RAILFAN GUIDES of the U.S.

 

Todd and Denver Todd's Railfan Guide to
CHICAGO IL
 

In General
Getting Here
Map
 
Radio Frequencies
Floobydust
 


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In General

Gee, what can you say about Chicago?  It IS the best place in the states to railfan, without a doubt (and perhaps the world!?).  It literally is, the crossroads of American rail service.

On the cover of Trains magazine's July 2003 issue, they have a banner that says "If you want to know railroads, you've got to know Chicago".  I am going to modify that by saying you need to VISIT Chicago, for without experiencing Chicago in person, and what it offers the railfan, you really can't get a full grasp of "it".

Name anything related to railroading: stations, towers, yards, trains, crossings, signals, whatever, and Chicago has more of them than anywhere else.

There are currently SIX Class One railroads coming into Chicago these days, they are:
     Norfolk Southern
     BNSF
     CSX
     Union Pacific
     Canadian National
     Canadian Pacific

In addition, you also have the Iowa Interstate, and two locals: the Belt Railway of Chicago (the BRC), and the Indiana Harbor Belt (the IHB).

Amtrak, of course, provides passenger service, and the commuter railroads that service Chicago are METRA and the NICTD, formerly known as the South Shore.  METRA provides service radiating out of Chicago, and the NICTD runs trains from western Indiana into Chicago.

Aerial shots are taken from www.bing.com/maps or Google Maps as noted.
The snap-shots from Bing are made with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it!

Any project such as this to cover the Chicago rail scene will never be completed, because of the enormity of the scope, and the huge amount of information needed to cover.  To make this railfan guide as good as it can be, contributions are always welcome.   Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given!  Contact info is here

Getting Here

Getting to Chicago is easy.  Roads from everywhere converge onto Chicago.


Map

Since the Chicago area encompasses such a large area, it is difficult to have a detailed map in such a small place.  The map above only gives you small idea of what it around, and where things are related to each other.....


Radio Frequencies

When railfanning, one the things you should have with you (laws providing), is a scanner.  A radio will let you in on what's happening, and where trains are.  If you are not from the area, make friends with a local who can clue you in to the names and particulars you will hear on the radio.

Note: Trains of one railroad will usually use the host's channels to communicate with, if they are running on another's track.

Amtrak
     Road   AAR 13 - 160.305
     Yard    AAR 42 - 160.740 (14th St Yard)

BNSF
     Road   AAR 36 - 160.650
     Road

Belt Railway of Chicago
     Road   AAR 26 - 160.500
     Yard    AAR 18 - 160.380 (Clearing Yard)

Canadian National
     Road  

Canadian Pacific
     Road

Chicago Rail Link
     160.035 (a non-AAR frequency)

Chicago Short Line
     AAR 15 - 160.335

CSX
     Road 1   AAR 08 - 160.230 (ex Chessie lines, ex RI line west of Joliet)
     Road 4   AAR 84 - 161.370
     Road 5   AAR 94 - 161.520 (ex L&N lines, dispatcher on UP line to Woodland Jct IL)
 

Indiana Harbor Belt
     Road 1   AAR 58 - 160.980
     Road 2   AAR 64 - 161.070
     Yard       AAR 97 - 161.565 (Blue Island Yard)

Iowa Interstate
     Road   AAR 99 - 161.610 (Blue Island - Joliet)
     Road   AAR 08 - 160.230 (Joliet - Bureau)
     Yard    AAR 97 - 161.565 (Blue Island Yard)

Manufacturers Junction
     AAR 91 - 161.475

Metra
     AAR 66 - 161.100    BNSF Line (BNSF Road Channel 1)
     AAR 61 - 161.025    Electric District (University Park)
     AAR 54 - 160.920    Heritage Corridor (Joliet)
     AAR 44 - 160.770    Milwaukee District North (ex SOO & MILW)
     AAR 94 - 161.520    Milwaukee District West (Elgin)
     AAR 62 - 161.040    Union Pacific North (ex CNW to Kenosha WI)
     AAR 52 - 160.890    Union Pacific Northwest (ex CNW to Harvard)
     AAR 62 - 161.040    Union Pacific West (ex CNW to Geneva)
     AAR 22 - 160.044    Southwest Service (to Manhattan, NS road Ch 3)
     AAR 99 - 161.610    Rock Island District (to Joliet)

Norfolk Southern
     Road 2   AAR 76 - 161.250 (ex NKP line to Ft Wayne)
     Road 3   AAR 22 - 160.440 (ex Wabash line, Metra to Orland Park)

Union Pacific
     Road 1   AAR 20 - 160.410
     Yard       AAR 69 - 161.145 (Dolton Yard)

Wisconsin Central
     Road 3   AAR 79 - 161.295

Wisconsin & Southern
     AAR 07 - 160.215


Floobydust


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NEW 11/4/2013
Last Modified 28-May-2015