Marion - Greenwich, OH
A self-guiding Frograil railfan tour
Formerly the Conrail Indianapolis Line, this line forms part of CSX’s route connecting St. Louis with Baltimore, Cleveland, Northern New Jersey, and Boston.
This tour is part of a larger tour effort to detail trackage from East St. Louis, Illinois, to Cleveland, Ohio. The overview of the entire tour is here. Today, this segment is all CSX, but is historically ex-Conrail, exx-Penn Central, exxx-New York Central, exxxx-Big Four (Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway). This tour segment, between Marion and Greenwich is complete, is 47.0 miles long, and the completed segments of the overall tour total 242.6 miles.
If you have never taken a Frograil tour before, you are strongly encouraged to visit the Frograil Tour Guide page, which is loaded with good info for you. Following the advice on that page will save you time, effort, and quite probably, some grief.
Contents And Navigation
For information concerning the other Frograil tours which have been put together, go to the Tour Guide.
Train Gifs. All train gifs used within this tour are from Ed Bindler's train gifs site, which is here.
Peter Furnee: CSX logo
Sherry Hill: All driving, Marion - Greenwich. Her patience is truly saint-like
Tony Hill: Frograil Webmaster -- the guy who makes it go. On-the-ground research and all text, Marion - Greenwich. Any singular, first person pronoun refers to Tony, unless otherwise specifically indicated.
If you'd like to contribute to this, or any other tour, please contact me here, and let me know what you'd like to do. We'll work together: You supply the data/info, and I'll do the HTML stuff and upload it. You'll get a chance to review the fruits of your efforts before the general public sees the finished product, so you can let me have your corrections, additions and changes.
The Railroad: Geography. The topography is quite gentle. There are few hills and no major rivers along the way, so most country driving is tacking north to a crossing, to east for another crossing, north to yet another, etc., because the roads run compass north - south or east - west, and the railroad for the most part goes arrow straight southwest - northeast.
The Railroad: Traffic Levels. Traffic has rebounded somewhat from the crushing recession of 2007-9, and averages approximately 15-20 trains per day, mostly manifest freights, with some intermodal, coal, and automobile traffic.
The Railroad:Operations. The line is variably double and single track, with alternating stretches between Marion and Greenwich.
The Railroad:Mile Points. The entire tour segment is designated as the Indianapolis Line. The mileposts decrease as we head east. Mileposts on the Indianapolis Line carry a prefix of “QI”. At Marion, the trackage is part of the Mt Victory Subdivision. North of Martel, at CP-83, the Greenwich Subdivision starts, and extents beyond the northern limit of this tour segment.
Mapwork: Much of the tour is not easy if you have no detailed map for back country roads. I definitely recommend you get a DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer, study it before your trip, and copy pertinent pages for your field work. Also, the Google aerials are definitely good enough to be a valuable tool for you as you plan your trip.
Photographic considerations: I use a shorthand rating system for photo accessibility. Using a clockwise rotation from northeast up to northwest, each quadrant of a crossing is rated from 1 (best) to 4 (not accessible). Note that these refer to accessibility, not the photogenic aspects of the location. Therefore, the following crossing: NE4, SE1, SW1, NW2 would be interpreted as follows:There is no access from the northeast quad (fence, building, private, dangerous, etc.); the southeast quad gives you excellent photo access, at least in one direction and perhaps both; likewise for the southwest quad; viewing access in the northwest quad is good, but not excellent. In places where there is no crossing, per se, I use a simple N, E, S and/or W compass location: N1, S4 would be excellent from the north, but there is no access from the south. Note that in locations contributed by folks other than me, the photo rating numbers may not be present.
An important point is worth mentioning concerning photography along this line:
In many cases, crossings which are in between towns are bordered by agricultural fields. The photo ratings for these will depend largely on what is growing in the field at the time of your visit. Soybeans and wheat generally won’t cause any visibility problems, but corn is a completely different story altogether. You may visit between October and June, and everything may be wide open, but it may also be terrible between July and September, because of tall corn. Best time to visit, as is the case almost everywhere:Cold weather months.
Abbreviations. I try to limit the number of abbreviations to very common terms, such as CSX and NS. However, some terms are Frograil specific, get used repeatedly, and are given here to help you understand them.
