Quick Questions

Anything pertaining to railfanning in Indiana.
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Railfanjunction
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Quick Questions

Unread post by Railfanjunction »

I was planning on potentially going over to Northwestern Indiana around Griffith for the morning the week after next, and I have a couple of questions regarding train traffic in the area.

1) How busy is the CSX Monon Subdivision? I was hoping to get a shot of the Hoosier State as it makes its northbound run (hence me going on a Sunday instead of a Saturday) but aside from that are there any consistently scheduled trains that run on the line between Dyer and Lafayette, the furthest I want to go south?

2) When does the CF&E run on a weekend, if at all? I heard a westbound on the line while I was waiting in Sidney, Indiana, Saturday morning but I didn't know if it was an NS trackage rights train or a CF&E road job.

3) Does the CSX Garrett Subdivision have any notable scenery east of Valparasio? I'm trying to figure out what line to follow between Griffith and Warsaw for the afternoon but I don't know which one to do; part of me wants to hit up Arnold Street in South Bend again but between there and Valpo I don't really want to follow the Chicago Line.

4) Has anyone had issues with CN police in Griffith?

Thanks,

Zach
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Saturnalia
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Re: Quick Questions

Unread post by Saturnalia »

The Garrett was of Valparaiso does get somewhat scenic south of Chesterton at Suman Hill, where the line eastward climbs the Valparaiso Moraine. Like Otis Hill on the Chicago Line west of LaPorte, eastbounds ascend out of the immediate Lake Michigan Basin. There are certainly a lot more curves, fills and cuts in that section than anywhere else on the Garrett Sub. I also recommend the Chicago Line between LaPorte and Chesterton over Otis. Pinola still has its nice Tri-Light NYC Signal bridge right next to the road, too.

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Re: Quick Questions

Unread post by Railfanjunction »

Saturnalia wrote:The Garrett was of Valparaiso does get somewhat scenic south of Chesterton at Suman Hill, where the line eastward climbs the Valparaiso Moraine. Like Otis Hill on the Chicago Line west of LaPorte, eastbounds ascend out of the immediate Lake Michigan Basin. There are certainly a lot more curves, fills and cuts in that section than anywhere else on the Garrett Sub. I also recommend the Chicago Line between LaPorte and Chesterton over Otis. Pinola still has its nice Tri-Light NYC Signal bridge right next to the road, too.

Ok cool. I'll try and swing by there then but this is two weeks out so things can and will change. And as far as the LaPorte area goes, I've covered the area before and don't really have any interest in going back; if I'm going for signals I'd take CPL's over tri-lights any day, especially on a single tracked line. This is just personal preference but I really don't like the Chicago Line up until Hudson Lake anyways, so I may just go there to get a CSS&SB in the fall foliage.

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Re: Quick Questions

Unread post by trainjunkie47 »

Railfanjunction wrote:I was planning on potentially going over to Northwestern Indiana around Griffith for the morning the week after next, and I have a couple of questions regarding train traffic in the area.

4) Has anyone had issues with CN police in Griffith?

Thanks,

Zach
The CN Police are fine, so long as you're not on railroad property. There is a parking area on the north side of the crossing on Broad Street, with a caboose and a tower in a park. There is also a sidewalk adjacent to the road, crossing all of the tracks. However, if you try to chase a train up Wood Street toward Kirk Yard, that entire area is 25 mph speed limit and loaded with stop signs. Though I've never had a personal run in with the Griffith Police Department, they have been present in that neighborhood. Try Colfax Street crossing if you want a nice quiet spot away from traffic, and also a good clear line to shoot pictures.

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Re: Quick Questions

Unread post by Railfanjunction »

trainjunkie47 wrote:
Railfanjunction wrote:I was planning on potentially going over to Northwestern Indiana around Griffith for the morning the week after next, and I have a couple of questions regarding train traffic in the area.

4) Has anyone had issues with CN police in Griffith?

Thanks,

Zach
The CN Police are fine, so long as you're not on railroad property. There is a parking area on the north side of the crossing on Broad Street, with a caboose and a tower in a park. There is also a sidewalk adjacent to the road, crossing all of the tracks. However, if you try to chase a train up Wood Street toward Kirk Yard, that entire area is 25 mph speed limit and loaded with stop signs. Though I've never had a personal run in with the Griffith Police Department, they have been present in that neighborhood. Try Colfax Street crossing if you want a nice quiet spot away from traffic, and also a good clear line to shoot pictures.
Ok! Thanks for the info.

