Andrews -- CR-700W.From Andrews, take Main Street/IN-105 back south to McKeever Street (the same street you came in from Lagro on), and turn left (east).As you leave town, the road becomes CR-200N. This, while not an excellent location, offers fairly decent photo fields all aroung:NE2, SE1, SW2, NW2.There is a road (CR-247N) that closely parallels the tracks to the east, but it is extensively treed in, and results in a dead end.
Huntington -- Rangeline Road.Go back down to CR-200N, take a left and continue to the T intersection with Rangeline Road and bear left.There are several possibilities in this general area, because the road crosses the tracks, swings to the right to closely parallel them, and then swings to the northeast. In general, the crossing itself is wide open all around, with a panoramic view from the south (if the fields are planted with something besides corn), and more panoramic views looking east from the road after curving away from tracks.
Huntington -- Hitzfield Street.Keep going northeast to US-24 (the current alignment; it’s 4-lanes, divided). You will run into this just after you cross the Wabash River via an historic iron truss bridge. US-24 becomes two lanes at this point; follow it on east towards town.Pass up IN-9, which is a 4-lane, divided, very busy highway, and has only a NAG/NARL. You will pass Mt Hope Cemetery on your left, then Thomas Road on your left, and then should take a right onto Hitzfield Street.
Hitzfield does a 90º to the southwest after the tracks, and passes some industrial facilities to reach the city's sewage plant. Park either in driveway of the self-storage company, or along the road after crossing the tracks. Wide open all around, a GREAT location! Signals 1718/1719 are to west of here.
Huntington -- Lafontaine Street.Continue east on US-24 (now known as Park Street) to Lafontaine Street and turn right. Cross the tracks and park. Photos here are fair, but not stellar, and are only possible from the south side.Recommended as a location only if you have to get trackside in a hurry.
Huntington -- Byron Street.Between Lafontaine and Byron Street, things get confusing, to say the least.If you are a real photographer and wish to try to work in a photo using the the courthouse as a prop at the Jefferson Street/Court Street/Warren Street area crossings, by all means, go for it.However, if you're an average picture taker (like your Webmaster) and just want to follow along on the tour, you will want to follow the path of least resistance to Byron Street.
[NOTE WELL:Bruce and I will give you driving directions, but you had better do some mapwork ahead of time. This is not an easy drive, especially if you are by yourself.]
From the Lafontaine Street crossing, go back north to State Street.Take a right, and then at the Y with Market Street, stay right to continue southeast on State.State will intersect with Cherry Street/IN-5/US-224, and you need to bear right.After less than a full block, you must turn left onto Franklin Street.This will take you northeast past the courthouse, and 4 blocks after leaving State Street, take a right onto Byron Street. You still aren't thru convolutions, as Byron will do a strange 80º to the left and then a 90º to the right to continue dead south as Byron Street.
We have no photo ratings on this crossing, but it's pretty open from both southern quads, and there is a sidewalk on the east side.
Huntington -- Kocher Street.Heading south on Byron Street, take a left onto Webster Street, and go all the way to a T at Briant Street. Take a left to the crossing.This is, quite frankly, a poor to fair crossing, so continue north to a right on Franklin Street.At Condit Street, take a right and head to the crossing.Just south of the crossing, take a left onto Kocher Street, and park to the LEFT.Wide open from the SE quad.
Huntington -- Jackson Street.Continue northeast on Kocher, and you will see Jackson Street on the right. Back in the day, Jackson used to be an AG crossing, but Jackson is cut just to the south of the tracks. This location is a lawn chair and cooler special, as you've got unrestricted viewing from both sides of the old road, and there is (obviously) no traffic on Jackson going over the tracks.
Huntington -- Grayson Street.This is the final in-town crossing in Huntington, and like several of the preceding ones, it's a good one.Once again heading northeast on Kocher, park before or after the intersection with Grayson and walk north to the crossing.
