Posts Tagged ‘Fostoria Iron Triangle Rail Park’

Few More From Fostoria

August 20, 2015
A stack train splits the eastbound home signals for the diamonds by F Tower. Morning light in the summer if reasonably good for shooting eastbound trains on the CSX Willard Subdivision from the Iron Triangle railfan park.

A stack train splits the eastbound home signals for the diamonds by F Tower. Morning light in the summer if reasonably good for shooting eastbound trains on the CSX Willard Subdivision from the Iron Triangle railfan park.

The Akron Railroad Club’s longest day outing to Fostoria was more than a month ago, but here are a few more images that I made of CSX operations during my time at the Iron Triangle Railfan Park.

It was a busy outing with trains passing by throughout the day. A track project on the CSX Willard Subdivision had Track No. 1 out of service and that backed up traffic on all three mainlines through town.

As expected, there was a mix of traffic and motive power. On CSX I spotted locomotives of Union Pacific, BNSF and Canadian Pacific.

A UP unit led a westbound on Norfolk Southern and we were also treated to the NS Savannah & Atlanta heritage unit.

It was a good show during an all-day outing.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

A colorful set of red and blue containers brings up the rear of a Detroit-bound stack train.

A colorful set of red and blue containers brings up the rear of a Detroit-bound stack train. The tracks in the foreground are the NS Fostoria District.

A southbound (railroad eastbound) crosses over on the just north of the diamonds where the Pemberville Sub crosses the NS Fostoria District. It was the second of two trains in rapid succession to come down the Pemberville Sub and continue across the diamonds with the Willard Sub at F Tower and onto the Columbus Sub.

A southbound (railroad eastbound) crosses over on the just north of the diamonds where the Pemberville Sub crosses the NS Fostoria District. It was the second of two trains in rapid succession to come down the Pemberville Sub and continue across the diamonds with the Willard Sub at F Tower and onto the Columbus Sub.

A light power move has just cleared Columbus Avenue as it heads northward (railroad eastbound) on the CSX Pemberville Sub.

A light power move has just cleared Columbus Avenue as it heads northward (railroad eastbound) on the CSX Pemberville Sub.

An almost graffiti free Pan Am Railways boxcar on an eastbound manifest freight on the Willard Sub.

An almost graffiti free Pan Am Railways boxcar on an eastbound manifest freight on the Willard Sub.

Three flatcars carrying large pipes made for an interesting and out of the ordinary sight. The train was moving from the Willard Sub through the northeast connection to the Pemberville Sub.

Three flatcars carrying large pipes made for an interesting and out of the ordinary sight. The train was moving from the Willard Sub through the northeast connection to the Pemberville Sub.

On Photography: An Assessment of Photographing Inside Fostoria’s Iron Triangle Railfan Park

June 29, 2015
Novelty and roster shots are about the best you can do of the CSX Willard Subdivision when photographing from the observation platform in Fostoria's railfan park.

Novelty and roster shots are about the best you can do of trains on the CSX Willard Subdivision when photographing from the observation platform in Fostoria’s railfan park.

From a purely train watching perspective, the Iron Triangle Railfan Park in Fostoria, Ohio, is a great place. If you are willing to move around, you can see every train that passes through Fostoria.

Trains moving via the southeastern connection between the CSX Willard and Columbus subdivisions are the most difficult to see because of clutter and obscured views.

Straight moves on all three mainlines – which includes Norfolk Southern’s Fostoria District – can be easily seen as well as moves on the northeastern, northwestern and southwestern connections.

But being able to easily see trains does not always translate into excellent or even good photography vantage points.

The trade off for locating the park inside Fostoria’s “iron triangle” is that it is situated north of the busiest of the three mainlines, the Willard Sub, and hence the lighting is often less than ideal for capturing trains on that route.

I also found myself going outside the park to photograph from public sidewalks on Columbus Avenue to get the best photo angles and lighting.

In fact, most of the images that I made during a 10-hour visit during the Akron Railroad Club’s longest day event were made just outside the park. That annual event coincided this year with the date of the summer solstice.

None of my photographs were made on the park’s viewing platform even though it offers a good view of the NS tracks.