AG. "At-grade" -- It may or may not be a railfan location, but you can be assured that the tracks and street/road are on the same level.
CR. "County Road". Any road that is not an interstate, US highway, numbered Ohio state highway, or numbered township road is a county road.(See also "TR")
NAG. "Not at grade" -- Usually, a NAG crossing is a poor place to take pix, but not always. However, you should be warned if a crossing isn't at grade, and that's why I try to always clue you in.
NARL. "Not a railfan location" -- In my humble opinion, this location is not worth the visit; indeed, it is probably to be avoided. NARL's result from no photo access, dangerous conditions, or personal security considerations.
NFOG. "Not found on the ground" -- A map may indicate a road, crossing, railroad line, etc., but it may have been removed long ago. In some cases, the map may be completely incorrect.
NO. "Not observed". During the on-the-ground research for this tour, this location was not observed, so we are going by aerials only, which is risky. Take such observations with a grain of salt.
TR. "Township Road". In this part of Ohio, TR designations are normal for non-Interstate, -US, or -state highways.(See also "CR")
WEBMASTER'S NOTE: I do not recommend or condone walking along the tracks, as this means trespassing and exposing yourself to danger. You will have to be creative, in some instances, to avoid trespassing while getting to the detailed locations included herein, but you will either have to be creative or not visit those sites. At no point in this tour guide, or any other tour which is part of Frograil, is it recommended that you trespass or expose yourself to danger. If you are a fool and have a leg cut off (or worse), don't come crying to me: You have been warned. Trains are big, powerful, and often surprisingly quiet. Don't end up being a statistic.
Marion - Greenwich, Ohio -- Railfan Sites:
If you are starting your tour in Marion, take the OH-309/Harding Highway exit from US-23 on the east side of town. Drive west towards downtown, and the street will become Center Street, and it will be one-way westbound. Immediately after crossing a set of double tracks, turn right into the station area.
Marion -- Oak Street. From the station area, where the tour up from Sidney ended, we continue on to the northeast. At the eastern edge of the station area, you can cross Center Street and enter Park Boulevard. You cannot turn left onto Center, as it is now one-way westbound. Stay in the left lane on Park, and flow to the left to enter Church Street, which is the one-way eastbound counterpart to Center Street westbound. You will note on the maps that Leader Street has a crossing, but it is NAG/NARL.
At the OH-7/OH-423/Main Street intersection, turn left, and then take another left onto Center Street. Stay in the right lane, and take your second right onto Oak Street. The AG crossing is rated at NE2, SE2, SW4, NW3; however, this is the start of a fairly unique stretch of urban trackage. The two tracks are about one-half of a block apart, and the rating on the near track (wherever you are standing) will be less than that of the far track simply because the additional space between you and the far track allows for a broader photo field. The land between the tracks is usually railroad property, so you should not be wandering around on it.
There is an historical reason for the separation between the tracks. The northern track is on the former Erie Railroad grade, and the southern one is on that of the ex-CCC&StL (Big Four). I don't know for a fact, but I suspect that there were two sets of two tracks each back in the day, and this must have been a smokey, happening place!
There are much better crossings just ahead. The marker for MP 101 is here.
Marion -- Greenwood Street. The next crossing is well to the east, on Greenwood Street, because Prospect, Main, and State streets are all NAG/NARL. Therefore, go north on Oak to Silver Street, turn right, go one block, and at Prospect Street (one-way south), take a right, immediately get in the far left lane, and turn left onto George Street. Drive all the way to Greenwood, take a right, and drive to the crossings. Cross both tracks and park on the right.
Shooting the north track from the north is not possible because of private property, as in the case southeast of the south track, but everything else is wide open. This is a good location.
Marion -- Jefferson Street. Continue south on Greenwood to a left onto Wilson Avenue, and take this street all the way to Jefferson Street. Note that there is a little zig-zag at Dix Avenue. At Jefferson Street, take a left to go to the crossings and park. Everything is wide open here, with the exception of east of the northern track, as there is a very large grain processor there. You can, however, shoot from the sidewalk there. The crossing on the south is MP 99.92. This is an excellent railfan location.
