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Park Forest Rail Fan Park

Old Plank Road Trail (IL)

Commerce, Economy & Work Railroads

Caboose alongside the Rail Fan Park platform.

As one of the busiest railroad intersections in the county, Park Forest Rail Fan Park is a must see for all railroad enthusiasts. An estimated 32 or more trains pass through daily along the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern (EJ&E) rail line going east/west and the Metra rail line going north/south. Though acquired by the Canadian National Corporation in 2009, the EJ&E Railway continues to be called “The J” by locals and communities who have benefited from its freight services over the past century. [1]

The EJ&E Railway began operations in 1889 on rail acquired from the purchase of the Joliet, Aurora & Northern Railroad. The railroad’s service stretched from Waukegan, Illinois, to Gary, Indiana, with notable stops along the outer belt of Chicago. As a freight line, the EJ&E found success in carrying industrial materials such as coal, iron and steel. [2] This success allowed the company to provide job opportunities for locals and immigrants alike, encouraging people to move to towns near the train route. With over a century of continuous operation, EJ&E remains important to the economic well-being of northeast Illinois. [3]

The Park Forest Rail Fan Park gives visitors a view of all the train activity from a 35-foot-high deck accessible by ramp. In addition, visitors can check out a railway caboose to get a closeup of train history. [4] More information on visiting hours and accommodations is available on the park’s website

 

References

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