To its credit, the park does have many positives for the photographer. Chief among them are fences that are high enough to establish a boundary, but low enough so that an adult of average height can shoot over them.

A small child might not be able to do that, but he/she could shoot through the wide gaps in the fence with a little coaching from a parent.

The park is expansive enough that photographers can roam about freely and get right next to all three rail lines. Thus far there are no trees or bushes getting in the way of the sight angles.

Be advised that unless you are standing against the fence and/or leaning over it, you are going to have fences in your photos. The fences won’t obscure the trains, but will be noticeable.

Lighting is not a static thing and lighting conditions on all three rail lines will change throughout the day and even throughout the year as the sun angle shifts.

Here is a summary of photography conditions for each of the three mainlines from the perspective of shooting within the park proper.

Willard Subdivision

This busy east-west mainline is the most challenging to photograph. Aside from the lighting conditions, there is also the challenge of making photographs amid a lot of clutter from signal boxes, utility lines, and parked railroad motor vehicles and equipment.

The park’s southern boundary runs along the Williard Sub for a good distance, but it is tough to get good angles because of the clutter, some of which is south of the railroad tracks.

You can stand by the viewing platform and use a telephone or wide angle lens to photograph passing trains, but will be limited in what you can include of the train.

It is tough when standing next to the fence to get angles that include the motive power consist and the rest of the train because of the trackside clutter.

Columbus/Pemberville Subdivisions

This former C&O route changes names and jurisdictions in Fostoria. From a photography perspective, the best photography conditions of this line occur during the afternoon when the sun has shifted further west.

In the morning, you’ll be shooting toward the sun because this line runs along the park’s eastern boundary.

Some of the best images to be made are of trains coming off the northeastern connection to go north because they are facing you as they enter a curve.

The northwestern connection curves along the park’s boundary, but you’ll need a wide angle lens to get anything on it.

The home signals for southbound (railroad eastbound) traffic make good photo props for trains making straight moves northward (railroad westbound).

Yet most of the traffic on this line uses one of the connections rather than running straight through town.

Fostoria District

This line runs along the northern border of the park and features the best photo angles. With a good telephoto lens, you can get straight-on shots of eastbound trains after they cross the diamonds with the CSX Willard Sub and are coming into a curve just east of Poplar Street.

The eastward home signals for the diamonds with the CSX Pemberville Sub are located right in front of the viewing platform, but by moving down to the fence and setting up west of the platform, the photographer can get great, if not ideal, angles for westbound trains splitting those signals.

The park also features a good view of the Fostoria District/Pemberville Sub diamonds.

If you stand at the far eastern boundary of the park, you can get a good angle of eastbound trains splitting those same signals.

Because the sun will behind you, there are good photo angles to be had all day of the Fostoria District.

Going Outside

There is a pedestrian gate leading onto Columbus Avenue. The sidewalks of this street more often than not offer the better photo angles of traffic on the Pemberville/Columbus subs.

That’s because although you can see trains coming southward as they cross the diamonds with NS as you stand inside the park, you can’t see much beyond that.

I wanted to use my zoom lens to get trains passing the C&O signals that still stand north of the NS diamonds. You can’t see those from the railfan park.

Likewise, if you want to get more of a straight-on angle on either the Fostoria District or the CSX Pemberville/Columbus Sudvidisions, then you need to get outside the park.

You don’t have to go far. There is a sidewalk leading out of the park and across the NS tracks. There is a sidewalk on the north side of Columbus Avenue next to a business east of the Pemberville Sub tracks. I found myself standing on that sidewalk a lot in the morning and early afternoon because of lighting and photo angle considerations.

As for more straight-on views of trains on the Willard Sub, you’ll need to go over to Main Street by the old Baltimore & Ohio depot to get those. Another option is the Poplar Street crossing, but on the day that I was there it was closed because CSX is rebuilding it.

There is still a large open area between the Willard Sub and the Fostoria District that is outside the park. Perhaps the city is seeking to buy that property and expand the park. Perhaps there are other reasons why it is not part of the park.

This area used to be industrial property and the ground may be polluted. A large concrete pad in this open area is a reminder of what used to be here.

I mention this because if the park’s boundaries could be extended along the NS tracks all the way to Poplar Street that would open better photo opportunities for shooting eastbound NS trains without the need for a super telephoto or zoom lens.

