Top Ten Railfan Spots


As Appeared On Railspot May, 2002

Bob Smith's

1. Dallas Hyatt Regency Hotel- Room 2015. Overlooks Dallas Union Terminal. BNSF, UP, Amtrak, etc., etc. all day and all night. With room service. And tunnel to DUT for Dart to West End Market Place!!!

2. Tower 17- Rosenburg Tx. Almost as good view as Room 2015 I woud guess. (UPDATE: Tower 17 closed in 2004. Moved to Rosenburg Railroad museum a couple blocks East!!)

3. Temple Santa Fe Depot (2nd Floor Museum in Bay Window)

4. Wichita Falls, Tx.- Can't beat the WTJR at old Katy North Yard with old CNW GP7s, UP caboose, and BNSF mainline heavy traffic with even UP coal trains, monster trains of M1 Battle Tanks. Museum downtown is near BNSF Yard office where all the crews change except the intermodals. BNSF local actually uses a BN

5. Lift bridge in Beaumont Texas. In fact with KCS, BNSF & UP Yards with Amtrak Beaumont is a real sleeper for railfans. White KCS cabeese!! Especially with a great guide like Gary.

6. Navasota Tx.- At Junction of UP Navasota Sub., UP Eureka Sub., And BNSF Conroe Sub. I've been next to UP6936, UP3985, and MLDEW with 6 new SD70s from Mexico.

7. Flatonia Tx.- Tommy's Tower 3 and Railfan Pavillin at Interlocker!!

8. Conroe's Pacific Ave. at CPH 195 UP Palestine Sub.. City Parking 20 ft from tracks and mere yards from interlocker with BNSF Conroe, Sub. Only a block from BNSF yard. Saturdays from 11:00AM to 7:00PM are pretty awesome. Especially starting about 3:00PM.

9. Gate 8 at Houston Ship Channel. PTRA, UP, & BNSF

10. Creta Oklahoma- Ever since I saw Preston George's photo in that QA&P book taken from my wife's family's old homestead on the Frisco, I want to get a photo from those hills. Family say there are no trains any more ( rare in the night?). Used to be tons. Even a couple passenger trains a day. Sigh, maybe some grain season. But sitting on those hills I can see Quanah Parker's band camped at the base of the South hill on their way to Medicine Mound (they say he loved cab rides on the QA&P) and hear that old Frisco Steamer that is now in Altus coming thru the Valley! This hobby is sometimes about the essence of railroading and not how many trains you see.

Bob Smith

Stephen's Top Ten

Here are mine. I know of only one other person that might agree with me on some of these:

1.Tower 17 Rosenberg,TX

Map To Tower 17, Rosenberg, TX

2.former Tower 3 Flatonia,TX

Map of Tower 3, Flatonia, TX

3.Hearne/Valley Jct/Mumford,TX

4.the entire BNSF Conroe Sub!

5.UP Palestine Sub from Conroe to Trinity

6.Tower 26 (Houston)


8.Hull,TX (MP 427 on UP Beaumont Sub)


10.the wig-wag signal at Chaney Jct (Houston)

Oh, I HAVE to add 1 more!: Alpine,TX

Stephen Foyt

Wes Carr's Top Ten

Wes Carr Date:    Thu, May 16, 2002, 11:36pm (CST+1) Subject:    RS: WSC's top 10
Mike Harbour opened a big ole can o' worms by asking:
"wonder what you folks would consider the top 10 places to railfan in Railspot territory."
Resisting the urge to respond with an all-UP top 10, Wes Carr responds with (in no particular order):
* Paisano Pass and surrounding area, roughly from Marathon to Marfa on the former SP Sunset Route
* KCS over Rich Mountain
* the Cumbres & Toltec
* BNSF in Abo Canyon and surrounding area
* UP ex-SP Sunset Route through Sanderson Canyon, on either side of Sanderson TX
* Amarillo, pretty much anywhere east of East Tower
* BNSF Panhandle Sub east of Pampa
* Dallas Union Station (hard to beat the variety of DART, TRE, UP, BNSF, Amtrak, and DGNO all in one place)
* Tower 17 in Rosenberg
* the Arkansas & Missouri
Respectfully submitted (and with apologies to Louisiana... hey on a "top
15" you might have made it...),

