Railfanning Tips

Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

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Re: Whirlwind photo tour of the CSS&SB

Postby JamesT4 » Wed Apr 15, 2009 1:42 pm

Otto Vondrak wrote:
MikeF wrote:
Otto Vondrak wrote:Really? You can "miss" toll booths?

Unless your rental car comes with an I-Pass, you'll need to make sure you're in the right lanes at toll plazas in order to pay cash.


No problem, New York/New Jersey has toll booths that are set up the same way. But thanks for the warning.

-otto-



Otto, here goes a picture of how the mainline plazas are set up in illinois, that I took while I was driving, I drive through them everyday.
This one is on Northbound I-294 @ 83rd St. Plaza
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jttjr/3433326654/
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Re: Whirlwind photo tour of the CSS&SB

Postby PRRGuy » Sat Apr 25, 2009 6:13 pm

So? How was it?

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Railfanning the NICTD

Postby nomis » Fri Aug 07, 2009 12:07 pm

Over the next two weekends I will be in NW Indiana and will have a chance to explore the South Shore. Outside of 11th Street in Michigan City, where are other weekend spots to do railfanning? Any help will be much appreciated. Luckially this is before construction starts & unluckially probably wont see a ML running on the weekend.
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Re: Railfanning the NICTD

Postby JLJ061 » Fri Aug 07, 2009 4:36 pm

Ogden Dunes east of Miller is an excellent (and busy) spot to watch not only South Shore action, but Norfolk Southern's Chicago Line parallels the line, where you can catch not only NS trains, but also CP, CSX and Amtrak consists.
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Re: Railfanning the NICTD

Postby justalurker66 » Fri Aug 07, 2009 6:27 pm

nomis wrote:Over the next two weekends I will be in NW Indiana and will have a chance to explore the South Shore. Outside of 11th Street in Michigan City, where are other weekend spots to do railfanning? Any help will be much appreciated. Luckially this is before construction starts & unluckially probably wont see a ML running on the weekend.
Weekends are pretty good by car ... two hour train separation not so good (until November 22nd weekend schedule changes). If you have the time and will to drive the line from Hegewisch to Michigan City there are a few things to see. You're right about the gallery cars ... they don't run on the weekends.

Beverly Shores is a nice little station that was preserved a few years back. Weekend hours 11:30am-3:30pm (Central Time).
http://www.bevshrshistsoc.org/museum.html

Dune Park and Ogden Dunes are decent stations ... with the former being good if you want to see a nice wooded setting and the latter if you like diesels on the parallel NS line. The other stations are nice but not specifically remarkable. I like the glass atrium at East Chicago and Hammond and Hegewisch have decent station buildings but nothing too jaw dropping.

BTW: It will probably be more interesting during construction ... planning the obligatory street running photo in Michigan City will be impossible but having a train parked at Gary for an hour every two hours (although likely on the add track where it can only be seen from the distance) and any work being done in visible areas along the line will generate a few special photo ops. But you should be able to see something interesting.
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Re: Railfanning the NICTD

Postby Tadman » Sat Aug 08, 2009 11:57 am

Keep in mind we have no ML's, just bilevels, gallery cars, or highliners...

All kidding aside, there's a few threads where Franklin Gowen and Otto Vondrak were looking for the same advice, either here or at the Metra forum. Check 'em out.
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Re: Railfanning the NICTD

Postby nomis » Wed Aug 12, 2009 8:38 pm

A lil synopsis:
On my way in i tried railfanning from the
airplane & found two UP engines ... i tried railfanning from the highway & found my first cabbage. Exploring without a map or a clue, and after finding my hotel I took a wrong turn and came across a bridge over a rail yard, yet the grey ghost was hiding from me. Eventually, I found my way onto 10th street & before I could drive to the end of the block i had to pull over. So i lay chase and run out of road & there is somebody else waiting in the wings. So i quickly run, eh drive to the other side of town & wait for the train to come and go.

The next day, I return to Carrol street I go & and explore, but alas trespass naught I. Afterwards, I had to keep the traveling friend happy and we stopped by the lake, yet decided to take a few random turns and came across an out of context building with a train fast approaching, and then it left and people forgot to get off so it reversed back.

Quite an eventful rail-trip for having most of my time at a wedding. Decided to not travel with a map or a gps & timetables were left printed back in Philly. Lady luck was with me in finding trains without waiting & without expecting.

Thanks to all for the help and suggestions, though I dident visit Ogden Dunes, I passed by it on the way back to Chicago to head home.
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Re: Railfanning the NICTD

Postby justalurker66 » Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:17 pm

nomis wrote:... I took a wrong turn and came across a bridge over a rail yard, ...


Looks like a right turn to me. I like the Roeske Ave bridge. I wish there was a walkway on both sides (I got stopped by a MC police officer for being on the wrong side of the bridge. It was a few years ago and I'm not sure the officer understood when I told him I was a rail fan taking pictures for my web site. (I'm not sure he knew what a web site was.)
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Re: Railfanning the NICTD

Postby Tadman » Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:48 am

Great pics, glad to see you enjoyed my favorite railroad and my favorite railroad town.
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Re: South Shore railfanning tips

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Sat Mar 13, 2010 11:58 am

This summer I might railfan the South Shore and would hit up Ogden Dunes. I know the Chicago Line passes alongside the South Shore. Do any of Amtrak's Wolverines use that track through there?
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Re: South Shore railfanning tips

Postby justalurker66 » Sat Mar 13, 2010 1:45 pm

njt/mnrrbuff wrote:This summer I might railfan the South Shore and would hit up Ogden Dunes. I know the Chicago Line passes alongside the South Shore. Do any of Amtrak's Wolverines use that track through there?

Yes. All of Amtrak's Michigan trains as well as the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited pass on the Norfolk Southern tracks on the north side of the Ogden Dunes South Shore station. It is a popular place for people watching trains on both sides of the parking lot.
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Re: South Shore railfanning tips

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Sat Mar 13, 2010 4:14 pm

thanks. How busy is the NS Line with freights in the afternoon through Ogden?

What are my chances of having a gallery mu all the way to South Bend this August? I plan to do a run all the way out to South Bend. thanks.
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Re: South Shore railfanning tips

Postby buddah » Sat Mar 13, 2010 5:22 pm

njt/mnrrbuff wrote:What are my chances of having a gallery mu all the way to South Bend this August? I plan to do a run all the way out to South Bend. thanks.


Not good from what I know, the 300s are currently reserved to runs from Chicago to Michigan City. I doubt well see them in any revenue service further than that until some needed upgrades are made east of M.City.
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Re: South Shore railfanning tips

Postby Tadman » Sun Mar 14, 2010 9:58 pm

Buddah is right, 300's only run to MC. As for NS Chicago line, it's quite busy. You have seven Amtraks in each direction there, NS freight, CP trackage rights, and the occasional CSX freight off the former PM (quite rare). It's one of my favorite places to watch trains.
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Re: Railfanning Tips

Postby vxla » Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:15 pm

Is Ogden the best place to catch the NS line on weekends when day-trippers to the Dunes are plentiful?
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