Todd's Railfan Guide to
the Delray Tower Area

In General
Getting Here
Other Train Pictures



In General

Detroit has so much cool stuff for the railfan to see.  In this area alone, all within 10 minutes or so of each other, are a multitude of yards, two stations, two towers, the Ford Museum, the Ford plant, Rouge Steel... phew, I get tired just thinking about it all!

Delrey Tower is a fun place to go, and the tower ops are usually nice, with the exception for a woman I ran into on one occasion (to young and not enough male hormones to understand our needs).  Contrast this to going to Plymouth Diamond on the other side of town - and they're both CSX!

Delray Tower was built in 1945 by the Pere Marquette, and is the only staffed tower left in Detroit.  This tower replaced a wooden structure built around 1891.  You can find more info on these pages:

The area in the vicinity of Delray Tower includes CSX's Rougemere Yard, CN's Schaefer Yard, NS's Oakwood Yard, and NS's (CR) River Rouge Yard.

A little further south off i75 are lots of hotels and places to eat, like:
     Northline Rd..... exit 37
     Eureka Rd (Southgate/Southland Center Mall)..... exit 36
     West Rd (Woodhaven/Best Western, etc)..... exit 32
Both Northline and Eureka are good back roads into the airport, as well as Goddard Rd.

Please - pictures are 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 here

Getting Here

The tower is very conveniently located at I-75 exit 44, Dearborn Ave.  The only problem is that the exit is only for northbounders.  The entrance back onto I-75, conversely, only let's you go SB.

Southbounders can get off at exit 43 onto Schaefer Road, and then take a right onto South Dix Street, only going a "few feet", to take another right onto Oakwood Blvd.  This will take you to Dearborn Ave, where you take yet another right.  This will take you to the tower.  Oakwood Blvd turns into Fort St just before crossing the Rouge River, and going in the other direction, Fort St will bear off to your left after crossing the river.


Maps for Delray seem to be in abundance on the internet, a few of what I have come across are shown below in addition to my own map of the area.

the above map in PDF format is available here

The above two drawings are by drawn by Dale Berry with info provided by Nathan Neitering


    1      Delray Tower

Here you can see almost anything.  In two hours on Friday, 7/24/2009, my buddy and I saw a CN freight, 2 CSX freights, an NS freight, and a CSX freight headed up with two UP engines, in addition to a CSX cop for the first time in all of my visits......

Here are some shots of the tower itself, and to the right, pix of where all of the wires come in and out of the tower, and where the armstrong actuating rods used to come out of the building.

A US&S machine handles the interlocking.

The freights we caught: A pair of UP engines head up a CSX freight, a CSX freight coming from Rougemere yard, a SB NS freight, a NB CN freight, and another CSX freight out of Rougemere.

Busted for parking on the shoulder which is owned by CSX!  At least he was nice and let us off.  IT PAYS TO BE NICE... HELLOOOO!

    2      CSX's Rougemere Yard


A couple of aerial shots of CSX's Rougemere Yard, and above them, the yard office and a couple of new yard goats.

    3      CN's Schaefer Yard

A CN tower, which is no longer there. Passed by there many times looking for action at the Ford plant, and never saw it until Bing.com (formerly maps.live.com) came along.  Anyone know what tower it was and have better pix?  Looks like the diamond is signaled pretty well.  A "tri-light" protects the single track going across the diamond, and the sign into the yard.

    4      NS's River Rouge Yard

The engine facility at NS's (formerly Conrail's) River Rouge Yard.

    5      NS's Oakwood Yard

The engine facility at NS's Oakwood Yard.  One of the few that has easy access.

    6      the former Michigan Central Railroad Station

Union Station, it's seen better days...... not on the map.



A different little simple green/yellow LED signal for the NB CSX tracks, and the turnout is manually switched by the tower op.  The picture of the green aspect just goes to show you that the reliability of LED signal elements has a long way to go to justify their extra expense, as there is one string of LED's out within the "bulb".



These shots are from "on the other side" of i75 (except for the far right photo), a more seedy part of town than where the tower is, if that's possible - the two on the right are looking back under the interstate towards the tower.  The cantilever bridge doesn't have a signal on it, probably got replaced by the searchlight signal underneath it.



A pair of two head GRS searchlight signals guarding the NB NS tracks going to the diamond.


Other Train Pictures

This lone GT engine working the Ford plant was the only moving around late on Friday night.  It comes out of the Flatrock yard south of Detroit.

Between the tower and Rougemere Yard, is this building.  Not sure who it belongs to, but you can often find a CP train parked here, as we did today (and on many of my visits back in the 1998-2002 timeframe).  The CSX cops also work out of here.

The engine facility at NS's (formerly Conrail's) River Rouge Yard.

The engine facility at NS's Oakwood Yard.  One of the few that has easy access.

Union Station, it's seen better days...... not on the map.


On the way over from the airport, on i94, you go over this really cool bridge, and pass by Uniroyal's huge tire....

Still around, but slowly being taken down one by one, are these concrete support structures for the Ford experiment with electrification.


NEW 06/10/2009
Last Modified 06-Sep-2016