Photographer can be a picky bunch and even the best possible, practical and affordable park design is sure to leave them wanting something they can’t have. The Iron Triangle Railfan Park is no exception.

Photographers more inclined toward making roster-type shots will find the park more than adequate for their needs.

More artistically-inclined photographs might find themselves exhausting their possibilities rather quickly and setting out for other vantage points and locations.

Nonetheless, the city and park designers deserve a lot of credit for creating a safe and accessible area from which to watch and photograph trains in this busy railroad junction town.

Commentary and Photographs by Craig Sanders

In the morning on a summer's day this might be as good as it gets for photographing eastbounds on the Willard Sub while staying inside the park. On balance, it's a nice photo angle.

In the morning on a summer’s day this might be as good as it gets for photographing eastbounds on the Willard Sub while staying inside the park. On balance, it’s a nice photo angle if you are trying to get the motive power and the consist of the train.

With people hanging around all day, there are going to be opportunities for human interest images. In the background is an eastbound on the Willard Subdivision. If you photograph from back here, you will have live with fences.

With people hanging around all day, there are going to be opportunities for human interest images. In the background is an eastbound on the Willard Subdivision. If you photograph from back here, you will have to live with fences being in your photos.

Heading toward the camera on the northeast connection yields a nice angle, but oh that clutter around F Tower.

Heading toward the camera on the northeast connection yields a nice angle, but oh that clutter around F Tower.

A Toledo-bound train passes beneath the home signals for the diamonds with the Willard and Columbus subdivisions.

A Toledo-bound train passes beneath the home signals for the diamonds with the Willard and Columbus subdivisions located to the right of the lead locomotive of the train.

Even in late day summer sunlight on the longest day of the year there will be shadows on westbound CSX trains on the Willard Sub.

Even in late day summer sunlight on the longest day of the year there will be shadows on the north side of westbound CSX trains on the Willard Sub. In the foreground is the northwestern connection between the Willard and Pemberville subs.

NS ‘Drag Races’ In Fostoria

June 28, 2015
A westbound intermodal train on CSX passes in front of a pair of Norfolk Southern stack trains stopped west of the diamonds. The CSX train had two NS locomotives pulling it.

A westbound intermodal train on CSX passes in front of a pair of Norfolk Southern stack trains stopped west of the diamonds. The CSX train had two NS locomotives pulling it. Note the CSX track equipment and workers standing clear by the diamonds.

Thanks to track work on the CSX Willard Subdivision, Akron Railroad Club members on hand for the annual longest day outing were treated to Norfolk Southern trains engaging in “drag racing” past the Iron Triangle Railfan park.

The action started late in the morning when a pair of NS stack trains, the 234 and 218, halted west of the diamond with the former Baltimore & Ohio east-west mainline while CSX crews worked on Track No. 1 and CSX traffic moved on Track No. 2.

Interestingly, one of those CSX movements was a westbound intermodal train with two NS locomotives for power.

Eventually, the CSX IP dispatcher determined it was time for NS to run. Because the IP dispatcher, who controls all three sets of diamonds in Fostoria, could not line the signals for NS trains to cross the Willard Sub, the dispatcher had to give both NS trains verbal permission to pass the stop signals.

Each NS train then had to contact the NS Fostoria District dispatcher for permission to proceed because the CSX dispatcher had no authority to grant track authorization on the NS main beyond the opposing home signals.

The NS 218 offered a special treat with the Savannah & Atlanta heritage locomotive on the point.

Both trains got underway at the same time with the 234 pulling ahead. The 218 was not far behind and caught and began overtaking the longer 234 as the trains passed the viewing platform of the railfan park.

The NS dispatcher had indicated that the 218 would go ahead when the double track ended at Ilers to the east of Fostoria.

A similar ritual then played out about two hours later and involved three westbound NS trains. The 217, an auto rack train coming out of the mixing center; the 17K, a manfest freight; and the 288, a stack train. All had to wait until CSX traffic had cleared and the MOW foreman gave the diamonds back to the IP dispatcher.

