Todd's Railfan Guide to

In General
Getting Here



In General

Deshler is a very active junction between CSX N-S and E-W lines, which are all part of CSX's Great Lakes Division....... 

The E-W double-track line runs between Cleveland and Chicago.  East from Deshler, it's the Willard Subdivision (Deshler to Willard), and runs through Fostoria.  Going west out of Deshler, it is the Garrett Subdivision to Auburn OH.

The N-S line runs from Perrysburg (Toledo) to Cincinnati (via Lima and Dayton).  It is the Toledo Subdivision from Perry to Trent OH (~161mi).  Deshler is at milepost BE164.8.  The busiest interchange is the SE connection - for WB trains coming from Fostoria going south to Cincinnati.

Local railfans have been fortunate in their quest to set up a railfan park on the SW corner of the diamond, and it is frequented by railfans a lot!

On the opposite corner stands the Deshler Tower, and it is out in the open and easy to shoot.

The line between Cleveland and Chicago is very busy, with easily 100 trains on an average day.  Maybe 20 of them take the interchange track between Fostoria and Lima.

East and west of Deshler, trains run at a pretty good pace, and Deshler Road (OH18) offers a good vantage point of them for the most part.

Radio frequencies are:
     RM Dispatcher 161.370 (Deshler west)
     BD Dispatcher 161.520 (Deshler east and wyes)
     AR Dispatcher 160.290 (Deshler north and south)
     160.2300 (Road) This is for both mainlines

Nearby h
otbox detectors are at 52.2 to the east, 73.3 to the west, 160.6 & 158.9 to the south, and 178.8 to the north.

Other (kinda) nearby hotspots include:
     Fostoria OH (~27mi east via OH18)
     Leipsic OH (~8-10mi south on OH65)(the B&O line running south out of Deshler goes thru here)
     Lima OH (~40mi south)(ditto for the B&O line going south out of Deshler)
     Marion OH (~70 SE)
     Sidney OH (~35mi south of Lima off I75)
     Butler IN (~50mi NW on US6).

Over on the other side of North Baltimore (and I75), the line crosses the Toledo Line Subdivision.

At the top of the page is a photograph of the Deshler crossing looking east, while everything was still all CPL's.  Thanks to Jim Mihalek for the photo!

I would also like to thank Eric Davis for all of the photos he sent me!

If anyone has them, I could use some good pictures of the signals at locations 10, 13, and 14 on my map, or of the CPL's that used to be on the E/W mainline, as I ran out of time and sunlight on both occasions I was in town on a recent trip to MI and OH.

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.

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

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.

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

From the north or south of town, probably the easiest way is to take exit 167 off of I75, and heading west on OH18.

From the east, say, coming from Fostoria, take OH18 out of town and all the way into Deshler.  From the west, again, it's OH18.

If you're into chasing the E-W line, OH18 is the only game in town, but it is not always that close.



   Deshler Tower



   Ex B&O Depot


  Picture by Cecil Hommerding, collection of Doug Leffler from a fan trip Toledo-Deshler 10/12/1952.

   Crossroads Railfan Park

An EB freight coming thru.

  A WB to SB freight on the interchange track passes the crossing on Mulberry Street, across from the park.


  EB Interlocking Color Lights


  SB to WB Interlocking Color Light

  NB to WB Interlocking Color Light


  EB to SB Interlocking CPL

Dusk comes to Deschler... there's a small pond adjacent to signal #4.....

  WB to SB Interlocking CPL

                    Bright Marker!

  SB Interlocking CPL's

          SB freight passing signals at 6, a little fuzzy...

  NB to EB Interlocking colorlight along with EB Interlockers


  Southside NB Dwarf CPL


  Southside NB Cantilevered CPL's


  Looking south from the cantilevered signals.

  Looking even further south, pushing the limits of my little SX130.

  SB freight passing under the cantilevered signals..... photo by Eric Davis

  Northside NB and SB Interlocking CPL's

Another far off shot, taken from the cantilever location and across the diamond....... Guess we'll have to do another trip to Deshler :-)

    Two close-up shots of the dwarf, one is a time exposure... cool... Thanks Eric!

  SB CPL at the diamond


  WB Colorlights at the diamond


  Southside SB CPL on Signal Bridge

In this far off distant shot (taken from the cantilever), we can see the signal bridge, and on the other side of it, a NB CPL off to the side.... even further, the two red dots is probably another intermediate signal another 2 miles or so down the tracks.... didn't have enough time or sunlight to investigate..... anyone have pix?

    Photos by Eric Davis.... GP-30 #2312 passing under the signal bridge on its way south, and another cool time exposure!

  WB colorlights

Anyone with some good pictures?


Historical USGS Maps

Courtesy of the University of Texas Library, click here for their index page.


One of the grade crossings on Main St with the N-S line.


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!!!  

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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NEW 10/12/2011
Last Modified 29-Jul-2016