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Rochelle Railroad Park, Rochelle

Categories: Nature & Parks
Inspirock Rating:
4.2/5 based on 60+ reviews on the web
The Rochelle Railroad Park is a city park located in Rochelle, Illinois, where railfans can safely view and photograph trains. The park is situated in the eastern quadrant of the diamond crossing between the Union Pacific Railroad (UP) and BNSF Railway (BNSF) mainlines between Chicago and points west.The two mainlines cross at a location on the southwest side of Rochelle. The UP's (formerly the Chicago and North Western Railway's) mainline travels through the crossing from the southwest to northeast, and the BNSF's (formerly the Burlington Northern Railroad's) mainline travels the northwest to southeast corners.Before the city of Rochelle built the park, railfans typically parked just short of an interchange siding connecting the two railroads in the northern quadrant of the crossing. The interchange track connects the eastern portion of the UP's mainline with the western portion of the BNSF's mainline. While this parking location allowed the railfans to see a great distance down the western portion of the UP's mainline, many vehicles were parked too close to the interchange track to be safe if a train were to use the interchange. Additionally, there was no protection to keep trespassers off the tracks themselves.The city chose the eastern quadrant of the crossing in which to build the park. Many factors went into the selection of the eastern quadrant, but by using it, the city was able to erect an elevated viewing platform with a gazebo-style roof, picnic tables, an area to build a re-creation of a hobo jungle, a display of strap rail track, a small preserved Whitcomb switching locomotive (manufactured by the Whitcomb Locomotive Works of Rochelle), and a paved parking lot. The amenities are further enhanced with public restrooms, vending machines, wireless internet and a small model railroad shop.
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  • This place is very easy to get to. There is no charge to park in the parking lot. Handicap parking is available. It is also very easy for those using wheelchair to travel on the path that leads to the...  read more »
  • This was not my destination, but I always try to stop for an hour or two at the RR park. There is a small shop with some memorabilia and snacks. There's a well-lit parking lot at night, a nice shelter...  read more »
  • The park is small, but it is a great place for train watchers. There is a large covered pavilion that gives a good view of their claim to fame, the double diamond crossing. A word of warning: this is ...  read more »
  • Solid place with pop and ice cream at the railfan shop. Lots of UP and BNSF action. Big enough to be social or not.
  • This is a park from which you can view today's trains going by frequently at the crossing of double main-lines from two different railroads. The railroad park consists of a parking lot, visitors' center building and gift shop, restrooms, some outdoor exhibits, two good-size covered shelters for picnics, and for hobo-style hot dogs, a fire-pit safely nestled between the double main-lines. A webcam carries video to the internet from this location, and a radio receiver provides audio to the larger shelter about upcoming train movements. Even though this park is small, there is nothing like it and people come from all over to watch and photograph the trains. It is a railfan's bounty! P.S. -- for another nearby free and unique experience, drive south out of Rochelle and see the huge wind turbine farms along the roads!
  • The park itself is top notch! We've been there twice in the past two years and have had lots of fun meeting people as well as seeing trains (some with very cool consists) going by. Both times we had friendly company who were careful not to get in each other's way-thankfully!! The house-Gift Shop is a very pleasant place and the cashiers are quite knowledgeable about not only their merchandise but about the history of the area as well as nearby road problems. Yes, there was street construction right by the park; but it was fairly easy to figure out a way around it. The REAL problem in getting to Rochelle is road improvements on Interstates 88 and 39. Please, please check with IDOT and/or AAA before planning your trip. I'm admittedly not sure about what a "Quiet Zone" is in relation to the area; but bear in mind the diamond is right by a large subdivision. Respect for homeowners there is a must. Hope this long commentary helps and Happy Railfanning in Rochelle!!🚂🚂
  • Wonderful little park right by the railroad. Trains come by often. Has a viewing area, wifi and, apparently, a Pokemon gym.
  • Very cool park. Lots of history. Great place to have lunch and watch the trains roll by
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