As had happened in the morning, each NS train had to get permission from the IP dispatcher to pass the red signals and obtain permission from the NS dispatcher to make the move as well. All three NS trains also halted briefly just before crossing the diamonds.

The 288 went first with the 217 coming behind it and soon overtaking it. With those trains down the road, the 17K, which had a Union Pacific leader, then went.

The hogger on the 17K is on Trainorders.com and he reported that all three trains had “approach” signal indications for the crossing of the CSX Pemberville Sub, the former Chesapeake & Ohio route between Toledo and Columbus.

With the 217 in the lead, the 288 had to loaf along and the 17K ended up being stopped for an hour at DA while the traffic ahead sorted itself out.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The crews of the 218 and 234 have each received permission from  the dispatchers to proceed and both are moving ahead.

The crews of the 218 and 234 have each received permission from the dispatchers to proceed and both are moving ahead.

NS 1065 rounds the curve and passes colorful K Line containers on the 234.

NS 1065 rounds the curve and passes colorful K Line containers on the 234.

The 218 is starting to overtake the 234 and would go ahead of it at Ilers.

The 218 is starting to overtake the 234 and would go ahead of it at Ilers.

The afternoon westbound NS "drag race" in Fostoria begins to set up with the "contestant's getting into position. The 17K with UP power and the 217, an auto rack train at the far right, are already at the "starting line." The 288 is approaching in the distance.

The afternoon westbound NS “drag race” in Fostoria begins to set up with the “contestant’s getting into position. The 17K with UP power and the 217, an auto rack train at the far right, are already at the “starting line.” The 288 is approaching in the distance.

It is NS' turn to move and the 288 begins the parade. The 288 and 217 (not visible at right) would run side by side through Fostoria before the 217 moved ahead.

It is NS’ turn to move and the 288 begins the parade. The 288 and 217 (not visible at right) would run side by side through Fostoria before the 217 moved ahead.

The 217 has gained the mainline as it moves out of the mixing center yard.

The 217 has gained the mainline as it moves out of the mixing center yard.

The 217 is starting to gain on the 288 as the trains pass the railfan park. The 217 had a CSX unit in its motive power consist.

The 217 is starting to gain on the 288 as the trains pass the railfan park. The 217 had a CSX unit in its motive power consist.

Two Union Pacific and one BNSF units power the 17K past the eastward home signals for the crossing of the CSX Pemberville Sub. The signals are located in front of the viewing platform of the Fostoria Iron Triangle railfan park.

Two Union Pacific locomotives and one BNSF unit power the 17K past the eastward home signals for the crossing of the CSX Pemberville Sub. The signals are located in front of the viewing platform of the Fostoria Iron Triangle railfan park.

The rear of the 17K signals an end of the afternoon "drag race."

The rear of the 17K signals an end of the afternoon “drag race.”

Fostoria ‘Drag Race’ on Norfolk Southern

June 22, 2015

S&A Meet 2

CSX track work had the former Baltimore & Ohio mainline through Fostoria reduced to one track between East Fostoria and North Baltimore for  much of Sunday. The crews were also working on and near the diamond with Norfolk Southern just west of Main Street.

Late Sunday morning a pair of NS stack trains halted short of the diamonds and waited. It would not be a short wait.

After running some CSX traffic, the IP dispatcher gave both NS trains verbal permission to cross the diamonds. Each NS train also contacted its own dispatcher to reiterate that permission.

In the process of doing that, the NS Fostoria dispatcher indicated that the 218 would go first at Ilers where the former Nickel Plate Road track goes from double to single track.

We took more than  passing interest in the 218. It had on the point NS 1065, the Savannah & Atlanta heritage locomotive. It would be on the near track to the Iron Triangle railfan park. That was more good news.

Finally, each train began moving. The 218 nosed ahead, but was soon overtaken by the other train, which I believe was the 234.

That train was leading when it leaned into the curve by the railfan park. But the 218 with the S&A unit leading soon caught and overtook it. The 218 was far shorter in length than the other train.

It made for a captivating experience as the engineers of both trains were sounding their horns as they approached the grade crossings. The different-sounding horns made for a nice symphony if you like to hear the sound of locomotive horns.

Fellow Akron Railroad Club member Paul Woodring commented that it was the first time he had seen an NS heritage locomotive that wasn’t attached to the Nickel Plate Road No. 765 steam engine.