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Re: Quick Questions

Unread post by Railfanjunction »

One more question, how accessible is the area around CP 502? Not Pine Junction, but the area right around the Arcelor Mittal plant in East Chicago.

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Re: Quick Questions

Unread post by Saturnalia »

Railfanjunction wrote:One more question, how accessible is the area around CP 502? Not Pine Junction, but the area right around the Arcelor Mittal plant in East Chicago.

Zach
Yeah...Hick. Fun. Story time!

CSX801 and I were out there a couple months ago. There is a piece of roadway that allows you to get up close to the diamonds, without touching an inch of Arcelor Mittal Property. First off, the angles basically suck in all directions, but I was willing to compromise for at least a shot or two of the trains going through the critical junction. Well there is a fence marking the property line, and we are keeping behind that, when after a train or two two Arcelor Mittal SUVs come storming up, and circle around in front of my camera, FBI raid style. Actually rather amusing to watch.

Anyways, a guy rolls down his window in the nearest one, maybe 15' away and asks what we're doing. I said filming a few trains. Well then he replied, "well you can't do that here, this is a secured such-and-such terrorism blah blah blah whatever something or not facility" - literally dragging on for a whole minute about this. So once he finishes this "speech", I announced that since I was on public land, I could film whatever I wanted.

He did not like this assertion. He told me that he would have to look at my camera, and that any clips with their buildings in them would have to be deleted. Of course that'd be illegal for him to do, so I let him know that, repeating my previous assertion. I added that if they didn't want photos taken from a public road, they should build a much more significant barrier than a 3' chain-link fence. At least, he agreed to call his supervisor.

So he hails his supervisor on the radio, and explains something to the effect of "we have two guys down here taking photos of the trains and our buildings, and they're telling me that I cannot inspect their cameras" to which the other guy asked "Well are they on our property? If they are, you can do more and arrest them". Discouraged, he replied "no, they're behind the fence, but have photos of our operations". The supervisor, who obviously knows his stuff, replied "Well if they're not on our side of the fence, you can't bother them, but ask them to leave, that's the most you can do".

So this guard, who was obviously saddened by his inability to harass me by inspecting my camera, looked over and said "Did you catch that?". I said that I did, told him that I was now going to leave, but only because the train I wanted had passed (which it had while this was going on), and that I knew they weren't going to move, and so would block my shot anyways.

So long story short, the guards are going to show most likely, so I recommend getting in and out quickly - watch ATCS - if you even want to bother. I got my one-and-now-done shot.


Actually, I had pre-planned for this, knowing I might get harassed, so I had setup a little trick to make sure if he somehow was able to force me to delete it, I'd still have the file. But I'm keeping that as a trade secret, in case they're watching.

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Re: Quick Questions

Unread post by Railfanjunction »

Saturnalia wrote:
Railfanjunction wrote:One more question, how accessible is the area around CP 502? Not Pine Junction, but the area right around the Arcelor Mittal plant in East Chicago.

Zach
Yeah...Hick. Fun. Story time!

CSX801 and I were out there a couple months ago. There is a piece of roadway that allows you to get up close to the diamonds, without touching an inch of Arcelor Mittal Property. First off, the angles basically suck in all directions, but I was willing to compromise for at least a shot or two of the trains going through the critical junction. Well there is a fence marking the property line, and we are keeping behind that, when after a train or two two Arcelor Mittal SUVs come storming up, and circle around in front of my camera, FBI raid style. Actually rather amusing to watch.

Anyways, a guy rolls down his window in the nearest one, maybe 15' away and asks what we're doing. I said filming a few trains. Well then he replied, "well you can't do that here, this is a secured such-and-such terrorism blah blah blah whatever something or not facility" - literally dragging on for a whole minute about this. So once he finishes this "speech", I announced that since I was on public land, I could film whatever I wanted.

He did not like this assertion. He told me that he would have to look at my camera, and that any clips with their buildings in them would have to be deleted. Of course that'd be illegal for him to do, so I let him know that, repeating my previous assertion. I added that if they didn't want photos taken from a public road, they should build a much more significant barrier than a 3' chain-link fence. At least, he agreed to call his supervisor.

So he hails his supervisor on the radio, and explains something to the effect of "we have two guys down here taking photos of the trains and our buildings, and they're telling me that I cannot inspect their cameras" to which the other guy asked "Well are they on our property? If they are, you can do more and arrest them". Discouraged, he replied "no, they're behind the fence, but have photos of our operations". The supervisor, who obviously knows his stuff, replied "Well if they're not on our side of the fence, you can't bother them, but ask them to leave, that's the most you can do".

