• Hot spots in St. Paul, MN

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in the American Midwest, including Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Kansas. For questions specific to a railroad company, please seek the appropriate forum.
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in the American Midwest, including Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Kansas. For questions specific to a railroad company, please seek the appropriate forum.

Moderator: railohio

  by wasteland1952
 
Hello folks. I'm a new member to this group, and wanted to share a couple of train hot spots in St. Paul. I was just out there for a month on business, and spent quite a bit of time railfanning on the weekends.

One hot area is Bandana Square, which is west of downtown St. Paul. Take Lexington Pkwy north from I-94, past University Dr, to Energy Drive. Energy Dr goes to the left (west), and Front St. goes right (east). Take Energy not even a 1/2 mile to the former locomotive repair shops (I believe they're the Como Shops). You can't miss them. They're on the right side of the road, and there's an old CB&Q steam loco on display out front. Turn into the parking lot, and go all the way to the north end of the lot. There's a parking garage at the far end that overlooks the tracks. There's two tracks and the action is very heavy. I saw BNSF, UP, Soo, CP on these lines, with an occasional KCS, NS, and EMD demo locomotive thrown in for good measure. It's perfect for photos because you get a birds eye view of the trains, and the tracks seem less than 50' away. On top of that, there's a glass skyway leading from the garage into the building, with restrooms inside. And to top it all off, there's a fantastic two rail O-scale model railroad museum inside the old shop building.

Another great area is called the Pigs Eye (I believe). It's the west end of the Soo/CP yard, to the east of downtown St. Paul. Take US Hwys 10/61 south from I-94 to Warner Rd. Take Warner rd to the right (west) and go maybe a mile. Take Child Rd to the right. This road swings 180 degrees back to the east, and is parallel to the tracks. If you look to the left as you turn onto Child rd, you can see a large gravel parking area right next to the tracks. But I was told it's railroad property, and railfans are not allowed in there. Instead, continue on Child rd under the overpass, and you'll see a road to the left, just past the cement plant. Take the left, cross the tracks, and you can park right up next to the tracks will all the other railfans that'll be parked there! From talking to the folks there, there's no problem with parking there. From what I was told, railfans have been parking there for years without problems. I saw several railroad vehicles pass by and not a word was said. The action is very heavy, but you may get stuck trying to view trains passing behind a string of cars left on the near tracks as the yard is switched. Still, an excellent location.

And for you model railroaders, try Scale Model Supply in St. Paul. It's at the southeast side of the intersection of Lexington Pkwy and University Drive, just a little south of the Bandana Sq. area. It's one of the best hobby shops I've ever been in, and has a fantastic model railroad selection of all scales. Truly worth a visit.

Take care all, stay off railroad property and equipment, and be safe!

Mike

  by B&MYoshi
 
Hi there.

Bandana Square truly is a fantastic place to railfan. Great for both watching and photographing. You get a nice southside sun exposure.

Another place I really like is Talmadge Ave, a grade crossing right on the main. It provides a ground level shot with no obstructions of an sort on the same mainline.

This guide has it all for Minneapolis and St. Paul. The people at the UMN Train Club are really wonderful. (And I personally love seeing an old B&M S-Unit still hard at work, even though painted over).

http://www.tc.umn.edu/~rrclubum/railfan.html

However, you can pretty much go anywhere in the city and find rail traffic. I've never travelled on I-694 without seeing some train on one of the many lines that cross.