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B&O Metropolitan Branch Photo Tour

B&O Metropolitan 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.


Sign
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Sign
Mile: 26.0 Date: Nov 2007
Ease: A View: E
Area: A IC2:
Map: Mo 18 E 4 Topographic Maps

Great Seneca Highway says, "CSX who?"


Germantown Station Then
Photo courtesy Herb Harwood

Germantown Station Then
Mile: 26.4 Date: Jul 1969
Ease: B+ View: W
Area: A IC2: 211
Map: Mo 18 E 3 Topographic Maps

Silos of Liberty Mill tower over Germantown Station which would be destroyed before the revitalization MARC would bring during the next decade.

Link to older pic: 1985


Germantown Station Now
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Germantown Station Now
Mile: 26.4 Date: Jul 2008
Ease: A View: S
Area: A IC2:
Map: Mo 18 E 3 Topographic Maps

In this more recent view, the reconstructed station looks more model than real. MARC passenger waiting shacks have been nicely designed to match the station's 1891 architecture.

Link: MJB Models


Weigh Station
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Weigh Station
Mile: 26.4 Date: Nov 2007
Ease: B+ View: NE
Area: A IC2:
Map: Mo 18 E 3 Topographic Maps

Before Liberty Mill could ship out flour via the B&O, it had to grind it, and before that the incoming grain had to be weighed. About 40 years have elapsed since last use, but this weigh station remnant survives.



CSX 5497
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

CSX 5497
Mile: 26.7 Date: Jul 2008
Ease: B View: W
Area: A IC2:
Map: Mo 18 D 3 Topographic Maps

Ever wondered how track ties that mark culvert locations get their pearly whites? Well, here's the paint crew at work (note the white pail) as an eastbound mixed freight rolls by.

Initially I was puzzled: why is there a culvert under what appears to be a high spot? The answer is the high spot represents fill added by the B&O when in 1927 it realigned the Met slightly south of the original.


Culvert
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Culvert
Mile: 26.8 Date: Jul 2008
Ease: B View: SE
Area: A IC2:
Map: Mo 18 D 3 Topographic Maps

This is the culvert with the freshly painted tie. The unique tilework is erosion control.


CPLs
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

CPLs
Mile: 27.4 Date: Jul 2008
Ease: B View: W
Area: A IC2:
Map: Mo 18 B 2 Topographic Maps

These dark CPLs are merely resting. The G sign indicates "Grade" and modifies the meaning of the signal lights such that, for example, a train can proceed slowly through a red signal so as to avoid stopping on a hill which might be steep enough to prevent a stopped train from moving again without assistance.

The meaning of the signals and signs varies whether the signal has a number plate on it (!). How does one know the number plate has not simply fallen off?


Milepost 28
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Milepost 28
Mile: 28.0 Date: Jul 2008
Ease: B View: W
Area: A IC2:
Map: Mo 18 A 1 Topographic Maps

yet another improvised Met milepost


Little Seneca Creek
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew
Updated Oct 2014

Little Seneca Creek
Mile: 28.0 Date: Jul 2008
Ease: B- View: N
Area: A IC2: 171
Map: Mo 18 A 1 Topographic Maps

The bridge below, one of the B&O's earlier such applications of steel, proved a maintenance headache, so in 1927 the railroad realigned a short distance downstream onto this substantial concrete bridge that continues in use now. Claims that during non-leaf season remnants of the steel bridge's stone abutments can be glimpsed through this arch are not true. The stones visible are instead part of flood control.


Seneca Viaduct
Photo credit Herb Harwood collection

Seneca Viaduct
Mile: 28.3 Date: ~1920
Ease: B View: E
Area: A IC2:
Map: Mo 17 K 1 Topographic Maps

The realignment mentioned above was the B&O's choice to replace this bridge across Little Seneca Creek. The single-track original was a 600-foot look timber monster that survived only about 25 years before this steel structure replaced it in 1896. It would endure only slightly longer.


CSX 623
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

CSX 623
Mile: 28.9 Date: Nov 2007
Ease: B+ View: E
Area: A IC2:
Map: Mo 17 H 1 Topographic Maps

Old paint CSX 623 along with CSX 8368 and LMS 7925 are about to cruise across the Clarksburg Road bridge at Boyds, Maryland.

