• My first Chicago Land Experience. Railfanning the BNSF &

  • Tell us where you were and what you saw!
Tell us where you were and what you saw!

Moderator: David Benton

  by Hudson Terminus
Recently moving to Illinois was exciting, as that meant I'd be living closer to Chicago. Growing up in New York State, "big trains" had a different meaning.

After dropping off my wife for the day with friends in Oak Park, I proceeded to make my way to Downers Grove, an oft suggested site by forum members. I was ready. Scanner and camera charged, Mountain Dew and trail mix at hand, and 7 hours to fuel my hobby.

Arriving in DG at 8:55 at Fairview station, I was just in time to see Metra 185 shove east. I was excited to see lights in each direction, and the two freights met right at the station at 9:00, making recording road ##s difficult, but possible. Weather was crappy all-day, so the camera stayed in the car.

The westbound was led by BNSK 4194, 5204, 2169, 1504, and 2784. The eastbound was 5376, 4734, and 4083. I stayed at the Fairview stop for another 2.5 hours, with this to show for it:

9:18 Metra 191 West
9:45 Metra 188 East
9:55 Metra 205 East
10:12 Amtrak Illinois Zephyr (with 90368 in Phase III)
10:53 Metra 191 East
11:13 BNSF 8639, 8107, 7214 (FURX) East
11:21 Metra 213 east

I was a little low on the frieght traffic, so I headed away from the BNSF line towards the UP line in Wheaton. Having little time to scout, I visited a few site that didn't suit my preferences, before spending an hour at West Chicago. There, I saw:

12:12 UP 3081, 3090 West
12:27 UP 4051, 4033 West
12:48 Metra 157 East

Becoming impatient again, I headed back to the BNSF racetrack where I settled in for the rest of the afternoon at the Main Street station. There were some great spurts of action there:

1:53 BNSF 3135, 7235 (FURX) West
2:16 Metra 185 West
2:19 Amtrak 180, California Zephyr West
2:22 BNSF 5322, 718, 5153 West
2:27 Amtrak 174, 131, 89 (FAST!) with PV "Cimarron River" !!! California Zephyr West

2:49 Metra 188 East
2:53 BNSF 7785, 3069, 6001 (NS) West
3:17 Metra 191 West
3:19 BNSF 7270 (FURX) 886
3:21 BNSF 4370, 5253 East

All together, I saw 26 trains in 4.5 hours of trackside time. What a great day! I'll be back!

  by David Benton
sounds great , i can see living in that area is a major plus for railfans .
Here , i get excited if i see more than 2-3 trains a day .

  by Gilbert B Norman
145 a day is the average weekday count. When I take my afternoon walkover to MP 17.85 and return usually in the afternoon timed to catch at least one Amtrak, there is simply no such an occasion during the 40 minute walk (including an 'Oreo Stop' at the bank) which is void of 'action".

Univ of Ill/UC '70