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B&SP Photo Tour

Baltimore & Sparrows Point Railroad
Modern day photo tour

Accompanying each photo below are:

Click a photo to see a larger view. Please send your comments and corrections to Steve.


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Dunhill Road

Dunhill Road
Mile: 4.5 Date: May 2017
Ease: A View: SE
Area: B RBL:
Map: Ba 44 E 7 Topographic Maps

From the Dunhill Road grade crossing we can see the track divides beyond the Broening Highway bridge in order to better serve port facilities on the right.

Dunhill Road The inset photo looks southwest along Dunhill Road to what had been the main entrance to Baltimore Municipal Airport / Harbor Field. When Friendship / BWI took over as the area's primary airport, Municipal was redeveloped into the Dundalk Marine Terminal.

Prior to Baltimore Municipal Airport, in 1920 the adjacent Logan Field was the first commercial aviation facility in Maryland. During WW II the US military turned Logan Field into a POW camp. After the war it did not reopen as an airport but was remade into housing and the Logan Village shopping area.

Links: Logan and Harbor Field photos, aerial by Baltimore Sun 1950s


Fenced

Fenced
Mile: 5.3 Date: May 2017
Ease: B+ View: NW
Area: B RBL:
Map: Ba 44 G 8 Topographic Maps

This is a reverse view. Given the amount of cargo that moves through the marine terminal, understandably the facilities are securely fenced.


End

End
Mile: 5.4 Date: May 2017
Ease: B+ View: SE
Area: B RBL:
Map: Ba 44 G 8 Topographic Maps

concrete block A concrete block unceremoniously ends the operational limit of the line.

Beyond you might notice rusty rails embedded in the asphalt of Maryland Avenue. The B&SP and NCRY had continued another couple miles to Sparrows Point...


Beltway

Beltway
Mile: 6.1 Date: May 2017
Ease: A View: SE
Area: B RBL:
Map: Ba 44 H 10 Topographic Maps

From this end of Broening Highway drivers have the option of getting on the Baltimore Beltway and paying the Key Bridge toll, or, well, there are no alternatives.

Before the Beltway, the rails made their own alternative: both the streetcar, which ran here, and the B&SP, which ran parallel to the right of the tallest power poles, crossed Bear Creek ahead.


Miss Utility

Miss Utility
Mile: 6.4 Date: May 2017
Ease: A View: NW
Area: A- RBL:
Map: Ba 44 J 10 Topographic Maps

The reverse view from the other side of the Beltway, outside the Key Bridge MTA police station, shows Miss Utility has seemingly marked streetcar remnants hiding under the pavement. That's probably not what they are but the color highlights do nicely illustrate the streetcar's route. The B&SP / NCRY was on the other side of the station (left) but there is no surviving evidence there.

Link: almost same view 1958


1937 Eastern Avenue

1924 Aerial
Mile: Date: 1924
Ease: View: SE (up)
Area: RBL:
Map: Ba 44 H 10 Topographic Maps

To get to Sparrows Point in 1924 one crossed Bear Creek: the double-tracked zoom streetcar on the left (northeast), pipelines in the middle, and the single-track NCRY on the right. At what is called Coffin Point, the building closest to the bottom left in the main photo is now the site of the MTA police station.

The inset zoom view shows the jetty supported a car float option for the railroad. Near the center of Bear Creek the bridges had swing mechanisms to permit passage of boats while the pipelines dipped under the water at those spots.


From Coffin Point

From Coffin Point
Mile: 6.4 Date: May 2017
Ease: B+ View: SE
Area: A- RBL:
Map: Ba 44 J 10 Topographic Maps

Little remains of those three old Bear Creek crossings. They were removed one by one starting during the 1950s after newer crossings were built upstream (left). The only artifact I found was the concrete supports of the streetcar bridge, as seen at photo bottom. A similar structure survives on the distant bank.

Links: almost same view 1958, trestle 1958


Bear Creek

Bear Creek
Mile: 6.4 Date: May 2017
Ease: B+ View: SE
Area: A- RBL:
Map: Ba 44 J 10 Topographic Maps

Deep zoom across Bear Creek shows at the water's edge, just right of the distant Bethlehem Steel building, more concrete remains of the streetcar bridge. Parts of the jetty survive at the right edge of this photo. If any of the B&SP / NCRY bridge hangs on it would be located immediately to the left of the jetty.

