The photos were taken from the park area at Taylorsville Dam located just off US Route 40. The park's bike path runs north on Rip Rap Road in Dayton to Ross Road in Vandalia and provides several good photo opportunities. The southern end of Rip Rap is at Needmore Road. Just west of the intersection is the overpass across the CSX Dayton yard serving mainly the nearby grain industry.
For the most part the pathway area is heavily wooded so the track view expands in late fall through early spring. Your photo equipment will run from standard 55mm to 400mm or more depending on your goal. The pathway goes under the US Route 40 at the bridge spanning the CSX tracks allowing views of both north and southbound trains on both the mainline and passing siding. While there are block signals located close to the overpass and bike path, you can't see both from one location. A little walk is needed, but safely done out of harms way without violating right of way.
A passing siding starts just north of the Dayton Needmore Road yard and continues about three quarters of a mile north of the US 40 overpass. At the Route 40 overpass is a crossover from siding to mainline.
Within the siding is an industrial feeder to the mini-yard just north of the Delphi plant at Northwoods Boulevard. No longer used by Delphi, this yard has recently been a rail to truck bulk transfer point. Traffic is spotty to non-existent.
As the bike path moves north from the dam, there are two points where a closer view of the track is possible. Old Cassel Road goes west of the trail at an angle and leads to a clearing where the track gently curves as it goes north toward Tipp City. About a mile further to the north, just past the old water treatment facility (where the hard bike path ends), a maintenance path leads to where the former Delphi branch cuts off up the hill.
Vandalia Map Link
Note - The map page has inaccuracies (You really wonder if the map software people ever verify the info.) The bike path is now what used to be Cassel Road as shown on the map.
Current volume is in the neighborhood of thirty plus trains a day with density in the morning and late afternoon to early evening. The mix is covered hoppers, tanks cars, auto carriers and even solid blocks of coil cars. Most movements rate at least 2 three-axle units.