“That’s one down and 19 more to go,” he said after his first sighting of an NS heritage locomotive leading a train.

It would turn out to be the highlight of the ARRC’s longest day outing in Fostoria, which attracted three members and a guest.

Aided by the CSX track work, the day featured steady rail traffic. More photographs from the outing will be posted later this week.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Longest Day Outing in Fostoria is Next Sunday

June 17, 2015

This year’s Akron Railroad Club longest day outing on Sunday, June 21 will take us to the new railfan park in Fostoria.

The self-described iron triangle of Ohio sees around 100 trains every 24 hours, most of them on the two mainlines of CSX that intersect there.

But Norfolk Southern also sends through a fair number of trains on its Fostoria District, which intersections both CSX lines.

The railfan park is new addition, having opened in 2014 after being in the works for a few years. The park is located at 499 S. Poplar Street and features a pavilion and restrooms.

It is open 24/7 and has designated parking space for RVs and motor homes. However, there are no electrical of sanitation hookups for either.

However, electrical outlets are available on the viewing platforms for re-charging radios and laptop computers. The park is surrounded by rail lines.

The busiest route is the former Baltimore & Ohio mainline that cuts an east-west path through the city. How owned by CSX, this is the former Chicago-Pittsburgh mainline of the B&O.

The other CSX route is the north-south former Chesapeake & Ohio route.

The NS route is a former Nickel Plate Road mainline between Chicago and Buffalo, New York.

It crosses the ex-C&O north of the railfan park and crosses the ex-B&O west of it. All of the crossing are at grade.

Some CSX trains take connecting tracks between the ex-C&O and ex-B&O routes.

Until March 31, the three sets of diamonds in Fostoria were controlled by operators in F Tower.

But control of rail traffic in Fostoria has since been shifted CSX IP Dispatcher in Indianapolis, who also controls the ex-B&O line.

IP dispatchers also control CSX traffic at the intermodal center in North Baltimore and the tracks leading in and out of Willard.

Radio frequencies in Fostoria are as follows: CSX road channel, 160.230; CSX Willard Sub dispatcher, 161.520; CSX Columbus Sub dispatcher, 160.320; CSX Pemberville Sub dispatcher, 160.635; CSX yard channel, 161.160; NS Fostoria District road and dispatcher, 161.250; NS yard channel, 160.590; NS mixing center channel, 161.490.

Talking defect detectors are located on NS at milepost 275.4 (Ilers) and 285.5 (Arcadia). CSX has a defect detector at milepost 31.1 (Bascom).

CSX traffic will be a mixture of intermodal, auto racks, manifest freight, coal, crude oil and ethanol.

Photo opportunities are good to great. The park is located next to the NS tracks by the diamonds with the former C&O.

The park designers took advantage of the best lighting for photos to locate the park’s pavilion.

There are also some interesting photo sites in the region around Fostoria.

If you journey north of town along the ex-C&O may find old style signal bridges that will soon be replaced by modern signals.

In mid to late afternoon, a northbound train on the former C&O looks good passing  under the signal bridge and the grain elevator at Rising Sun, the first town north of Fostoria, just off U.S. 23.

A south bound on the ex-C&O about the same time can be done with the elevator at Alvada just  off U.S. 23 south of town.

The longest day begins when the first person arrives and ends when the last person leaves.

Those still there in the evening will likely gather for dinner before heading home.

For more information the Fostoria railfan park, visit http://fostoriairontriangle.com/

Making the Best of the Fostoria Iron Triangle Park

July 24, 2014

So far this summer I’ve had two chances to visit the Railfan Park in the Iron Triangle at Fostoria.

Some fans have complained about the set up, but you have to look beyond the park and look at the big picture.

On July 4, the bro and I spent the better part of 10 hours hanging around Fostoria and the park, waiting patiently for a southbound on the former C&O.

We wanted to shoot the grain elevator at Upper Sandusky. To make a long story short, we arrived about 9 a.m and finally got our quarry, the Q349, at 7 p.m.

While we waited, we used the park as a base of operations,  relocating to get various shots around town as the train action permitted.

