Fostoria Iron Triangle (Railfan Park)
America's newest Railfan / Train-Watching Park, Fostoria calls itself the "Iron Triangle" due to the three mainlines that pass through town creating the shape of a triangle. In the center of the triangle, the town purchased the land, removed the excising building and built one of the best train-watching park in the nation! A good 100+ trains pass through Fostoria on a daily bases. The railfinning hobby has become one of Fostoria’s top tourist attractions. People from all over the world makes this pretty much isolated town their destination, or at least an important part of their trip. The railroads include Norfolk Southern (former Nickel Plate main), CSX (former Baltimore & Ohio mainline), and CSX (former Chesapeake & Ohio, Toledo Line).
The Iron Triangle is controled by CSX's F-Tower. A scanner tuned to F tower will help you figure out what will happen next (railroad wise).
Town / City: Fostoria, OH
Location Name: Iron Triangle
Railroad(s): CSX Transportation (2 lines, B&O main, and C&O Toledo Line). Norfolk Southern Railway.
Rail Traffic: Heavy, expect 100+ trains through town every 24-hours. Due to the "triangle", trains usually only move on one line at a time.
Site Details: A park built just for watching trains! The several acre park is formed in the middle of the "triangle". The park consists of a large paved parking lot (for auto, buses and RV's), grassy fields and completely surrounded by an iron fence to keep people from trespassing onto railroad property The parks only structure is a restroom / maintenance shack. There are benches and tables under a high awing along the NS line which can help give you some shade on very warm days. From the park, you are able to watch trains from all three lines from the park. One drawback from my experience, trains can sneak up on you in all directions. Once one train clears, another may come soon after in another section of the triangle. Once you hear a horn, getting to where you want to be to video / photograph maybe a chore, if even possible. For photography; sun angles for Norfolk Southern is excellent most of the day. Lighting for the C&O line is good in the afternoon. The busiest line in town, the former B&O mainline - is not lit well from the park (the park is on the north side of the B&O line). Some people photograph the trains on the B&O line from the south side of the Popular Street grade crossing (just outside the main entrance to the park). Is it allowed? Is it CSX property? Maybe. I would not stray too far off the street just in case. If you’re a new visitor to Fostoria, I strongly recommend watching the trains from the park only. You can see all three rail lines, and you’re in a save and legal spot. Fostoria is a busy and complex rail scene. A few small yards, F-Tower, several interlocking’s and several large customers create a busy area for rail traffic, but its easy to end up trespassing on both railroad and private property. The railroads guard their property and don't tolerate trespassing. Besides the park; the parking lot of the old Amtrak (B&O) train station [South Main Street] is city owned has allowed train-watchers in the past. I did spend some time there during my last visit with no problems [March 2014]. The site is located near the diamonds where the CSX-B&O line cross the NS line.
The park is a wonderful addition to a busy railroad town. Its new and there is a lot of future potential. I know many fans will have more to add onto their wish list of what they would like to see in the park; here's mine, a better photography choice of the B&O line. Maybe a pedestrian bridge that crosses the B&O line from the park. That would offer some elevation and put fans on the sun lit side of the B&O!
Restrooms on site: YES, heated.
Food: None on site. A 5-minute drive can land you on North Countyline Street (US-23) where several sit-down restaurants, fast food places and mini-marts are located.
Picnic Area: YES.
Parking: Free parking in a large lot for autos, Buses, RV's. Lighted for PM railfanning.
Lighted for evening railfanning: YES, the parking lot of the railfan park is lit and the park is open for visitors 24-hours a day. The only drawback is the parking lot lights are the new LED's (they light in a direct path), there is no "light noise", which means seeing trains at night is still difficult if you’re interested to videoing trains past the park at night. During my last visit in March 2014, I found the lights in the old B&O station parking lot to be bright enough to watch passing trains, and film them.
Scanner Frequencies: / CSX Willard Sub: 161.520 / CSX Columbus Sub: 160.320 / CSX Pemberville Sub: 160.635 / CSX Yard 161.160 / NS Fostoria District: 160.250 / NS Yard: 160.950 / NS Mixing Center: 161.490.
Motels / Hotels: There is a Days Inn that is close to the CSX B&O line, but no railroad view. The Best Western motel about 10-minutes up US-23 is the best kept motel in town, and its run by a ......you guessed it, a railfan! 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!