Marion -- Barnhart Street. Continue north of the Jefferson Street crossings, and take a right onto Mark Street. At Barnhart, take a right to go south to the crossings. North of the north tracks is all private -- Bunge Corporation, so fanning is out from there. This is the east end of the plant we saw back at Jefferson Street. Bunge has a switcher buried in the complex, but I couldn't see what it was. If you are going to see the switcher, this is the most likely place to do so. Switching action should be pretty active here, as the plant obviously devours many, many railcars of grain.
From the south, photo access to the north track is excellent, and to the south track it's so-so. The large mill structures offer a great photo prop.
Marion -- Madison Avenue. Head south from the crossings on Barnhart Street to Wilson Avenue. Take a left and drive to Madison Avenue and take another left. Access to both tracks is more restricted than at the previous several locations, because you're now out of the city and into farmland. However, the tracks are still separated by more than 100 feet, and shots to the north track from the south are wide open. The end of a long spur for Bunge is just west of the north track crossing.
Marion -- Pole Line Road. Continue north on Madison, and it will T with Fairground Road. Take a right, go under US-23 (a freeway here), and you'll notice a spur track heading due north. It goes all the way to a connection with the NS line going to Bellevue. When you get to Pole Line Road, take a right and find a place to park. You are at the southwest leg of a wye connecting the south main line with the Marion Terminal, a very large rail-to-truck and truck-to-truck facility.
It is apparently not irregular to see road power parked on the wye track, as I saw two KCS units there. There is no access from north of the north track to the west, nor is there any from south of the south track on the east side. From east of the north track and west of the south track, the access is excellent, but permission to fan must be received to take advantage of the latter.
Marion Terminal. Head south on Pole Line Road to a left onto OH-309/Harding Highway. The main tracks we've been following are to the north and inaccessible, so we'll drive along the terminal, which is quite impressive, with dozens and dozens of truck loading docks, and a good bit of trackage. There is a terminal switcher, and it is nicely painted with the Terminal's logo on it. To shoot the engine or anything else in the terminal, you will have to get permission.
Marion -- Marion - Williamsport Road. This may be the best railfan location anywhere in the Marion area (with the exception, of course, of the station area). Continue northeast on OH-309/Harding Highway, and you will come to a five-point intersection with Columbus - Sandusky Road. You need to take the very hard left just before the traffic light, which is a vestige of the Marion - Williamsport Road. The road crosses the tracks and ends to the east of the Marion Municipal Airport. There apparently is some Marion utilities stuff towards the end of the road, but traffic on the street is close to non-existant.
Viewing is pretty wide open, on all but the southwest quad, which is virtually inaccessable. CP-95 is just to the southwest, and is the end of double track for the next 15 miles. I really like this spot.
Marion -- OH-98/Columbus - Sandusky Road. Drive back to the five-point intersection, and your best bet is to take a right, drive south on OH-309/Harding Highway, make a U-turn to get back to the light, and then turn left onto OH-98/Columbus - Sandusky Road. The intersection is so busy that making a left from Marion - Williamsport onto Columbus - Sandusky is difficult.
You'll shortly come to a crossing, and should turn right onto Marion - Galion Road just before the crossing, and park. Photo ratings are:NE1, SE1, SW4, NW4, but you will need permission to shoot from the northeast quad. The area along Marion - Galion Road is wide open, and makes this area good for photos.
Marion -- Marion - Galion Road. Venturing further northeast on the Marion - Galion Road from the Columbus - Sandusky Road area, there are numerous places to watch and photograph trains. You could spend an entire day here, just letting the trains come to you. There is very little street traffic here -- Harding Highway to the south is busy; this area is certainly not.
Marion -- Ulsh Road. Near the end of the Marion - Galion road, there used to be a crossing at Ulsh Road. The crossing has been cut, and is now a fine place for fanning, with ratings of NE3, SE1, SW1, NW1.
Caledonia -- Nesbit Road. Marion - Galion Road will swing east and end at OH-309/Harding Highway. Take a left and continue to the northeast. When you get to Nesbit Road, take a left and drive to the tracks. Photo ratings are not so hot, but Nesbit will get you trackside in a hurry if need be:NE4, SE4, SW3, NW1. For late afternoon shots of southbounds, especially in the longer days, this site is fine. The mile marker for MP 93 is here.
