Centrailia and Effingham IL and more

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Centrailia and Effingham IL and more

Unread postby CSXBOY » Sat Apr 23, 2016 2:52 pm

I got some bad to report Rochelle is becoming to be silenced in May or June. :( I cannot go in May or June because I have school. I already looked at Galesburg. and I heard that the Quiet Zone is ALREADY IN EFFECT since 2014 :x and My mom says its too far to go to Wisconsin and La Plata :x So I am thinking about Southern Illinois like Effingham or Centrailia. Which is busier for Rail traffic Effingham or Centrailia? I already know they both have Amtrak Stations and CN is busy in the Morning. Now some things that I want to happen in the summer and Spring. Starting on April 28th I have no school so I will be heading up to Durand for a couple hours. I am also hoping this summer that I will get to Bellevue and Attica one day, Greenwich and Willard another day, Durand MI in August, Battle Creek in June, Fostoria on May 29th and on September 24th (or maybe one more time in the summer). I have to go Up North in Greenbush MI sometime too. I may catch the Lake State Railway Train 326 in Harrisville MI. I am also hoping I get to Butler Indiana one time too. Oh one more time to Deshler too. And I will be at Toledo National Train day too. :) So How busy is Effingham and Centrailia I like Centrailia because my favorite railroads pass through there seen on DVD Where Should I stay at for the Hotel?
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Re: Centrailia and Effingham IL and more

Unread postby trainjunkie47 » Sat Apr 23, 2016 10:49 pm

I'm not sure what the approximate train counts are through Centralia, but you are certain to see a greater variety of trains, in different settings. Most of the CN North-South traffic does not go through Centralia though. You might be lacking variety of settings at Effingham, but you will see everything that moves from the Amtrak stop.
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Re: Centrailia and Effingham IL and more

Unread postby CSXBOY » Fri Jun 24, 2016 5:21 pm

Good News the Rochelle IL Quiet Zone got delayed :D so I booked reservations for the Comfort inn. I am going from July 12th-July 15th. I am so happy because the Quiet Zone is probably going to go into effect in late July or Early August. So that is where i am going to end up lol
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Re: Centrailia and Effingham IL and more

Unread postby GreatLakesRailfan » Sun Jun 26, 2016 11:11 am

While you're in Rochelle, take a side trip to DeKalb and check out the crossing warning system there. If you can, try chasing the Troy Grove job south from DeKalb. Troy Grove is due south almost) of Rochelle, you can take the freeway back north. In the past, the Troy Grove job ran with a pair of UPY locos, I've usually seen GP15s on it. Also, be sure to check out the Burlington Junction RR on the south side of town.
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Re: Centrailia and Effingham IL and more

Unread postby CSXBOY » Tue Jul 05, 2016 7:32 pm

Hi everyone I got some questions on the Rochelle/Rockford IL area Please let me know by morning July 12th :) Of course I will catch BNSF and UP traffic. But I kinda want to get some Canadian Pacific, Amtrak, Canadian National. If its less than 40 trains a day. Can you please give me the correct times to go

1. How busy is Davis Junction All I know is the BNSF local heads north through there and there is a Canadian Pacific line the cross. What is the train count on that line and where is a good location to park

2. Going through Chicago Is taking interstate 355 better than taking interstate 294 to Rochelle IL?

3. I am trying to avoid Norfolk Southern and CSX as much as possible. So I found a great spot on google maps called Mendota IL and looks like to be a gorgeous spot to view trains. Thank heavens the railroads are BNSF and Amtrak. What is the train count in Mendota IL

4. What is the train count on the Canadian National line that goes through Rockford and where is a good location to park?

5. Is their anything for my younger brother (10) will enjoy anywhere in the area?

6. Will the Illinois Railway Museum operate Frisco 1630 like on a Wednesday or Thursday?

I dont really want to get into the Dekalb but thanks for offering! :D

Can someone help me with the following questions

Thanks, Graeme Case
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Re: Centrailia and Effingham IL and more

Unread postby Bulby » Wed Jul 06, 2016 12:10 am

CSXBOY wrote:6. Will the Illinois Railway Museum operate Frisco 1630 like on a Wednesday or Thursday?


