The electric catenary indicates these are not B&O tracks. This is the view from
the B&O bridge over the ex-Pennsylvania tracks as a high-speed Amtrak train
zooms toward Washington on Easter Sunday. The B&O
and Pennsy were fierce competitors when Pennsy muscled into the region. It
would be interesting to hear what must have been tense negotiations for the
construction of this crossing. The original bridge, a stone arch structure,
lasted until replaced by the
current, quite ordinary bridge
in 1934 by the McClintic-Marshall Corporation.
In the rush to find a substitute for the B&O Howard Street tunnel in Baltimore,
this spot has been insufficiently studied. Add a connection here between these
routes within the NW quadrant (left) and no new tunnels need be built. Instead
eastbound freight traffic can roll down to the ex-PRR tracks (the grade would
be less than 1%) which have room for quad track, and follow their route through
Baltimore, reconnecting to the ex-B&O route on the east side of town. It's far
less work and cost than all the plans considered in the
2011 MDOT report (PDF).
If support for increased traffic and double-stack heights are desired, then build
the new as recommended by the B&P Tunnel study,
except keep connections to the existing B&P tunnels so they can be rehabbed and
used well into the future.
Switching to the B&P tunnel leaves no reasonable route for CSX Locust Point trains,
but there is an easy remedy: reactivate the Claremont Branch connection between
CSX's Mt. Clare yard and the Amtrak route near St. Agnes Hospital. If that
can't be done, instead add a connection between the CSX track and the ex-WM
route (CSX Hanover Subdivision) near I-95 and Hollins Ferry Road, plus reconnect
the ex-WM and ex-B&P between Walbrook Junction and Fulton Junction.
Claremont branch tour,
WM at Walbook Junction