Huntington -- Old Fort Wayne Road.Continue northeast on Kocher to a T at Broadway Street. If you take a left here, you'll go over the tracks and see the west end of the Huntington siding, at MP 169.8.However, this is not recommended as a railfan location, as the street is busy, and there is far too much private property to make the location worthwhile.Therefore, rather than take the left at Broadway Street, take a right and go south to State Street. Take a left and go to Meridian, where you can take a left to get up to the tracks, but it is not a recommended fan location.
After crossing Meridian Road, State Street is now known as Hosler Road. After passing some HUGE storage tanks on your left, the road will curve to the left, then back to the right and parallel the tracks for some distance. You are about halfway along the siding that began back at the east end of Huntington. At this point; Old Fort Wayne Road will go off to your left. You are in the middle of the siding at the crossing, and should have decent photo field access all around, although they won't be spectacular.
Mardenis.About a mile farther east on Hosler Road is the end of the siding, at Mardenis interlocking.There are a few houses along the road here, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a place to pull off and take photos if you happen to catch a meet here. You’re south of the tracks (the light is great pretty much all day except for late afternoons in the summer), the view is wide open (no trees or pole lines in the way), and traffic on the road is relatively light.
Mardenis -- CR-200E.Further east along Hosler Road, when you reach CR-200E, take a left and go to the crossing.This is not a world-class location, but it is certainly worth a visit. Both southern quads will give you open photo fields.
Mahon.Cross the tracks to the north and go up to US-24.Take a right, and head towards Fort Wayne.Pass up CR-600N, as it's a private crossing near an industrial facility.CR-675N is also private, so keep on going.Take a right on State Street/Mahon Road/CR-750N, and go south to the tracks.Parking is tight; the northwest quad is probably the only possibility. NE1, SE3, SW1, NW3, with the northeast and southwest offering broad, panorama views.MP 163.
Roanoke Station. Backtrack to US-24 and take a right to head northeast.At Roanoke Station Road, take a right and drive down to the crossing.Park in the gravel in the northwest quadrant. NE3, SE1, SW4, NW2. There is a defect detector here: MP 161.5.
Aboite -- CR-1100N.Drive back to US-24 and take a right. At CR-900N/Vine Street, take a right. CR-900 is a direct, straight line connector between US-24 and I-69 on the west side of Fort Wayne. It is not a quiet country road; it is a major road and very busy.The crossing is NARL.
This is, perhaps, the point at which you need to make a decision.Bruce is going to take us directly to and right thru the Fort Wayne area. If you are uncomfortable in urban areas, or if you are pressed for time, you may continue east on CR-900N (which becomes Lafayette Center Road somewhere along the way) to I-69/I-469.Take I-469 to Exit 15 (Tillman Road). Turn left (west) on Tillman, then right (north) on Hartzell Road (immediately past the Interstate). Take Hartzell north about 4 miles. You will pass through two traffic lights in quick succession, at IN-930, then Lincoln Highway. There will be a Speedway gas station ahead of you on the right at Lincoln Highway. Continue north about a block or so, and turn right just before you cross the first set of tracks, and park anywhere you like along the gravel drive.This is NE interlocking.
To continue the tour (you are going to be Combat Railfans by the time you get to New Haven's NE interlocking), cross the tracks via CR-900N heading east.Take the next road to the left (Gundy Road) and shortly you’ll cross the lead tracks into GM’s Fort Wayne Assembly plant located just east of here. Good news for Norfolk Southern and the Fort Wayne area:In late July 2009, GM announced that it will retool the plant and continue to make vehicles there for the foreseeable future.
To your left (west) there is a wye with the north and south legs feeding the automotive yard to the east. There are opportunities for sweeping panoramic views overlooking Roanoke Siding and small yard from alongside Gundy Road.The tracks you crossed are that eastern yard lead.
Gundy Road will bend to the northeast and end at CR-1100N.Take a left and drive to the crossing of the main line.To the south you will see the beginning of the north end of the wye into the GM complex.This is MP 159.The main is double tracked here, and will be so until Aboite Road, the next location we'll visit.There will be a serious curve to the northeast just north of the crossing, which can be interesting for westbounds.
