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B&O Photo Tour

B&O Locust Point Branch
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.


Brief Historical Background: Locust Point Branch

Map
NEW! Mar 2015

Map
Mile: Date:
Ease: View:
Area: IC2:
Map: Ba 42 - 43 Topographic Maps

Baltimore's importance in railroad history is evidenced by the city's extensive network of active, and disused, track. This map includes in black only the more significant stretches of railroad. This tour page follows what began as the Locust Point Branch which is traced by a light magenta wash. We begin at Mt. Clare Junction at map left.


Mt. Clare Junction

Mt. Clare Junction
Mile: -1.5 Date: Apr 2001
Ease: B View: NE
Area: D IC2: 217
Map: Ba 42 G 2 Topographic Maps

The 1840s-era Locust Point Branch peeled off from the main line at Mt. Clare Junction, pictured here, just northeast of the Carrollton Viaduct, then snaked its way generally east to the new waterfront facilities.

In this photo, B&O Museum engine Pere Marquette switcher 11 sits about a mile from the museum and watches a CSX freight roll past onto the LPB.


SE View

SE View
Mile: -1.4 Date: Jan 2001
Ease: B View: SE
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 G 2 Topographic Maps

Here's the view from the other side of the freight, looking southeast in the general direction of Locust Point. The road sign in the distance is that for the Russell Street exit from Interstate 95.


LMS 700

LMS 700
Mile: -1.0 Date: Jan 2001
Ease: A View: NW
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 H 3 Topographic Maps

Heading this same freight is Locomotive Management Services engine 700 which pauses at Washington Boulevard for the OK to move ahead. Immediately behind the lead engine is a Union Pacific diesel, an uncommon sight this far east. The train stretches back past Mt. Clare Junction to the Carrollton Viaduct.

That's the former Montgomery Ward warehouse in the background, now Montgomery Park.

Link: 1999


Old Signals

Old Signals
Mile: -0.9 Date: Dec 2003
Ease: A View: NW
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 H 3 Topographic Maps

This grade crossing is of note because it may be Baltimore city's oldest active. The crossing spans busy Washington Boulevard, the main road to the nation's capital at the time the LPB tracks arrived.

Appropriately, an elderly signal guarded the crossing, but has retired since photo time. The pole and support design makes me think a wig-wag style signal had been mounted here before the lights.

Links: Pic of Wig Wag at B&O Museum, Dan's Wig Wag Site


New Signals
NEW! Mar 2015

New Signals
Mile: -0.9 Date: Aug 2013
Ease: A View: E
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 H 3 Topographic Maps

A more recent photo shows the grade crossing has received new signals for both trains and automobiles.

During its more than 160 years of heavy industrial use, the LPB has required similar equipment upgrades and refreshes all along its route, leaving the route itself the only original artifact to be found. There are no circa 1840 culverts, stone bridges or anything else from that time period extant to show the LPB is one of the oldest still-active railroad routes in the USA. Its importance in history of railroading and role in international trade has been somewhat overlooked.


Ex-Yard
NEW! Mar 2015

Ex-Yard
Mile: -0.8 Date: Dec 2003
Ease: A View: E
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 H 3 Topographic Maps

The photographer has crossed Washington Boulevard. Into the 1960s, the B&O had here maintained a small yard to serve local industry; more recently the rusty siding on the left has been pulled up. The distant overpass is that of Interstate 95.


From I-95
NEW! Mar 2015

From I-95
Mile: -0.6 Date: Jun 2002
Ease: A View: NW
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 3 Topographic Maps

"Aha, so that's the Locust Point Branch!" -- spoken by people who have seen this view while driving southwest from Baltimore on I-95. It was for the B&O but now CSX deems these tracks park of its Mt. Clare Branch.


Carroll

Carroll
Mile: -0.6 Date: Dec 2001
Ease: B View: E
Area: C IC2: 143
Map: Ba 42 J 3 Topographic Maps

At Carroll, the Locust Point Branch (on the left) is joined by the Camden Cutoff, which arrived 10 years after the LPB, for the trip to downtown Baltimore. The Camden Cutoff would soon subsume the LPB and become the main line between Baltimore and Washington, a role in which it continues today.

Casting the shadow at our feet is I-95. The yellow/green bridge visible carried Monroe Street over the tracks; the bridge was subsequently upgraded. Acting as a convenient landmark near the right edge is the "Baltimore" stack which can be seen readily from I-95 near the I-395 interchange.


Reverse View
NEW! Mar 2015

Reverse View
Mile: -0.6 Date: Dec 2001
Ease: A View: SW
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 3 Topographic Maps

The photographer is looking back from near the CPL signal of the prior photo. The undeveloped, swampy land adjacent to Gwynns Falls, combines with winter pallor to create a barren landscape. Perhaps a few centuries from now, for better or worse, places on Mars will look like this.


