In General
Getting Here


In General

Location / Name:
Fostoria OH, Hancock, Seneca, and Wood Counties

What's Here:
Triple Double-Tracked Diamond Crossings
Railfan Park
About 100 Trains a Day
Tower F (closed and inaccessible)
Former NYC Jackson Street Tower
Former NYC Depot
Former C&O Depot

GPS Coordinates: 41.152871, -83.408998
Phone A/C: 419
ZIP: 44830

Access by train/transit:

The Scoop:

Fostoria, like Deshler, is one of those towns, that if you have never been here before, you ask yourself, "why didn't I get here sooner?"  Situated about 40 miles south of Toledo OH, some say it is the busiest railfan spot east of the Mississippi.  If you are a railfan, you WILL NOT be disappointed by coming here.

The big attraction to Fostoria are the three diamonds the town sports, along with almost non-stop activity somewhere along one of the three main lines.  CSX has two lines, and NS has one.  Because of the three diamonds, Fostoria is aptly named "The Iron Triangle"!

As for the F Tower, there is no access to it, so you need to shoot it from a distance... please don't wander into the diamond area at the tower! (people have tested the policy and have not liked the outcome).  There are plenty of other legal photo ops.  Tower was closed in March of 2015, and control was transferred to Indianapolis.  There is an article in the July 2015 issue of Trains magazine.

Train frequency is about 100 trains a day, with CSX having the lions share at about a 3:1 ratio.  There are about 30 or so hotshot intermodals going E-W on the CSX.

According the the Weebly page, there is a The Best Western motel about 10-minutes up US-23 that is run by a railfan, and according to Weebly: is the best kept motel in town. You can buy railroad related Iron Triangle souvenirs there, plus there is a photo album in the lobby of the trains of Fostoria! They also have a Railfan Sign-In log book!

It's not often I use info from Frograil's tours, but they do have some particularly pertinent info about the less traveled roads in Ohio, which are the TR and CR numbered roads: TRs and CRs, the correct distinction is probably only understood at the county courthouse or transportation departments.  Even GoogleMaps in some places will have something like "Road 123", "T Road 123", and "C Road 123" all on the same stretch of road that is less than a mile long.  In the end, it really doesn't matter whether it's TR or CR -- just pay attention to the number.  If the map or road sign says "xx-107", and that's the number of the road you need to get on, do so.

Another bit of advice which Frograil has also concerns chasing or photographing trains as they make there way thru the rural interludes between towns, is all of the farm activity.  Beware of the large machines and 18 wheelers using those roads during harvest time, and if you can, plan your trips around those times of the year!

Also remember that rural means rural, and you will not find a McDonald's or Walmart outside of the larger towns.  Make sure you have what you need before heading out! :-)

As the pictures below show, there is a lot more going on than action at the diamonds, so be prepared to spend many, many hours in Fostoria.


Thanks to Denver Todd for many of the tidbits of info on this page.

Websites and other additional information sources of interest for the area:,_Ohio (only gives you info on 6 grade crossings on their E/W tour)

Listening In

Radio freqs for CSX are: 160.230, 161.520, 160.320.
    CSX F Tower: AAR 08 - 160.230
    CSX Willard Sub: AAR 94 - 161.520
    CSX Columbus Sub: AAR 12 - 160.320
    CSX Yard: AAR 70 - 161.160
    CSX Pemberville Sub: AAR 35 - 160.635
    CSX Bascom Detector: MP 31.1 (about 5 miles east)
NS's radio frequencies are:
    NS Mixing Center: AAR 92 - 161.490
    NS Yard: AAR 56 - 160.950
    NS Fostoria District: AAR 76 - 161.250
    NS Detector Ilers: MP 275.4 (6 miles east)
    NS Detector Arcadia: MP 285.5 (5 miles west)

Here is a "Google Guide" prepared by a railfan for people who want to listen in but are unfamiliar with the radio callouts:
If you are the person who did this and want credit, pls contact me via the contact page, link at the bottom of this page.....

A Little History

Fostoria is named for Charles Fostoria, the 35th governor of Ohio.

So what came before the Norfolk Southern and CSX? 

Well, until the "major" mergers started in the 60's, Fostoria hosted the Nickel Plate Road (NKP), the Baltimore and Ohio RR (B&O), and the Chesapeake and Ohio Rwy (C&O). 

Online accounts of who reached Fostoria when differ, and I don't have any books outlining the history of any of the affected railroads.... So here goes with what I can find. 

The first railroad to come thru was Lake Erie & Western RR in the 1850's.  The railroad was taken over by the NYC in 1899, and then the NKP in 1922.

The C&O came thru Fostoria in 1872, originally as the Columbus and Toledo RR, then the Hocking Valley RR. 

The B&O reached here the following year in 1873. 

In the 1880's, the New York, Chicago, & St Louis Rwy came thru, this eventually became the NKP. 

There is one other railroad mentioned: the Mansfield, Coldwater, and Lake Michigan RR, which paralleled the B&O, but nothing else can be found about when it came to Fostoria, or when it disappeared or got absorbed by someone else.....

The NKP line was the southernmost of the two western routes out of Bellevue, and heads over to Lima, and parallels I-75 as you near Lima.  This is now the Norfolk Southern line thru town.  The line is NS's Fostoria district between Bellevue OH and Ft Wayne IN.  It was originally part of NKP's mainline to Chicago.  Six miles west in Arcadia, the line splits with the Lima District line heading south to Lima.

