Henderson and Louisville KY Railfanning

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David Collins
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Henderson and Louisville KY Railfanning

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I posted the Evansville Western thread a few days ago, while I’m on the same trip, I’m making a run to Louisville while making a stop in Henderson, Kentucky. Henderson looks quite busy with the double (possibly triple?) track main with CSX so that’s on my list for sure. What I’m not sure of is Louisville, what are some good spots around town and what can I expect as well as Henderson?
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Re: Henderson and Louisville KY Railfanning

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The Ford Kentucky Truck Plant is next to CSX Obannon Yard. Should be a lot of loading / switching going on there. The Ford Louisville Assembly Plant is on CSX also with loading / switching going on there.

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Re: Henderson and Louisville KY Railfanning

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Louisville is very hard and sketchy in my honest opinion. I've seen trains on the highway before but I don't think it's a busy city. You're better off going to a place like Nashville where CSX is even more busy. Plus in Nashville you got short lines like Nashville and Eastern which can boast old BNSF and Santa Fe B40-8Ws. Nashville is much safer than Louisville. Although Bowling green KY could be interesting. But again CSX runs 10-14 trains a day and there's the RJ Corman

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Re: Henderson and Louisville KY Railfanning

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CSXBOY wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2024 4:17 pm
Plus in Nashville you got short lines like Nashville and Eastern which can boast old BNSF and Santa Fe B40-8Ws.
Louisville also gets lots of shortline action and the GEs have been repainted

CSX/RJC run aluminum trains using RJ Corman power during the day as Z544/Z545 from Louisville to Berea, KY for autos. I believe they run one direction per day, six days per week but its been a while since I looked into that. RJC also runs sand trains to Lexington and online sources say they leave around 7:30 PM

LIRC unfortunately seems to run in darkness however a brave soul might be able to catch the northbounder out of Jeffersonville, IN (across the river from Louisville) at around 4 AM and chase it north through the sunrise.

Paducah & Louisville also run from Louisville but their main train departs at night and I have no experience to verify when the inbound train should arrive into town...

I'm not too good with the Class 1s but La Grange, KY (northeast of Louisville) sports a section of street running which could be neat for your photos

Hope your trip goes well!

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Re: Henderson and Louisville KY Railfanning

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CSXBOY wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2024 4:17 pm
Louisville is very hard and sketchy in my honest opinion.
For crying out loud you say that about every major city in the US 💀
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Re: Henderson and Louisville KY Railfanning

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David Collins wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2024 10:24 am
For crying out loud you say that about every major city in the US 💀
To be fair, he did say this too:
Nashville is much safer than Louisville
So unless you think Nashville isn't a major city, your statement is false :)
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Re: Henderson and Louisville KY Railfanning

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~Z~ wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2024 10:59 am
David Collins wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2024 10:24 am
For crying out loud you say that about every major city in the US 💀
To be fair, he did say this too:
I don’t understand?
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Re: Henderson and Louisville KY Railfanning

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DC will never be a computer programmer :)
louisville major city not safe
nashville safe so can't be major city

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Re: Henderson and Louisville KY Railfanning

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DaveO wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2024 12:54 pm
DC will never be a computer programmer :)
louisville major city not safe
nashville safe so can't be major city
I was half asleep when I read ~Z~’s post. I understand now :lol:.

I was joking, not gonna start anything over it.
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Re: Henderson and Louisville KY Railfanning

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If you're going to hang around Louisville, another vote for the street running in nearby LaGrange - especially if you've never seen it.

As mentioned in your other thread - the CSX Street running on what I'm pretty sure is the ex monon on E 15th street in New Albany would also be on my list if in the area.

