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B&O Photo Tour

B&O Philadelphia 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.


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Philadelphia Branch - Brief Historical Background:

Bayview Yard West

Bayview Yard West
Mile: 89.2 Date: Aug 2016
Ease: A View: W
Area: B RBL:
Map: Ba 36 B 11 Topographic Maps

csx 3258 From I-895 the view is obstructed but is the best place from which to peer into CSX's Bayview Yard in Baltimore. The Baltimore Belt Line meets the Philadelphia Branch along the north side of the yard, the two rightmost tracks in this view. The distant train is ready to bend photo left onto the Sparrows Point Branch which was originally part of the route to Philadelphia.

Nearer, a relatively new CSX 3258 illustrates the distinctive roofline of GE model ET44AH units.

Link: more CSX 3258 pics


1937 Aerial

1937 Aerial
Mile: Date: 1937
Ease: View: N (up)
Area: B- RBL:
Map: Ba 43 K 2 Topographic Maps

The B&O rushed the Philadelphia Branch into operation before it could complete the Baltimore Belt Line, a rail connection to/from the rest of the railroad in downtown Baltimore. Consequently from roughly 1885 to 1895 the B&O instead floated railcars across Baltimore Harbor. At that time the Philadelphia Branch began in the Canton area (lower left of this aerial), then tracked generally north to Bayview (or, Bay View as it was spelled), then northeast to Philadelphia.

When the Belt Line was finished and connected from the west into Bayview, the B&O repurposed the track between Canton and Bayview into the Sparrows Point Branch, the subject of a separate tour at this site.


Bayview Yard East

Bayview Yard East
Mile: 89.2 Date: Nov 2016
Ease: A View: E
Area: B RBL:
Map: Ba 36 B 11 Topographic Maps

Peering the opposite direction from I-895 finds the through tracks on the left.


Erdman Avenue
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Erdman Avenue
Mile: 88.6 Date: Jan 2008
Ease: A View: SE
Area: B- RBL:
Map: Ba 36 C 11 Topographic Maps

herald 1943 When Bethlehem Steel and related industry got busy for WW II North Point Boulevard was widened and connected to Erdman Avenue. The tiny one-lane underpass was supplanted by this bridge.

This is one of the few places within Baltimore City that the B&O capitol dome herald is (was?) visible. Holes in the concrete suggest a CSX sign had been covering it previously.


North Point Road
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

North Point Road
Mile: 88.5 Date: Nov 2009
Ease: A View: NW
Area: B- RBL:
Map: Ba 36 C 11 Topographic Maps

This photo shows why a new underpass was needed. This is the only one-lane railroad underpass for public use that remains active within Baltimore City.

Maryland Midland Railway (MMID) is a Class III carrier owned mostly by the Genesee & Wyoming. MMID connects with CSX at Highfield and Emory Grove (Maryland).


Labelled Switch
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Labelled Switch
Mile: 88.5 Date: Jan 2008
Ease: B View: W
Area: B- RBL:
Map: Ba 35 C 8 Topographic Maps

When trains keep winding up on the siding rather than in Bayview Yard, this is what you do.


68th Street

68th Street
Mile: 87.6 Date: Jul 2016
Ease: A View: SW
Area: B RBL:
Map: Ba 36 G 9 Topographic Maps

rr_crossing sign From the 68th Street grade crossing we can look back to where the line goes under I-95 and over Moores Run.

Private railroad crossing signs like this often lack the standard yellow background.

More than many other east coast cities Baltimore favors naming, rather than numbering, streets making 68th Street the highest numbered in the county.


Redhouse Run
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Redhouse Run
Mile: 87.2 Date: Jan 2008
Ease: B- View: N
Area: B RBL:
Map: Ba 36 G 9 Topographic Maps

With marshy land all around, getting a photo of the Redhouse Run bridge is not easy. It's even less easy to see the bridge.


CPLs
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

CPLs
Mile: 87.0 Date: Jan 2008
Ease: A- View: NE
Area: B RBL:
Map: Ba 36 G 9 Topographic Maps

Team Hiteshew documented the line shortly before CSX tore out its iconic B&O CPL signals. This may be the last photo anyone snapped of this pair that stood near Rosedale Avenue's former grade crossing. Chesaco Road bridges in the distance.


Batavia Farm Road

Batavia Farm Road
Mile: 86.4 Date: Jul 2016
Ease: A View: SE
Area: B RBL:
Map: Ba 36 H 8 Topographic Maps

maybe now "No Jake Brakes" refers to disallowed use of a truck braking system that can be noisy. As explained at the first link below, the Jacobs Vehicle Systems feels such signs are an improper use of their trademark.

