Railfanning the New London, Ohio
Reservoir Park

The New London Reservoir was completed in 1975 as a part of the Northwest Ohio Water Development Plan to provide a water supply for the village of New London, Ohio, low flow augmentation of the Vermilion River, agricultural uses, and recreation. The reservoir and it's adjoining park were built cooperatively by the Village of New London and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. It is located near the intersection of US-224 and US-250, some 30 miles (as the crow flies) south of of the village of Huron on Lake Erie, about a mile southwest of New London.

Park activities include fishing, boating, swimming, wind surfing, picnicking, and camping. The campground is between the reservoir and the CSX Greenwich Subdivision. A swale and meadow separate the campground from the mainline, providing a safe location from which to watch the parade of trains go by.

Passing trains provide for endless distraction when you are trying to set up camp.
If you are looking for a place to just hang out and let the trains come to you...this is it.

This proximity to the Greenwich Sub makes for a GREAT place for railfanning. The other functions of the park make it a nice place to bring the family. The Conrail (yes, it still reads CONRAIL) New London Defect Detector is about a train's length to the west. Eastbound crews responding to the alarm are sometimes precisely at the campground location (about milepost 49 or so). The CSX Defect Detector at milepost BG 188.5 is about a mile southwest of the Reservoir. For points of reference, the diamond at Greenwich is at CP-54 on the Big Four and milepost BG 191 on the B&O.

Greenwich (pronounced Green-witch, not Gren-itch), about 6 miles west of New London, is now a very important location on CSX. The diamond there is a key component in CSX's acquisition of Conrail, for it ties in the old NYC New York City-Cleveland and CCC&SL (aka Big Four) Cleveland-St. Louis mains with the old B&O Baltimore-Chicago main, thereby creating the long sought after New York-Chicago mainline for CSX. A new double track high speed connection on the NW quandrant of the Greenwich diamond sends eastbound traffic on the B&O from Chicago up the Big Four to Cleveland, and from there on the old NYC main to Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, and New York City. Because Greenwich is so close to New London, not only is the Big Four a cozy neighbor of the Reservoir Park, the very busy B&O is a mere one mile south.

Greenwich is CSX's ace in the hole; they appear to have successfully siphoned off a lot of traffic from NS's ex-NYC Chicago Line from Chicago to Cleveland. Both the Big Four and B&O are busy, but the Big Four is MONSTER busy in a huge way. Sure, there are dry spells of an hour or two, but you can average one train every 45 minutes or so on the Big Four. On many occasions you can get three trains running on each other's blocks some ten minutes apart, and meets at track speed right by the campground. The diamond at Greenwich is only eight miles east of CSX's Willard Yard, which is a primary classification point for Chicago traffic. So for all intents and purposes, most if not all of CSX's Northeast and Mid Atlantic traffic to Chicago and Detroit is now funneled through the hamlet of Greenwich, Ohio.

And then there's the sound at the campground, the way those trains FEEL at this loction...Brothers and Sisters, they are SONIC. This place rivals Natural Tunnel State Park down in Southwest Virginia for sheer auditory railroad pleasure. If Natural Tunnel provides sweet Chamber Music or Ethereal Contemporary Experimental Music, then the New London Reservoir provides very loud and rowdy Rock-n-Roll. The B&O can be heard loud and clear as well, although you don't get the front row seat like you do with the Big Four.

This is the view from the hill, looking north toward the CSX Greenwich Subdivision
The northeast corner of the campground is on the left. I can imagine no finer spot to park an RV.

When there is a lull in traffic, you can climb the hill that overlooks the mainline (a great place to watch the harvest moon on the rise, by the way) or go for a walk in the meadow and marvel at all of the Queen Anne's Lace. Very few of the trees around here are old. Most of those are Cottonwood and Willow. The campground itself is among a group of planted Crab Apple trees, which scatter their little chartreuse globes all over the place. Red Wing Blackbirds and Robins abound.

