RAILFAN GUIDES of the U.S.
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
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
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......
2 CSX's Rougemere Yard
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
5 NS's Oakwood Yard
6 the former Michigan Central Railroad Station
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.
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.
Last Modified 06-Sep-2016