Link: similar view 1958


1938 Aerial

1938 Aerial
Mile: Date: Apr 1938
Ease: View: N (up)
Area: RBL:
Map: Ba 44 K 11 Topographic Maps

Though Sparrows Point (bottom right) is not an island, land connections to it from Baltimore are roundabout, so even utilities opted for the direct route across Bear Creek. The middle of the three lines is a natural gas pipeline.


Line 26
Photo courtesy Todd Sestero

Line 26
Mile: 7.0 Date: ~1950
Ease: View: NW
Area: RBL:
Map: Ba 44 K 11 Topographic Maps

This circa 1950 photo from the Sparrows Point side captures both the streetcar and railroad in action. This streetcar model was called "Red Rocket".

Links: streetcar, streetcar, streetcar, Sun report on streetcar museum


Arrival

Arrival
Mile: 7.1 Date: Dec 2016
Ease: A View: SW
Area: B- RBL:
Map: Ba 44 K 11 Topographic Maps

As the tangle of utility lines hint, here at the intersection of Railroad Avenue and Tinmill Road the streetcar and railroad came ashore in Sparrows Point. A loop permitted the streetcars to turn around. The NCRY ended here, but the B&SP had continued east into the factory area, so this tour will extend to show that too.

At photo time Tradepoint Atlantic was repurposing the area into a new commercial area and port. A few years before Tradepoint arrived, the PBR had been renamed the Baltimore Industrial Railroad. Tradepoint renamed that to Tradepoint Rail.

Links: loop, 1955, 1955, 1958, 1958


1952 Aerial

1952 Aerial
Mile: Date: Aug 1952
Ease: View: N (up)
Area: RBL:
Map: Topographic Maps

This 1952 aerial photo shows the NCRY bridge across Bear Creek has been removed, obviated by the B&O's Sparrows Point Branch to Gray's Yard that began during the 1920s, and Pennsylvania's connection from the north that arrived during the 1930s. The stretch from Gray's Yard to Bethlehem Steel became the purview of BS's own Patapsco and Back Rivers Railroad (PBR) though some streetcars were allowed to continue east to Bay Shore Park and Fort Howard.

Link: Bay Shore Amusement Park


Tanks

Tanks
Mile: 7.1 Date: Dec 2016
Ease: A View: E
Area: B- RBL:
Map: Ba 44 K 11 Topographic Maps

While Tradepoint was busy transforming the site from steel factory to port, it used some of the purported 100 miles of ex-PBR track to store excess rail equipment, mostly tanks. Adjacent, thousands of Volkswagen automobiles involved in the diesel emissions scandal were stored awaiting shipment back to Germany.


More Tanks

More Tanks
Mile: 9.0 Date: Dec 2016
Ease: A- View: SW
Area: B RBL:
Map: Ba 45 D 10 Topographic Maps

more tanks as seen from Wharf Road at the northeast corner of the factory area...


From Wharf Road

From Wharf Road
Mile: 9.0 Date: Dec 2016
Ease: A- View: E
Area: B RBL:
Map: Ba 45 D 10 Topographic Maps

Also seen from Wharf Road, the B&O's arrival at Gray's Yard during the late 1920s prompted the rail connection with the PBR on the right. A double-tracked, shorter route between the yard and factory was added on the left with the Pennsy's arrival during the 1930s.


Beltway

Beltway
Mile: 10.1 Date: Dec 2016
Ease: A- View: E
Area: B- RBL:
Map: Ba 45 D 8 Topographic Maps

After curving 180 degrees the PBR's track from the factory arrives here at Gray's Yard. Baltimore Beltway I-695 bridges the curve. The Pennsylvania RR had maintained a tower at the immediate left.

Link: PBR RR pics


Grays Yard

Grays Yard
Mile: 10.1 Date: Dec 2016
Ease: A- View: W
Area: B- RBL:
Map: Ba 45 D 8 Topographic Maps

Many tanks rest in Gray's Yard too, which seems like an appropriate place for this tour to come to a rest as well.

Link: 2005 yard and factory pics


Hope you enjoyed touring the Baltimore & Sparrows Point RR.

You may also like the adjacent B&O Sparrows Point Branch tour,
or Todd's Guide to Sparrows Point.

<< Previous (west) | THIS PAGE: Dundalk to Sparrows Point | End of tour || main index

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