In General
Getting Here
Map
Sights
Signals
Bridges & Overpasses
Other Train Pictures
Floobydust
USGS Maps

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In General


Location / Name:
Detroit MI, Wayne County

What's Here:
NS's Oakwood Yard
CSX's Rougemere Yard
CN's Schaefer Yard
Conrail's Livernois Yard
Amtrak Dearborn Station
CSX Delray Tower

Data:

GPS Coordinates: as needed
Phone A/C: 313
ZIP: 48209

Access by train/transit:
Amtrak in Dearborn
Otherwise, it's almost all busses

The Scoop:

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.

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.

Acknowledgements:
F. Lievertz
Denver Todd

Websites and other additional information sources of interest for the area:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conrail
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conrail_Shared_Assets_Operations
http://www.railfanguides.us/mi/detroit/map2/index.htm  My page on Delray Tower
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detroit_Terminal_Railroad

Getting Here

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



the above map in PDF format is available here


Sights


  Delray Tower

Since I gave the tower it's own page, I will just mention it here in passing.  You can see almost anything here.







  CSX's Rougemere Yard

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













  CSX Car Shops

Located at the north end of Rougemere Yard, it is along Ferney St, but a high fence keeps you from getting good pictures.


 
  CN's Schaefer Yard

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 CN 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.  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.







 



  NS's River Rouge Yard

The engine facility at Conrail's River Rouge Yard.





  NS's Oakwood Yard

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.







  NS Livernois Yard







  CP Rail Tower/Office

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.

 

 

 









Signals



So far, the only signals I really have pictures of are in the immediate Delray Tower area, so they will appear on that page. Any other signals I saw will appear with the sight I saw them at/around.


Bridges and Overpasses



Detroit, because of the large number of railroads and roads, has an unbelievable number of bridges and overpasses used by the railroads to get over water and roads, and other railroads.... here are some of them....


  Over Schaefer Rd - At the East End of Oakwood Yard











  Over Dix Rd - Middle of Oakwood Yard

Dix Road goes under Oakwood Yard in a series of three overpasses.



  2s, looking north

  2s, looking north

  2s, looking south

  2m, looking north

  2m, looking north

  2m, looking south

  2n, looking north

  2n, looking south



  Over Allen Rd & Outer Dr - West End of Oakwood Yard











  Over West Fort Street

This overpass is "around the corner" from Delray Tower.  Go west on Dearborn to Fort, and take a left.











  Over the Rouge River

GPS Coordinates: 42.17247, -83.08392
https://historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowser=michigan/rougens/
http://www.michiganrailroads.com/stations-locations/498-wayne-county-82/wayne-co-a-c/2174-bridge-rouge-detroit-mi-wabash-ns

This bridge was built by the Wabash in the mid 1920's, and replaced a swing bridge when the Rouge River was widened for the Ford plant.  It was also used by the Detroit & Toledo Shore Line Railroad, and later the Pennsy later in the 1920's.  It is a bascule bridge that utilizes a complex counterweight that moves to adjust the weight as the bridge raises and lowers, a patented design called the Abt Bascule bridge.  It is among the rarest bascule bridge types in the country.  Michigan has three examples.  Just about the only way to get good pictures is by boat!









  NS Over the Rouge River

Can be just seen from Dearborn St under the interstate.



from I-75

from Dearborn Ave

Approach signals from W Pleasant St



  Zug Island South

GPS Coordinates: 42.278177, -83.115792





  Zug Island East

GPS Coordinates: 42.289172, -83.109280
http://www.michiganrailroads.com/stations-locations/503-wayne-county-82/wayne-co-stations-o-r/3325-rouge-river-bridge-141-detroit-mi

This bridge is known as Bridge 141, because of its length.  It is a bascule type bridge and was built in 1914.  It is 141 feet long, and is owned by the Delray Connecting Railroad, but used by the Norfolk Southern.  The bridge is no longer active as far as "going up", because boating traffic needing more clearance uses the channel on the other side of the island.  The Bridge is used by both rail and auto traffic.  If we look at the 1904 USGS map below, we notice that the main route the river took to get around Zug Island was on this side of the island.





  Zug Island North

GPS Coordinates: 42.289556, -83.118078

The tracks leading to the swing bridge have been taken up on both sides of the span.  At least the bridge seems to still be working, as seen in the two views from Google and Bing, it is shown both open and closed.  The bridge is shown on the 1904 USGS map below.  It's not too far away from Delray Tower.







  NS Over Outer Dr

GPS Coordinates: 42.266589, -83.176207











Other Stuff and 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.






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





Floobydust


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 Ford's experiment with electrification.







Historical USGS Maps


Courtesy of the University of Texas Library, click here for their index page.

Part of a 1904 Detroit Quadrangle Map.





Disclaimers:

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.

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