Railfanning along the Norfolk Southern Sandusky Line North Columbus Section Lewis Center to Cooke Road

Railfanning along the Norfolk Southern Sandusky Line

North Columbus Section

Lewis Center to Cooke Road


Railfanning this section of NS’s busy Sandusky Line can be a feast or famine without a scanner. But, when the trains do fly by; you get a piece of America’s class 1 railroading.

First, a few ground rules.

A lot of hard working folks being novice railfans live along this stretch. My Aunt Jean, a novice train fan; actually had a condo along the section north of Flint because of the trains roaring by.

That being said, parents with children, curious onlookers, and beginning railfans frequent the area.

If you have been Railfanning longer than 5 years; be an ambassador. Introduce yourself if you encounter these folks. If they ask questions about the railroad, feel free to educate and interact.

Secondly, scanner or not; be patient. Whether you know the NS train or just passing by to catch a train; there is always a mix of consists. Never a dull train, but there may be dull moments until the train rolls by. Grab some of your favorite books, train magazines, and relax.

Third and finally, respect railroad property.

Norfolk Southern employees are more gracious than most class 1 railroads. But, don’t test their patience or railroad boundaries.

I have talked to many of the NS maintenance workers at the Lewis Center office.

But from a distance; outside of railroad property lines. Respect them and nine chances out of ten; they will respect you.

Okay, enough of the preaching. Let’s get to the mother church.

Let’s start with the portion between Lewis Center and Cooke Road

Lewis Center 


Old Lewis Center

Prime parking spot: Vacant lot next to Delaware County EMS and near Woodgate Home Store (Antique Shop/Decor)

This is located right off Lewis Center Road between Old State Road (Delaware County) and US Route 23.

That being said, the Olentangy Crossing Shopping Center features a Kroger Marketplace, a Dairy Queen, and a few places nearby. It also features a Kroger fuel station. It is west of Olentangy Senior High School and the NS mainline. Close to amenities, this leaves you with a place to stock up for snacks, etc.

Green Meadows Business Center

Heading south on Old State Road from Lewis Center Road; take that to Powell Road. Turning right, follow Powell Road past the Boyd’s Goodyear to the four lane section of Powell Road.

Turn right from where East Powell dead ends into the four lane section of Powell Road. Follow over the railroad overpass and turn right on Cotter. Follow the drive around the warehouses.

This is a privately owned business center. However, parents with kids and railfans alike visit this spot to catch some train action.

You will see the Powell Road signal towers near the parking lot next to the mainline.

Norfolk Southern crews sometimes use this as a crew change point.

Several restaurants are nearby. My favorite is Taranto’s Pizzeria in the Oak Creek Center. Great food and free wifi make this a haven to hang out and chow.




There being only one place to park; it’s right next to the mainline. So best of both worlds.

Follow Powell Road east (from Green Meadows/Cotter) back to Sancus Blvd. Let’s start with the portion between Lewis Center and Worthington.

Turn right and take to Park Road. Turn right and follow to the railroad tracks.

Flint used to be a station stop back during the old PRR/N&W days.

The remnants of that are the Market at Flint Station and the Bar Upstairs.

Clerks and barkeeps alike know railfans show up. So, when trains are not rolling by; they can share stories. The Market has good coffee and an ample snack section. It also stock a lot of locally made goodies.




While there are several places to railfans in Worthington, two places I have found are prime photo places.

Crosswoods Park and Ride

Take Park Road back to Sancus; follow that south to Worthington Woods Blvd. Turn right on Worthington Woods and over the overpass.

You will see the park and ride heading over the overpass on the left.

COTA and DATA buses run there on a regular basis.

Towards the back of the park and ride lot is prime photo opportunities. You are near a lot of gas stations, restaurants, and coffee spots.

Worthington Community Center Park

South of the Crosswoods Park and Ride is Worthington Community Center Park.

Many ways to get there, easiest is taking Worthington Woods back to Sancus. Sancus will merge with Worthington-Galena Road. Follow to Wilson Bridge Road. Turn right and look to the left after passing the railroad tracks.

Again, you are close to the mainline and close to many places to eat and fuel up your ride.

See more detailed info on North Columbus Raillines Revisited on McCoy Park, the B&O Caboose and more…

North Columbus Raillines Revisited

If you have read my review of the Ohio Railway Museum from late July 2017; that is also a wonderful place to visit and railfan at the same time.

Cooke Road Caution Alert

Although Cooke Road for years has been a railfan favorite; recent activity (mainly overnight) have had questionable waste material show up near the right of way.

If you do see some regular railfans watching trains; consider yourself safe. Columbus Division of Police and local railroad police officers knows which is legit activity or the latter.

Some of you folks already know these places. Others, this maybe an eye-opener to spots to watch trains. Either way, it was a joy to scout them out.

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