Franklin Park, IL

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EJ&ESDM809

EJ&E fan
#1
Location

Franklin Park is located in the western suburbs of Chicago, near O Hare airport.

Directions/how to get here

From I-290, exit at 25th Avenue northbound, 25th will take you directly into Franklin Park. You can also get here by taking a Metra Milwaukee District West train directly to the Franklin Park station.

Railroads

CP
CN
IHB
Metra
DM&E/IC&E
CSX
UP
BNSF
NS
You never know what will show!

Information

Franklin Park is home to two busy junctions within a few blocks of each other. The CP Elgin Subdivision crosses over the CN Waukesha Subdivision at a diamond just east of town. The other junction is where the IHB connects onto the CP Elgin Subdivision for access to CP's Bensenville Yard. Bensenville Yard is located just west of Franklin Park The CP easily sees 60-80 trains a day, including Metra Milwaukee District West passenger trains, transfers from the other area class ones that are coming from the Belt Railway's trackage (the connection for that is at Cragin), as well as CP's own road freights and locals.

The CN usually sees maybe 20 freights or so, and also sees several Metra North Central Service trains that get onto the CN in Franklin Park using a connection in the northeast quadrant of the diamonds.

The IHB can see anywhere between 10 and 25 trains a day, most of which are transfers to Bensenville Yard from IHB and several class one railroads. CP does occasionally run road freights this way too.

All told, Franklin Park easily sees over 100 trains a day. While at times freight activity here can be dead (the freights seem to come in bunches here), the biggest reason for coming here is the motive power variety. A amazing array of power from pretty much every class one in the Chicago area can show up here at any time. The CP in early 2011 is quite power short, so you can see DM&E, IC&E, leased or foreign power on basically any train in any direction these days. This is one of those spots where you never know what is going to show up.

Railroad Daze

Each year the village of Franklin Park and several of the area railroads put together a event called Railroad Daze. At this event, several engines from many of the railroads that operate in the Franklin Park area are put on display for visitors to walk through and tour. This event is highly recommended for anyone who is interested in trains, it is a great event that is always ran very nicely each year! It's nice that a city is involved in promoting the railroads while many other are opposed to them!

Safety/amenities

Safety is not of any concern here. Franklin Park is a rather nice area that poses no safety threats whatsoever. There are may restaurants located in the area around 25th Avenue and Grand Avenue which is conveniently located within a couple minute drive of the area.

Accessible locations

There are a few different locations that one can legally view the action in this area. Here is a list of them.

Edgington Street

Edgington Street is the point where the IHB merges into the CP Elgin Subdivision. Great shots can be had here of trains passing under a vintage Milwaukee Road signal bridge from either direction. One can legally view this area from a parking lot on the south side of the tracks on each side of Edgington Street. Edgington is located one block east from the Metra station and 25th Avenue.

Belmont Avenue Station

This is the Metra North Central Service stop for Franklin Park. Metra trains and the CN mainline can be legally observed from this station. This is also a popular place for CN trains to hold up, and good roster shots can be had in the morning here of stopped trains.

Mannhiem

Mannheim is a Metra station located on the east end of Bensenville Yard, located right under the Mannheim Road bridge. As a result of this, switching activity here is practically non-stop all day long. Metra trains only stop here during rush hour on weekdays. The same trains that can be seen at Edgington Street can also be seen here.

Chestnut Street

This grade crossing is located on the CN/IHB mainline. The two lines join into one line for a couple block stretch before they split, with the IHB heading to the west to diverge onto the CP at Edgington, and the CN continuing north. The CN splits south of here towards Chicago and the IHB heads south for Indiana. This is where CN trains that use the IHB get onto and off the IHB for movement to and from Wisconsin. Basically all CN trains use the IHB routing, as the CN south of here is for all intents and purposes abandoned. Of course, all IHB movements that are also seen at Edgington can be seen here too.

So, why isn't the CN/CP diamond listed here? Basically, that area is off limits to railfans. You can observe the diamonds from a park east of the CN and south of the CP, but due to a chain link fence blocking the view, photography is difficult. Your best bet is to wait by the CP and if you have a scanner, listen to it as all CN trains must request permission before crossing the CP. You can easily make it over to the CN from the CP.

Overall, Franklin Park is a excellent place to spend a few hours at!
 





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