Visiting the area August 3-5th, looking for help

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ST214
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Visiting the area August 3-5th, looking for help

Post by ST214 » Wed Jul 02, 2014 5:12 pm

Hi guys,

I will be visiting the area on my way down to Saint Louis next month and I am looking for some advice. I will have a rental car, so driving is no issue.

I am arriving on 49/449 on the third and grabbing a rental. Planning on heading to Blue Island when I get the rental and maybe doing some METRA shooting over on the old Rock. What I need help with is a few things.

I am thinking of also hitting somewhere north of the city to catch some stuff. How great of a place is Franklin Park in terms of freight volume? Is it worth the trip over for a few hours outside of rush hour or is there a better location?

I am definitely going to hit the raceway at evening rush, possibly an entire day. My questions there are where should I go and what will the parking situation be like? Does BNSF throw many(if any) freights into the rush hour mix, or is it all AMTK/METRA? Is there one spot that is better than another at a certain time of day?

Anything I should add or any advice for something better than what I have mentioned, please let me know!

Thanks in advance!
Hoping for a rebirth of the Screamer fleet.

doepack
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Re: Visiting the area August 3-5th, looking for help

Post by doepack » Wed Jul 02, 2014 11:28 pm

You can't go wrong with a visit to BNSF's racetrack in the afternoons, and it's not uncommon to see eastbound freights, especially hot double-stacks and TOFC intermodals mixed in with the westbound Metra rush. Grab an outbound Metra to either LaGrange or Westmont, both of which are pleasant locations to take it all in.

Franklin Park does have plenty of freight volume, and while there's almost always something heading into or out of the nearby yard of Benseville, traffic is a little heavier in the evenings. Worth a visit.

I'd also recommend a visit to two other recent threads in this forum, namely "First time Chicago visit", and "Possible trip Macomb via Chicago", both of which may offer other suggestions that could be of interest.

Enjoy your stay, and keep us posted!
--Dorian--

ohioriverrailway
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Re: Visiting the area August 3-5th, looking for help

Post by ohioriverrailway » Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:11 am

Try to check out the South Shore - if only to get some pictures.
Rick H.

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ST214
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Re: Visiting the area August 3-5th, looking for help

Post by ST214 » Wed Jul 09, 2014 2:16 pm

Checked out those threads, for the most part learned to stay out of Englewood.

Speaking of safety, how is Blue Island?

Also, is rush hour on the raceway heavier on F40s or MP36s? I am more interested in F40s.

On my last Chicago visit, I spent most of my time hunting down a F40C, still glad I did that.
Hoping for a rebirth of the Screamer fleet.

TrainManUPRR
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Re: Visiting the area August 3-5th, looking for help

Post by TrainManUPRR » Wed Jul 09, 2014 7:24 pm

The racetrack no longer has any MP36s. There is one F40PH-2, a handful of F40PH-3s (they look and run exactly like the regular F40s, they just have a computer), and a LOT of F40PHM-2s which most call Winnebagos. The Winnebagos are just an F40PH-2 with the windshield brought forward to touch the nose.

Blue Island is safe- you shouldn't have any trouble. The Rock has an even mix of F40PH-2s, Winnebagos, and MP36s. If you visit the Rock on a weekend you won't see anything except MPs running because they have the largest fuel tanks.

I recommend the UP Geneva Sub as well if you want to see a lot of freight action. The UP Metra lines use only F40PH-2s and -3s.

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ST214
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Re: Visiting the area August 3-5th, looking for help

Post by ST214 » Fri Jul 11, 2014 5:52 pm

TrainManUPRR wrote:The racetrack no longer has any MP36s. There is one F40PH-2, a handful of F40PH-3s (they look and run exactly like the regular F40s, they just have a computer), and a LOT of F40PHM-2s which most call Winnebagos. The Winnebagos are just an F40PH-2 with the windshield brought forward to touch the nose.

Blue Island is safe- you shouldn't have any trouble. The Rock has an even mix of F40PH-2s, Winnebagos, and MP36s. If you visit the Rock on a weekend you won't see anything except MPs running because they have the largest fuel tanks.

I recommend the UP Geneva Sub as well if you want to see a lot of freight action. The UP Metra lines use only F40PH-2s and -3s.
Hmmmm, might have to check out the UP-west line. Do they still run left handed? I remember riding that line about 10 years ago and they were still running left handed.
Hoping for a rebirth of the Screamer fleet.

TrainManUPRR
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Re: Visiting the area August 3-5th, looking for help

Post by TrainManUPRR » Fri Jul 11, 2014 7:30 pm

They sure do!

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ST214
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Re: Visiting the area August 3-5th, looking for help

Post by ST214 » Sat Jul 12, 2014 4:36 pm

Looks like I am gonna have to check that out too. Just found some videos online, looks like some good action!
Hoping for a rebirth of the Screamer fleet.

TrainManUPRR
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Re: Visiting the area August 3-5th, looking for help

Post by TrainManUPRR » Sun Jul 13, 2014 9:37 am

^Cool. We locals all hate the Metra aspect of the UP West line because there's no variety- just F40PH after F40PH. Metra's F40s are all screamers. Should be right up your alley!

c604.
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Re: Visiting the area August 3-5th, looking for help

Post by c604. » Mon Jul 14, 2014 12:37 pm

[Cool. We locals all hate the Metra aspect of the UP West line because there's no variety- just F40PH after F40PH
Speak for yourself ;-)

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ST214
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Re: Visiting the area August 3-5th, looking for help

Post by ST214 » Mon Sep 08, 2014 4:35 pm

Well, I forgot to post the followup to my trip, so here it goes...

Blue Island-Scratched. The Lakeshore got in 5 hours late and pretty much killed anything happening on Sunday. Went over to Blue Island, found trackwork, and headed to the hotel. Ended up in Hinsdale on the BNSF for a few trains after dinner.

BNSF-The next day, we headed trackside on the BNSF raceway around 10AM. Not as many freights as I expected, but I did catch my first ACS64 while I was there. I am amazed at how well METRA utilizes train sets. I saw some of them five times!

UP West-Well, as far as I am concerned, this was the winner. Ended up oversleeping, but when we got there, the action was hot! Caught three freights in the first half hour! Watched one METRA go inbound, then hopped on the next one to see a friend in Chicago for a little while. Inbetween those trains, caught another freight and a UPY unit hauling a lone gallery car inbound.Caught the first outbound of the parade back out. After that, the F40 parade was on. Most of them sounded great, although one of them sounded like it was ready to crap itself. Found a nice spot on a curve to shoot. Those F40s looked sweet rounding the bend!

Overall, a great experience railfanning.
Hoping for a rebirth of the Screamer fleet.

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ST214
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Re: Visiting the area August 3-5th, looking for help

Post by ST214 » Mon May 20, 2019 9:49 pm

I know I am bumping a old thread, but I am coming back to Chicago beginning of June to railfan, with the wife. Don’t worry, she is into trains. Did not get to Franklin Park last time, going to make it this time. Planning on doing rush hour on the raceway again, but I have more time to work with this time, and I really want to shoot lower numbered F40’s and the F59’s. I would also like to catch the RI and MILW units. If anyone has anything to add that may be helpful, it will be much appreciated!
Hoping for a rebirth of the Screamer fleet.

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Tadman
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Re: Visiting the area August 3-5th, looking for help

Post by Tadman » Wed May 22, 2019 4:53 pm

Ride the south shore this time! Go out to Beverly Shores and have a pizza.

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