Also near Lousiville on the NS part of things is the Pope Lick trestle - https://maps.app.goo.gl/uUYeQEUC8wFZuQPD8

The NS line on the indiana side going west can be pretty scenic given the terrain, and Lucas Oil operates the former Louisville New Albany and Corydon form the NS interchange south just a few miles to one of their main production facilities. IIRC they used to be Alco powered, but not sure what they are using now or how often they run. This will be just north of Corydon and they run north to the NS interchange near New Salisbury. There's a few crossings between Lucas Oil itself and the NS interchange, so if you catch them it might be cool, as I doubt they move fast.

As far as other suggestions in the thread -

Nashville - You might get more CSX here, but the shortline prospects aren't as nice, and you won't see NS. Nashville traffic can be rough, and watch out for the drunks on scooters downtown. Nashville can be sketchy too, but a little common sense and you'll be fine- just like Louisville.

You do get the Music city star commuter trains running on the former Tennessee central - they leave from right downtown (on the downtown side of the river across from Nissan stadium where the Titans play) and run east through the congested suburbs of Mt Juliet and Lebanon. Not super easy to chase, as the roads are kinda congested as the Nashville area has grown considerably and interstate 40 while roughly parallel, bottles up pretty good at times. They do run F40's and F59PHI's though with ex Metra Bi-levels.

RJ Corman operates the Nashville and Eastern (on the same tracks as the music city star- before RJC took over both the N&E and Music city star were operated at least by the same folks) - their main engine house is on a dead end (no trespassing) off of Knoxville Ave in southeast Lebanon TN - you can kinda see power sitting out from a distance. They operate what used to be the Tennessee Central (which once ran almost all the way to Knoxville itself). They also use the ex Tennessee Central yard near downtown right by the Tennessee Central Railroad Museum (an interesting museum worth a visit if you have time, and sadly the only model train store in Nashville as crazy as that sounds, though it's small ) . I'm not sure of the operation of the museum currently. They used to be a mostly (exclusive ?) GE fleet, and last I saw them at least a couple had gotten RJC corporate red colors- they were a bit of a mixed bag before including a bunch of BNSF/CSX patches with only a seemingly small # of units painted in their own (handsome) scheme. You're most likely to catch them moving between Lebanon and Nashville - that's where most of their customers are, plus the interchange with CSX. They operate a small branch up from Hermitage to Old Hickory, but I'm not sure what's up there/how often they make that trek. Same with their operation east of Lebanon. I'd imagine best chances at seeing them moving are either between the morning and evening commuter runs, or later at night. Maybe they go east of Lebanon during the day ? They do a decent business with gravel/aggregates - from a few spots east of Lebanon including a little ways east, and deliver them to around the ex TN Central yard near downtown. Not sure how often those gravel trains run. Reminds me of the W&LE in all honesty in that sense.

There's another shortline on the west side of Nashville that I've tried a few times at without success - they were operating a couple of patched Conrail and Blue bonnet Santa Fe B23-7's - Power is parked about where Herman and 11th ave north intersect, and right by where 65/40 crosses Herman. They operate what was the west end of the Tennessee Central northwest to what would have eventually been a connection with Illinois Central- it's been cut back quite a bit though, and the track only goes as far as the extreme south part of Ashland City- basically following TN Highway 12. Haven't figured out their operation, but if you could catch them, to me they are a bit more appealing - I'll take a conrail or blue/yellow santa fe patch over a BNSF/CSX one.

All of the above is a big IF you want to also venture to Nashville.

If you're up to expand your range a bit more for shortline action and you're in the Nashville area (what's another couple hours amirite ? )

