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Decatur Area Railroad

US > Illinois > Macon (County)

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Decatur Area Railroad

This feed is designed to broadcast NS Road and yard operations in and near Decatur, IL, as well as CSX and CN in town.

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Feed Notes

Decatur, Illinois Railroad Feed

AAR Channels monitored:

About Decatur:

Decatur is home to 3 major Class I railroads today. Decatur was once served by the Wabash, Illinois Central, Baltimore & Ohio, Pennsylvania Railroad, and the Illinois Terminal. Today, Norfolk Southern is the largest railroad in town, with CSX and Canadian National holding a few small switching operations. Customers in Decatur for this rail traffic include ADM and Tate & Lyle, both of which process agricultural products. 

Norfolk Southern


The NS mainlines run the former Wabash routes out of Decatur. The Springfield-Hannibal District runs straight west from Wabic (for WABash and Illinois Central crossing) through Springfield and Hannibal, MO towards Moberly, MO, and on further to Kansas City. The Brooklyn District branches south, running double track from Mosser (just west of Wabic) to Granite City via Taylorville and LItchfield. The Brooklyn District dispatcher can be heard issuing track authorities to train proceeding between BD Junction, just south of Decatur, to Winston, which is the BNSF Beardstown crossing in Litchfield. Heading east out of Decatur, the Lafayette District runs from Decatur to Peru, IN, and also includes a small branch to Frankfort, IN, located on the west end of Lafayette, IN. The final road channel covers the Bloomington District, which branches off the Lafayette District about 12 miles or so east of Decatur, heads north to Gibson City, where it then turns west and heads towards Bloomington and Peoria.


NS has a massive flat switching yard, which is split into two parts, the eastbound and the westbound side. Each side operates on its own channel. The westbound yard is under control of the East Decatur yard master, and the eastbound yard is under control of the Brush yard master. ADM is also the biggest rail customer for NS. ADM has 2 plants along the old IT main (now NS). NS's ADM operations can be heard on a separate channel. The old IT main connects to the Lafayette District main #2 at Brush, and follows Faries Parkway and Garfield Ave past ADM East and West Plant, and across 22nd St to North Yard.

Canadian National

The Canadian National has a small but lengthy yard running north-south near the center of town. A few trains a day run into town on the CN, and they cross the NS past the south end of the CN yard at Wabic. Occasionally, CN brings in a coal train to ADM East Plant. CN runs south towards Mattoon and Effingham, and northwest to Peoria. 


CSX had a small yard south of Tate and Lyle, and they only see a couple trains from the east daily. Their mainline ends in the yard. They interchange here with both the NS and CN at Wabic. CSX, despite having such a small yard, does switch with remote sets.

What to listen for

Regular traffic that can be heard during the day on the NS include 33J, 255 and 256 Triple Crown road railers, as well as a 398 late in the afternoon on the Springfield Hannibal District. 31N heads south from Decatur early in the morning, followed by 301 later, then 181 in the evening, usually when 32Q and 302 arrive. 21A or 21T are the double stack trains out of Harrisburg, PA. These seem to have no set schedule, but they will either go south on the Brooklyn or west on the Springfield-Hannibal. 15E is usually an early morning train from Elkhart to UP's Dupo Yard in St. Louis via Peru and Decatur. Occasionally, coal trains off the Monterey Branch near Carlinville can be heard coming up the Brooklyn District. 402/404 are loads, 403/405 are empties. 404/405 goes to ADM in Decatur, and 402/403 continues past Decatur and up the Bloomington District to the IAIS in Peoria, destined for Cedar Rapids, IA.


Whistler WS1025 is the scanning receiver. RadioShack ground-loop isolater increases clarity and removes the obnoxious buzz sound. Using a railroad band specific antenna, however due to my physical location, most you normally hear are south and northbound trains recieving and clearing up track authorities on the Brooklyn, and east and westbound trains on the Springfield Hannibal at Moffet Lane (378.8/378.7 intermediate), as well as (surprisingly) the CN dispatcher and CN East Decatur, who I believes facilitates moves into ADM. I hoped coverage would be better, but it's better than nothing. Hopefully you find the minimal coverage useful in one way or another. Thanks!