Author Topic: Lafayette Railfanning Guide  (Read 2958 times)

1976

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Lafayette Railfanning Guide
« on: May 09, 2011, 01:41:44 AM »
(Prepared for a future INRRBS outing in Lafayette)

Not numbered in any particular order are these train viewing and photo locations, with 1 and 2 probably being the most popular.  The NS Lafayette District and CSX Monon Subdivision pass through these spots, making them the busiest as well.  

The NS Frankfort Branch (locations 3-6) hosts several transfer moves between Lafayette South and East Yards, which can be sporadic and make this a less desirable line to just sit and watch.  It is also a tad undesirable when it comes to places to park.

Locations 7-9 are a little bit outside of the popular downtown 1 and 2 spots, but have some variety to offer along the busy NS Lafayette District if you want to make a 5-10 minute drive.

A large map is included to show the areas that I have detailed, along with a map showing two of the area rail yards.  I saved all the detail maps as .png's to reduce quality loss.  They should display fine.

1: Lafayette Amtrak Station - (CSX and NS)  A decent amount of public parking spaces available at the station, but be careful of buses and passengers moving about.  There is a pedestrian bridge over all three tracks, but photos are a bit limited to Westbounds (Southbound CSX) due to the Columbia St. bridge obstructing the view to the West (compass South).

2: Lafayette Junction - (CSX and NS)  A pedestrian bridge over the NS-controlled interlocking offers a view of the Westbound (Southbound CSX) signal bridge, as well as all of the switches in this interlocking.  Good photo angles from both directions.  A tall chain link fence prevents photos with a large diameter lens from directly above the tracks, but the area just outside the fence makes a great overhead perch.  Parking can be had on Smith St. with a ramp on the East side and stairs on the West side.  Do not park in the private lot on the West side of the tracks.

3: Old US 231 - (NS)  Not a place to hang out for long periods of time, but given a good heads-up, this offers an Eastward-looking overhead view of the tracks in a gentle curve, with trees on both sides, and no poles/wires, etc.  Looking West, one can see the Elston interlocking.  Momentary parking on the South side of the bridge being a small gravel lot on either side of the road.  

4: 9th St. - (NS)  Provided that Altamont Pass is not full of autoracks, this makes for a good wide-open shot.  A trail runs along side the tracks for a short distance here.  Parking can be had in the Little Caesar's lot just South of the tracks.

5: 18th St. - (NS)  No place to pull off and park, but if you prefer a wide-open shot on this line and Altamont Pass is full of cars, the walking path mentioned at the 9th St. location leads to this location.  Twyckenham Blvd. (located between 9th and 18th) also has sidewalks on either side for overhead shots but is equipped with a chain link fence on both sides.

6: US52 - (NS)  Overhead view of “A Yard” (to the West) and “B” and “C” Yards (to the East).  There is usually power parked on the West side of the road in front of the yard office.  There is plenty of room on both shoulders for momentary parking and photos.

7: US231 - (CSX and NS)  While both railroads cross 231 on overhead bridges, I cannot give advice on shooting CSX from below.  NS can be shot from the South side from the ground, or if you are willing to climb the embankment, you can get up to bridge level.  A chain link fence on the railroad bridge prevents photos from the North side.  This part of 231 is divided by a concrete wall and one must travel South on 231 out of town and park on the very wide shoulder to get photos.

8: CR 700W - (NS)  A decent spot for telephoto shots of Westbounds.  Located in the middle of West Point siding.  This is another one of those momentary park-and-shoot places.  There is a small private gravel lot on the South side of the tracks which has never been a problem when I’ve parked there for around 10 minutes.  Note:  Beware of the attractive Searchlight signals at CP West Point, as they are located in front of an Ammonia place (can't remember the industry name).  Probably not the best place to hang out for extended periods of time.

9: Turner Rd. - (NS)  CP Flint, the West end of West Point siding.  Out in the “middle of nowhere” and features three double-headed Searchlight signals just like the ones at the East end of the siding.  Parking consists of pulling over on the side of a relatively lightly-traveled county road.

Others:  The CSX Lafayette Yard, as well as NS East Yard are shown with logos of those companies.  With these being surrounded by more of those pull-over, shoot-and-leave spots, I’ll leave those areas to be explored at one’s own discretion.  NS power, as well as a caboose can usually be seen from US52 at East Yard.  You'll also find that KBSR is not mentioned, as the power rarely makes an appearance inside of town and NS DL24 usually grabs grain trains from them during the night hours.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2012, 08:39:40 AM by 1976 »

1976

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Re: Lafayette Railfanning Guide
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2011, 10:49:46 AM »
Signal locations that will be heard on the radio throughout Lafayette.  Labeled in black and white for NS, blue and yellow for CSX.

