Todd's Railfan Guide to
ZOO Interlocking



ZOO is a most interesting place to visit.  During the rush hour, there is enough going on here to keep the most avid railfan quite busy so that he will not be able to photograph all of the activity!

There are a number of good vantage points for photography, as noted with the green arrows.

Off 34th St, on the top of the map, is a fairly good spot for trains going over the Schuykill Bridge, but decent pictures can only be had of trains on the closest track because of the angle.  There is sufficient space just on the other side of the bridge from Girard to park, and there are no signs along there preventing you from doing so.... at least for now.  Beware shooting from here, as we saw evidence of a homeless "shelter" off under the trees.... just make sure you don't "go it alone"

Another good spot is on the backside of the zoo, along Zoological St.  Sometimes, during the high season, they set up an impromptu gate to charge for parking.  We were able to convince the girl at the gate not to charge us, and she didn't seem to have a problem with it when we said we were going to take train pictures.  The street is one way going NB towards Girard.  Amtrak frequents the track right next to the street.  An SUV with their pop-up tailgates make for easy railfanning from here.  CSX comes rolling thru here, on the 2nd or 3rd track over.... we caught an inbound and outbound in less than an hour spent at this side of ZOO.

Pictures can be had from the 34th St bridge, but you'll need a ladder.

Fairly nice pictures can be taken from Mantua Ave, but again, a ladder would be nice to get over the fence.  Unfortunately, the pole line gets in the way in places.  Of notable note along this stretch, are a couple of Pennsy PL's on a modified cantilever bridge, so noted on the map.

Once I go thru my slides, I will fill in other signal locations on the map and key them so you know what is where.

The signal bridges at the top of the map are all colorized PL's.

A couple of pedestal signals are placed, mostly along the tracks adjacent to Zoological St.

I saw one tri-light, or as others would have me say, triangular shaped color light signal, on the 3rd track over from Zoological St.

And buried somewhere in the middle of the wye I did see (still) an all yellow PL.


click HERE for the PDF version of this map.


The two track diagrams above show some of the changes made between 1994 and 2000, and mostly has to do with connections to the high line.

          A couple of ZOO track charts courtesy "NJ Mike"


    1       ZOO Tower

These pictures were taken from Zoological Street.



34th Street

Taken from underneath 34th St and looking west, comes this great photo of the track, signals, and overhead wire work.  No-one knows who took the picture, but it was passed on to me by Tim Vermande, and it's location identified by local railfan LK.... many thanks to both of them.  Note the double-slips are aligned for a move on the track the photographer is in the middle of.  Great stuff!  Hope the photographer was a RR Employee with a radio so he knows when the next train is coming, for this certainly is no place for a run-of-the-mill railfan (we don't condone trespassing on RR property)  The double slips are still there, and are uncommon outside station areas. 

Seven PL signals can be seen in this photo, one of which you may not see right off the bat because it is directly behind another (the one displaying stop).  The dwarf is difficult to see in the aerial shots, if not impossible.

Below are two aerial shots from www.bing.com/maps which highlight the double slip location.  The photographer was probably standing next to a PL signal as seen in the lower of the two snap-shots,

The circles highlight the two double-slip crossovers.

High over the tracks on a modified version of a bracket post, is the signal that is displaying APPROACH (lights on the 45).

The signal displaying STOP (a horizontal row of lights) is the right one of the two that can be clearly seen, and the dwarf should be almost directly across from it on the tracks that appear lighter because of the newly installed concrete ties.

The signal with its back to us is on the right, notice (in the ground level picture above) the lower head does not have a background.  The signal displaying CLEAR (a vertical row of lights) is on the left.


Signals adjacent to the tower are above with the tower pictures.


This is the last signal bridge before the tracks cross the Schuylkill, or, the first set of signals encountered as you're heading SB.
There are two SB signals and one NB set.



Second signal bridge after crossing the river.  It has one NB and one SB Set of signals.



Signals on a cantilever bridge, alongside Mantua Ave.  The picture on the left is taken from the Zoo drive, and the one on the right was taken from Mantua.





From the Zoo drive, you only have a good vantage point for trains heading up the Corridor.


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NEW 07/17/2007
Last Updated: 25-Mar-2012