No. 1630 operates on select Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year, see irm.org or the IRM steam team Facebook page for up to date information on when 1630 will be fired up.

Typically Illinois Terminal 415 will be operating on the weekdays this time of year, though one of the North Shore cars or a CTA 4000 might subsitiute.
Apparently I work on GEs now...
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Re: Centrailia and Effingham IL and more

Unread postby GreatLakesRailfan » Wed Jul 06, 2016 12:21 am

Let me preface my responses by stating that I lived in the general area in question from late 2008 to early 2010. My information is admittedly a little dated, but I've also visited the area a few times since primarily for the purpose of watching trains. I've typed my responses in bold after your questions below.

CSXBOY wrote:Hi everyone I got some questions on the Rochelle/Rockford IL area Please let me know by morning July 12th :) Of course I will catch BNSF and UP traffic. But I kinda want to get some Canadian Pacific, Amtrak, Canadian National. If its less than 40 trains a day. Can you please give me the correct times to go

1. How busy is Davis Junction All I know is the BNSF local heads north through there and there is a Canadian Pacific line the cross. What is the train count on that line and where is a good location to park
Not busy enough. When I lived out there, I'd usually see a westbound through Elgin in the middle of the afternoon. Elgin is about an hour east of Davis Jct (pretty much due east across SR 72). There are sidings on the east and west side of the diamond, into which through trains would set out and pick up blocks of cars, but the viewing angles are limited from the public thoroughfares (i.e. 72 and 251). I'm not sure which BNSF local runs through DJ, as I had the impression the North-South line was still operated by a shortline operator. In the past, they were parking their power between Flagg Center and DJ, usually next to a small clearing a couple miles north of Flagg Center. In years past the CPII would leave power in DJ, near the diamond, but I don't know if that is still the case as most of the blue/yellow power seems to have been sold off. You may be able to park near the diamond, but the bar that used to be there burned down a long time ago, and I'm not sure whether or not the area inside the diamond is all railroad property. I seem to recall there being an elevator along 72 on the north leg of the wye, but again I don't know if you would be able to park there or not. In any case, train count isn't high enough to warrant sitting in DJ unless you know a train is coming.

I'd recommend joining the ICE Rail group on Yahoo and/or the IlliniRail group. There used to be a member of the ICE Rail group who would post when trains passed his house some distance away from DJ(?), if that is still the case, it might give you enough lead time to get up to DJ if you're in the vicinity (i.e. Rochelle, Mendota, even the Rockford area isn't that far away).


2. Going through Chicago Is taking interstate 355 better than taking interstate 294 to Rochelle IL?
Both are toll roads. If you/your mom doesn't have one, get an iPass or the Indiana or Ohio equivalent. Not only will you pay less at each toll booth, with the open road tolling you'll lose less time during the trip stopping to pay your toll and avoid the risk of missing a toll booth (and the penalty fine that comes with missing a toll payment). That being said, I prefer 355, but that's because 294 was under construction the entire time I lived out there and 355 was a pretty direct route from the east (Michigan/Indiana) to the greater Elgin area where I lived. Keep in mind I-88 is also entirely a toll road, which you'll likely wind up taking west from 355 in the Downer's Grove area if you're heading straight out to Rochelle. Depending on the time of day you're making the trip, you may be able to take I94 straight west from the Detroit suburbs(?) to downtown Chicago (no toll, great views of the CTA trains), where you can pick up I-290 west to I-88. There's still a toll on 88, but it's a lot more scenic than the alternatives and if it's not closed for construction and if you can avoid rush hour, it's hard to find a faster route. Unfortunately, I don't recall whether or not that route is currently shut down for construction or not.

If you elect to take 355, you can take I-80 out to 355. You'll be on the Tri-State Tollway, which passes directly over the CN yard at Homewood. A pitstop to the railfan platform in Homewood might be worth considering. Despite the neighborhood near the tollway, downtown Homewood is surprisingly decent.