1: East Yard (NS) - Start Double Track, East Yard Lead

2: Royer (NS) - Dual Crossovers

3: Lafayette Yard (CSX) - Lafayette Yard Lead

4: Salem St. (CSX) - Old Yard Lead

5: Lafayette Jct. (CSX/NS) - Controlled by NS.  KBSR joins CSX route.  Dual Crossovers between CSX and NS, as well as NS Mains 1 and 2.  End of NS
Double Track.  Main 1 becomes the connection to the Frankfort Branch.

6: Demun (NS) - West leg of wye to Frankfort Branch.

7: South End Lafayette Pass (CSX) - 122.4 Northbound, Absolute Southbound

8: Intermediate (CSX) - 125.2 Northbound, 125.1 Southbound

9: Intermediate (NS) - 260.8 Westbound, 260.9 Eastbound a.k.a. Shadeland

10: West Point (NS) - East End of Siding (located midway between towns of Shadeland and Glen Hall)

11: Flint (NS) - West End of Siding (location 9 on the photo location maps)

12: Elston (NS) - Wyes to Decatur and Peru

13: Altamont (NS) - Former split-off with what is now the CSX Zionsville Industrial Track in Indianapolis

14: South Yard (NS) - Located between "A Yard" and "B Yard", gives access to "B" and "C" yards going Eastbound.  West End of B Yard Siding.

15: Dayton (NS) - East End of B Yard Siding.  Start TWC

indyspy

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Re: Lafayette Railfanning Guide
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2011, 11:38:15 AM »
Honestly, Lafayette can be tough. A lot of the better spots are super questionable.

I find that if your a sit in the car and watch type. There are the best place is along the fence south of the stub ended Walnut Street.

Also note that while they call Lafayette Double track on the NS. Main 2 is really just a long siding. Expect most NS trains to use Main 1 unless there is a meet or someone is working East Yard. Also note that if a WB train takes main 2 at East Yard, they are probably going to stop at Royer to work the yard if there is nothing else obvious coming.


« Last Edit: May 09, 2011, 12:07:59 PM by indyspy »
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1976

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Re: Lafayette Railfanning Guide
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2011, 04:34:53 PM »
Also note that while they call Lafayette Double track on the NS. Main 2 is really just a long siding. Expect most NS trains to use Main 1 unless there is a meet or someone is working East Yard. Also note that if a WB train takes main 2 at East Yard, they are probably going to stop at Royer to work the yard if there is nothing else obvious coming.
Actually, the track that most trains will use is Main 2.  Main 1 is the connection between the Frankfort Branch and East Yard.  The #1 Main is always to the South on the Wabash.

NSNORFOLKSOUTHERNFAN

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Re: Lafayette Railfanning Guide
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2011, 05:14:13 PM »
Yep all the locations listed above are great spots. NS_CO, You know how to Royer? I have no idea how to get there. Haha
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1976

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Re: Lafayette Railfanning Guide
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2011, 05:25:12 PM »
Yep all the locations listed above are great spots. NS_CO, You know how to Royer? I have no idea how to get there. Haha
It's just Railroad East of where the tracks go over 9th St. (on a bridge).  It's got the CSX yard on one side and a fence on the other, which is why I didn't list it as a photo location.

indyspy

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Re: Lafayette Railfanning Guide
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2011, 08:31:02 AM »
I just looked at the track chart. Your right. I forgot that the Wabash tradition of having the track chart upside down (looking south) still prevails.

Royer is one of those grey area spots. You can go thru an appartment parking lot and park on the entrance to the access road.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2011, 08:44:45 AM by indyspy »
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Fitch

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Re: Lafayette Railfanning Guide
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2011, 03:41:50 PM »

 Would like to add,

 St. Boniface Cemetery, next to the NS East Yard, is a nice place to watch the trains on the Wabash, plus you might see some Yard action. The spot itself is not very photogenic as most of your pics will most likely have cars parked in the Yard in the background. But I was there a couple years ago and the Groundskeepers chatted with me, and they said they had no problems with people taking pictures of the trains. They were actually kinda puzzled why people did it. Since that time, they have cleared a treeline that was between the tracks and the Cemetery, so you've got a nice wide view of the tracks.

B@M

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Re: Lafayette Railfanning Guide
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2011, 10:49:13 AM »
what street is this on?what exit off 65

1976

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Re: Lafayette Railfanning Guide
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2011, 12:47:31 PM »
what street is this on?what exit off 65
What street is what on?  I've attached maps for reference.  Are you looking for something else?

Racecar52

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Re: Lafayette Railfanning Guide
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2011, 10:29:47 PM »
NS_CO, thanks for taking the time to do this.  I sent it thru my club mailing list to help some of the more sheltered members understand there's more to this town than just the Big Four Depot (as nice as it is, theres SO MUCH more here!)

Honestly, Lafayette can be tough. A lot of the better spots are super questionable.

The best spots anywhere are questionable, thats what makes it fun.  With no risk, where's the reward?