Caledonia -- Main Street. Once back on OH-309/Harding Highway, continue northeast to the village of Caledonia. Pass up High Street, as it is NARL because of private property. One block later, take a left onto Main Street, and drive up to the crossing. On this crossing and the next, there are things to love and hate. Depending on the time of year, sun, your dispositon, and GOK what else, pick your spot. Photo ratings on Main Street are NE1, SE3, SW4, NW1.
Caledonia -- Water Street. Continue north past the crossing and take a right onto Church Street, and then a right onto Water Street. The crossing on Water is spiced up by the thru trestle over the Olentangy River on the east side of the road. If you are a photographer, and not a digital grabber like me, you can probably do something neat here. For those of us with less than artistic talent, here are the photo ratings:NE2, SE4, SW4, NW1.
Caledonia -- Linn - Hipsher Road. Drive north on Water Street to a right onto Liberty Street. Liberty will do a 90º arc to the north and become Caledonia - Northern Road, as it takes you out of town. At the T with Linn - Hipsher, take a right and drive to the vicinity of the tracks. Just before the crossing, bear left onto Timpson Road and park. This is a nice, bucolic location, at NE3, SE3, SW1, NW2. The crossing is an X, rather than a +, so you will have to make your own judgement on photo field worthiness. The southwest quad is definitely a lawn chair and cooler location.
Martel -- Emahiser Road. Keep going north on Timpson Road to a right onto Emahiser Road, whick will take you to a nice crossing:NE3, SE1, SW1, NW1. Between the Linn - Hipsher and Emahiser Road crossings, the main line has become two tracks eastbound.
Martel. Continue east on Emahiser to a left onto Martel Road. Enter the village itself, and you will immediately see why it calls itself the "Home of General Mills". There are three rather long spur tracks for the mill, and your chance of seeing some switching going on is fairly good. Main line viewing itself is so-so at best:NE4, SE3, SW1, NW4. The marker for MP 88 is just to the southwest of the crossing.
Martel -- Marseilles - Galion Road. Continuing on via Martell Road to the north, take a right onto Marseilies - Galion Road and drive to the next crossing. This one is not anything to write home about, at NE2, SE4, SW3, NW2, but it will place you trackside if something is on the way.
Martel -- Morral - Kirkpatrick Road. Drive east on Marseilles - Galion Road for some two miles to a left onto OH-100/Iberia - Bucyrus Road. At Morral Kirkpatrick Road, take a left to drive to a crossing, cross the tracks as the road zig-zags, and park on your right. This is a pretty good location, at NE2, SE2, SW1, NW1, and is a somewhat squashed X.
Martel -- OH-100/Iberia - Bucyrus Road. Retrace your drive back to OH-100/Iberia - Bucyrus Road and take a left to head north. You'll shortly come to another crossing, which is a non-squashed X. Photo ratings are NE1, SE3, SW1, NW3, and there are defect detectors just northeast of the crossing, at MP 85.0.
Galion -- CR-31.Keep going northwest on OH-100 to a right onto Huff Road. As the road swings to the east to cross the tracks, you enter Morrow County, and the name of the road becomes CR-31. My notes are incomplete here, and I can only say that the aerials indicate pretty good sight lines all around (to the north, you'll have to shoot between well-spaced poles). Interestingly, this location is one of the best to observe the same grade separation that we saw back in Marion, with the now gone ex-Erie tracks to the west of the ex-CCC&StL, and the latter being today's main line.
Galion -- TR-32. East of the crossing via CR-31, take a left onto TR-32 and drive up to the tracks. This is a good one, at NE1, SE4, SW1, NW1. The view from the southeast is blocked by the crossing cabinet. To the northeast is CP-83, and the start of double track northbound.
Galion -- CR-8/Crawford - Morrow Line Road. Keep north on TR-32, and take a right onto Crawford - Morrow Line Road. When I did the research here, there was an empty hopper train blocking the crossing, so I could not see stuff on the east side. However, the railroad is back to the Erie/CCC&StL separation, so as long as the train is on the "far" track, you should have a decent field of view. Viewing is quite limited if the train is on the near track.
Galion -- Biddle Road. Continue east on CR-8/Crawford - Morrow Line Road to a left onto Biddle Road. This will take you north to the tracks. Precisely the same comments apply relative to photo fields that we saw at the last location.