Bush Street

Bush Street
Mile: -0.2 Date: Oct 2000
Ease: A View: SW
Area: C+ IC2: 143
Map: Ba 42 J 3 Topographic Maps

A crewman waits near the signal to throw the switch so CSX 8527 can back into the Curtis Bay branch. In this photo from the Bush Street grade crossing, we're looking back toward the Monroe Street bridge.

Link: D&H 7409 1991


City View

City View
Mile: -0.2 Date: Oct 2000
Ease: A View: NE
Area: C+ IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 3 Topographic Maps

Here CSX 8527 has crossed Bush Street, and has a nice view of part of downtown Baltimore's skyline. That's the Bayard Street grade crossing a short distance away.


Deep Zoom
NEW! Mar 2015

Deep Zoom
Mile: 0.0 Date: Feb 2011
Ease: B View: SW
Area: B- IC2:
Map: Ba 42 K 2 Topographic Maps

With the photographer standing near the green-painted building of the prior photo, this is the view back. These CPL signals have since been swapped out for in-line equivalents. The center CPL was noteworthy because it was the only known "complete" such signal: 8 lamps in the circular center plus 6 marker orbital lamps, for a total of 14, the maximum possible under the B&O system.

The grade crossing in the foreground is that of Bayard Street. The LPB is about to bend east (left).


Ridgely Street
Photo courtesy Adam Paul

Ridgely Street
Mile: 0.1 Date: 2001
Ease: A View: W
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ba 42 K 2 Topographic Maps

Just past the bend is this Ridgely Street grade crossing about to be negotiated by CSX 6249. Behind us is the Russell Street highway bridge and Bailey's Wye.

CSX uses the letters BAM to refer to its Locust Point Subdivision. You'll see BAM on mileage signposts that uniquely identify each grade crossing. For CSX, BAM begins at this curve then proceeds behind the photographer.


Tangle
NEW! Mar 2015

Tangle
Mile: 0.1 Date: Oct 2010
Ease: A View: E
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ba 42 K 2 Topographic Maps

While the Ravens play football at M&T Stadium (unseen about 500 feet away on the left), no one blocks the trains from rumbling to their goal. The tangle of tracks hints this is an important spot. Let's untangle them.

From left to right: the two leftmost tracks beyond the shadow (that cast by Russell Street, MD 295) serve and end at Camden Station, less than a mile away. The next track over, where a pedestrian is walking along Warner Street, is a significant bottleneck: all northeast corridor freight squeezes through it (!), as well as the single-tracked Howard Street Tunnel, the south portal of which is less than a mile away. As of this writing, studies are in progress to determine a viable alternate route.

The rightmost track is the one that carries all rail traffic in and out of Locust Point, and is the one this tour page will continue to follow. The bridge in the distance is part of Baltimore's Light Rail system.


Bailey's Wye

Bailey's Wye
Mile: 0.3 Date: May 2001
Ease: A View: E
Area: B IC2: 141, 316
Map: Ba 43 A 2 Topographic Maps

By 1875, the rapidly expanding railroad had outgrown not only its facilities at Mt. Clare, but also those associated with Camden Station, so the B&O chose this location for shops known as Bailey's Roundhouse. For about the next 75 years, countless trains would pass by or be serviced here. Today, courtesy construction of I-395, the Light Rail, and the stadiums, little more than the tracks and a mound of dirt (left) survive.

Stockholm Street, unseen on the right, had been a great spot from which to view the action before it was fenced off during 2014. Prior to the fences, this photo captured a light rail train climbing over a CSX mixed freight which is headed to the right: south from Camden Station or the Howard Street Tunnel, and bending east onto the Locust Point Branch. The elevated highway in the background is I-395.

Links: 1990, Bailey's pics with CPLs, 2008


Interlocking
NEW! Mar 2015

Interlocking
Mile: 0.5 Date: Jan 2015
Ease: A View: E
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ba 43 A 3 Topographic Maps

The east leg of Bailey's wye joins the LPB behind the photographer who looks from the Sharp Street grade crossing to the interlocking at Leadenhall Street. Shiney signal hardware means the B&O-era CPLs were not long gone here. Will those signals stay red until we can get closer to the waiting locomotive?


CSX 6034
NEW! Mar 2015

CSX 6034
Mile: 0.6 Date: Jan 2015
Ease: A View: E
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ba 43 A 3 Topographic Maps

Yes, pausing and posing solely for our benefit are CSX 6034 and HLCX 4215.


W Fort Avenue
NEW! Mar 2015

W Fort Avenue
Mile: 0.7 Date: Jan 2015
Ease: A View: NW
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ba 43 B 3 Topographic Maps

CSX 6034 kindly moved along so as to not block our view back to M&T Stadium from the now-closed Fort Avenue grade crossing at which the LPB turns once again to head south for a short stint.