The chief complaint about the park is that it is not set up to shoot anything on the former B&O, which I feel is the least photogenic of the three rail lines that pass through town.

At the park, you can see that CSX has a maintenance base along the B&O in the triangle formed by the connection on the northwest corner to the C&O. With all of that clutter, all of the signals and poles, plus the fact that it is on the north side of the tracks, why would you want to shoot anything on the B&O from the park?

If you need to shoot a train on the former B&O, you can move to the Poplar Street crossing or to the Tiffin Street overpass. You’re not chained to the park.

The park is good for viewing NS movements and trains on the former C&O. In fact a CSX train on the northwest connection surrounds the park, with flanges squealing and horns blaring. It is a little like being at Horseshoe Curve.

The park may see some additions in the future; there is room for add-ons. But they made the most of what they had to work with. Since the better side of the park was the NS side, it is what they concentrated on.

I think it is well thought out and we should enjoy it for what it is, a safe haven to WATCH trains.

If you’re there to photograph trains then you need to do some homework and know the spots and when to do them.

Fostoria has a good thing going for it so let’s congratulate them for their efforts. Not many towns are willing to cater to a group of people that spend their time watching and photographing trains.

Article by Marty Surdyk

 

Road Trip to the Fostoria Railfan Park

April 29, 2014

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After last week’s Akron Railroad Club meeting, Dennis Taksar and I decided to travel out to Fostoria the next morning to see the new railfan park for the first time.

Departing sleepy eyed at 6 a.m., we headed over a route that was adjusted slightly through Bellevue to pick up some “secret” donuts.  We didn’t bother to look for trains.

Along the way we made a brief stop at a quarry in Maplewood, I think that it was, to see if we could get shots of their three switchers.

Only one SW class unit was in reach of my lens.  Our first mainline encounter was on the Norfolk Southern. It was one engine and one car. Model train consists are longer that than.

We arrived in Fostoria around 8 a.m., to greetings from Camcorder Sam and a couple of familiar faces from the Columbus area who were already excited about the mornings parade of trains past the park.

And it was quite a parade. CSX was running through like rush hour buses through Public Square.

Seldom was there as much as a 10 minute wait between trains. The former Chesapeake & Ohio tracks were almost exclusively BNSF power including four war bonnets leading their charges.

I would guess at least 80 percent of that morning’s CSX trains had foreign power, including Union Pacific, BC Rail and various leasers.

This was our first visit to the new train park and we found it to be quite nice. You could almost stand on a lazy Susan and spin around to easily catch all the action.

The pavilion has nice rest facilities as well as benches and tall tables under the canopy. The landscaping will add a nice touch once it takes hold without interfering with the sight of the passing trains.

I fear, however, that dedicated parking may become a premium. Parking along the entry drive should help without block views too badly.

In the background all morning was the consent chatter among the photographers about a special movement that was imminent.

Traffic slowed a bit after lunch so Dennis took me around town to see other rail interests. We stopped by a very large grain elevator on the north edge of Fostoria where we photographed a new Critter the faculty recently received. It looked to be a mid-sized General Electric unit.

Then we ventured to the southwest side of town to a giant landfill operation where we saw a sorry looking SW switcher in early CB&Q colors marshaling trash cars about. It was an odiferous experience.

Upon return to the train park, we had a surprise meet up with Dennis’ dad and information about

the special movement.

We crammed Dad into the back seat and achieved train chase speeds westward.

The special movement was the Nickel Plate Road 765 on a test run from Fort Wayne to Leipsic Junction

I guess they wanted to see if anything will fall off before the trip between Elkhart and Bryan later this week. This encounter was a neat bonus to sweeten the trip to northwest Ohio.

If you look carefully in the first photo of the 765, you’ll see a strange white thing. It is a drone that a youngster had. The 21 century has a new wrinkle to train photography.

After our short visit with the big Berkshire, we returned to Fostoria via Deshler, a location that I had never been before.

Our brief stay in Deshler netted only one westbound train and as the sun began to set we returned to Fostoria to drop off Dad before finding much needed food before a long and weary trip back

Article and Photographs by Alex Bruchac

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Fostoria Railfan Park to Open on Friday

November 12, 2013

The railfan park in Fostoria, Ohio, will open on Friday, Nov. 15 in a 3 p.m. ceremony.