Railfan The Transcon

Message: 8
   Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2005 22:04:08 -0600
   From: Richard A Whitenight
Subject: Bovina, Texas - BNSF Transcon
I've made reservations at the Amarillo East Motel 6, due to some really good pricing. Amarillo looks like it could be an excellent point to start my two separate days of rail fan activities. I wish to thank all of those who spoke of Bovina as a location for some photo ops. The grain elevators would make an excellent backdrop, and if in fact the trains are passing through at near 70 mph, I could put a few trains on a 256 MB SD card. I might want to purchase one more card :-). My search on Mapquest, showed Bovina to be about 60 miles from the East side of Amarillo, where I'll be staying. Pampa to the NE of Amarillo might be another good area for a NE rail fan drive from Amarillo. Heck, I could even drive through Clovis and set up where I did before at the Western edge of Canon AFB, where they're pretty good about allowing you to set up shot on the South side of the crossing to get some shots of those double stacks heading down the grade heading for Clovis. Thanks for the information on various spots around Amarillo.
Richard Whitenight
Arlington, Texas
MP 233.11 UP Dallas Sub
Message: 9
   Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2005 21:24:55 -0700
   From: "Brian Kreimendahl"
Subject: Bovina, Texas - BNSF Transcon
While railfanning the Transcon in the Amarillo area, I always eat Mexican food at the La Frontera Restaurant: 1401 South Arthur, Phone 372-4593. It is near the the east side of BNSF yard.
A small family owned hole-in-the wall, but clean with killer food. Sometimes I have dreams about their homemade salsa.
Brian P. Kreimendahl
Documenting, photographing and modeling modern intermodal transport
Message: 10
   Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2005 22:29:07 -0600
   From: "Phil"
Subject: RE: Bovina, Texas - BNSF Transcon
In Amarillo, for Chinese, you have to eat at the China Star Buffet on the west side of town, South side of I-40 at the exit for the mall. Lots of variety, hot, fresh, and they don't use MSG. Billboard there says voted best in town, too.
-Phil Morrow

Corpus Christi Railfan Guide by John Briggs

1.     Just outside the airport is Hwy 44 that runs from Robstown to CC. The TFM yard is just inside the city limits of Corpus Christi on Hwy 44. You can't miss the tracks. They run right next to the highway. The problem is that they are almost perfectily East- West so you have to pick your shots depending on the sun. You will find yard power in the TFM yard and there may be trains tied down in the various sidings between Corpus and Robstown. Power is a mix of TFM/KCS/BNSF. You'll find TFM junk trains and BNSF grain trains in town. You can shoot pics from the road but dont get onto RR property. I dont recommend going to the yard area at night.

2.     Robstown - Just north of Corpus about twenty minutes is the Robstown diamond. East/West is TFM and North/South is UP. The diamond is right next to the road and there is a small park nearby. Some transients around and the area is low income so watch yourself. I have found UP trains tied down or waiting to go through just south of town near the grain elevators. TFM trains will be waiting or tied down just West of town. Follow Hwy 44 past the diamond and then turn onto the city streets that follow the tracks west of town. Go early morning and you cant lose. I always catch a TFM/KCS train just west of town. Mornings are usually good for about 3 KCS/BNSF grain trains that will NOT go to Corpus. They will get to the Robstown diamond and then go East on the UP to Odem and Houston. Warning---INS/Border Patrol Agents are all around. The siding just west of town is where the INS/BP check the inbound trains from Mexico. (that's why they tie it down in this spot)

3.     Odem - When you leave CC, swing through Odem. Located just north of CC. Odem is the interlocker for the UP from Brownsville to Houston and UP from San Antonio to CC. Some power may be nearby. Yard is east of town. Nice little town. Several locals go through heading back and forth to the the port and chemical businesses. BTW- When I was there is June, the track between Robstown and Odem had a speed restriction of 10 mph(and has for the last several years) so you will have no problem catching trains.

4.     CC port - You said in your earlier post that you are going to the Lexington. This is right down the road from the port RR. Other than going the backroads, it easiest to go to the Lexington and then follow the bay Northwards to the grain elevators. You will find several industrial critters, the port RR engines and grain trains. I've found BNSF and KCS grain trains in the port. Keep following the bay North and you will come to the draw bridge to cross the bay. Cross over the bay and you have a choice. Head back south to downtown along the tracks and you will find the UP station and military offloading area. Head north along the bay and you will find the UP yard. Security will not let you near the yard but it's up there. I believe the yard is off of Suntide Rd which is just off of Up River Rd. Interesting note, if you do find the UP port yard, there is another aircraft carrier in the bay next to the yard. I believe the carrier is the USS Cabot that was being scrapped. Big story behind that one. Anyways, if you go down to the port, be damn careful. Security is tight due to 911. The Coast Guard offices and ships are right next to the port RR yards. There was a lot of military hardware in the area last time I was there so cops were constantly about.

In a nutshell, I really like going down there. There's some interesting other places to go but you really need more time. I've been going down there for two years now and am really now just finding the really cool spots. Your tour of the Lexington will be neat. However, it can be very long depending on if your one of those people that has to see everything. It took me half a day and I still didn't see everything on the ship and I was damn tired from just that. Hope you like small spaces and ladders. I loved it but damnnn I was tired.

If you can swing it, take a radio scanner with you to listen for the TFM and UP traffic. If you need anything else just let me know. John Briggs

Updated September 7 , 2014

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