• The Great RAILROAD.NET Cross-Country Railfan Race!

  • General discussion about the RAILROAD.NET site, forums, or content ONLY. Please do not post your general railroading questions, please choose an appropriate forum. For help using the site, please post in the Help Using RAILROAD.NET Forum.
General discussion about the RAILROAD.NET site, forums, or content ONLY. Please do not post your general railroading questions, please choose an appropriate forum. For help using the site, please post in the Help Using RAILROAD.NET Forum.

Moderator: Jeff Smith

  by Otto Vondrak
Have you seen these men? Chris Stilson and Dave Scheiderich

Longtime moderator Chris Stilson (stilson4283) and contributor Dave Scheiderich (boblenon) are driving across the country in search of trains. Chris is moving from Buffalo, NY to his new job at Edwards AFB in California (projected arrival is July 12). Dave and his friend Chris as taking this time to drive across the country in search of as many trains they can find. Watch this thread as we get updates from the field... and if you see them trackside, make sure you say hello! If you spot our roving railfans, or have a suggestion for a place to visit, post your report here:


Last edited by Otto Vondrak on Mon Apr 16, 2007 3:37 pm, edited 6 times in total.

  by Otto Vondrak

9:30am Chris and Dave are on the New York State Thruway heading west. First stop will be somewhere west of Ripley.

10:30 Chris and Dave have stopped to visit the Lake Shore Railway Historical Society's museum in North East, PA. They report a large amount of CSX maintainance equipment parked near the station on what would be old Main 3 (not part of the museum display, but still interesting!) http://www.velocity.net/~lsrhs

Last edited by Otto Vondrak on Sat Jul 08, 2006 10:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

  by Otto Vondrak
12:00 Chris and Dave are in Conneaut, Ohio, and stopped off at the Conneaut Historical Railroad Museum, located in the old NYC station. Dave reports that the old Nickel Plate Berk on display looks like it's in fairly good condition. Here are some sites related to the museum:



Next stop: CLEVELAND!

  by Otto Vondrak
2:00pm EDT- Made it to Cleveland, and headed south to the busy junction at Berea, Ohio. Formerly where the Nickel Plate and NYC Big Four crossed each other, now the line is a busy NS and CSX crossing. Dave and Chris decided this was a good place to break for a late lunch at the Station Restaurant (located in the old NYC station). Chris and Dave got a patio seat facing the old Berea tower and watched a parade of afternoon eastbounds. Chris tells me the food at the Station Restaurant is "very good."

This Conrail train is running past Berea Tower on what is today NS tracks. CSX tracks are in the foreground:

Last edited by Otto Vondrak on Thu Jul 06, 2006 6:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by Otto Vondrak
5:00pm EDT Stopped at the former NYC station in Toledo, OH. The station was closed, but Chris and Dave explored the platform areas. Saw some NS hi-rail trucks, but not much else. Lots of empty platforms, you could see where the tracks used to be. Saw a large CSX yard just off of I-80 on the way into Toledo.

Some pics of Toledo: http://snow.prohosting.com/usarail/toledo.htm


Last edited by Otto Vondrak on Sat Jul 08, 2006 3:38 pm, edited 3 times in total.

  by Otto Vondrak

7:33pm CDT Rolled into Michigan City, IN... just in time to catch an eastbound SouthShore train rolling down 11th Street! "Just as we arrived, we saw the train already on 11th Street," Chris explained, "I quickly ditched the car on a side street and we dashed out and got some pictures!" Chris and Dave caught Train 117 headed for South Bend at 7:33pm (local time). No trains were due for another hour, and the guys wanted to get to their hotel room.


Stops planned for later this trip are Des Moines, Iowa and Las Vegas, Nevada!


  by Otto Vondrak
10:15 CDT From Chris: "Started out from the Holiday Inn Express in Harvey, IL. Drove over by the old Illinois Central intermodal facility (now CN, though the old IC "Edward L. Moyers Intermodal and Bulk Transfer Facility" signs are still up). Neat consist with IC, UP, and CN, CN unit subliettered GT, and a BNSF in the yard. At the Metra station in Harvey we got a train with a GT and CN consist heading south, and a light engine movement north with a pair of CN widecabs. We're getting ready to board a Metra Electric train for Chicago..."

http://railroadpictures.net/Trains/Metr ... 2.JPG.html

NEXT STOP: 55th STREET! If you're at the Museum of Science & Industry, say hello.
Last edited by Otto Vondrak on Sat Jul 08, 2006 2:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.

  by Otto Vondrak

10:49am CDT From Chris: "We rode Highliners into Chicago only to discover that President George Bush is having a press conference at the Museum of Science & Industry today! That means the museum is shut down until this afternoon, and we can't wait that long, since we have to get on the road. Our destination for tonight is Des Moines, and we have a long drive ahead of us. We'll probably walk around Chicago a bit, perhaps visit LaSalle and Union Stations... we're also planning on driving out to the station in Joliet for a brief visit. We'll see how the day goes!"


