Train Watching Spots - Toledo, OH-Walbridge 


    
The Walbridge area of Toledo is perhaps the best location to see train action in the Toledo terminal area.  Also located in this vicinity is Stanley Yard and Tower, WR Tower, and the busy Vickers interlocking.

 

 

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From R. J. Schall on MichiganRailroads list-serv (7/15/01):  Getting to Vickers, coming from southeast michigan, take I-75 south to I-280 to the Curtice / Woodville Rd. (51) Exit; at the top of the ramp, make a left turn, cross the freeway, and take the first available right turn. This will be Wales Rd., and it will take you right to Vickers Jct.

The first set of tracks you will cross will be those of Conrail. This is one of the primary photo locations near the junction. We'll refer to it as location ONE.  Looking to your right at the road crossing, the diamond can be seen several hundred yards away. After crossing the tracks, the road at the stop sign is Drouillard Rd. Because the Conrail tracks run at an angle here (northwest-southeast), the same tracks can be seen when looking to the right at the stop sign.

It is not advisable to park right at the diamond, since on many occasions, I have seen Railroad Police boot rail fans out of there. There is no point getting a trespassing ticket, because you can get all the photos you want by just shooting from the public road crossings. Locations ONE and TWO are the best for this, as well as the crossing on Drouillard Rd., location THREE. There are places to pull off and park near all of the crossings mentioned.

Conrail controls all movements at Vickers Junction, so most CSX trains stop at the signal north or south of the diamond, and wait for a clear signal from the Conrail dispatcher. If a CSX train stops, it is a good indication that there is a Conrail train approaching soon.  CSX trains may wait for several Conrail trains before they are permitted to continue on.

There is a signal bridge over the Conrail tracks between Wales and Drouillard roads. These signals are "approach lit", meaning they only come on when a train is in the block in which they govern. This is another clue that a Conrail train is coming.

South bound CSX trains can be heard blowing their horn for grade crossings for several miles before they reach the junction.  Northbounds can be seen across the farm fields for some distance, before they get to the Wales Rd. crossing. If you are at one of the Conrail crossings, you'll have time to relocate to the CSX tracks.

Scanners can be helpful. Conrail has a hotbox detector located about three miles east in Millbury. This detector reports the status of the train, the axle count, and which track the train is on. Track one is the westbound track, track two is for eastbounds. This is the usual arrangement, but the dispatcher will sometimes route a faster train around another train on the opposite track. Other than that, Conrail train crews stay pretty quiet, resulting in some trains sneaking up on you. However, headlights of approaching trains can be seen for several miles in both directions, due to the straight, flat nature of the tracks.

A large amount of radio chatter can be heard from Conrail's nearby Stanley Yard, and also CSX's Walbridge Yard, located just south of Vickers Jct., in Walbridge. Radio frequencies are:

Conrail road channel 160.800, yard 161.070.

CSX road channel 160.230, 160.590, yard 160.290, 160.410.

Videos which include coverage of Toledo and/or Vickers
Jct.:

Conrail Hot Spots West Vol. 2 --Pentrex

Conrail's Lake Shore Line Pt. 2 --Neff Video Prod.