Best City or State to live in for rail fanning?

Railroadforums.com is a free online Railroad Discussion Forum and Railroad Photo Gallery for railroaders, railfans, model railroaders and anyone else who is interested in railroads. We cover a wide variety of topics, including freight trains, passenger and commuter railroads, rail news and information, tourist railroads, railway museums and railroad history.

mrbbq

New Member
My wife and I frequently talk about retiring. As railfans, we often talk about where we'd move in order to be close to the most railroad action possible, and still reside in a decent city, town or location.
We are seriously considering re-locating, and would like to know:

Where do you believe the BEST railfan location (city, town, area) would be for active railfans, so far as RR action and liveability?
Thanks! We look forward to your suggestions.
 

PrairieRailfan

New Member
Since I live near Chicago you'd think that I'd nominate the area (too costly, too hard to get around), but instead I'd recommend Ft Worth TX. I lived there for 4 years in the late 90's and what I really loved about it was accessibility, I could get from one end of the city to another in about 20 minutes. Unlike most cities it has a vibrant downtown, and there are a lot of things to do without the hassle of going to Dallas. Railroads are just about everywhere and while Tower 55 is pretty much off limits these days, there are plenty of other areas to catch the action. On the down side is the weather, you simply have to accept that there's going to be near 100 degree temps throughout the summer, and storms are something that you have to pay attention to,
 

setxrailfan

John 3:16
Since I live near Chicago you'd think that I'd nominate the area (too costly, too hard to get around), but instead I'd recommend Ft Worth TX. I lived there for 4 years in the late 90's and what I really loved about it was accessibility, I could get from one end of the city to another in about 20 minutes. Unlike most cities it has a vibrant downtown, and there are a lot of things to do without the hassle of going to Dallas. Railroads are just about everywhere and while Tower 55 is pretty much off limits these days, there are plenty of other areas to catch the action. On the down side is the weather, you simply have to accept that there's going to be near 100 degree temps throughout the summer, and storms are something that you have to pay attention to,
I second that motion. Except that the freeway system hasn't kept up with the population growth. Bumper to bumper traffic every morning and evening. Frequent traffic backups.
 

PrairieRailfan

New Member
I quickly discovered that it was far faster to drive across town using the side roads than use the expressways. I could get from the suburb of Watauga where I lived to downtown Ft Worth in 15-20 minutes, plus I could check out the railroads along the way
 

kenw

5th Generation Texian
A small town near a large southern city would be a good call. The south is generally a bit more temperate in climate and less expensive to live in. I would recommend areas near Houston, but the humidity is often too much for newcomers to bear. While Houston rail traffic is incredibly busy, it is very large and the hot spots are not closely located, so it just depends on where you are. But it is very, very busy. Between the port and the oil industry, it jumps 24/7/365.

Ft Worth is a great town, and there are lots of affordable areas to live. We liked our short time in Azle, just NW of FTW altho rail traffic there was nonexistent. The south end or center is much busier in that respect.

Temple is a bit farther south and quite a bit smaller, but a real good hub of rail activity. Being centrally located, it is a good home for day trips to more 'exotic' areas of the state.

Not sure where you are from but the scale of distance can throw a curve ball sometimes. Dallas-Houston is about 4-5 hours drive, San Antonio - Dallas the same distance except that it is more congested, Houston- San Antonio is 3-4 hours.

El Paso, TX is closer to San Diego, CA than it is to Houston.
 

mrbbq

New Member
Thanks all for the quick replies. We're thinking south. Been pondering either Waycross or Folkston, GA. Anyone been there for any length of time. I know we'd need to get used to the humidity. I once lived in FL for a year. Yeah, that was HOT in the summer. North in IL is just too cold in the winter. So I dunno. We're mostly into regionals and class ones. Though when not much is happening on Sunday in the Willamette Valley, we'll chase Amtrack, just because it's the only thing happening at the time. Decisions, decisions. Now, if we could just win a sizeable lottery jackpot, all this discussion would be mute.
We are still open to your suggestions. Yes, we do want to get to Galesburg one day, and Chicago too. Love Texas, not only for trains, but barbecue as well.
 




RailroadForums.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

RailroadBookstore.com - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section.

ModelRailroadBookstore.com - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)

Top