The B&O east-west line is on the mainline to Chicago, and is the CSX Willard Sub-Division.  This is the old "traditional" B&O line that originated in Philadelphia, and went thru Baltimore and Pittsburgh.  It is now CSX's gateway to the entire east coast from Chicago.

The ex C&O line is now CSX's Columbus Sub-division.  Northbound coal from Kentucky and West Virginia head up towards the Toledo docks via Walbridge Yard.  North of Fostoria, it's double track, south to Columbia it is mostly single track.

According to a 2006 Trains Magazine online article about Fostoria, about half of the trains coming thru Fostoria change directions.

More history is here at:

Getting Here

From the north, come down I-75 if convenient, take exit 167, and head east on OH18.

From far west points, like MI or upper IN/IL, take I-80 till you meet up with I-75 and then head south as above.

From the east, like NY, PA, or MD, come out the Ohio Turnpike, I-80/90, and take exit 91, which is OH53... head south on it.  Take US 6 west (it's also OH53) before getting into Fremont, and follow it as it circles the town.  US 6 will leave you at Hayes Road, but stay on the highway as OH53 till you hit OH12, which heads off to the SW.  OH12 enters Fostoria as Sandusky St. from the NE side.  Along the way in Bettsville, you'll pass a RR crossing with an interesting approach signal.

From due east, it's OH18 and US224.

From due west, take OH18 east from, say, Deshler, or exit 167 off of I-75 (which is 28 miles south of Toledo and I-80/90).

If you're in Bellevue, I usually head out of town to the SW on Killbourne St, which is OH18, and follow it to Fostoria.  Maybe not the quickest route, but it takes you thru Tiffin, which is on the main CSX E-W line.  Be careful in Republic where OH18 takes a right turn, the intersection is well marked however!


the above map in a PDF is here


From Columbus Ave at the CSX Crossing

        Looking West across the diamonds, with the depot on the FAR left

      Looking East

A Safetran type CLS-20R (4) color light dwarf signal guarding the NE Transfer

  Crossing gate at Columbus looking south across the tracks

From Columbus Ave and the NS Crossing

    A couple of EB freights crossing Columbus Ave

        F Tower and a NB CSX freight crossing the E-W CSX Main

  CSX engines west of the tower

  Looking north up the C&O line, can you tell from the cantilevered signals?

From Town St and the NS Crossing

            Photos looking east from Town

An NS freight in the NS-CSX interchange track and the no turn signal - you don't see a "no left turn" and a "no right turn" on the same pole very often

          More photos looking east from Town

      Grade Crossing at the NS tracks, Buckley, and Bulger, and a cute little store adjacent to it

From North St

    Looking south towards the diamond, looking at the signals from Columbus is at the right

Findlay St Crossings

  Looking west on the NS from Findlay St


  Looking west on the CSX from the depot, Tiffin St in the background going over the tracks....




The "C&O" going over Lytle St



   ex B&O (& Amtrak) Depot

GPS Coordinates: 41.152688, -83.413800



   F Tower and CSX/CSX Diamond

GPS Coordinates: 41.151891, -83.406351



   ex NYC Depot

GPS Coordinates: 41.159006, -83.409310



   ex C&O Depot

GPS Coordinates: 41.161568, -83.410035


   ex NYC Jackson St Tower

GPS Coordinates: 41.167221, -83.411182



   NS Blair Yard


   CSX B&O Yard

   CSX C&O Yard


   CSX C&O Yard Office


   Railfan Park

GPS Coordinates: 41.152720, -83.411334 (entrance)
Fostoria RailPark:  499 S Poplar St, Fostoria Ohio

Fostoria's long awaited Railfan Park opened on November 15th, 2013.  It is billed as the biggest and best railfan park for watching trains in the United States.

For more info and pictures, visit:

          Photographer credit on pictures.... unknown


   ex LE&W Depot

GPS Coordinates: 41.158536, -83.415282
128 W. North St, Box 421, Fostoria OH 44830

Located on W North St near N Wood St, this old depot is now the HQ for the Fostoria Rail Preservation Society.
Their website is:
In the bottom picture, you can see how the LE&W line influenced the layout and buildings of Fosotria.


CSX/NS Diamond - East

GPS Coordinates: 41.154152, -83.406907




Two railroads, two different styles of dwarf signals on the NS-CSX interchange track by the commercial building at the diamond (the D&N Building). 
It is owned by the FRPS and they may use it at some point in the future for a museum.....
For now, it is a good place to park.

CSX/NS Diamond - West

GPS Coordinates: 41.153070, -83.415090



    The parking lot in the middle of the two sets of tracks gets another no left and no right turn signal, the one on the right by Denver Todd


  Looking east from the depot on the NS

  Looking west on the NS from Main St, looking across the diamond


Historical USGS Maps

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



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.  My webpages are an attempt at putting everything I can find of the subject in one convenient place.  There are plenty of other good websites to help me in this effort, and they are listed in the links section on my indexa page, or as needed on individual pages. 

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.

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! 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.


NEW DEC17/2011, DEC29/2015, JUN18/2018
Last Modified 23-Oct-2019