Railfans these days are finding themselves in a dilemma of finding safe
and legal places to watch trains. The purpose of this page is to
give unfamiliar railfans an idea of where to go and where not to go in
Fort Wayne and vicinity and to help them stay out of trouble.
Fort Wayne has some of the busiest rail traffic you will ever find in a
single city. There is almost always a train someplace in town. Unfortunately
there is no "railfan park" here and there are really no places where one
can sit and watch trains in the city without trespassing. There are
a few grade crossings in town where you can watch trains fairly safely,
Norfolk Southern Police mean business in Fort Wayne. Since
there is an NS police base at East Wayne Yard they patrol the tracks in
the area very regularly. They can and will arrest you after a second
(and sometimes even a first) offense of trespassing. If you are caught
trespassing on railroad property, especially with a camera, you will be
in big trouble. I GUARANTEE IT!
DO NOT park or go anywhere on railroad property. I cannot
stress this enough. The prime NS police beats are at all of the interlockings.
If you get caught trespassing at these or any other location on railroad
property you will be very sorry! Stay out of Piqua Yard and the Triple
Crown facility, as well.
Don't go anywhere in East Wayne Yard. You can drive past it
on Nelson Rd. and snap a few pictures quickly from the road but that's
about it. If you drive through on Nelson Rd. don't pull off to the
side and stop for long. There are several "No Parking" signs along
the side of the road.
STICK TO PUBLIC GRADE CROSSINGS. Although there aren't many
grade crossings in the city limits, this is the best rule of thumb to stay
out of trouble. Both the Van Buren St. and Anthony Blvd. crossings
on the Chicago District have sidewalks where you can shoot photos.
Another good location is at the Runnion Ave. crossing on the Chicago District.
This is an excellent place to photograph westbounds and there is a sidewalk
on the east side of the street. If you can find a place to park,
the Brooklyn Ave. crossing on the Huntington District is a pretty good
spot to catch trains on the busy double track portion. This is a
popular spot for holding westbounds, too. There are sidewalks on
both sides of the street at this crossing.
There are only a couple of grade crossings here. None of them have
sidewalks. The Auburn and CSX PD patrol this area frequently.
There is a public street (Erie St.) that runs along the west side of the
crossing diamonds, but nearby residents sometimes will complain about railfans
if you park on it or hang around the area. I do not recommend parking
at or near the crossing diamonds. You can watch the NS Chicago Line
traffic from the sidewalks on the Broadway St. crossing downtown and the
Huntington District from the US 6 crossing. There is a public parking
lot on the west side of Broadway St. on the north side of the tracks, as
well as a lot at the public library on the south side.
DO NOT go anywhere in the CSX yard or the crew building area. You
can watch trains from the old Amtrak parking area next to Randolph St.
or from the railroad museum and usually not be hassled.
Downtown Huntington has many public spots to watch trains. Just stay
off the tracks. Also, keep back when trains approach as speeds through
town are as high as 60 mph.
My #1 rule here is: do not go to the NS/CSX diamonds. There
are a few grade crossings in St. Joe, itself where you can usually stay
and be okay.
Stick to the Amtrak platform and you'll be okay here. Just be sure
to stay off of the platform when trains are approaching, especially those
on #1 (north) track. The grade crossings at Center and Wayne St.
are nice sometimes for photos, too.