Railfanning Chicago

Anything pertaining to railfanning in Illinois.

Railfanning Chicago

Unread postby cbtrower » Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:07 pm

Oh boy, this is a big topic, but I would just like some advice and main highlights of railfanning Chicago. I will be taking a trip here this summer and would like to see most of the good stuff there
Thanks,
Chris
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Re: Railfanning Chicago

Unread postby trainjunkie47 » Sun Apr 02, 2017 9:50 pm

Try narrowing things down a bit. This topic could drag on forever without some search criteria.
A. Where in the Chicago Area are you going to be?
B. What railroad(s) would you like to see?
C. Are you looking to see switching, through trains, or both?
D. How willing are you to venture into less desirable areas of the greater Chicago area?

This is the most comprehensive site I've found which covers Chicago area junctions:
http://dhke.com/CRJ/

I would follow up anything you read with a Google Map or Google Earth visit. Also, there are no shortage of You Tube videos of any Chicago area junction.
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Re: Railfanning Chicago

Unread postby cbtrower » Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:34 am

Thanks! My main railroads im going to Chicago for are BNSF and CN, I dont mind going into the worse parts of Chicago, and my main goal for going to Chicago is to see a EX BN patched unit before their all gone. Is that narrowed down enough?
Chris
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Re: Railfanning Chicago

Unread postby BamaSubdivision94 » Sat Apr 08, 2017 10:51 am

cbtrower wrote:Thanks! My main railroads im going to Chicago for are BNSF and CN, I dont mind going into the worse parts of Chicago, and my main goal for going to Chicago is to see a EX BN patched unit before their all gone. Is that narrowed down enough?
Chris
For BNSF, there's Joliet and just about any location on the ex-Burlington racetrack though I would personally recommend LaGrange since it crosses over the CSX/IHB joint-line, another busy route. Both locations are accessible via a Metra ride from downtown.

For CN, the best places would be West Chicago, Homewood, and Chicago Heights. West Chicago also gives you UP's triple track ex-CNW line which is heavily trafficked and at Chicago Heights you get the UP/CSX C&EI line which is roughly an extra 40 or so trains to CN's 20+.
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Re: Railfanning Chicago

Unread postby tadman » Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:53 am

The Heights also gives you the CHTT, Chicago Heights Transfer Terminal, a beehive of switching for industries around the heights. At one time there were hundreds of factories in the area. There are still plenty of switchers moving around even though 70% of factories are gone. The yards along 17th and East End Avenue are usually busy. Also, Jabco scraps old locomotives in a yard behind 24th street.

Also, it seems like you watch freight, but the bridges or crossings over the approaches to the passenger stations are so busy you can't see straight. It's easy to see the BNSF geep switching the Metra 14th street shops, too.
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