Last edited by Otto Vondrak on Fri Jul 07, 2006 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by Otto Vondrak
12:28pm CDT Chris and Dave are on their way to Highlands station to sample some action on the old Burlington Raceway.

  by Otto Vondrak

2:00pm CDT From Dave: "Spent some time at Highlands, saw a westbound BNSF van train led by three pumpkins. We didn't wait around to see any Metra trains. We heard the dispatcher talking on the radio to many trains that were stopped or in the process of being stopped, so we decided to head for Joliet."


2:01pm CDT From Dave: "Gahh! There's all this TRAFFIC! And where the heck is I-55? Eh, forget it, we're gonna get something to eat."

Stay tuned, folks. Railfanning is hard work.

  by Otto Vondrak
3:18pm CDT From Dave: "There's a lot of diamonds... there's a Metra train (#520) waiting to go east ont he UP... and they are working on one of the BNSF tracks, so we're not sure how much traffic we're gonna see. We're gonna try hanging out a little but and see what we can see. The second floor of Joliet station is a restaurant, complete with a fancy ballroom! It looks like it's set up for an event tonight. I can clearly see UD tower, and about eight thousand different signals governing the tracks in and out of here."

  by Otto Vondrak
6:53pm CDT Dave: "At Joliet, we saw a BNSF MOW force on track 1, jsut south of the diamond. Once that cleared up we saw a northbound van train led by a pumpkin and an extremely dirty UP unit. A little after that, a northbound empty spine train came by led by a single BNSF warbonnet. We also caught the 5:20 Metra Rock Island Line departure... then we left Joliet and headed for Iowa on I-80."

"Now we're in Davenport, Iowa, and as we crossed the Missippi River into Iowa, we saw the tail end of a freight train. So we got off the highway, and drove west along Rockingham until we caught up with the head-end. This train was headed by two CP units (ex-CP?), a couple of Iowa, Chicago & Eastern units, and a couple of Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern units. This mixed freight, we couldn't tell just how long this train was."

"Now we're driving east along the waterfront, hoping a train will come across the Missippi River bridge soon... WAIT, there's a train right here, pull over Chris."

At this point, Dave put down his phone, and all I heard were the sounds of a passing freight.

"Hey Otto! Okay, so a BNSF train just came by on the same piece of track led by a ex-BN unit still in full BN paint, and the second unit was freshly painted in BNSF the swoosh scheme, number 2000, the class unit!"

More updates on the way. Stay tuned. I told you this would get exciting.
Last edited by Otto Vondrak on Fri Jul 07, 2006 9:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by Otto Vondrak
7:57pm CDT Dave: "We found the yard, and possibly, the worst smells ever in Davenport." In this order: dog food factory, water treatment plant, and the county composting plant. Fortunately, they are not near the engine terminal at Nahant Yard. "Apparently the railroad enjoys owning SD40-2's, apparently more than half the units we saw were SD40-2's. We saw a smattering of random Geeps and a couple of high-hood units as well. We saw a former Soo Line unit painted for IC leading about 12 coil steel cars north out of the yard." This former Milwaukee Road terminal was operated by I&M Rail Link until 2002 when it was taken over by the Iowa, Chicago & Eastern Railroad. The CP units they saw earlier were painted out and appeared to be operated by ICE.


LONG TERM ITINERARY: Omaha and North Platte on Saturday, Denver on Sunday, Georgetown Loop and Utah on Monday, Las Vegas by Tuesday, and Los Angeles by Wednesday.

Tell us where you'll be! http://railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?p=266258
Last edited by Otto Vondrak on Sat Jul 08, 2006 10:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by Otto Vondrak
11:22am CDT From Dave: "We're leaving Des Moines right now. We didn't see anything all that exciting. We went over to Hull Avenue Yard and Short Line Junction. We saw a freight sitting at the north end of the yard, saw them do some switching. We didnt see anything go through the junction at all. We're on our way to Omaha."

Train Watching in Des Moines:
Last edited by Otto Vondrak on Sat Jul 08, 2006 3:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by Otto Vondrak
3:20pm CDT From Chris: "We spent some time at the Union Pacific Museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa, which was pretty interesting. Lots of corporate history stuff there- all UP, all the time. Then we discovered the Rails West Museum in the old Rock Island depot. No only did we learn that the Rock Island came to Council Bluffs, we found an interesting collection of stuff at the museum. The museum is also home to an HO scale model railroad club. Just down the road on South Avenue, we found the Iowa Insterstate yard. We stopped and photographed several engines sitting around near the yard office, then we broke to find something to eat. We're going to leave Omaha tonight and head for North Platte, Nebraska."

Union Pacific Museum: http://www.uprr.com/aboutup/history/museum/index.shtml

Rails West Heritage Center:

Iowa Interstate Railroad:

Last edited by Otto Vondrak on Sat Jul 08, 2006 4:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.