Location / Name:
Indianapolis IN / Westside, Marion County
Big Four / Avon Yard - CSX
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
GPS Coordinates: as needed
Phone AC: 317/463
Access by train/transit:
Amtrak - downtown
The Scoop: Indianapolis was, and still is, a
great town to railfan in and around. There is plenty to do, and plenty
The infamous Avon Yard, aka, the Big Four Yard is located 5 miles
west of I-465 on US 36 / Rockville Road, and provides much of the switching
action for Indianapolis. At one time, there were about 13 yards in the
Indianapolis area between all of the railroads.
Indianapolis is central to so many other great places to railfan, it is hard
to mention them all here. Kokomo is about 50 miles due north on US31.
Ft Wayne is about 105 miles northeast via I-69. Lafayette is about 60
miles northwest. Champaign is about 115 miles west on I-74.
Terre Haute is about 70 miles southwest, and has a couple of
display that have been moved. Cincinnati is 100 miles southeast via
I-74. Gary is about 165 miles up I-65 to the northish west.
This yard, now a CSX yard, was formerly a Conrail, Penn Central, and New
York Central yard after the CCC&StL officially became part of the NYC in
1930. It is busy most of the time. The Avon (named for the adjoining town)
yard and facilities were constructed by
New York Central to consolidate older flat yards and engine terminals scattered
throughout the Indianapolis metropolitan area. Operations at Avon began in 1960.
For a number of years it was officially named "Big Four Yard" in honor of
predecessor CCC&StL, which was folded into the NYC corporate structure in 1934.
From the Ronald Reagan Parkway overpass...... this bridge wasn't around when
I was visiting back at the turn of the millennium :-) Appears to be a
good vantage point, especially for thru freights.
Below, Tim Vermande caught CSXT 2441 at the west end of Avon yard at Avon
Road..... not very good parking here tho......
Tim catches CSXT 6058 at the east end of Avon yard, from the rear of Meijers
off Raceway Rd, off Rockville Rd/US 36.
The "new" Ronald Reagan overpass at 1 is a good place for pictures.
Behind Meijer's at location 2 is pretty good if the sun is right. I
haven't been there since 2002 or so, but when I came to Avon for pictures, I
would sit at the pull-in at 3, and was never bothered by anyone from CSX
even tho it was beyond the no trespassing sign.
Like everywhere else on the system, CSX upgraded the signals at this interlocking to
colorlight signals, replacing the old Pennsy PL and Conrail era "tri-light" signals.
Most of the signals at this interchange were Pennsylvania Railroad Position Light
signals. All of the signals are very difficult to access on foot, as I tried 22 years ago :-)
Not a signal
location, Bing just happened to have caught a train in action :-)
The bottom of the two signals in the shot below was relocated several hundred
feet west from it's former location to place it closer to the switch.
Here we have a new signal for EB traffic on this leg of the interchange, for
some reason, during the Pennsy days, there was no signal here....
During the signal upgrade, we lost a signal at this location, but it was
moved west to location D, closer to the switch it governs.
Here are a couple of maps to show you what has disappeared from Indianapolis
over the past 50-60 years. Even when I was traveling to Indianapolis
for business back in the 1998-2002 timeframe, you could still see old Pennsy
and old B&O signals still standing, although not used (I saw ONE B&O CPL
while driving on the highway one day, and could never figure out where it
was when I went railfanning :-(. I'm sure they are long gone, as were
most of the abandoned tracks portrayed in this section.
I love trains, and I love signals. I am not an expert. I do these pages because I love spending my time doing them - although I do a reasonable amount of research to make sure the information
presented is accurate! :-) :-)
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,
oooooooops, oh well! :-)
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.
BTW, 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
Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as
being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.