Aboite -- Aboite Road.Drive back down to the location where Gundy Road ended, and bear left onto Kress Road. At Aboite Road, take a left and drive up to the crossing.The end of the double track is just to the west.Photo ratings are:NE1, SE2, SW4, NW3-4.
Aboite -- Amber Road.Head north on Aboite Road until it T's with Redding Drive; take a right. At Amber Road, take a right and drive to the tracks.A beautifully open, still-in-the-country, fan location, with photo field 1's all around.
Roanoke -- Ellison Road.Drive back up to Redding Road, take a right, and when you get to US-24, take another right.Pass up the crossing on Homestead Road, as it is NARL, and go all the way to a major intersection with Liberty Mills Road on the left and Ellison Road to the right.Take the right, wind thru a couple of curves, and you'll be going straight south. You will come to the tracks and can probably park on the SW quad.You about 2 football fields in length from I-69.There will be considerable noise from the traffic on the interstate, so keep alert for trains. Photo ratings are NE2, SE2, SW1, NW1, but if you want to work the I-69 overpass into the images, you may have to fight some trees.
[NOTE WELL:You are now out of the country and into the city. You must pay much more attention to driving conditions and personal safety awareness.Mentally reach up into your brain and switch your alertness level to "Urban Area".]
Fort Wayne -- Smith Road.From the Ellison crossing, go back up to US-24 and turn right. Go thru the I-69 intersection, and when you get to Engle Road take a right.Drive cross-country to Smith Road; a right will take you to the crossing, but it's nothing to write home about, as the best quad (SW) is a 2, and the other are 3's and 4's.However, you're in the city now, and not out in that glorious farm land, and ya gotta take what you can get.
Fort Wayne -- Ardmore Avenue.Cross the tracks to the south, and then turn left onto Knoll Road when you get there. Knoll Road will take you to Ardmore Avenue, and another left will take you up to the crossing. “The Lantern” in the SW quad offers the best place to park, unless an event is taking place there. NE3, SE2-3, SW1, NW1-2 -- not at all bad for the big city..This is MP 150.
Fort Wayne -- Engle Road.Go over the tracks to the north, and at Engle Road, take a right. You can get pix here, alright, at NE2-3, SE3-4, SW2, NW1, but the tracks and street are at a sharp angle, and the street is majorly busy.Park in the NE quad - which can be a challenging driving feat.Unless you really must get trackside, this is not a recommended location.
Fort Wayne -- Hugo Interlocking.From the Engle Road Crossing, continue east on Engle to a crossing of the ex-NKP line out of Muncie.Just past the crossing, take a left onto McClure Court, and park on the right just before the last business on the street (a lawn care enterprise.)Hugo interlocking is directly north of you.
Depending on your perspective, this junction is a big deal: It may the the most important junction in the Fort Wayne area.If you are a photographer or just a hobby aim-and-shoot like your Webmaster, Hugo is a zero. Bruce reports that you can do videos here, but I reserve judgement.This is a sensitive area. Norfolk Southern has a zero tolerance policy for trespassers.It is almost impossible to get decent photo/video fields without trespassing.You do the math. I think you sit quietly in your car and watch trains go by.Period.But, hey, that's not so bad is it?
For a more in-depth overview of Hugo, here's the link to the Fort Wayne Railfan's Web page description of Hugo interlocking:
Fort Wayne -- Nuttman Avenue.Backtrack down to Engle and take a left.After four blocks, take a left onto Wenonah Lane (not to be confused with one of the Judd's).Wenonah will wind up to Nuttman Avenue, and you need to take a left. At the crossing, the photo fields are NE4, SE2-3, SW4, NW1-2.
Fort Wayne -- Brooklyn Avenue.Continue east on Nuttman to a left onto Brooklyn Avenue.At the crossing, you're kind of between a junkyard and a hard place, but photos are possible: NE3, SE2, SW4, NW3.Slim pickens'.
Fort Wayne -- Winter Street.Beyond Brooklyn Avenue, the tracks thru Fort Wayne are elevated, and no railfan locations exist. Therefore, we'll take you across town to Winter Street, where the first AG crossing is encountered.Continue north on Brooklyn to a T at Taylor Street and turn right.At Broadway Street turn left, and then take a right onto West Jefferson Boulevard.This will take you thru the downtown area, and you should look for Cedar Street, then McCulloch Street, and then take a right onto Winter Street.
