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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Chicago area railfan hotspots


Date: 01/13/20 12:21
Chicago area railfan hotspots
Author: bath_wildcat

Hello all,

Any good railfan spots in Chicago? I will be going there for the day on Wednesday taking Amtrak Lake Shore Limited to Chicago from Sandusky, Ohio.

Any help would be great.

Michael Fair
Port Clinton, OH



Date: 01/13/20 12:42
Re: Chicago area railfan hot spots
Author: stevelv

Here you go Mike.
https://trn.trains.com/photos-videos/hotspots/2006/07/chicagos-hot-spots
http://www.dhke.com/CRJ/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2qBrhdFiqg

Asking if there are any good railfan spots in Chicago is like asking if there are any hot blond chicks in Iceland -:)



Date: 01/13/20 14:25
Re: Chicago area railfan hotspots
Author: Fred

When I take Amtrak to Chicago from either Detroit or Toledo I normally take Metra out to Hinsdale on the BNSF "Raceway". A very short walk from Hinsdale takes you to Highland (nice stone depot) plus an overhead bridge to shoot from. IF on time (BIG IF) there you can catch both the Sothwest Chief& Calif Zephyr (both directions) between lets say 215pm & 320pm. Plus Metras and plenty of BNSF frts. You don't need a car to go railfanning in Chicago



Date: 01/13/20 16:31
Re: Chicago area railfan hotspots
Author: GoodTimeCharlie

Great timing !  I have a day and a half this weekend in the 'Windy City'  to take in some train activity !  I just might be able to forgo that rental car.  

 



Date: 01/13/20 17:27
Re: Chicago area railfan hotspots
Author: colehour

I don't have the information at my fingertips, but I believe you can take Amtrak from Union Station to Michigan City (IN) and then walk several blocks south to catch the South Shore back to Chicago.  



Date: 01/13/20 20:04
Re: Chicago area railfan hotspots
Author: K8DTI

One of my favorite things to do is to ride the CSS&SB to Gary.  You'll see all sorts of neat stuff and can get some great pics at the Gary station.



Date: 01/13/20 20:06
Re: Chicago area railfan hotspots
Author: MPCA349

K8DTI Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> One of my favorite things to do is to ride the
> CSS&SB to Gary.  You'll see all sorts of neat
> stuff and can get some great pics at the Gary
> station.

Definitely one of my favorite spots!

Posted from Android



Date: 01/14/20 12:49
Re: Chicago area railfan hotspots
Author: retcsxcfm

colehour Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I don't have the information at my fingertips, but
> I believe you can take Amtrak from Union Station
> to Michigan City (IN) and then walk several blocks
> south to catch the South Shore back to Chicago.  

I don't think Amtrak stops at MC.Only South Bend then Chi-town.

Uncle Joe



Date: 01/14/20 13:11
Re: Chicago area railfan hotspots
Author: colehour

retcsxcfm Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> colehour Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I don't have the information at my fingertips,
> but
> > I believe you can take Amtrak from Union
> Station
> > to Michigan City (IN) and then walk several
> blocks
> > south to catch the South Shore back to Chicago.
>  
>
> I don't think Amtrak stops at MC.Only South Bend
> then Chi-town.

I thought my information might be out of date, but it is not. Two of the Wolverines make eastbound stops in Michigan City. I decided to consult the Amtrak site.




Date: 01/15/20 17:06
Re: Chicago area railfan hotspots
Author: Passfanatic

A good start is to check out the Roosevelt Road bridge in Chicago, located just south of Union Station. You get many of the long distance Amtraks that enter Chicago from the east as well as the trains that head to California. You get the Amtrak's State Sponsored Wolverines, Blue Water, Pere Marquette, Carl Sandberg, and Illinois Zephyr trains. You get the Metra trains heading Aurora, Antioch, I think Elgin, and Manhattan.

If you want to railfan in the suburbs, the best line to start out with is the Metra BNSF Racetrack which runs out to Aurora-tons of great stations to choose from to railfan. I have railfanned at Naperville which is pretty nice! Amtrak's SW Chief, California Zephyr, and the two Illinois State Sponsored trains that run to Quincy stop there as well. Metra runs more frequently on the Racetrack during the week but less on weekends.

As for railfanning across the Illinois/Indiana border, there are good spots but safety may be in issue in many of them. Gary is one of those typical old steel mill cities that has been doing very poorly economywise. Safety is a big issue in many parts of the city so I would try not to go alone there. Amtrak does stop in Michigan City but the service is very infrequent. In fact, only two eastbounds stop there while only one westbound stops there.



Date: 01/15/20 17:19
Re: Chicago area railfan hotspots
Author: JohnM

The last time I was in Chicago, I thought boy it would be cool if a local retiree railfan had a little tour business to take folks out for a day or too.



Date: 01/23/20 17:37
Re: Chicago area railfan hotspots
Author: march_hare

Imagine that business model expanded nationwide. Target market would be visiting foreigners, but available for natives also. 

Kind of like railfan Uber. 

I call dibs on Albany. But yes, the first franchise would be Chicago. No question. 



Date: 01/23/20 17:45
Re: Chicago area railfan hotspots
Author: JohnM

march_hare Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Imagine that business model expanded nationwide.
> Target market would be visiting foreigners, but
> available for natives also. 
>
> Kind of like railfan Uber. 
>
> I call dibs on Albany. But yes, the first
> franchise would be Chicago. No question. 

Grooming and hygiene standards might be considered, as well as the age of the tour vehicle.   Presented correctly, I'd pay for a day of railfsnning in an unfamiliar city.  



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