So this guard, who was obviously saddened by his inability to harass me by inspecting my camera, looked over and said "Did you catch that?". I said that I did, told him that I was now going to leave, but only because the train I wanted had passed (which it had while this was going on), and that I knew they weren't going to move, and so would block my shot anyways.

So long story short, the guards are going to show most likely, so I recommend getting in and out quickly - watch ATCS - if you even want to bother. I got my one-and-now-done shot.


Actually, I had pre-planned for this, knowing I might get harassed, so I had setup a little trick to make sure if he somehow was able to force me to delete it, I'd still have the file. But I'm keeping that as a trade secret, in case they're watching.
Gotcha. I'll keep that in mind when I go over there.

Having been frequently harassed by both railroad and real cops for my entire railfanning career I know the feeling very well, such as literally being chased down a freeway by a police helicopter at 10 in the evening because said chopper thought the tripod I was loading into my trunk was metal from an adjacent construction site or being called a terrorist on multiple occasions. Fun times trying to explain your hobby to someone with the authority to ticket you.

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Re: Quick Questions

Unread post by hoborich »

The first thing you should do with corporate hired goons, is tell them "show me some ID that gives you police authority on a public street", or get lost. Because right now you are impersonating a police officer and that's a felony"! They don't have to say they are police. When they accost a citizen on a public street and start giving orders, they are assuming authority that they do not legally have!
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Re: Quick Questions

Unread post by Railfanjunction »

hoborich wrote:The first thing you should do with corporate hired goons, is tell them "show me some ID that gives you police authority on a public street", or get lost. Because right now you are impersonating a police officer and that's a felony"! They don't have to say they are police. When they accost a citizen on a public street and start giving orders, they are assuming authority that they do not legally have!
...Or you can always just follow their instructions so you don't get ticketed. From experience railroad cops especially treat that logic with a lot of disrespect since the lines between public and private property are often blurred in those kinds of situations. While most of the times that I've been harassed by railroad police it's been while on public property, standard responses I get from private security or railroad special agents is the same; railroad property extends between 50 and 100 feet off of the right of way regardless of what's present in that range. While I disagree with that generalized interpretation, I'm not in the business of antagonizing railroad police or private security by being flippant or disrespectful. Most of the time I just explain what I'm doing, let them know I have no intention of causing trouble or getting anywhere near the tracks, and promise to leave in a timely manner.

If that doesn't work I just leave. No point in arguing or getting ticketed.

Zach
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Re: Quick Questions

Unread post by justalurker66 »

Railroad police are police in Indiana ... so perhaps "prove you're a cop" would be a bad attitude. Their proof may be a call for backup and a more tense situation than one needs. Plant security guards are likely not police. Know who you are talking to and where you are.

One could argue that a security guard (non-police) has no authority on public property ... but make sure you are on public property. And learn to deescalate the situation instead of escalating.

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Re: Quick Questions

Unread post by Saturnalia »

Just be chill. Don't give them a reason to hate or suspect you. They're people just like the rest of us, afterall.

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Re: Quick Questions

Unread post by hoborich »

I realize railroad police are real cops in all states. I was talking about private security guards who approach you on a public street and start with the "lemme see your camera" crap, or "delete your pics", or "get out of here". Like the Marathon goons, or other private rent a cops. I am well aware that railroad police have full police powers in every state. However, a lot of private security guards, whose authority is limited to the premises of their employer, have a habit of coming off the property and running people off as far as possible from the property they work at.
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Re: Quick Questions

Unread post by Railfanjunction »

hoborich wrote:I realize railroad police are real cops in all states. I was talking about private security guards who approach you on a public street and start with the "lemme see your camera" crap, or "delete your pics", or "get out of here". Like the Marathon goons, or other private rent a cops. I am well aware that railroad police have full police powers in every state. However, a lot of private security guards, whose authority is limited to the premises of their employer, have a habit of coming off the property and running people off as far as possible from the property they work at.
In Cali the lines between the two are often blurred; BNSF using private security guards in Cajon Pass for example, but back to the main point of the original post for a second.

How accessible is the South Shore along the Indiana Toll Road from the south side of the tracks? If everything goes according to plan I may be in the area for an eastbound on that section after the Hoosier State departs Dyer (dependent of course on whether or not it's on time) but if it isn't, or if the south shore isn't accessible, I'll focus my efforts elsewhere.

