Above: A Union Pacific freight rumbles past the Fostoria, OH, train station. Photo Credit: Jim Spavins

Fostoria or Bust! - Club Trip 2004
MPRR Club Trip Archive

Fostoria or Bust! - Club Trip 2004 Photo Gallery

Above: A Norfolk Southern passes over the former C&O line through Fostoria, OH. Photo Credit: Jim Spavins

Below: A Norfolk Southern coal train glides downgrade through the Altoona train station. Photo Credit: Jim Spavins

Above: The fog has settled in around Rockville Bridge. Photo Credit: Jim Spavins

Below: The group taking photos at the Cresson Railfan Platform. Photo Credit: Jim Spavins

Article By: Jim Spavins

This year's club trip took us all the way to Ohio from southeastern Connecticut. This is the farthest west the club has gone as a group. The trip began on a dreary Wednesday morning in Connecticut with members assembling in two vehicles for the first day's trek to Altoona. The first day was spent mostly driving from Connecticut to Altoona, PA, home to the world famous Horseshoe Curve. Of course, before we made it to Altoona, we had to make a quick detour to Williamsport, PA to see the massive Grizzly machine tool store. After we picked up our jaws off the floor and pried ourselves away from the eye candy, the caravan headed south. The group arrived about an hour before sunset so we headed to the Altoona train station to railfan what we could before it got dark outside. We were able to catch a number of trains preparing to head up the grade to the curve before calling it a day.

Day number two started with a trip back to the Altoona train station and yard. We caught a number of trains before beginning our trek west. By late morning we arrived at the Horseshow Curve. Despite some light rain and a work crew delaying traffic we were able to catch three trains on the Curve before needing to go. The group made two quick stops in Gilitzin and Cressen, PA, where we caught a few more trains but by 3 o'clock it was time to pack up once again and head for the prize that would be awaiting us in Ohio. After about a six hour car ride, the group arrived at the Holiday Inn Express in Fostoria, OH. A few of the members, myself included, wanted to go out for some night railfanning and scout locations for the next day. We arrived trackside around 11 pm. Forty minutes and eight trains later we left knowing that we were going to be in for a treat the next day.

Fostoria, OH, is located in northwestern Ohio and is home to a three way junction also known as the Iron Triangle. All three lines are double tracked and feature lots of traffic with two lines owned by CSX and one by Norfolk Southern. The city is friendly to railfans and is trying to do more to develop the area for railfans. Check out more at their website fostoriatrains.org.

The group spent the entire day around the Iron Triangle and we saw lots of trains. I think that most of members lost count after the first hour. It was quite a display with motive power from all the Class I railroads making appearances. Almost any kind of train ran though - locals to coal drags to intermodal hot shots to general merchandise trains. It certainly led to some inspiration for modeling projects for those that model the modern scene. We stayed until sunset and then started to head back east.

On the second to last day, the group headed back east on a rainy Saturday. It started in Alliance, OH, with a visit to the train station and hobby shop followed by a drive to Conway Yard, just north of Pittsburgh. This stop was brief due to the rain so we got lunch and headed for Enola Yard, just outside of Harrisburg. We arrived just before sunset so a quick trip to the Rockville Bridge just in time to see two trains was all we got in. A number of us again went out at night and caught a couple of trains before hitting the sack.

The final day was spent around the Enola Yard area. We followed the line back out west a few miles and caught a few trains coming into the yard. We also went back to the Rockville Bridge to see a few trains. But, alas, the trip had to come to an end, so we packed up our SLRs, our digital cameras, and our camcorders and headed back for the Turnpike. All in all, it was a great trip and we were well rewarded for pushing west. The plans are already in the works for next year so reserve your seat now!

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