I personally enjoy watching trains at Lafayette JCT from two loading docks east of the tracks ("A" and "B") or the KBS from State St. bridge ("C") or waving to the Amtrak crews from underneath Union St... there's even places to watch the yards if you're creative enough.
We're railfans, we're SUPPOSED to do things differently. :)
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ckpcpqq

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Re: Lafayette Railfanning Guide
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2011, 12:15:27 PM »
Frankly, the Columbia St bridge offers better overhead photos than the ped bridge.

For some photos of the downtown and Lafayette Jct locations, go here:

http://ckpcpqq.rrpicturearchives.net/archivethumbs.aspx?id=64906

B@M

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Re: Lafayette Railfanning Guide
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2011, 02:18:16 PM »
what exit is st.boniface cemetry ?

Racecar52

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Re: Lafayette Railfanning Guide
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2011, 11:41:32 PM »
Frankly, the Columbia St bridge offers better overhead photos than the ped bridge...

I agree, Bill -- or even South St.  The pedestrian bridge is nice, but over-rated, IMHO.

what exit is st.boniface cemetry ?

just look at the map in the first post, take 25 south from i65 to the NS 'East' Yard
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Fitch

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Re: Lafayette Railfanning Guide
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2011, 03:47:34 AM »

 Sorry, I don't know the Exit number, but it's the State Rd 25 Exit, then head West, after crossing the Wildcat you'll see a BIG Cemetery on your right, and a Smaller one on your Left. St. Boniface is the small one on the Left, or South side of the Road. If you cross under the Tracks, you've gone too far.

Purdue587

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Re: Lafayette Railfanning Guide
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2012, 11:22:12 PM »
On May 12th, America has one mission – celebrate the joy of trains and train
travel! Now in its fifth year, National Train Day will again be a coast-to-coast
celebration of America's love of trains. Join the fun and come celebrate with us
at the Lafayette Amtrak station! Festivities this year will include a model
railroading club from Indianapolis, IN, with participants from the greater
Lafayette area. The club models in what is called N scale. Other attractions
will include the parade of trains going by the station on Norfolk Southern and
CSX/Amtrak main lines.

The model railroad club will be inside the Romanesque style depot built in 1902,
(also known as Riehle Plaza), which sits over the current Amtrak station and
CityBus terminal. CiNtrak (Central Indiana NTrak), an N scale club based out of
Indianapolis, will have a public display of its N scale trains which are sure to
be a delight to young and old alike. If you have any questions about anything
model railroading or about the club, just ask one of the club members in blue
shirts and they will try to help you with your questions as best they can.
Donations are appreciated by the club to help offset costs.

The address for the event is 2nd street, Amtrak Depot at Riehle Plaza, downtown
Lafayette, IN. Hours for the overall event are 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., with the
model railroad club starting the open house viewing at 10:00 a.m. We encourage
all families, grandparents and singles and people of all ages to come out and
enjoy the fun. This is a family friendly event and Handicap accessible event.
The event is on the site of the Amtrak, CityBus, and greyhound terminal. Its
within easy access of downtown Lafayette and has bicycle racks.

Hope to see you there!

FOR THE RAILFANS!
We encourage you to come out as long as you can. During daylight hours we get
between 10-20 trains on NS and CSX main lines, sometimes more. If you cant make
it up to Chicago, this is a great event to come to that is centered around
railfans and fellowship with other railfans, the exchange of photography
techniques and tricks, and good clean fun! If you have never railfanned in
Lafayette before, this is a great place to do it. The location is the Amtrak
station, CityBus and Greyhound bus terminals for easy use of public transit.
Lots of room and a pedestrian bridge over the three mainline tracks of NS and
CSX are a bonus. The downtown area abounds with restaurants, antique, boutique
and art shops so the family can have fun while you enjoy your hobby! If you
prefer the model railroading over railfanning, or a lull in trains occurs, be
sure to check out CiNtrak's layout inside the depot. Also, inside the depot are
public restrooms. So come on out with your cameras, tripods, lawn chairs,
coolers, scanners, and anything else you use while railfanning and join in the
celebration!
https://www.facebook.com/NationalTrainDayLafayetteIN




railfan727

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Re: Lafayette Railfanning Guide
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2012, 11:07:34 AM »
Sorry, I don't know the Exit number, but it's the State Rd 25 Exit, then head West, after crossing the Wildcat you'll see a BIG Cemetery on your right, and a Smaller one on your Left. St. Boniface is the small one on the Left, or South side of the Road. If you cross under the Tracks, you've gone too far.

That would be Exit 175...

trainmaster53

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Re: Lafayette Railfanning Guide
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2012, 09:21:25 PM »
Dont Forget that Sunday May 13th is Mothers Day as Well. So what a Better Way to Spend the Day with the Wife on the Day before Mothers Day. My Wife likes to Railfan too. She is a Very Big Fan of the Norfolk Southern. She has 3 N&W Js in N Scale along with several Norfolk and Western and NS Locomotives.