RAILFAN GUIDES of the U.S.
South Bend's main action is the Norfolk Southern mainline coming through, and splitting to go to either Michigan City or Chicago via Valparaiso.
The majority of crossings with the R-O-W are separated, with the roads going under the tracks - this doesn't offer the railfan many good opportunities for pictures, since the tracks appear to be behind tree lines most of the time :-(
Along W. South St in the downtown area are some of the few places you have a clear sight line, but the sun will never be behind you since you're on the north side of the tracks.
NICTD trains have their eastern most stop here at the airport, the schedules are below.
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.
My RSUS 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.
South Bend is pretty easy to get to, at least for those of us travelling east and west along the northern parts of OH, IN, PA, and IL. Interstate 1-80/90 brushes by the northern side of South Bend, although it is a toll road called the Indiana Toll Road.
US 31 comes down from the Benton Harbor area of Michigan, although getting from there and I-94 is messy since it looks like they didn't connect I-94 and US 31 very well, having to take local roads to complete the journey.
US 20 comes in from the west, and then circles around the south side of town, picking up where US 31 ends where they come together. US 20 also crosses the two "westward" rail lines as seen below.
The biggest tourist draw in Town is the 150 year old University of Notre Dame, with their 800,000 seat stadium. There are numerous other things to come by the campus to see besides a Fighting Irish game.... Numerous works of art, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, and the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes.
There is also the South Bend Regional Museum of Art, the Northern Indiana Center for History, a complex of four museums, and the South Bend Chocolate Company. South Bend also hosts the Silver Hawks, a Class A minor league baseball team.
Some of the above info comes from Amtrak's website.
Other snippets of useless info :-)
In 1925, the South Shore Interurban company started service between here and Chicago.
The Studebaker plant was located in town until it closed in 1963... it was the world's largest wagon manufacturer, and the only one to succeed in the automobile business.
Those of you who are into machining should be familiar with the South Bend name because they were located here.
On June 30, 1934 The Merchants National Bank in South Bend was the last bank to be robbed by the notorious "Dillinger gang".
The Singer Sewing Machine Company and the Oliver Chilled Plow Company were driving forces in the development of South Bend in the early 1900's.
Other businesses that had a presence here were Bendix, Honeywell, Allied Signal, and the O'Brien Paint Company.
Located on the west side of town, the station area and platforms offers a fairly good vantage point to take pictures from - it's much like Depew NY where you have good sight lines in both directions, and no obstructions in the way, like fences. On the aerial shots, notice the fancy trackwork, maybe something to put on your model pike! The TLA (three letter acronym) for South Bend is SOB.
The next Amtrak stop west is Chicago, and to the east, Elkhart.
Indiana has 11 Amtrak stations, and supposedly, South Bend has the 4th highest number of train boardings.
The South Shore used this station until November of 1992, when they built the current station at the airport.
Trains stopping here are the Lake Shore Limited and the Capitol Limited, and will take you to Chicago's Union Station (CHI) going WB.
Opened in 1929, the depot served the New York Central and the Grand Trunk Western. It saw it's last passenger train in 1971, before Amtrak took over passenger service. The depot is located at 326 West South Street. It had 3 platforms, and 5 tracks.
Photo by Derek Jensen in 2005.... from Wikipedia
The split seems fairly accessible off of Chapin St to the east of the split, and S. Arnold St on the west side of the split. Before the split, the 5 tracks coming in from the east go down to 2, with 2 tracks heading off to Michigan City, and 3 to Valparaiso.
NS South Bend Yard
Doesn't look like it is used a whole lot except to stage freight for local service. The yard is located south of Ford St, not too far from the split. The yard office is easy to get to.
Bridge Adjacent to E Sample St
Looks like the better of the two sides is the western shore, where you can climb the embankment to catch WB freights coming through.
A couple of shots of NICTD's stop at the airport.... Looks like a pleasant ride along the property edge coming into the airport.
NICTD Route map.
Lakeshore Limited Service
Capitol Limited Service
A couple of pictures from Tim Vermande from the mid to late 60's of GTW #4950 coming into South Bend
Last Modified 29-May-2012