Author Topic: Safe spot at Porter Junction  (Read 3439 times)

Trainguy2525

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Safe spot at Porter Junction
« on: July 29, 2014, 11:16:00 PM »
I just found out my Grandpa and I are going up to Porter Junction this Saturday. We have never been there and I was wondering if anyone had any good spots by the junction. I know from other pages to stay away from the triangle formed by the Chicago line, Amtrak, and the crossing. Thanks for any tips!

railfan727

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Re: Safe spot at Porter Junction
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2014, 10:12:59 AM »
The closest safe spot I could find last time I was up there was a block or two away, with a great view of the NS but with the CSX and Amtrak lines blocked by weeds, and honestly I didn't care for the sightlines on the NS either.

If you just want to stay in your car and watch (and film) without getting out and walking around, honestly your best bet is LaPorte. You'll miss the CSX and Amtrak of course, but those lines aren't that busy in comparison to the NS.

There's a HUGE gravel lot on the south side of the tracks behind a couple of bars just east of the Detroit St. crossing, right at milepost 463. CP 462 signals (the crossing of the Indy-Michigan City line) are just to the east, and CP 463 (double crossovers and the east end of LaPorte Siding south of the main) are just to your west and both are visible from the crossing.

There is a defect detector to the east at MP 458.2. Signals are at 455, 458, 460, 462, 463, 465, 466, and 469 (that I've been able to hear called from this location, anyway).

There are two westbound Amtraks (29 and 49) in early to mid morning. They've both been running an hour or two late every time I've been up there this summer.  And you'll catch at least one oil train each way (64R, 64V, 64W, or 66X loaded, and 65R, 65V, 65W, and 67X empty).  There are also ethanol trains (64K/65K and 64E/65E).  Oil and ethanol use the same type of tank cars (and indeed I've seen some ADM and RPMG ethanol cars carrying oil!), and the only way to tell them apart is to look at the placards.  Oil is 1267, and ethanol is 1987 (both flammable liquid class 2).

I've seen power from literally every major railroad there, and a few of the smaller ones too. Even CSX!  Last time I was up there, I saw at least 3 different units from each of the major US and Canadian systems at this one location in one day's time. And this is all on one line, with no junction! And there's always the chance of a heritage unit too.  Most frequently on oil trains, but they've been showing up on intermodal quite a lot lately too. But I've yet to catch one on an oil train (though this is on my bucket list!)... the only one I've actually caught at LaPorte was the NYC on intermodal 205 heading west in the last rays of daylight.

You'll see roughly 40 trains during daylight hours...

I live in Indianapolis, but I love this spot so much I make it a point to get up there at least once a month or so as long as the weather's right. It's well worth the 2 1/2 hours it takes to get there!!!
CSX 9000 series... 46 down, 6 to go!

Trainguy2525

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Re: Safe spot at Porter Junction
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2014, 10:20:03 AM »
Thanks for the info! You are right about the late Amtrak's! The other day the Lake Shore heading into Chicago was running 5 hours late! My Grandpa and I have been to Elkhart but it is just time for a change of scenery. That 2 hours and 30 minutes go quick in the car knowing you'll see something unique everytime on the Chicago Line!

railfan727

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Re: Safe spot at Porter Junction
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2014, 10:38:03 AM »
My dad and I are heading up there this Saturday too.  Maybe we'll see you!

There's also a good spot in Elkhart too that you may not have seen.  The McDonald Avenue crossing just around the curve from the depot... there's a closed-up business on the east side of the crossing, and an open grass lot to the west. So you can have good lighting regardless of the time of day.  The WB home signals for CP 421 are visible from there.
CSX 9000 series... 46 down, 6 to go!

Trainguy2525

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Re: Safe spot at Porter Junction
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2014, 10:57:08 AM »
I'll look for you guys out there! We will probably be around Porter/Chesterton/LaPorte! We've always stayed around the Amtrak Station in Elkhart. My Grandpa and I have never thought to look for another spot. Thanks for the tip!

oat324

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Re: Safe spot at Porter Junction
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2014, 11:54:54 AM »
North Mineral Springs Road is a nice place to shoot pictures and near the Ogden Dunes station. In Elkart/Dunlap, County Road 13 north off of Rt 33 and left past the Big Brothers/Sister place is a parking area. Also, a very nice place to get a shake at the Flavor Freeze is a short walk. Another nice place is in Goshen at the Oak Ridge cemetery off of North 1st Street.

Trainguy2525

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Re: Safe spot at Porter Junction
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2014, 12:02:21 PM »
Do you get all the Amtrak trains at North Mineral Springs Road (including the Michigan Service Amtraks)? I see on Google Maps that it looks like a great spot plus parking looks easy to find around there also!

railfan727

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Re: Safe spot at Porter Junction
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2014, 12:47:00 PM »
Yes.  Anywhere west of Porter...

Clark Road in Gary is the ultimate spot because the NS and CSX mainlines run side by side, plus the CN coming out of Kirk Yard (ex-EJ&E); this yard is now CN's sole Chicago-area yard for manifest freight.

The only problem is...... this spot is completely off limits and is heavily patrolled by special agents from all three railroads.
CSX 9000 series... 46 down, 6 to go!

railfan727

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Re: Safe spot at Porter Junction
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2014, 12:48:23 PM »
I must add... the NS 8098 (Conrail heritage) is currently bound for Cumberland, MD.  If it comes out of there tomorrow on Q359, it should be in Indy sometime on Saturday.  If that ends up being the case, my dad and I will stay in town (or possibly go up to Anderson or Muncie for old times' sake) and attempt to catch it.
CSX 9000 series... 46 down, 6 to go!

Trainguy2525

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Re: Safe spot at Porter Junction
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2014, 01:51:28 PM »
Hopefully it doesn't come to Indy (not to crush your dreams)! I'll be at Indiana Beach tomorrow with family and miss it. I'm really hoping it comes back to Chicago so I can catch it!

railfan727

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Re: Safe spot at Porter Junction
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2014, 06:01:15 PM »
I haven't heard any more about the Conrail.  HOWEVER......

The Southern (NS 8099) is on oil train 65V, just by Cresson, PA. I anticipate that there is a very good chance of seeing it in LaPorte tomorrow.
CSX 9000 series... 46 down, 6 to go!

Trainguy2525

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Re: Safe spot at Porter Junction
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2014, 08:51:28 PM »
Plus AMTK 822 is leading the Lake Shore for tomorrow

Mark from Connecticut

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Re: Safe spot at Porter Junction
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2016, 10:32:45 AM »
I found a spot, actually in Burns Harbor.

At the end of North Babcock Road, there is a private crossing barricaded with large concrete blocks. The road is parallel to Worthington Steel and is behind the Comfort Inn on US20.

The view is spectacular, all the way down to Indiana 149 to the east and the curve to west near the steel mill.

No traffic and it is a public road right up to the railroad tracks. Its nice to be able to hear the train, diesel engine, traction motors etc without the clanging of a crossing gate or the blast of a horn.

I did get a visit from Burns Harbor's finest but just because of the NIPSCO infrastructure and the rarity of vehicles down there.

He was polite and professional and let me stay.

I'll be heading back for sure.