• Does anyone use the Google Maps / Satellites?

  • This forum is for discussion of "Fallen Flag" roads not otherwise provided with a specific forum. Fallen Flags are roads that no longer operate, went bankrupt, or were acquired or merged out of existence.
This forum is for discussion of "Fallen Flag" roads not otherwise provided with a specific forum. Fallen Flags are roads that no longer operate, went bankrupt, or were acquired or merged out of existence.

Moderator: Nicolai3985

  by VikingNik
You can often find on the detailed satellite images the remains of abandoned rail. If you look at East St. Louis, for instance, you can see the scars / remains of tons of old rail lines. I've seen them around Baltimore and Harrisburgh, PA, as well for a few examples. I saw a massive scar through south Los Angeles down to the port of Long Beach of an old SP line. I find it fascinating and sad the amount of rail infrastructure no longer exists...

[edit] I forgot to mention that Savannah, GA, is also a great one to check out. You can see the ghosts of lots of rail lines in that city.

  by AndyB
I have used Google Maps and Satellite Photos to track active and abandon right of ways all over New Jersey, Penn. and New York.
It is an excellent resource.

  by natethegreat
In central illinois, google maps does not zoom in with the same high quality that it does in metropolitan areas. I use terraserverusa for satelite photos. It provides decent, yet old, photos.

  by Nicolai3985
I'm a big fan of Terraserverusa.com as well. Like others have stated above, and elsewhere, Google doesn't yet have good zoom levels for more rural areas. Since 99% of my areas of interest are outside of cities, Terraserver is my favorite resource. Their only drawbacks are the age (some of the photos I've looked at are closing on 15 years old) and lack of color. Luckily for me, my area doesn't have huge growth, so things haven't changed much in the past 15 years. And after looking at those photos for long enough, you can begin to get a feel for what's a valley and what's a ridge, and what's a tree and what's a shadow from a long-abandoned bridge.

Then again, it's always nice to have a second resource when looking at things!


  by l008com
Are you kidding? I am a google maps addict. I trace router all the time all over eastern mass. And I'm always finding new lines I never knew about. Like just tonight I found what looks like a line that intersects the reading/haverhill line, right between the wildcat switch and RT93. It seems to go in one direction to some factory and in the other direction, all the way to the also abandoned rail line the crosses route 1 up in the peabody area. I am always amazed at just how many lines there are around. You can pretty much find an abandoned line in nearly every city and town around here. It must have been quite an impressive rail network in its day!
  by Agent at Clicquot
I've noticed Google only has full-detail in selected areas. MA is one. I've used it to trace out several (mostly ex-NH) lines in southeastern MA. I've tried to follow the never-completed Southern New England RR in MA ... the parallel Midland Div. of the NH is much easier to trace (the Putnam~Blackstone segment having been abandoned in 1969).

I bought a set of cab ride videos shot around 1992 on the P&W. While running on the main towards Worcester, an abutment was passed. It took a minute to cross reference the 14 year old video with the 3-4 year old satelite pics. Once I did, I was able to follow the abandoned right of way for several miles in each direction.

I also looked at my house ... though the detail wasn't quite high enough to differentiate between primer gray steel and a gray car cover. ;-)

* JB *

  by Cosmo
Is there a way to post photographic info TO Googlearth? Someone here in the office left me with that impression, but I dunno, .....
Be awful neat if you could :-)

  by choess
I don't think you can publish additional data to Google Maps <i>per se</i>, but you can add layers through Google Earth, the downloadable 3D client for Google Maps. Google has published a reference and tutorial for doing so.

  by Dieter
Don't write off the non-detailed areas on Google Earth. I was able to trace a partially built and abandoned Autobahn from outside of Berlin, across northern Pommerania, all the way to the outskirts of Konigsberg (Kallingrad). What amazed me with that was, it was practically a straight line for a few hundred miles.

I've managed to trace what I was looking for likewise with trackage reduced to trails in New England and Western New Brunswick. If you have landmarks or a familiarity with part of the region you're looking at, you can trace what you're looking for in a simple scar across the landscape.

The only thing that annoys me with Google Earth is how the lines for railways are only roughly marked, rather than accurately over the image.


  by Launcher
local.live.com is another microsoft product. I wonder why terraserver even still exists. the live.com beta is far more advanced and user friendly. You can even change camera angles - which I noticed does affect the picture. I mean, I found trains on a particular ROWs, then switched from north to south view and the train was gone or moved. this is because the two-dimensional satellite feeds have to be compiled multiple separate times (by making separate passes) to get three dimensions.

Someone mentioned Mass. For Western Mass, I was able to get one level of detail. However, in the more urban east towards Boston, I could go two levels deeper. It depends on two things: satellite runs and the database's coverage area. Regardless of state, the more populated areas get the best coverage, no matter what application you are using. The cartographers reduce detail out in rural areas to save disk space and reduce costs of obatining and distributing the images.

  by RussNelson
Launcher wrote:The cartographers reduce detail out in rural areas to save disk space and reduce costs of obatining and distributing the images.
You're speculating. Don't speculate. We have no way to tell if you're supplying authoritative information or yer just making stuff up. They don't "reduce the detail" -- they never had it. Nobody is flying around taking high-resolution pictures specullating that somebody will buy them. If there are high-resolution pictures, it's because somebody paid for them. It's simply that it's more likely that people will want pictures of areas with larger populations. You have the facts correct, but you're imputing a reason that isn't true.

Now, as for terraserver being obsolete: hardly! I'm using terraserver tiles to display side-by-side with Historic USGS tiles. http://rutlandtrail.org/mapview.cgi?theme=Historic

  by umtrr-author
I used Google Earth to finally understand where the former Central of New Jersey's Sound Shore Branch operated.

It's a long story, but the line once crossed the Rahway River between Linden and Carteret, NJ right where that river emptied into the Arthur Kill (between Staten Island NY and NJ). I had always wondered but that area had always been inaccessible.

The ghost of the CNJ is still there, deep within highly industrial areas that aren't open to the public.

  by rfalcone
Check out the Lackawana Cut-off. It is clearly visible on Google Earth.

  by PKelly
Google Earth, Terraserver, USGS Historical Maps from Maptech...if its online I use it, or try to. I use these for modelling ideas and railfanning.

  by lukerice
I just want to add flashearth.com to the list of awesome resources for following old rail lines. They have color hi-res in areas where google and others do not.