Galion -- OH-61/OH--309. Stay north of the tracks on Biddle until you get to Monnell - New Winchester Road, and take a right. This road will T at OH-61/OH-309, and you should take a hard right, cross the double tracks, and then take a hard left onto Railroad Street. Park. The same comments apply as in the last two spots, with two exceptions:This road is much busier than anything we've seen for awhile, and the access to the near tracks, either north or south, is much more open. Because of the traffic, I personally prefer either of the previous two spots.
Galion -- Boston Street. Railroad Street will take you into the town of Galion, and would of itself be an excellent railfan location, but there are poles between the street and the railroad. Along the way, you'll see the marker for MP-81. At the end of Railroad Street, take a left onto Boston Street, cross the tracks, and park. Just to the southwest, the tracks have gotten close together, and will remain so up thru the interlocking ahead. This spot is listed only to get you trackside in a hurry. The only shot is from the sidewalk on the northwest quad, as poles and private property concerns rule out the others. That said, however, for mid- to late afternoon shots, that sidewalk has you in position for a nice photo.
Galion -- Union Street. Once north of the tracks via Boston Street, take a right onto Railroad Street. At Union Street, go south until you see a rather crude-looking gravel road on the left. Take the left, and park away from the houses, close to the tracks. The crossing has been cut, so depending on the time of day you may prefer to stay here or fan from the south. To get to the southern side of the ex-crossing, from the Boston Street crossing, go south to a quick left onto Parson Street, take a left on Union to get up to the tracks. Please don't walk back and forth over the tracks.
To the northeast, you can see the signalling protecting the interlocking, but there is no public access. Photo field from the north is a solid 1, and to the south, only a 3, because of the poles.
Galion -- Atwood Street. If you are north of the tracks, continue east on the gravel road to a left onto Market Street. If you are south of them, go back down Union to Parson Street, turn left and go to Market Street, where you should take another left to go north. There is a crossing on Market, but it is NARL because of private property.
When you get to Atwood Street, take a right, cross the tracks and park in the gravel area in the southeast quad of the crossing.CP-80 is just to the southwest. Photo ratings for the crossing are NE1, SE1, SW1, NW3. CSX traffic coming up the CSX Huntington Subdivision from Columbus (via Delaware) and heading to the Cleveland, Youngstown or the northeast USA areas joins the line we've been following, so from here to Greenwich, we'll have more traffic to enjoy. You can get good pix here, but to me, this is an excellent place to just sit and watch trains.
Galion -- Station Area. Continue east from the crossing and take a left onto South Street. This will take you to one of the main streets in town, OH-19/61/309/Harding Way. Go left onto Harding, cross the tracks, and turn right, and then take an immediate right into the station parking area. The large, impressive station is in a right angle triangle, with Church and Washington being the right angle sides, and the tracks are the hypoteneuse. Take your time, walk around, and figure out what works best for you. The station is the obvious prop here, but there are plenty of other opportunities for photos.
Galion -- Church Street. Walk northeast of the station to the Church Street Viaduct, which is a NAG/NARL because there is no safe pedestrian area. However, underneath the bridge stucture is a one lane road on the east, and another on the west side, for local traffic; these two streets make this a crossing -- an odd one, perhaps, but a crossing all the same. The northeast quad has a wide open, very well maintained lawn that is perfect for fanning. Just be sure to get permission first.
Galion -- Sherman Street. Exit the station area onto Washington Street and head north to Payne Avenue, take a right, and then a left onto Fairview Avenue. When you reach Sherman Street, take a right to take you to the next crossing. Viewing here is poor, at NE3, SE3, SW3, NW4, but it will get you trackside if need be.
Galion -- Knorr Road. Once past the crossing to the east, take a left onto Edward Street, which will curve around to become east - west. At Knorr Road, take a left to drive north to the crossing. This is a pretty good crossing for both morning and afternoon southbounds:NE1, SE3, SW2, NW1. The crossing is MP 79.10.
Galion -- Nazur Road. Go back the way you came on Knorr Road, and at the T, take a left on Edward Street, which will become Cummings Road once past the city limits. This will take a 90º turn to the south to T at OH-61/OH-309/Charles Street. Take a left, and then another left onto Nazur Road, and drive up to the crossing. This was another blocked crossing (158 cars, close to 11,000' long!), so here is my best guess:NE2, SE4, SW3, NW2. Not super-duper, but you're going this way anyway, so why not check it out?