The city of Fostoria, Fostoria Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, and the Fostoria Rail Preservation Society will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony, followed by a reception at the BANKquet Hall on the corner of Main and Tiffin streets.

The park is located in Fostoria’s “Iron Triangle” bounded by two CSX routes and a Norfolk Southern line.

Whitta Construction of Fostoria began work on the park this past April. The park has a viewing pavilion for train watchers, a parking lot with access from South Poplar Street, lighting for nighttime photography and a heated restroom.

“We’ve had people since day one asking when the rail park is going to be done,” Fostoria Mayor Eric Keckler said. “I’ve had calls from people all over the country.”

The rail park cost about $1.1 million of which 80 percent was paid for by a $815,760 grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Site preparation work began in 2007. A former pork-packing plant was razed in December 2010. A $300,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant helped the city clear the site.

The five-acre site is large enough to support additional features for the park. Future possibilities include a gift shop or museum.

Fostoria Awards Contract to Build Railfan Park

March 25, 2013
Thjis weed-infested field will be transformed this year into a railfan park. The lead unit of a westbound CSX train has just crossed the diamonds at F Tower during the Akron Railroad's Club's June 24, 2012, longest day outing.

Thjis weed-infested field will be transformed this year into a railfan park. The lead unit of a westbound CSX train has just crossed the diamonds at F Tower during the Akron Railroad’s Club’s June 24, 2012, longest day outing. (Photograph by Craig Sanders)

Construction of the Fostoria railfan park is expected to begin soon. The city last week awarded a $1.1 contract for the building of the Iron Triangle Visitor’s Center. The facility is expected to be finished late this year.

Fostoria is at the junction of two CSX routes and one Norfolk Southern mainline. The east-west CSX route is former Baltimore & Ohio while the north-south route is ex-Chesapeake & Ohio. The heritage of the NS route is the Nickel Plate Road.

Approximately 100 trains a day pass through Fostoria. The railfan park will be built on the site of a pork processing plant that was demolished more than a year ago at a cost to the city of $300,000.

The site is located in the northwest quadrangle of the crossing of the two CSX routes at F Tower, just south of the crossing of the NS line with the north-south CSX route.

The Akron Railroad Club visited Fostoria in June 2012 during its longest day outing. At that time, the railfan park was little more than a weed-infested field with a picnic table and portable restroom.

The campaign to establish the railfan park has been ongoing for the past 10 years.

The railfan park will become part of the city’s park system, but may be granted extended hours to enable railfans to watch trains at night.

Fostoria Rail Park in the Design Phase

December 4, 2009

Fostoria city officials have completed a preliminary drawing of the Fostoria Iron Triangle Rail Park.

“We’re on the right track and all on board for the project,” Fostoria Mayor John Davoli told The Review Times of Fostoria.

A public hearing on the plan was held in November at which railroad enthusiasts presented suggestions for the park’s design.

“The rail fans ended up giving us a lot of great information,” said city engineer Dan Thornton, noting that fans wanted a change in the planned platform.

“They told us they would like the platform back a little further. We thought they would like to be as close to the track as possible, but more distance is better for them, which is good news for safety, too,” said Thornton.

The park will have an open-air visitor center with rest rooms and concessions, a park shelter which may be located from Portage Park, lawn space for exhibitions and a model railroad garden, a viewing platform and a relocated depot for future use as a railroad museum.

Fostoria city officials will meet next week with the Ohio Rail Development Commission to discuss rail safety issues. “We’ll kick off the final design at that point. We’re just waiting for that meeting to happen,” said Thornton.

The final design will be reviewed by the Ohio Department of Transportation and the project will then be opened for bidding, probably late summer 2010.

Fostoria received a $815,760 grant money to transform the former 5-acre Boneyard into a railroad park. The grant will fund 80 percent of the $1 million project. The city’s cost of the project is $163,152.

The city also received a $300,000 grant to clean up the rail park site. City workers began clearing debris from the site last month.

Fostoria is one of the most popular railfanning locations in Ohio. Two CSX lines (both former Baltimore & Ohio) and a Norfolk Southern route (former Nickel Plate Road) cross here.

 

 


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