Fostoria is still a busy rail junction with about 100 trains on three main lines crossing at grade, two CSX Transportation and one Norfolk Southern. Because of the track arrangement, the neighborhood adjacent to the tracks is known as the “Iron Triangle,” a nickname railroad enthusiasts also use to describe the city.
The park is the best train-watching spot, but there are a number of locations throughout the city which lend themselves to railroad photography. Thankfully, Fostoria is busy enough that an adventurous railfan can search for photo spots and not miss all the action.
The busiest line in town, CSX’s former Baltimore & Ohio main line to Chicago, known as the Willard Subdivision, sees 60 trains a day. CSX’s other main line, a former Chesapeake & Ohio route, is known as the Pemberville Subdivision to the north and the Columbus Subdivision to the south. It hosts about 20 trains a day. Norfolk Southern’s former Nickel Plate Road Fostoria District crosses its namesake city, and both CSX lines, providing another 20 trains each day. However, a number of CSX trains make use of the four connecting tracks in the city, complicating the CSX train counts.
Fostoria sees all kinds of traffic from both railroads: coal, automotive, intermodal, grain, ethanol, and general freight. Any city with more than 100 trains a day will provide constant entertainment, but mornings, evenings, and overnights are the busiest in Fostoria. All movements through town are controlled by F Tower, a CSX-manned structure to the east of the park. Also, all trains are operated timetable east-west, even those on the former C&O route.
CSX and NS both base locals in Fostoria and a number of road trains work the multiple yards nearby. Be on the lookout for CSX train H795, which navigates the connecting track between CSX and NS to work the Mixing Center, an automotive distribution facility on NS, east of town.