Crestline -- TR-77/Middletown Road. You are definitely back out in the country again, so the driving between some locations can be a little longer than what we've seen for awhile. Continue north on Nazur to an intersection with TR-77/Middletown Road. Take a right, and go east to the crossing, which is pretty good, at NE3, SE1, SW1, NW2. You could do a major detour and check out the US-30 crossing, but it's a freeway thru here, and is definitely NAG/NARL
Crestline -- Wiley Street. Continue East on Middletown Road to a left onto Wiley Street. This will take you north to a so-so crossing:NE3, SE3, SW3, NW1. Be aware that there are some NFOG crossings and roads in this area. Stick with my description.
Crestline -- Livingston Avenue. Just to the northeast of the Wiley Street crossing, is the lovely Patterson Street crossing -- but it doesn't exist anymore, and is NFOG. There is no public access from the severed ends. Therefore, continue north on Wiley to Livingston Avenue and turn right. This will take you to a crossing, which I've rated as OK from the west, but my notes show nothing from the east!The aerials to the southeast look poor, but to the northeast, they look pretty wide open.
The marker for MP 76 is just southwest of the crossing.
Crestline -- OH-61/Thomas Street. Keep going east on Livingston to a left onto OH-61/Thomas Street. Before describing the tour further, you need to know what you're going to see. Before the Conrail split-up in 1999, Crestline was the point where Conrail's ex-PRR Akron - Fort Wayne, IN, line crossed CSX's ex-CCC&StL Indianapolis/Columbus - Cleveland line. Today, the latter is the same, but the ex-Conrail line from Akron to Crestline is Norfolk Southern, and the Chicago, Fort Wayne and Eastern, a Rail America railroad, operates the Crestline - Fort Wayne line. The junction is just south of the middle of the town.
Once on Thomas, the road will become elevated and cross over the large junction area. However, unlike the recent such overpasses, this one is wide, and has sidewalks on both sides. Park somewhere and hoof it up to the area you want to watch, and enjoy yourself. The road is the busiest north-south road in town, so pick one side and stick to it. If you walk back and forth, you are unnecessarily exposing yourself to danger, and you will also be calling attention to yourself. Viewing on both sides of the road is wide open all around.
Crestline -- Bucyrus Street. Once back to ground level on Thomas Street, take a right onto Bucyrus Street. As you approach the AG crossing, find a place to park. This is a fair location:NE3, SE3, SW1, NW2, and CP-75 is just north of the street.
Crestline. Continue on Bucyrus to the east, and take a left onto Washington Street. Along the way north, there is a crossing on Scott Street, but it is NAG/NARL. At Main Street, take a left and drive to the crossing, which is very good:NE2, SE1, SW1, NW1. Main Street, as the name would suggest, is very busy, so shoot from Geyer's parking lot (get permission if you're going to remain in the area more than a few minutes) or the sidewalks.
Crestline -- North Street. Drive west on Main Street to a right onto Seltzer Street. At the T with Railroad Street, find a place to park. Railroad Street no longer has a connection with Main Street, so there's not much traffic. The crossing on North Street has long since been cut, and there is no access from the east. The west side, all up and down Railroad Street is wide open, but there is a pole line between the street and the tracks. The poles are good-sized electric transmission poles, not the closely spaced, right-next-to-the-tracks code line poles. This is a nice, quiet city location for watching trains.
Crestline -- Beam Road. Drive northeast on Railroad Street until it ends at OH-61/Washington Street. There is a crossing on the latter, but there is a big hump in the road, making it NARL. Take a left onto Washington to go north. At Beam Road, take a right and drive straight ahead (do not follow OH-61's curve) to the crossing. You are back in the country now. Beam is very good from the east:NE1, SE1, SW?, NW3. The southwest quad can vary from a 1 to a 3, because of growth clutter. Excellent in winter, probably. The pole line continues on the west side, but they are well apart and set back pretty well.
Crestline -- Hook Road. Keep going east after the crossing, and turn left onto Thrush Road. Contrary to what you will see on some on-line maps, Thrush no longer crosses the tracks; instead, the road has been rebuilt to parallel the tracks to Hook Road, which eliminates a crossing. A decent country crossing at NE3, SE1, SW4, NW1.
