Todd's Railfan Guide to

In General
Getting Here
Fire & Police


In General

Location / Name:
     Frankfort IN

What's Here:
     Old NKP Coal Tower - still with NKP markings, CSX-NS diamond, unique diamond crossing signal, NS yard

     GPS Coordinates: 40.282610, -86.518052  (at the signal)
     ZIP: 46041

Access by train/transit:
     None - Nearest Amtrak is in Lafayette IN

The Scoop:

Frankfort made it into a recent issue of Trains Magazine because of the "Christmas Tree" signal, located at the diamond - it is fairly unique.  Frankfort also sports an ex NKP coal tower, a Norfolk Southern yard, and the remains of the former NKP facility, including the roundhouse and turntable pit.

On the NS going NW out of town, there is no road to follow the ROW, so you will have to zig-zag back n forth to catch the trains at crossings.  Same thing goes for the CSX on the south side, and the NS on the easat side of town.

Washington Ave turns in Michigantown Rd, which parallels the NS ROW, but I do not know if anything goes up to Michigantown.

Thanks to Denver Todd for his help with my railfan guides and suggesting welcome changes to help all ya'll.

Websites and other additional information sources of interest for the area:

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


Getting Here

Frankfort is Northwest of Indianapolis, off of Interstate 65.  Exit 158 seems to be your best bet if you can find your way to that exit.  Then take state road 28 NE into Frankfort.

From I-69, which runs Northeast out of Indianapolis, it may be an OK choice to come across on state road 26, at exit 255 (E 900 S).  In Middlefork, take 29 south to US421, which you will go west on into Frankfort.  I've never tried it, so I can't really say.

From Kokomo, go south on state road 931, US31, South Dixon Rd, or South Park Rd, depending on where you are, and then take 26 west, and following the directions above.



    1      CSX/NS Diamond

GPS Coordinates: 40.282565, -86.518139


    2      ex NKP Coaling Tower

GPS Coordinates: 40.282112, -86.525049


  Picture from here, photo by River Run

The following was found at: http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?2,2036267


    3      NS Frankfort Yard

Found Here:  https://foursquare.com/v/norfolk-southern--frankfort-yard/4fb7ea8de4b0189bef3af40b


GPS Coordinates: 40.282610, -86.518052

A very interesting signal used for crossing protection between the NS and CSX.
You can get a relatively close shot without trespassing on RR property just northeast of the junction on Vandalia Ave - Denver.  All photos by Denver Todd.



Found the following pictures on Bing images.







Fire and Police

Frankfort Fire Headquarters


  Nice looking Truck 1 in front of City Hall !


The western end of NS Operations

GPS Coordinates: 40.281388, -86.571076

The northern end of CSX Operations

GPS Coordinates: 40.304860, -86.515964
This line used to head on over to Kokomo.


New Industry

This is just north of the end of NS operations, too bad they didn't need a track put in! :-(



Nearest Amtrak


    Wall Art

  City Hall

  City Banner

the Monon Railroad

(from Wikipedia)  The Monon Railroad (reporting mark MON), also known as the Chicago, Indianapolis, and Louisville Railway (reporting mark CIL) from 18971956, was an American railroad that operated almost entirely within the state of Indiana.  The Monon was merged into the Louisville and Nashville Railroad in 1971, and much of the former Monon right of way is operated today by CSX Transportation.  In 1970 it operated 540 miles (870 km) of road on 792 miles (1,275 km) of track; that year it reported 1320 million ton-miles of revenue freight and zero passenger-miles. (It showed zero miles of double track -- the longest such Class I railroad in the country.)

Monon route

The railroad got the name Monon from the convergence of its main routes in Monon IN.  From Monon, the mainlines reached out to Chicago, Louisville, Indianapolis and Michigan City IN.  In Chicago the Monon's passenger trains served Dearborn Station.  Branches connected the Louisville mainline to Victoria IN and French Lick IN.

The Monon's main line ran down the middle of streets in several cities, notably Lafayette, New Albany and Bedford.  It also installed an unusual "home grown" warning signal at many grade crossings; these used a green signal light (similar to and adapted from a standard highway traffic signal) that stayed lit at all times, except when a train was approaching.  A sign below or to the side of the signal read, "STOP When Signal Is Out." This design was fail-safe, in that when the signal bulb was burned out, an approaching vehicle driver would assume a train was coming until he eventually realized there was no train and just a burned-out signal.