Zach

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Re: Quick Questions

Unread post by justalurker66 »

Railfanjunction wrote:How accessible is the South Shore along the Indiana Toll Road from the south side of the tracks? If everything goes according to plan I may be in the area for an eastbound on that section after the Hoosier State departs Dyer (dependent of course on whether or not it's on time) but if it isn't, or if the south shore isn't accessible, I'll focus my efforts elsewhere.
Along the toll road it is at the toll road's elevation. The South Shore is not hard to see from the state line to where it joins the toll road alignment in East Chicago (east of the Hammond station). It stays close to the toll road through East Chicago then drops down to street level in Gary (for the Clark Rd/Airport station). There is a section in Gary where there is a local street on both sides of the track before the line heads back up an embankment for the Gary Metro Center station (next to the toll road). Then back down an embankment as the toll road turns southeast. Very urban through Gary ... and not in the interurban sense. Miller station on the east side of Gary is nice and there is some freight action at Miller as well as the electric trains.

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Re: Quick Questions

Unread post by Railfanjunction »

justalurker66 wrote:
Railfanjunction wrote:How accessible is the South Shore along the Indiana Toll Road from the south side of the tracks? If everything goes according to plan I may be in the area for an eastbound on that section after the Hoosier State departs Dyer (dependent of course on whether or not it's on time) but if it isn't, or if the south shore isn't accessible, I'll focus my efforts elsewhere.
Along the toll road it is at the toll road's elevation. The South Shore is not hard to see from the state line to where it joins the toll road alignment in East Chicago (east of the Hammond station). It stays close to the toll road through East Chicago then drops down to street level in Gary (for the Clark Rd/Airport station). There is a section in Gary where there is a local street on both sides of the track before the line heads back up an embankment for the Gary Metro Center station (next to the toll road). Then back down an embankment as the toll road turns southeast. Very urban through Gary ... and not in the interurban sense. Miller station on the east side of Gary is nice and there is some freight action at Miller as well as the electric trains.
Gotcha. Are there any regular times that South Shore Freight trains run on the line aside from just whenever the commuter trains don't?

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Re: Quick Questions

Unread post by chriiis »

Railfanjunction wrote:1) How busy is the CSX Monon Subdivision? ...are there any consistently scheduled trains that run on the line between Dyer and Lafayette,
The Q642 usually follows the Amtrak out of Indianapolis at 6am, and gets to NWI whenever it gets there- often in the early afternoon. It waits behind the 3 Floyds Brewery for a long while, waiting to get into Chicago.

The Q643 used to follow Amtrak south out of Chicago, but I understand it to be coming out earlier, more like 3pm and running ahead of the Amtrak, so these two freights often pass each other on the Elsdon.

Magnetation went brankrupt, the plant at Reynolds last day was supposed to be this week. This might make the line a little less busy.

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Re: Quick Questions

Unread post by Railfanjunction »

chriiis wrote:
Railfanjunction wrote:1) How busy is the CSX Monon Subdivision? ...are there any consistently scheduled trains that run on the line between Dyer and Lafayette,
The Q642 usually follows the Amtrak out of Indianapolis at 6am, and gets to NWI whenever it gets there- often in the early afternoon. It waits behind the 3 Floyds Brewery for a long while, waiting to get into Chicago.

The Q643 used to follow Amtrak south out of Chicago, but I understand it to be coming out earlier, more like 3pm and running ahead of the Amtrak, so these two freights often pass each other on the Elsdon.

Magnetation went brankrupt, the plant at Reynolds last day was supposed to be this week. This might make the line a little less busy.
Gotcha. That rules out going anywhere too terribly south of Dyer for 851 then.

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Re: Quick Questions

Unread post by MP73point4 »

If you're interested in the South Shore, of course the street running (11th St.) in Michigan City is interesting. Their freight usually departs westward from the Carroll Ave shops in the morning. Highway 12 pretty much follows the tracks west to Gary. Ogden Dunes station is a good spot to sit. Lots of safe, free parking and you'll catch all the South Shore trains as well as anything on the NS line which is just across the parking lot. There a some more scenic South Shore shots available within a mile or so west of the station.
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Re: Quick Questions

Unread post by Railfanjunction »

MP73point4 wrote:If you're interested in the South Shore, of course the street running (11th St.) in Michigan City is interesting. Their freight usually departs westward from the Carroll Ave shops in the morning. Highway 12 pretty much follows the tracks west to Gary. Ogden Dunes station is a good spot to sit. Lots of safe, free parking and you'll catch all the South Shore trains as well as anything on the NS line which is just across the parking lot. There a some more scenic South Shore shots available within a mile or so west of the station.
Thanks for the info! I've already covered the street running as well as the area between Michigan City and Ogden Dunes on the south shore so I'all most likely be avoiding that section, trying to cover new territory.

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