One can turn around and follow Fort Avenue about 2 miles east to Fort McHenry, "Home of The Star-Spangled Banner". Francis Scott Key's poem from the War of 1812 became America's National Anthem on March 3, 1931.


Heath Street
NEW! Mar 2015

Heath Street
Mile: 0.9 Date: Jan 2015
Ease: A View: S
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ba 43 B 3 Topographic Maps

South Federal Hill is regentrifying, or rerailfanning, or reRavensfanning, or perhaps all of the above, because the old houses are being fixed up and increasing in price here. The weedy tracks suggest disuse, but this is the only way in and out of active Locust Point. I-95 towers in the distance with truck traffic where the LPB will turn sharply left to parallel it.


From Ramp
NEW! Mar 2015

From Ramp
Mile: 1.2 Date: Feb 2015
Ease: A View: E
Area: B- IC2:
Map: Ba 43 B 4 Topographic Maps

A ramp onto I-95 permits a glimpse of the now-interstate-paralleling LPB where it is about to open into what is called Riverside Yard.


Light Street
NEW! Mar 2015

Light Street
Mile: 1.3 Date: Jan 2015
Ease: B View: SW
Area: B- IC2:
Map: Ba 43 B 4 Topographic Maps

From the former Light Street grade crossing we can look back to the ramp from which the prior photo had been snapped (far right). I-95 arrived here during the 1980s. The track at left center that curves away had been an interchange route with the Western Maryland (WM) lines. It continues in use to provide access to remaining industry along the Port Covington waterfront previously served by the WM.


MoW
NEW! Mar 2015

MoW
Mile: 1.3 Date: Jan 2015
Ease: B View: SW
Area: B- IC2:
Map: Ba 43 B 4 Topographic Maps

Various Maintenance of Way equipment, such as TVM 201301, was caught napping.


Riverside Yard
NEW! Mar 2015

Riverside Yard
Mile: 1.5 Date: Jan 2015
Ease: B View: E
Area: B- IC2:
Map: Ba 43 C 4 Topographic Maps

In Riverside Yard both freight and bi-level MARC passenger cars await their call to duty.

Before the Western Maryland's arrival at Port Covington, the B&O maintained a spur from here to waterfront docks on the south (right).


McComas Street
NEW! Mar 2015

McComas Street
Mile: 1.6 Date: Jan 2015
Ease: A View: W
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ba 43 D 4 Topographic Maps

Where Riverside Yard begins to neck down to its east end, this ramp from paralleling McComas Street up to I-95 provides a glimpse of railcars. Behind, at Key Highway, the tracks are sandwiched between I-95 above and the old, local roads below.


Fort Avenue
NEW! Mar 2015

Fort Avenue
Mile: 2.4 Date: Jan 2015
Ease: A View: S
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ba 43 E 3 Topographic Maps

After Riverside Yard, the LPB splits and forms a loop about a half mile in diameter that roughly follows the Locust Point coastline. For the tour we'll follow the loop in a clockwise direction.

Spurs peel from the loop to serve both the port and industry, such as this one at Fort Avenue shown facilitating delivery of a tanker to the Domino Sugar factory.


Delivery
NEW! Mar 2015

Delivery
Mile: 2.4 Date: Jan 2015
Ease: A View: NW
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ba 43 E 3 Topographic Maps

CSX 1137 pushes the tanker across Key Highway. The nearer tracks access additional sidings adjacent to Domino Sugar. During the 1800s this area was called Whetstone Point.


Key Hwy East
NEW! Mar 2015

Key Hwy East
Mile: 2.4 Date: Jan 2015
Ease: A View: N
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ba 43 E 3 Topographic Maps

The factory has operated at the Baltimore Harbor since the 1920s, and nightly bathes it in a gentle red glow of a tall sign that dates to 1951. The nearby air wafts the pleasant aroma of warm French Toast.

During the 2000s this portion of Key Highway was upgraded to better serve the next factory in the vicinity...

Link: Domino's solar-powered sign


Hull Street
NEW! Mar 2015

Hull Street
Mile: 2.7 Date: Jan 2015
Ease: A View: W
Area: B+ IC2:
Map: Ba 43 F 3 Topographic Maps

In addition to these LPB tracks, the Under Armour Global Headquarters has a rail connection but its heavy red-brown hue suggests either it has not been used in a long time, or needs fresh Under Armour.


CSX 8513
Updated Mar 2015

CSX 8513
Mile: 2.7 Date: May 2001
Ease: A View: E
Area: B+ IC2:
Map: Ba 43 F 3 Topographic Maps
2015

At the Hull Street grade crossing, CSX 8513 backs carefully into the North Locust Point Marine Terminal, part of which can be seen in the background left.