3. I am trying to avoid Norfolk Southern and CSX as much as possible. So I found a great spot on google maps called Mendota IL and looks like to be a gorgeous spot to view trains. Thank heavens the railroads are BNSF and Amtrak. What is the train count in Mendota IL
Not good. This is the line that the 765 would have taken to Galesburg a few weeks ago if the trips hadn't been canceled. I'd asked pretty much the same question and the response I got wasn't good. It should still be present a few threads down. On the plus side, there is a museum in Mendota, but aside from see it while passing through town, I don't know anything about it.

4. What is the train count on the Canadian National line that goes through Rockford and where is a good location to park?
Unless things have changed, there's a manifest each way daily, plus whatever extras have to be run. I seem to recall there was an ethanol train that ran frequently, but I'm not sure what else runs regularly, or when. Again, I'd check with the IlliniRail list for better details.

5. Is their anything for my younger brother (10) will enjoy anywhere in the area?
Unfortunately, this is a largely rural area. Outside of the trains, I'm not sure what else really exists west of SR47, east of I39, north of I80 and south of I90. I seem to recall a "Wild West Town"(???) near Union, but that comes from road signs near IRM, I have no idea what it is. The Rockford area isn't that far away from Rochelle/DJ. There should be plenty up there to interest him, although the trains might be kind of sparse. For what it's worth, if you do get up that way, US20 runs close to UP's Belvidere Line from near SR47 up to Rockford. You may be able to catch the road train (from West Chicago to Belvidere) or the local job switching the auto plant up there. There's plenty to see in the Rockford area, but this probably isn't the place to get recommendations for everything else...

6. Will the Illinois Railway Museum operate Frisco 1630 like on a Wednesday or Thursday?
That's a good question. You could contact them through their website (http://www.irm.org/) to find out.

I dont really want to get into the Dekalb but thanks for offering! :D


May I offer one additional resource for planning your trip? The Chicago Rail Junctions site is a really helpful source of information for where to go in the greater Chicago area.

As always, a scanner and a mag mount antenna will help you more than anything, especially out toward Rockford. Once you get north of Rochelle, rail traffic really thins out. Outside of Metra it can be difficult to see much during the day time hours, but your scanner, ATCS if you have it, a Metra timetable and an understanding of how traffic moves in the area can greatly improve your chances of seeing something. If it's at all possible, check out the IlliniRail group on Yahoo Groups. Of all the resources available online, that's one of the best I know of as far as Chicago area railfan information.

Also, for what it's worth, good luck and have fun on your trip. It's always nice to see something other than CSX or NS.
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Re: Centrailia and Effingham IL and more

Unread postby CSXBOY » Wed Jul 06, 2016 6:24 pm

Ok thanks :) I will not go to Davis Junction or anywhere in Rockford IL.

Is Streator IL along the BNSF Chillcothe sub? how much rail traffic is on that line these days? i found an old depot off of Main Street. Would BNSF mind if a kid with a tripod and his mother would go park and sit at the depot?

I might also go to West Chicago IL as a pit stop on the way to Rochelle. am not sure as of this moment. Where do you park in West Chicago IL. Once again Would UP and CN mind a kid with a tripod and his family sitting off of Washington street. Also How many Metra trains go through there in a day?


This whole trip is centered around Rochelle. I will go to the Illinois Railway Museum and Streator IL and West Chicago IL if my mom approves it.
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Re: Centrailia and Effingham IL and more

Unread postby GreatLakesRailfan » Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:16 pm

CSXBOY wrote:I might also go to West Chicago IL as a pit stop on the way to Rochelle. am not sure as of this moment. Where do you park in West Chicago IL. Once again Would UP and CN mind a kid with a tripod and his family sitting off of Washington street. Also How many Metra trains go through there in a day?


It looks like there's street parking to the east of the crossing. Stay off railroad property and no one should mind your presence.

The Chicago Rail Junctions site has an entire page on West Chicago- http://www.dhke.com/CRJ/turner.html.

West Chicago is one of those places I drove through a couple times, but never really stayed in for more than a minute or two. I think it would make a good stopping over point on your way to Rochelle though. You may even be able to get a snack or a meal downtown (a couple blocks from the junction).
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