The more distant sign warns of trains beyond the bend. I've not seen the "one could be now" phrasing before. Unfortunately the sign provided false hope: no trains passed during my visit.

Links: the backstory, explanation of how the brakes work


Contractors Road

Contractors Road
Mile: 85.5 Date: Jul 2016
Ease: A View: NE
Area: B RBL: 38
Map: Ba 36 K 6 Topographic Maps

Unlike the Old Main Line, this line is straight and mostly level. The I-695 Baltimore Beltway and its ramps span overhead in the distance.


Stemmers Run
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Stemmers Run
Mile: 84.8 Date: Jan 2008
Ease: B View: NW
Area: B RBL:
Map: Ba 37 B 4 Topographic Maps

Bridge 6B carries trains over Stemmers Run. Stone supports of this style are often found where the B&O had originally installed a Bollman bridge.


Rossville Boulevard
Photos courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Rossville Boulevard
Mile: 84.6 Date: Jan 2008
Ease: A View: E
Area: B RBL:
Map: Ba 37 B 4 Topographic Maps

emblem Though its art deco appearance suggests greater age, the bridge over Rossville Boulevard dates to 1966 when it was the replacement for Golden Ring Road which was severed by I-695. It is one of the newer original bridges on the line. CSX has deigned to permit the B&O emblem to slowly fade away, revealing the bridge may have not yet been (re)painted .


Transition
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Transition
Mile: 84.6 Date: Jan 2008
Ease: B View: NE
Area: B RBL: 171
Map: Ba 37 B 4 Topographic Maps

Between Rossville Boulevard and US 40 a CPL signal tower had ruled the track bottleneck. Previously a spur diverged to the right to serve Pulaski Industrial Park.


Mohrs Lane Bridge
Photos courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Mohrs Lane Bridge
Mile: 82.1 Date: Jan 2008
Ease: A View: SE
Area: B+ RBL:
Map: Ba 29 G 13 Topographic Maps

view NW view SE view NW timbers

Having been on duty for almost a century, by 2008 bridge 9B for Mohrs Lane was on its last legs. It was doomed as soon as the decision to double stack trains was made, and allowed to deteriorate enough to be closed to vehicles and removed in 2011. It was the last survivor of its kind along the line in Maryland.

Link: Bridgehunter entry


White Marsh Run
Photos courtesy Dave Hiteshew

White Marsh Run
Mile: 81.7 Date: Jan 2008
Ease: B View: NW
Area: B RBL:
Map: Ba 29 H 12 Topographic Maps

clearance At bridge 10A concrete buffers retard erosion.

Old aerial photos show that when a nearby private grade crossing for an aggregates company closed about 1980, trucks rerouted themselves under the bridge, hence the clearance signs.


Milepost 81
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Milepost 81
Mile: 81.0 Date: Nov 2008
Ease: B View: SE
Area: A- RBL:
Map: Ba 29 J 11 Topographic Maps

Mileposts in the style of those along the Washington Branch display the distance from/to Baltimore and Philadelphia. Do these date to the 1880s opening the line? I am unsure. Their concrete is more worn at the top than sides, suggesting at least many decades of weathering, if not more than a century.


Honeygo Run
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Honeygo Run
Mile: 80.6 Date: Jan 2008
Ease: B View: NW
Area: A- RBL:
Map: Ba 29 J 10 Topographic Maps

Bridge 11A was remodeled due to erosion too; it was widened as well.


Chessie Shack
Photos courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Chessie Shack
Mile: 80.5 Date: Jan 2008
Ease: A View: NE
Area: A- RBL:
Map: Ba 29 K 9 Topographic Maps

Chessie Apparently Chessie ran out of lives at the Ebenezer Road grade crossing because CSX removed this shack while it was removing nearby CPL signals about 2010. The shack may have housed equipment related to the defect detector seen below.


Gettin' In Tune
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Gettin' In Tune
Mile: 80.6 Date: Jan 2008
Ease: A View: NE
Area: A- RBL:
Map: Ba 29 K 9 Topographic Maps

Do these CPLs look far enough apart to permit double track? They do not to me, which means this straight and narrow section has been single tracked since the CPLs were installed during, oh, the 1940s or 1950s.


WMDD

WMDD
Mile: 80.6 Date: Jul 2016
Ease: A View: NE
Area: A- RBL: 169
Map: Ba 29 K 10 Topographic Maps

WMDD = White Marsh Defect Detector. I was going to name this as part of a than-now pair, but 8.5 years of separation does not feel sufficient!

There's more Philadelphia Branch to come...


This Philadelphia Branch tour will be continued in a future update.

For now you might enjoy the Sparrows Point Branch which has its own tour.

<< Previous (west) | THIS PAGE: Bayview to White Marsh | Next (east, future update) >>

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