This is a great place to turn the family loose while you indulge yourself with railfanning. Looking across the meadow and swale from the campground offers a 3/4 view as westbound trains draw near, and then a full broadside shot as they pass by. The northwest corner of the levee on Greenwich East Town Line Road (complete with parking!) offers yet another rare elevated view of the Big Four mainline, perfect for shooting photographs of eastbounds in the morning.

Speaking of the morning, this happy camper is pleased to report that a certain fast food chain has an outlet right in downtown New London, just a 3 minute drive along the Big Four from the park gate. Breakfast has never been made so easily...


Radio Chatter

You can listen to CSX on a radio scanner while you are camped at New London Reservoir Park. With my antenna I can pick up trains on the New Castle Sub as far east as Sullivan and as far west as Boughtonville. These train crews call out their lead unit number, direction, signal indication, and signal location when the signal comes into view. The Ramey Defect Detector, which is located just east of US-250 at milepost BG 188.7 (mileage from Pittsburgh PA), is about a mile southeast of the Reservoir Park.

Trains are not quite as chatty on the Greenwich Subdivision. As of my most recent visit in May 2001, train crews were not required to call out the signals. The New London Defect Detector is located about a mile west of the Reservoir Park at milepost GH 50.5 (mileage from Cleveland). Happily, it still reads "Conrail".

A busy night will yield at least a dozen trains on each subdivision, so listening in can help you keep track of who is who.

    Radio Frequencies:

  • 160.800 CSXT ex-Conrail Road channel
  • 160.230 CSXT ex-Chessie Road channel
  • 160.320 CSXT ex-Chessie Dispatcher channel

    CSXT Train Dispatchers:

  • AT Desk dispatches the New Castle Subdivision
  • IF Desk dispatches the Greenwich Subdivision


Crucial New London Railfan Aids

  • New London area track charts How the mainlines look to the folks who drive, dispatch, and maintain them.
  • The CSX Great Lakes Division (Andy Chabot and Jim Bondzeleske)
    The Greenwich Subdivision rumbling through your campsite dreams is VERY well represented by this website, which is authored by two CSX employees.
  • The CSX Greenwich Subdivision (Jeff Knorek) A brief look at the line that will be your friend and neighbor at the campground.
  • The CSX New Castle Subdivision (Jeff Knorek) A brief look at the line south of the Reservoir Park that is within earshot and well within radio range.

Directions

The New London Reservoir Park is located at
2495 Euclid Road, New London, OH 44851
419-929-8609

  • From Toledo and points northwest:
    Take US-20 or I-80 East to US-250 South through the village of Fitchville. Continue south on US-250 to Town Line Road. Turn left onto Town Line 187 Rd.. Note: if you cross the railroad tracks you have gone too far on US-250! Proceed along this road...you'll cross the Greenwich sub and then head due east. Soon you'll see the levee of the Reservoir on your left. Continue east to Euclid Road and turn Left. Proceed to the Reservoir Park entrance, which will be on your left about 1/3 mile up.

  • From Cleveland/Akron and points East/Northeast:
    I-71 South to US-224 West to SR 60 North. While on SR 60 you will cross over the New Castle Subdivision on a bridge. The next road is Town Line Road. Go Left on Town Line Road to Euclid Road. Turn Right onto Euclid and proceed to the Reservoir Park entrance, which will be on your left about 1/3 mile up.

  • From Columbus and points South:
    Take your favorite route to US-224. Once you are on US-224, head to SR 60 and turn North. While on SR 60 you will cross over the New Castle Subdivision on a bridge. The next road is Town Line Road. Go Left on Town Line Road to Euclid Road. Turn Right onto Euclid and proceed to the Reservoir Park entrance, which will be on your left about 1/3 mile up.


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This website and all contents herein Copyright 2001 by Jeff Knorek except where noted.

This is a personal railfan site and is NOT affiliated with or sponsored by
CSX Corporation or the Village of New London, Ohio.