The West Tennessee Railroad operates a couple of branches - they used to be known for operating Alco's (including alligators) and later as a Dash 7 holdout, but with class one's purging dash 8's those have sadly joined in and I think are now the primary power. AFAIK, they have a pair of the only C30-7's besides LS&I that still operate in the US moving freight, but just like LS&I the newer power has apparently taken priority. Their main hub is the ex IC/ICG line in Jackson TN in the south end of town - it can be kinda confusing, since they operate two lines going north of Jackson- one being a branch line, along with their "main" that runs north to the CN/IC connection at Fulton. They also run south to the KCS/NS interchange near Corinth. Last I knew, the run south from Jackson to Corinth was typically at night, and the run north (to Fulton) was the daytime job. Not sure if that's still the case, as it's been a few years. Couldn't tell you anything about the other branch north of Jackson sadly- when I was there I got lucky with a NB to Fulton and gave chase despite another job also doing something around Jackson- I figured I had the road train with the C30's so why chance it. I believe they also own/operate two other branches - one being from Dickson TN (interchange with CSX /ex NC&STL) and Hohenwald (tracks still in place last I knew but I don't think they go that far south anymore or at least haven't in a long time TBH) - pretty sure they don't stray too far from Dickson. Couldn't tell you how often they operate but it looks like they call this their South Central TN railroad. They also do have another interesting operation near Dyersburg TN that runs up to Hickman KY called the TennKen railroad - IIRC I think they are or were using pretty rare GP28's on this line (not a typo) . Again, couldn't tell you much about that part of their railroad.
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Re: Henderson and Louisville KY Railfanning

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Well if you're going to western TN the KWT has a sizable length of street running in Paris.
In all the times I had been down there I think I saw one train on the line in Murray.
Easier to get pictures of track in street than trains on the track.

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Re: Henderson and Louisville KY Railfanning

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RailsandTrucks wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2024 10:10 pm
IIRC they used to be Alco powered, but not sure what they are using now or how often they run. This will be just north of Corydon and they run north to the NS interchange near New Salisbury. There's a few crossings between Lucas Oil itself and the NS interchange, so if you catch them it might be cool, as I doubt they move fast.
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RailsandTrucks wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2024 10:10 pm
They used to be a mostly (exclusive ?) GE fleet, and last I saw them at least a couple had gotten RJC corporate red colors- they were a bit of a mixed bag before including a bunch of BNSF/CSX patches with only a seemingly small # of units painted in their own (handsome) scheme.
All of them are now in RJC colors unfortunately but they still primarily operate the GEs. I believe the wiki is pretty up to date on train schedules for N&E which show most of their trains working during the day between the commuter rushes.
RailsandTrucks wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2024 10:10 pm
There's another shortline on the west side of Nashville that I've tried a few times at without success - they were operating a couple of patched Conrail and Blue bonnet Santa Fe B23-7's - Power is parked about where Herman and 11th ave north intersect, and right by where 65/40 crosses Herman.
Nashville & Western, subsidiary of the Nashville & Eastern, they run Tuesday and Thursday. The Dash 7s are all OOS if not scrapped by now, replaced by N&E B40-8s.
RailsandTrucks wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2024 10:10 pm
They also do have another interesting operation near Dyersburg TN that runs up to Hickman KY called the TennKen railroad - IIRC I think they are or were using pretty rare GP28's on this line (not a typo) . Again, couldn't tell you much about that part of their railroad.
Tennken is a cool operation too though they primarily stay within their yard in Dyersburg with an OD of 6 or 7 AM. They run to Hickman when necessary. From what I've heard they're pretty friendly so you can probably call the front office and ask what they're running and when. In the process of repainting their units too (finally) so you can catch from pretty attractive colors on some pretty attractive GPs.

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Re: Henderson and Louisville KY Railfanning

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I just never have had any issues in Nashville besides traffic. As long as you stay away from the bar scene you're fine. The only place I've seen the most drunks on scooters is near the old Union station near Kayne ave. I love railfanning in the south. Cities like Nashville, Chattanooga, Birmingham and even Atlanta can offer very exciting vantage points and operations. If you have time head to Chattanooga, coffeys cliff is cool due to the yard power working all of the trains and nickajack lake on the CSX Chattanooga and NS Memphis lines is a very exciting place to shoot. Plus yes La grange is a must if you have time. That might be the coolest thing near Louisville'. They might run a train or two in the early morning unsure about that tho. You can track them down with the virtual railfan cam. Densiy on the CSX LCL is like 8-9 a day so pack some patience

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