The Monon had seven sections. Beginning in the north, Section One was from the Indiana line to Lafayette, passing through the Monon switch in Monon.  As a primary passenger route, it connected to Section Four running between Lafayette and Bloomington.  This route reached the Ohio River over Section Five from Bloomington to New Albany.  From this southern route, Sections Six and Seven were spurs to the west.  Section Six served the Coal Fields between Midland and Clay City connecting to the main line at Wallace Jct, just south of Cloverdale.  Section Seven provided passenger service to the resort hotels in West Baden and French Lick, through a connection at Orleans.

The other primary line, mainly a freight line, included Section Two from Michigan City on Lake Michigan to Monon and then Section three from Monon to Indianapolis.  Although each route had its primary traffic, freight and passengers were carried over all parts of the line.

Today, the remains of the line are operated mostly by CSX.  Large segments have been abandoned in recent years: most of the line from Monon southeast to Indianapolis, the line north from Monon to Michigan City, and the line segment between Cloverdale and Bedford (this segment was abandoned largely due to a washout).  A portion of the French Lick branch is now home to a railroad museum, with part of the line wired for trolley service. 

The Monon's original semaphore signals are still in operation between Salem and Mitchell.  These are some of the last semaphore signals remaining in mainline operation in the United States.  From Crawfordsville to near Lafayette, some semaphore signals were removed in 2009, however several are still in service, including two sets in Crawfordville, with their replacement signals adjacent for the day CSX makes the conversion (as of November 10, 2010).

Monon Timeline



the Frankfort and Kokomo Railroad

(from Wikipedia)  The Frankfort and Kokomo Railroad was a small railroad company that operated approximately 25 miles (40 km) of track between the Indiana cities of Frankfort and Kokomo.  The F&K's rail line, laid down in 1873, was generally of poor condition and made the cars that traveled along it jog from side to side, leading to its nickname "The Rabbit Track Line".  The first train cars made the trip between the two cities on May 28, 1874.

In 1881 the F&K Railroad was converted from 4ft 8.5in (1,435mm) standard gauge to 3ft (914mm) narrow gauge and consolidated into the Toledo, Cincinnati and St. Louis Railroad.  In 1886, it was returned to standard gauge under the ownership of the Toledo, St. Louis and Kansas City Railroad, later renamed the Toledo, St. Louis and Western Railroad and commonly known as the "Clover Leaf.

Historical USGS Maps

Courtesy of the University of Texas Library, click here for their index page.  The library has precious few quadrangle maps for Indiana from the late 1800's and early 1900's.


I love trains, and I love signals.  I am not an expert.  My webpages reflect what I find on the topic of the page.  This is something I have fun with while trying to help others.  My webpages are an attempt at putting everything I can find of the subject in one convenient place.  There are plenty of other good websites to help me in this effort, and they are listed in the links section on my indexa page, or as needed on individual pages.  Please do not write to me about something that may be incorrect, and then hound the heck out of me if I do not respond to you in the manner you would like.  I operate on the "Golden Rule Principle", and if you are not familiar with it, please acquaint yourself with how to treat people by reading Mathew 7:12 (among others, the principle exists in almost every religion).  If you contact me (like some do, hi Paul) and try to make it a "non-fun" thing and start with the name calling, your name will go into my spambox list! :-)

Please Note:  Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  For those of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, my indexa page has a list of almost everything railroad oriented I can think of to provide you with at least a few pictures to help you detail your pike.

If this is a railfan page, every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct.  Once in a while, an error may creep in, especially if restaurants or gas stations open, close, or change names.  Most of my maps are a result of personal observation after visiting these locations.  I have always felt that a picture is worth a thousand words", and I feel annotated maps such as the ones I work up do the same justice for the railfan over a simple text description of the area.  Since the main focus of my website is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  Since most of us railheads don't have just trains as a hobby, I have also tried to point out where other interesting sites of the area are.... things like fire stations, neat bridges, or other significant historical or geographical feature.  While some may feel they shouldn't be included, these other things tend to make MY trips a lot more interesting.... stuff like where the C&O Canal has a bridge going over a river (the Monocacy Aqueduct) between Point of Rocks and Gaithersburg MD, it's way cool to realize this bridge to support a water "road" over a river was built in the 1830's!!!  

My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a thousand words, especially for railfanning.  Text descriptions only get you so far, especially if you get lost or disoriented.  Take along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still better if you get lost!  I belong to AAA, which allows you to get local maps for free when you visit the local branches.  ADC puts out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their state maps do not have the railroads on them.  If you can find em, I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and concise graphics, and they do a really good job of showing you where tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads.  Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.

By the way, floobydust is a term I picked up 30-40 years ago from a National Semiconductor data book, and means miscellaneous and/or other stuff.

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! BE NICE!!! Contact info is here

Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.


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