There are pretty much slim pickings here, too, but you've been away from the tracks for some time, and this spot, while it was NO, will get you trackside for a quick hit at something that's on top of you, according to the aerials.
Fort Wayne -- Anthony Boulevard.Go back up Winter to Hayden Street, turn right, and then take another right onto Anthony.Bruce rates the crossing as NE2, SE2, SW3, NW2. Not bad, at all.There is a very strange-looking park on the SE quad -- it might be a roller blade or skate board park.
Fort Wayne -- Lumbard Street.Cross the tracks to the north, and drive all the way up to West Jefferson Boulevard.Turn right, and then some seven blocks later, take a right onto Lumbard Street.This is the best location out of the last several:NE2, SE2, SW2, NW1.
Fort Wayne -- Edsall Avenue.Go back north to Pennsylvania Street, take a right, and after two blocks, take another right onto Edsall Avenue.Park in the vicinity of of McDonald Street.Hoof it south to the NAG bridge.The bridge has sidewalks on both sides, separated from traffic lanes by railings. All railings are wooden, with no chain link fencing. The street does not appear to be busy, and the surrounding neighborhood seems to be reasonably safe (but a little caution never hurts). There is some tree growth along the tracks, but no worse than at either of the Old US-24 bridges visited earlier in this tour.
Fort Wayne -- Meyer Road. Cross the tracks to the south and take a left onto New Haven Avenue.Pass up the crossing at Coliseum Boulevard, as it is NAG/NARL.At Meyer Road, take a left, go over the crossing, and park on the NE quad.This one looks like a good location from the aerials, but on the ground it's only a NE3,SE3,SW4,NW4.We include it only for those who think that it would work for them.
Fort Wayne -- Estella Avenue.This is our last stop before NE Interlocking, and it is an interesting one.As you leave Meyer Road, head back south to New Haven Avenue, turn left and continue on. Very busy IN-930/West Illinois road will merge with you from the northwest and after that merger, you need to take your first left onto Estella Avenue. At Maumee Road, turn right and park. Walk back to Estella, walk up to the crossing and see what you can see.
Bruce rated this crossing at NE1, SE2, SW3-4, NW1, and it seems to be somewhat less urban-heavy than many of the previous ones.
New Haven -- NE Interlocking.Drive down south on Estella Avenue to IN-930/Lincoln Highway, and take a left to go east.When you get to Hartzell, take a left, continue north about a block or so, and turn right just before you cross the first set of tracks; park anywhere you like along the gravel drive.This is NE interlocking.
This is far away the most interesting and most accessible railfanning location in the entire Fort Wayne metro area. Here, the former Wabash Huntington District that we’ve been following crosses the former Nickel Plate Chicago-Bellevue main at grade, with connecting tracks in the north and south quadrants. East Wayne Yard is immediately west of here along the former NKP, and at the west end of the yard is a connection (the “Snake Track”) that allows access from the Huntington District to the yard from the west. This is a lawn-chair-and-cooler location, and you can easily spend an entire day here if there’s enough traffic. You are south of the tracks, with good light virtually all day. There are plenty of grade crossings around to give you notice of approaching trains, and if you have a scanner, you will hear trains calling signals as they approach your location. In addition, there is a defect detector at MP 135.3 on the Huntington District, about five miles out. The former Nickel Plate heading east from “NE” is known as the Fostoria District, and to the west it is the Chicago District. The Huntington District makes a curve through the interlocking, heading from due east to almost due north, and continues toward Detroit. The bulk of the traffic here seems to come straight through on the Huntington District, or from the east on the Fostoria District and through the connection to head west on the Huntington, and vice versa. So most of the trains will be on the tracks closest to you.
Webmaster's Note:You can continue touring to the east, but the NS tour now completed east of here is ex-NKP. The tour is complete all the way to Fostoria, Ohio.To access this additional tour, go here.