Link: more CSX 7925


Clarksburg Road
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Clarksburg Road
Mile: 28.9 Date: Nov 2007
Ease: B+ View: W
Area: A IC2:
Map: Mo 17 H 1 Topographic Maps

The guardrail of the Clarksburg Road bridge appears to be 1927 vintage original. Also of note is the stairway, an accoutrement unlikely found on a more recent structure. At the top of the stairway had been the B&O's Boyds Station.


Foundation
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Foundation
Mile: 28.9 Date: Nov 2007
Ease: B View: NW
Area: A IC2:
Map: Mo 17 H 1 Topographic Maps

The concrete foundation's shape, size, and tracks proximity, plus brick platform join together to say they had been part of Boyds Station after the realignment. The frame station survived into the 1970s. Unseen on the left, a small waiting shack now serves passengers of MARC trains.

The original alignment ran along the far side now occupied by junked automobiles, however at that time the B&O's brick station at Boyds sat a short distance west.


Boyds Station
Photo credit B&O Museum

Boyds Station
Mile: 28.9 Date: ~1920
Ease: ? View: W?
Area: A IC2: 172
Map: Mo 17 H 1 Topographic Maps

Here is that original brick station. Note the signal tower with ladder. The town is named for a B&O contractor who began to farm here after helping to build the Met.

A logical location for this station is at what had been a grade crossing of Barnesville Road / White Grounds Road, but I have not found definitive confirmation.


Bridge 31A
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Bridge 31A
Mile: 30.1 Date: Aug 2008
Ease: B View: SW
Area: A IC2:
Map: Mo 8 G 13 Topographic Maps

For a few miles west of Boyds the original and current alignments run in close proximity as evidenced by several bridges and culverts, the largest of which is numbered 31A. Here the original stone portion has been incorporated into the current bridge. It is not clear to me what year the oldright-of-way was disused here, but 1906 (the date stone on Waring Viaduct back at mp 24.7) is a candidate.


CSX 6151
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

CSX 6151
Mile: 30.3 Date: Aug 2008
Ease: B+ View: E
Area: A IC2:
Map: Mo 8 E 13 Topographic Maps

CSX 6151 and CSX 2673 lead coal empties westbound. The distant red lights belong to a CPL that guards crossovers; the CPLs would soon be swapped out for in-line signals.


Single Track
Photo credit B&O Museum

Single Track
Mile: 30.5 Date: ~1920?
Ease: ? View: W
Area: A IC2:
Map: Mo 8 E 12 Topographic Maps

Since double tracking of the Met was not completed until 1928, the single track passing through a rock cut ahead dates this Buck Lodge photo earlier. However, the similarity with a modern view (below) suggests this photo is not of the original alignment. If correct that means the B&O realigned to here years before upgrading to double track, possibly in 1906.


Double Track
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Double Track
Mile: 30.5 Date: Aug 2008
Ease: B View: W
Area: A IC2:
Map: Mo 8 E 12 Topographic Maps

The rusty siding might be the same rails as in the circa 1920 photo above. Someday I'll have to visit to check the date stamps. The B&O's Bucklodge Station stood on the left until about 1960.


Disused Culvert
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Disused Culvert
Mile: 30.8 Date: Aug 2008
Ease: C+ View: S
Area: A IC2:
Map: Mo 8 C 12 Topographic Maps

A culvert of surprisingly crude construction can be found along the disused, parallel original alignment.


Non-Iron Horse
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Non-Iron Horse
Mile: 31.1 Date: Sep 2008
Ease: B- View: S
Area: A IC2:
Map: Mo 8 C 12 Topographic Maps

This locomotive unit generates one horsepower, sufficient to carry a rider under the brick and stone dual-arch Bucklodge Branch bridge.


Box
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Box
Mile: 32.2 Date: Aug 2008
Ease: C View: NW
Area: A IC2:
Map: Mo 8 A 10 Topographic Maps

As you may have noticed, Germantown marked the last spot of significant suburban DC development, and that means fewer interesting railroad elements to highlight per tour mile, and more stretches of nothing but gently curving rails. We're reduced to noting things like this concrete post. Concrete posts of this design are common, but ones with boxes still attached are not.


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