Crestline -- Finnegan Road. Take a right onto Hook Road, and head east to a left onto Finnegan Road, and drive up to a crossing.. This is a fine crossing from the east:NE1, SE1, SW2, NW3. Power poles continue on the west.
Crestline -- CR-170/Settlement East Road. Continue north on Finnegan Road to a T with Settlement East Road, and take a right to go east. Photo ops are very nice from the east:NE1, SE1, SW2, NW2. The only issue from the west is the pole line.
Shelby -- OH-61/German Settlement Road. Keep going east on Settlement East Road, and take a left onto Hummel Road. At OH-61/German Settlement Road, take a left to get to a crossing. You'll note the end of double track northbound, just south of the street, and the photo ratings are NE1, SE3, SW1, NW3.
Shelby -- Stentz Road. Retrace your route to Hummell Road, and turn left to head north. At Stentz Road, take a left to head to the crossing. The poles continue on the west, but the crossing is quite good:NE1, SE1, SW2, NW2.
Shelby -- Hummel Road. Drive back to Hummell Road, take a left, and you will be at a crossing in only a quarter-mile or so. This one is a squashed, vertical X, and rates in a familiar (by now) fashion:NE1, SE1, SW2, NW2.
Shelby -- OH-39/OH-96/Main Street. Keep going north on Hummel, and take a right at the T onto Main Street to enter Shelby. At the crossing, go across the tracks and park parallel to the street. Walk back to the crossing, and you'll note that the poles are gone, but so are the open countryside spaces. There is a big miller on the northwest quad, and a private building right in the area of the southeast quad, so the results are less than stellar:NE3, SE4, SW1, NW4. While the southwest quad is excellent, it can also have standing covered hoppers for the miller blocking any access.
Shelby -- Whitney Street. Continue east on Main Street to a left onto Church Street. Park before you get to Whitney Street, and walk out on the Whitney Street overpass. There is a sidewalk on the south side, and you have good vision to the south. It's an OK place for watching trains, but is difficult for photos, as the sun will pretty much be in your face all day. There is no access for fanning on the north side of the bridge.
Shelby -- Broadway Street. There are crossings at Gamble Street south of Marvin Avenue, and Smiley Avenue, but they are NARL because of private property and tightness. Therefore, from the corner of Church Street and Whitney, go east on Whitney, cross over the Ashland Railway (ASRY), and continue on to Broadway Street. Take a left and drive a good ways north to a crossing, and it's a good one, with photo ratings of NE2, SE1, SW1, NW1. The marker for MP 67 is just to the south of the crossing.
Shelby -- Shelby - Ganges Road. You will probably see this location as State Street, but it's easier to find via MapQuest and GoogleMaps if you use Shelby - Ganges Road. Keep going north on Broadway Street to a right onto State Street. Just before the crossing, take a left and park on Cleveland Street. In looking at the GoogleMaps view, I cannot for the life of me figure out what kind of cars are on the unit train going over this crossing. Anyway, here are the ratings:NE1, SE3, SW3, NW2. My notes comment about the northeast quad is "WOW". It's really nice.
Shelby -- London West Road. From your parking place on Cleveland Street, keep going north. The street will bend around and become Cline Street, which in turn will T with what is now called Broadway "Road". At Broadway, turn right and go up to a T at London West Road, and turn right. This will take you to a good crossing, at NE1, SE1, SW3, NW1, but be advised that the dreaded poles are back -- but they are still wide apart and set fairly well back from the tracks.
Shelby -- Plymouth - Springmill Road. From the crossing on London West Road, continue east to a left onto Plymouth - Springmill Road. This will eventually curve about 80º to the left to head due west as Bistline Road; however, the crossing via Bistline is either private or non-existant, according to my notes. Indeed, they clearly state that the crossing is cut, but it must have been recently, as the aerials still show it with no barrier. It is NARL.
Therefore, at the horizontal Y with Bistline Road, take the lazy right to head northwest to the Plymouth - Springmill Road crossing, which is quite good, at NE1, SE3, SW1, NW1.
Shelby -- Hazel Brush Road. Keep going north on Plymouth - Springmill to an intersection with Hazel Brush Road; take a right to go east to the crossing. This is another good one at NE1, SE1, SW1, NW2.