Fourteen years later (2015) fewer tracks but more industry is seen in the similar view (left). Both photos are near the northernmost point of the LPB loop.

For another then-now pair, continue to the next, where this single track continues to divide into a yard.


North Locust Point
Updated Mar 2015

North Locust Point
Mile: 3.3 Date: May 2001
Ease: B View: N
Area: B IC2: 80
Map: Ba 43 F 4 Topographic Maps
2015

This is/was the North Locust Point Marine Terminal, as viewed from the bridge over the easternmost part of the track loop. The terminal dates to 1845 and was built to ease the congestion at Baltimore's original port at its inner harbor. The railroad line to here was completed in 1849.

By fourteen years later, the industrial silos have been converted into condos with a beautiful view. There is no longer much interchange between rails and ships on this side of Locust Point. As will be shown further below, the other (south) side of Locust Point remains busy with port activity.


Sluisgracht

Sluisgracht
Mile: 3.3 Date: May 2001
Ease: B View: NE
Area: B IC2: 362
Map: Ba 43 F 4 Topographic Maps

A large cargo ship registered in Amsterdam makes the rail tankers parked in the foreground look like models. Little spurs like that seen had extended to the various piers to facilitate unloading and loading, but many are now disused, as seen below.

Links: old port picture, track the Sluisgracht


Branches
NEW! Mar 2015

Branches
Mile: 3.3 Date: Jan 2015
Ease: B View: N
Area: B+ IC2:
Map: Ba 43 F 4 Topographic Maps

Branches sprout branches. The salt pile behind predicts either lots of snow or lots of popcorn ahead.


South Locust Point

South Locust Point
Mile: 3.3 Date: May 2001
Ease: B View: SW
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ba 43 F 4 Topographic Maps

The LPB loop continues under Fort Avenue, and curls into the South Locust Point Marine Terminal, which can handle large vessels, such as that in the distant right. In the foreground, oversized (extra height) "Big Blue" boxcars have little to do but work on their tan.

Between 1840 to 1850, coal production in the USA quadrupled. By 1880, the B&O was hauling in almost 2 million tons of coal annually for export from Locust Point. Shortly after that, the Pennsylvania RR opened a competing terminal across the harbor at Canton and split off some of the B&O's coal business. Since then the B&O moved its coal operations to Curtis Bay and left Locust Point to handle mostly containerized shipments.

Link to older picture: Pic


Loop Limit
NEW! Mar 2015

Loop Limit
Mile: 3.4 Date: Jan 2015
Ease: A View: NE
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ba 43 F 5 Topographic Maps

The extreme southeast edge of the LPB loop serves as home for lost, broken, and derelict railcars. The west portal of Interstate 95's Fort McHenry Tunnel is behind the photographer.


CSX 1137
NEW! Mar 2015

CSX 1137
Mile: 3.4 Date: Jan 2015
Ease: A View: W
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ba 43 F 5 Topographic Maps

After finishing work at Domino Sugar, CSX 1137 has teamed with CSX 6124 to find something to push or pull according to the yardmaster's whims. McComas Street is closest on the left, then I-95 adjacent.


Windsock
NEW! Mar 2015

Windsock
Mile: 3.6 Date: Jan 2015
Ease: A View: NE
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ba 43 E 4 Topographic Maps

The windsock helps trains know which direction to land. Umm, no, actually, it's a visual guide for humans so they can move upwind should a dangerous substance leak.

Signs lacking punctuation can be fun: "Stop Men At Work". Perhaps the other side reads, "Raise the Minimum Wage".


Irony
NEW! Mar 2015

Irony
Mile: 3.6 Date: Jan 2015
Ease: B View: W
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ba 43 E 4 Topographic Maps

Speaking of signs, who would pay for a billboard (right) that's so far from the Interstate and the local cross street (Andre Street) that only train crews can read it? Let's zoom in for a closer look. Ad Council

The answer is you and me, our tax dollars at work via the Ad Council. Their web site states, "Each Ad Council campaign is sponsored by a non-profit organization or federal government agency, which provides the production and distribution costs and serves as the 'issue expert.'"

I suspect Clear Channel gets to choose where such ads are placed, and sure enough, they are relegated to spots no one else would buy. This billboard's message to not waste is a message going to waste.


Caboose

Caboose
Mile: 3.3 Date: May 2001
Ease: A View: S
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ba 43 F 4 Topographic Maps

After Andre Street the LPB loop rejoins at the east end of Riverside Yard.

This old Seaboard caboose makes a fitting final photo for the Locust Point Branch tour. Hope you enjoyed it. If you visit this area to railfan be sure to include Fort McHenry which is basically next door.


For more you may enjoy Todd's Railfan Guide around Locust Point.

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