GPS Coordinates: as needed
Phone A/C: 313
Access by train/transit:
Amtrak in Dearborn
Otherwise, it's almost all busses
Detroit has so much cool stuff for the railfan to see.
The southwest area of Detroit has perhaps more of the railroad action than
any other "part" of Detroit. In this area alone,
all within 10 minutes or so of each other, are a
multitude of yards, stations, towers, the Ford Museum, the Ford
plant, Rouge Steel... phew, I get tired just thinking about it all!
Delray Tower was a great place to go. It closed last year (2020) in
November, so it's not quite as much fun to visit as it used to be.
The southwest area of Detroit also includes CSX's Rougemere Yard, CN's Schaefer Yard, NS's Oakwood Yard,
NS's River Rouge Yard, and CR's Livernois Yard.
And if you're looking for pictures in an interesting backdrop for pictures
that can't be found anywhere else in the United States, check out item
number 10, the Ford/DT&I concrete arches that were used to support catenary
for electric railroading 100 years ago! Completely unique!!!
I moved my coverage of the over 30 bridges and railroad overpasses to
another page, because it made this page unmanageable.....
Detroit is one of three areas of the United States that still has a Conrail
operation, the other two being northern New Jersey and part of Philadelphia.
Because of that, the action here has not changed substantially compared to
that of the Conrail era.
If you're looking for something to eat, gas, or a place to stay,
a little further south off I-75 are lots of hotels and places to eat, like:
-- exit 37 - Northline Rd
-- exit 36 - Eureka Rd (Southgate/Southland Center Mall)
-- exit 32 - West Rd (Woodhaven/Best Western, etc))
Both Northline and Eureka are good back roads into the airport, as well as Goddard Rd.
Southbounders can get off I-75 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
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.
Schaefer Yard is located between I-94 and Schaefer Rd. If you measure
it between the diamond and Greenfield Rd, it is 2690 feet long. The
yard office and engines sit on the "other" side of the diamond from the
actual yard. There used to be a CR tower at the diamond, but it
disappeared around 2010, maybe? I passed by there many times looking for action at the Ford plant,
and never saw it until Bing Maps came along, and fortunately for us,
Bing still had it on their servers. Looks like the
diamond is signaled pretty well, at least on the Conrail tracks. A "tri-light" protects the
single track going across the diamond, and the sign into the yard. The
single track is Conrail's (former NYC and then PC) line, the double track is the GTW/CN
(former DT&I) line.
The yard is bounded by Allen Road and Outer Drive on the west, Dix Road goes
under the middle of the yard, and Schaefer Road is on the east end of the yard.
The yard measures 1.8 miles long between Outer Drive and Schaefer Road.
The western part (between Dix and Outer) of the yard has 42 tracks, and
another three going into (what looks like) a car repair shop.
The eastern section has 20 tracks, plus another three for the engine
facility, and one more additional track "outside" the engines facility
feeding/receiving 23 tracks in the western part of the yard.
The engine facility for NS's Oakwood Yard is located along Wabash Ave,
however, in recent years, they have placed a fence along Wabash.
This shot is taken at the "X" in the aerial shot above.
Pretty good vantage point is from Wabash St, these
two shots are taken at the "Z" in the aerial shot above.
Huge sprawling yard north of downtown and just east of Dearborn.
Central Ave and Lonyo St cross some of the tracks, and go under others of this huge yard.
Southern Ave and John Kronk St travel along the northern edge of the yard - same street, but changes name at Central Ave.
USGS maps from 1940 and 1942 showing you how much we have lost....
Between Delray Tower and Rougemere Yard, is this building.
Not really sure if it is CP, but when visiting here years ago, one could
almost always find a set of CP engines sitting here. On Google Maps, if you
hover over the info icon and click, it comes up as a CP Rail building.
It appears that the CSX cops may also work out of here.
This tower used to stand at the diamond, but it disappeared around 2010,
maybe? I passed by there many times looking for action at the Ford plant,
and never saw it until Bing Maps came along, and fortunately for us,
Bing still had it on their servers.
Henry Ford purchased the DT&I RR in 1920, after it had been bankrupt since
1908 but remained solvent. He saw the importance of the line to his
automobile business, since he needed a route between the Flat Rock Yard
and his plants in Dearborn. In 1927, he embarked on an
electrification program which didn't last very long (till 3/1/1930), but the
concrete arch catenary supports are still with us for the most part one
hundred years later! The first one I can find is just on the north
side of Oakwood Ave, and they continue south to just
north of Superior Rd. Ford had plans to connect with the Virginian
Rwy, but one of the things that stood in the way, is that he selected
22KV/25Hz instead of the 11KV the Virginian used. Ford sold the line
to a Pennsy subsidiary in 1929 after getting annoyed with the antics of the
ICC. In 1980, the DT&I was acquired by the Grand Trunk Western
Railroad (GTW). Under the GTW, the DT&I locomotives were painted in the
red and blue livery of the GTW, but retained the DT&I logo. In December
1983, the DT&I was completely assimilated into the GTW.
Grade crossings where you can see the arches and get pictures of trains running
under them are:
Superior Rd (with a long lens)
There is parking at or very near all of the grade crossings if you want to
Streets that cross the tracks, but there is no grade crossings (these are
north of the above streets):
Courtesy of the University of Texas Library, click here for their index page.
Part of a 1904 Detroit Quadrangle Map.
I love trains, and I love signals. I am not an expert. My webpages reflect what I find on the topic of the page. This is something I have fun with while
trying to help others.
Please Note: 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 :-)
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.
Aerial shots were taken from either Google or Bing Maps as noted. Screen captures are made
with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it!
By the way, 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! Please be NICE!!! Contact info is here
Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.