In General
How to Get Here
the Tower
the Depot
the Signals
Front St, Before and After



In General

Location / Name:
Berea OH, a suburb of Cleveland

What's Here:
the Wheeling & Lake Erie (a few trains a week)
Amtrak (comes thru during the night time hours tho)
Ex NYC BE Tower, CP 194
Plenty of signals, because were in the middle of two interlockings

GPS Coordinates: 41.380289, -81.856515
Phone A/C: 440
ZIP: 44017

Access by train/transit:
#86 Bus

The Scoop:

Berea is a VERY active railfanning location, with approximately 100 trains per 24 hour period.

The photo at the top of the page is what every Berea goer strives to capture.... Two eastbound freights at speed, one on CSX, and one on the Norfolk Southern.... Many wait years to get this shot, I was lucky to get mine on my second visit after about 20 minutes of waiting, on April 8th, 2001... the rest of the photos are from 19SEP2007 unless noted.

When you visit, please keep in mind that the parking lot belongs to the Depot Restaurant.  With that said, please park as much to the west (far) end of the lot, unless you're having lunch or dinner there.

One railfan page says this is the busiest railfan location east of Chicago.... Could be, I don't have any statistics to say otherwise :-)  I will say there has always been a fairly large group of railfans every time I have come thru, but then, Fostoria and Deshler are also just as heavily visited, in fact, I have seen more railfans in Deshler than here most of the time.  Sometimes railfans will hang around till midnight!

Back in the Conrail days (isn't it amazing how long it has been gone, since 1999, and we still refer to it like it was one of the long time great railroads of history like the B&O! :-), Berea was a crossroad of the system.  Passing thru here we had the Chicago Line west of Cleveland (now operated by NS), the Chicago Line east of Cleveland (CSX), the Pittsburgh Line (NS), and the St. Louis Line (CSX).  These were the four busiest lines of Conrail.

Amtrak has four trains that pass thru here on a daily basis: #29, #30, #48, and #49.  Unfortunately for us, all of them pass thru here after midnight in the dark, although if one of them is running really late, you may be able to catch it in the wee hours of the morning!

The regional Wheeling & Lake Erie RR comes thru a few times a week on a random basis, as they do not operate on a schedule.

Berea is also as much about signals as it is of trains.  Because of the interlocking, signals are all over the place.  On the far side of the tower from where most pictures are taken, old New York Central "tri-light" style color-light signals were replaced by Norfolk Southern around ~2010.

Here are the scanner freqs I have come across for the Berea area, I hope they are good:
NS: 161.070, 160.350, 160.980 (Rockport Yard)
CSX: 160.485, 160.800, 160.860

With the opening of the new Front Street overpass, it gives the railfan a new perspective to shoot from, although because of the distance involved from one track to the other, you'll have to be an excellent sprinter to go between NS and CSX trains if they're coming at you fast.... take a friend and share the photos! :-)

Food is very convenient.  I have not eaten at the depot restaurant since it has re-opened, but before, it was very good.  Along Bagley Road, you can find just about anything as seen below, but most of "it" is on the west side of the interstate.

There are no picnicking facilities, and there are no public restrooms on site, if you use the restaurant bathroom, please buy a coke or something from them for the privilege.

There are several motels in Middleburg Heights area, about 10 minutes away adjacent to the I-71 exit.  Some are pricey, other are more reasonable.  One has a distant view of the NS.

Denver Todd

Websites and other additional information sources of interest for the area:

How to Get Here

Once in the Cleveland area, perhaps the easiest way to get here is off of I-71, exit 235, Bagley St.  Take Bagley St west to Front St and take a right.  Hang a left onto Depot St before you go over the tracks on the "new" overpass.

If you're coming to Berea from the downtown area, or off I-480, it's probably quicker to take the Berea Freeway, 237, south past the airport, and then take a left onto Front St, crossing the tracks on the overpass and taking an immediate right onto Depot St.  The Norfolk Southern tracks will be on your left as you're southbound on 237.

For those of you who enjoy taking transit and/or the bus, the #86 comes right by here, altho it is a local Berea bus.  It connects with the Red #66 (airport) rail line at the West Park and Brookpark stations.

