Monday, August 31, 2009

Watching the trains go by

Watching them roll

Rochelle, Illinois is a town that sees a lot of trains roll through each day. A lot. Like 80-120 trains. That's a train about every 15 minutes or so. The town became a hub for hardcore railfans and casual observers, so the town built a park where trunk lines for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific railroads cross.


The Railroad Park features a pavilion on a raised area between the two sets of tracks for ease of viewing in all directions. Radio transmissions from nearby traffic controllers are broadcast in the pavilion and on FM radio 106.9. The park office/souvenir shop features a CRT monitor that tracks the movement of trains across the region. There is a picnic area and benches situated throughout the park.

A display near the pavilion celebrates the life of the hobo, the traveler who hopped trains in search of work, handouts and a better life. Signs in the pavilion display samples of the hobo code -- symbols that gave wandering souls a warning as to what to expect in any given town.

Hobo Code

Union Pacific 7644 rolls into town.

UP 7644 rolls into town

Some pretty snazzy graffiti also comes through.

Painted box

And what's better than watching the day fade over a railroad?

Along the line

Visit the Railroad Park Web site for more info. More on Wikipedia and Facebook.

Photographs © 2009 James Jordan.

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