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

Moderators: JamesT4, metraRI

  by ohioriverrailway
I'm thinking about a two-day trip to get some CSSSB photos, particularly east of MC. Can one of you local folks give me some pointers on the best local roads to use to get to public crossings, or other places where photography can happen without too much aggravation? Thanks.
  by JLJ061
In South Bend, the line parallels Bendix Drive from the Airport to Westmoor, then along Westmoor to Sheridan Avenue. Another good spot is Grandview Avenue where the Airport Main joins the old Main from Bendix Station.

Another scenic location is Terre Coupee where the line curves around some grain elevators, this is at Walnut Road south of US 20.

Hudson Lake station is at Chicago Road, north of US 20 just west of New Carlisle.

The Fail Road overpass is a good place to catch westbounds sprinting down Galena Hill east of there. The overpass is about 1 mile north of US 20, just west of the Toll Road overpass. Fail Road also takes you to the Hesston Steam Museum futher north.

Those are my favorite spots to take pics from.
  by Tadman
Nowhere Tavern at Sagueny Lake backs up to the tracks. Also, M-39 from New Buffalo to LaPorte goes under the tracks north of Springville. Unfortunately, there's little traffic on the east end.
  by justalurker66
The crossings from Walnut Rd (east of New Carlisle) to Grandview Ave in South Bend are good places to watch the trains go by ... most of them at full speed with Grandview much slower as trains transition from the fast main line to the slow South Bend city tracks. And the "street side" running tracks from Sheridan Ave to the airport in South Bend features passenger trains slow enough to take multiple shots of the same pass (although parking is limited).

Tadman is right about traffic. You can visit every crossing between Michigan City and South Bend Airport and never see a train. So check a schedule.

In New Carlisle one can see the trains from the old station location on Arch St (although it is a quiet neighborhood on a dead end street, so people may ask why you are there). West of New Carlisle the street side running in Hudson Lake is useful ... and if you time it right you can catch a train on the wooden bridge a couple of crossings west of Hudson Lake station or if you find the right road just west of there near signal 165. The west Hudson Lake areas would also qualify as a quiet neighborhood on a dead end street.

Birchim Rd is the next good place west (see my avatar) although passenger trains no longer pass each other there on a regular basis. I've taken pictures from the Fail Rd overpass as well ... and there are plenty of grade crossings all the way to Michigan City where I've seen fellow photographers.

In Michigan City Shops and the street running are very common photograph targets.

Have fun, stay safe.
  by Tadman
Further thoughts - chase a train or two into the East End, but spend your day around Michigan City. You'll see some freight action, particularly around the freight yard on the former NKP north of Shops, and the other freight yard, on the west end of town. The main between Dune Park and Michigan City is very interurban-like, too. Single track in the woods. Also, MC has some Amtrak, CSX, and NS diversions when CSS/NICTD gets quiet.

The folks at South Shore are pretty cool about railfans, but please don't take that as a sign to trespass or pester. It's only going to take one guy getting hurt before the entire employee base goes anti-railfan.
  by ohioriverrailway
Tadman wrote:
The folks at South Shore are pretty cool about railfans, but please don't take that as a sign to trespass or pester. It's only going to take one guy getting hurt before the entire employee base goes anti-railfan.
I'm an Operation Lifesaver presenter in my spare time, so no worries about trespassing. I may let someone in the bureaucracy know I'll be in the neighborhood for a couple of days -- just as a courtesy, and maybe to keep the local authorities placated.

And thanks all for the tips. Gotta go to Google Earth for some maps.
  by ohioriverrailway
A belated thanks for the tips. I spent a few days there in mid-September. It truly is the "friendliest little railroad in the country."
I put up a short webpage at http://www.travelwithrick.info. Click on the last link. The page isn't really geared toward a railfan audience, so be forewarned.