As you get to the traffic light at the bottom of the overpass, take a right onto Depot St








   More RTA info at:



The above map is available here as a PDF

  BE Tower

GPS Coordinates: 41.38034,-81.856551

        A few shots of BE Tower

Above is from Bing Maps Feb2014, they still have not caught up with new aerials yet.  This shows the tower, station, and Front Street.

A close-up shot of the tower and the old signals.

  Monday 10/3/2011

  Overhead shot of the tower and station area.

  BE tower, and the two signals that are slated for replaced.

  A shot of the tower and station.

  Another good place for pictures is at the end of this warehouse type building, a half mile down Depot St.

  A couple of nice bridges just a little past Rocky River Dr, not sure if there are any good vantage points for them.

  The Depot

GPS Coordinates: 41.381026,-81.854526
It is now called the Berea Union Depot Tavern.

The Berea Depot is a great place to eat.  Due to the construction of the overpass, it closed and re-opened a few years ago (as of 2019).

A little paint, and all is well..... A lot of work has been done in the front, because before, there was not enough room for a drive up entrance!



  The Dave McKay Memorial

GPS Coordinates: 41.379161,-81.85756

Train Pictures

  An Eastbound CSX Freight

    An Eastbound NS Freight... just got done passing BE Tower

    Another eastbound NS Freight, nicknamed the John Deere Freight

    Another eastbound NS Freight

  Westbound CSX freight at Front.   4OCT2004

  Two passing CSX freights at the station.  Also 4OCT2004

  Waiting and waiting and waiting pays off with this "colorful" NS Freight with BNSF engines

    From 7/27/2009, the week of the big Owosso 4449 weekend....

          On a rainy Monday morning Oct 3rd, 2011


From the schedules below, you can see that if train #48 is late, you may be able to catch it during daylight hours, as it is scheduled to pass thru just before dawn, however, you would have to be on the east side of Cleveland, and not in Berea unless it is running really late.


Most of the signals at Berea used to be US&S color lights arranged in a triangular fashion, some fans call them tri-lights because of this arrangement, but signal maintainers just call them color light signals.

I believe it was in 2010, that most of the older signals were replaced with new colorlight signals by NS.  The signals replaced were at locations 1 and 2, the bracket post and the cantilever signal bridge.  Maintainers had said that the poles were in such bad shape, that they were afraid to climb up on the signals.


This signal was replaced along with the one below, both sets of signals are now on one cantilever signal bridge






In the middle

The new signal bridge is in place, but at 90 degrees, waiting for the cutover, 7/27/2009



Three head signal for westbound CSX freights on Track 1.  The bottom head, in contrast to all of the other signals at this locale, appears to have only two aspects and is not a "tri-light" with one position blanked out.





This signal controls movements for EB CSX trains going onto the Big Four Connector and the connection with the NS.

Railroad Bridges and Overpasses

The only photogenic bridges trains pass over are the three going over Barrett Road and the stream.  The other three are run of the mill railroad bridges.

  NS Over Rocky River Drive

Both the NS and CSX overpasses are ho-hum, but you can get signals in  the shots if you frame it right.

  CSX Over Rocky River Drive

Again, not quite as photogenic as the ones over Barrett, but at least you can get signals in this one....

  NS Over Barrett Road

  Ex NYC Over Barrett Road

Can't tell you anything about this bridge, or when it was taken out of service and/or the part over Barrett was torn down.... can anyone help???

  CSX Over Barrett Road

  CSX Over Sheldon and Eastland Roads

Front Street, Before and After


  CSX Grade Crossing, looking northish on Front  all of these before shots, 9/19/2007

  NS Grade Crossing, looking northish on Front

  Both Grade Crossings, looking south on Front

During construction

    One of the new piers has been poured 



As of Feb 2014, only Google has pictures of the "new" Front St bridge, Bing does not.




  10/3/2011,  RTA buses zooming by.

    New signal and bases ready and waiting to be installed

    Equipment cabinets for the signals

Historical USGS Maps

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

NEW 9/30/2007, 2/28/2014, 1/16/2019
Last Modified on 29-May-2019