Northeastern Ohio Rail Fanning Guide

Railfanning Guide to Northeast Ohio & Northwest Pennsylvania
Northeastern Ohio offers a large amount of traffic for the railfan, with an abundance of different trains making sure that railfans have plenty to see.

The CSXT Chicago line, which is double tracked, is the former Conrail Chicago line and the New York Central's water level route. The Chicago Line runs from Cleveland, extending eastward to Fairview, PA and then on to Buffalo, NY via the Lakeshore Subdivision. The Chicago Line is one of the busiest segments of their system, hosting over 40 trains daily, and featuring a variety of motive power and freight. Traffic includes every type of train CSXT runs from intermodals to unit steel coil trains. Norfolk Southern Railroad's single-track line generally runs south of the CSXT line, although in many locations is only a few feet away. Both lines are quite busy, with over 50 trains per day between the two lines. Trains can be well over a mile long, powered by six-axle, 4000-hp or even 6000-hp locomotives.

Container or truck trailer trains tend to dominate the landscape, although there's also a wide variety of autoracks, coal drags and mixed freights. Amtrak's Lake Shore and Capitol Ltd. also stop in Cleveland, but both are late night trains and rarely seen during daylight hours.

While the views along both lines are fairly flat, there are several large bridges and wide open farm fields which make for some excellent photo opportunities. The best viewing is along the CSXT lines, which is the ex-Conrail, ex-NYC mainline from Cleveland to Buffalo. Trains run fairly frequently, and can be seen at all times of the day and night. Norfolk Southern traffic is generally much lighter, and typically has a long wait time between trains if you want to follow the black & white pony.

CSXT Chicago Line

Milepost Reference
168.3 Willowick
165.0 Eastlake Detector
163.7 Willoughby
159.4 Mentor
153.2 Painesville
147.2 Perry
145.2 Madison Detector
142.5 Madison
137.1 Geneva
127.7 Ashtabula
126.4 Ashtabula Detector
114.5 Conneaut
Pennsylvania
101.2 Lake City, PA
97.8 Fairview, PA
86.9 Erie, PA Station
73.0 Northeast, PA
73.0 Northeast Detector
New York
68.4 PA-NY Stateline
68.2 Ripley Detector
65.3 Ripley, NY

Norfolk Southern
Cleveland District
Milepost Reference
169.1 Willowick
165.0 Willoughby
160.5 Mentor
155.2 Painesville
148.8 Perry
142.0 Madison Siding
130.0 Ashtabula Siding
116.2 Conneaut Yard
 
Scanner Frequencies
CSXT
160.23 Road/Dispatcher
160.32 Road/Dispatcher
160.44 Collinwood Yard
161.07 Conrail Road Channel 1
160.80 Conrail Road Channel 2
160.86 Conrail Road Channel 3
Norfolk Southern
160.98  
161.19 Road/Disp Ex N&W
161.25 Road Channel 2
161.115 EOT