Shiloh. Drive further north on Bowman Street until OH-603 T's with it on the right. Take the right, which will become signed as Main Street as you enter the village of Shiloh. We've been spoiled by the excellent railfan locations we've been seeing, so this one will come as somewhat of a let down. It is a definite X, and rates no better than NE3, SE3, SW2, NW1. However, from the southwest quad, you can drive south on Cleveland Street, which is a dead end, residential street. There are houses on the west side of the street, and a grassy area between the street and the tracks on the east side. This grassy area looks like a great place to set up the lawn chairs, open up the cooler, and watch some trains.
Shiloh -- Noble Road. As you leave Shiloh, you will encounter seven crossings in rapid succession. You'll probably want to pick and choose between them. Stay on Main Street headed east until you get to Pettit Street. Go left, and the street will turn to the right and become CR-50/Brennerman Road. The road will make a 90º turn to the north, and will then T with TR-81/Noble Road. Go left to the crossing, which is rated at NE2, SE1, SW4, NW2.
Shiloh -- TR-71/Malone Road. Backtrack via Noble, pass Brennerman Road, and at TR-71/Malone Road, make a hard left to drive up to the next crossing. This one is so-so, with one exception:NE1, SE4, SW3, NW2. The northeast quad, if not planted in corn, will give you a superb view to the north for morning southbounds. You can almost get the Great American Train Picture here. Even if there is corn, you still have a good 50' of open space between the tracks and the plants.
Shiloh -- Planktown Road. Backtrack to Noble Road, turn left, and very shortly turn left onto CR-72/Planktown Road. The crossing is at MP 59.44, and is rated at NE3, SE1, SW1, NW1. This is probably the best crossing between Shiloh and Greenwich.
Greenwich -- Plymouth East Road. Beyond the Edwards Road crossing, continue north to Plymouth East Road, and take it to go east. When you get to the crossing, parking is probably best in the northwest quad. Unfortunately, this is probably the poorest of the crossings between Shiloh and Greenwich, at NE3, SE3, SW4, NW2, and you'll have to work around the crossing cabinet in the northwest quad.
Greenwich -- Greenwich Milan Town Line Road. This is the last crossing before we enter Greenwich, and it's pretty good. From the Plymouth East crossing, keep straight ahead to the east, and take a left onto Greenwich Milan Town Line Road. The crossing is just ahead, and rates as NE2, SE1, SW1, NW2.
Greenwich -- Main Street Area. Keep going north on Greenwich Milan to US--224/Main Street, and take a right. As you enter the small town look for North Railroad Street to go to the northeast. Main Street,South Railroad Streeet, Townsend Street, and North Railroad Street form a trapezoid, with the two Railroad streets the parallel sides. The railroad pierces the trapezoid at the center of Main and Townsend streets from the southwest to the northeast, respectively. North, south, east and west, the entire area (with the exception of most of the east side) is prime railfan area. This is an excellent railfan location -- but not an "exciting" one -- that's next, and is the last location on this tour.
Greenwich -- Kniffen Street. From the intersection of Townsend and South Railroad, take Tilton Street to the east. At Kniffen Street, take a left to go north. Cross three sets of tracks and take a left into a large parking area. Stay close to Kniffen Street, well away from any tracks. You will probably see other fans here, especially on weekends in nice weather. The ex-CCC&StL that we've been following crosses two tracks here, and to the east of the diamonds is the CSX New Castle Sub heading to Akron, Youngstown, and on to Pittsburg. West of the diamonds is the CSX Willard Terminal Subdivision. Willard Yard itself is about 15 miles west via the latter.
There is a connection between the line we've been following and the New Castle Sub, and that was the first track we crossed on Kniffen Street. Wheeling and Lake Erie trains come from the north and join the Williard Terminal Sub, and then depart to the south. The flood of traffic going between the northeast, Cleveland, and Chicago all flows thru the area in front of you from the ex-CCC&StL onto the Willard Terminal Sub, and vice versa.
Caution:The entire junction area is quite large, and you will not be in position to see everything well. Do not try to wander around to better your photo ops. This write-up only concerns the trackage immediately next to the diamonds and the ex-CCC&StL, as the latter is the railroad this tour details.