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PRR / Amtrak Photo Tour


PRR / Amtrak in Maryland
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.


Special Note: >>> The places described on this page host quiet, high-speed trains. Stay well clear! <<<

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Fulton Junction
Photos credit unknown

Fulton Junction
Mile: 97.6 Date: 1932
Ease: C View: W
Area: D T6:
Map: Ba 34 G 11 Topographic Maps

This wonderful photo captures the line undergoing electrification where the Western Maryland splits right, and the PRR left. The photographer is standing at Fulton Avenue, with the Baltimore and Potomac (B&P) tunnel's south/west portal not far behind him.

To make room for the catenary, the B&P Tunnel's floor was lowered by 18 inches, while outside the tunnel the grading had to be adjusted to match, hence the new concrete retaining walls at the sides here. Note the beveled edges of the concrete footing for the catenary pole; such angling is characteristic of original footings, most of which remain extant as of 2019.

Fulton Junction Tower seen near center endured until 1965 when it was demolished because new tech allowed track switches to be controlled from B&P Junction Tower. Prior to that, Baltimore terminal's four PRR towers (B&P Junction, Fulton Junction, Union Junction, and Biddle Street) housed a total of 254 track control levers.

That's Monroe Street crossing over the tracks.

Links: source photo, LoC tower info (PDF)


Monroe Street

Monroe Street
Mile: 97.7 Date: Jul 2018
Ease: C View: SW
Area: C- T6:
Map: Ba 34 G 11 Topographic Maps

Monroe Street got a new bridge in 1986 around the time the connection with the Western Maryland (foreground) was severed. The WM's Fulton Station stood on the right where Monroe Street's bridge now traverses.


Pneumatic

Pneumatic
Mile: 97.7 Date: Jul 2018
Ease: C View: S
Area: D T6:
Map: Ba 34 G 11 Topographic Maps

The reservoir tank AMTK 2007 appears to be sniffing holds compressed air that powers track switches in the vicinity. Pneumatic systems are commonly substituted for electrical equipment at low spots like this one at Monroe Street where puddling water could cause a short.


Amtrak 649

Amtrak 649
Mile: 97.8 Date: Jul 2018
Ease: B View: NE
Area: D T6: 334
Map: Ba 34 G 11 Topographic Maps

Having recently emerged from B&P Tunnel, AMTK 649 leads southbound travellers toward Washington, DC.

During the brief 1870s period after the B&P began service but before its tunnel was completed, B&P trains started/ended here, with stagecoaches transporting passengers the rest of the way.


Amtrak 661

Amtrak 661
Mile: 97.8 Date: Jul 2018
Ease: B View: NW
Area: D T6:
Map: Ba 34 G 11 Topographic Maps

Another of the ACS-64 model, AMTK 661, slows before being given the green light to enter the B&P Tunnel.


Bins

Bins
Mile: 97.8 Date: Jul 2018
Ease: B View: N
Area: D T6:
Map: Ba 34 G 11 Topographic Maps

For many decades the inside of the Fulton Junction wye has been occupied by a minerals plant. In the past hoppers unloaded various types of gravel, coal, etc. into these bins. Though now disused, old track still runs above them.


1927 Aerial
Photo courtesy Johns Hopkins University

1927 Aerial
Mile: ~98 Date: 1927
Ease: View: N (up)
Area: T6:
Map: Ba 34 G 11 Topographic Maps

The track arrangement revealed by this aerial shows both WM and PRR trackage extends to those bins. Many small sidings sprout to serve industry in this area.

The dashed blue line represents the approximate path of the new tunnel if it follows proposed route 3B. The only part of the Fulton Junction wye that has survived into the 21st Century is its southeast leg.

Some people ask me why this is called a "wye". Note the arrangement of the trackage: it resembles the letter Y.


Amtrak 2001

Amtrak 2001
Mile: 98.0 Date: Jul 2018
Ease: B View: NE
Area: D T6:
Map: Ba 34 G 11 Topographic Maps

AMTK 2001 negotiates what is left of the wye, and the NEC's tightest curve in the Baltimore area. This curve would be lessened by the proposed alignment for a new tunnel. Mile 98 is here but its post is nowhere to be found.


Southwest Leg

Southwest Leg
Mile: 98.1 Date: Jul 2018
Ease: B+ View: N
Area: D T6: 334
Map: Ba 34 G 11 Topographic Maps

southwest leg 2016 Until about 1980 the southwest leg of the Fulton Junction wye had connected on the left; rusty rails continue to hide in the brush. If someday needed again, behind the photographer the leg could be reconnected with the new alignment, however there will not be sufficient room to restore the wye's northeast leg that had connected with the Western Maryland.

As seen from the Lafayette Avenue bridge, part of the new tunnel's south (west) portal would be in the trees on the right. Inside the new tunnel led its 4-track line would pass under the existing tracks at the curve ahead. It's here that the existing tracks reach their highest elevation within Baltimore County/City.

Amtrak has swapped out the incandescent bulbs in these signals for LEDs. There is a downside to LEDs: they do not generate enough heat to melt snow, so are at risk of being obscured by a snowstorm. As a group these remind me of the glowing green blob of Andromeda.

Link: Andromeda Strain's green blob


Lafayette Avenue

Lafayette Avenue
Mile: 98.1 Date: Jul 2018
Ease: B+ View: E
Area: D T6: 334, 335
Map: Ba 34 G 11 Topographic Maps

The new alignment would pass in an open cut where Pulaski Avenue now does under the fortuitously extra-long Lafayette Avenue bridge; in this view that's the far side of the bridge, with Pulaski barely visible, and the NE Branch of Gwynns Run buried adjacent. This bridge had not yet been built in 1927, so in the old aerial above note traffic waiting for the train to clear the grade crossing.


Edmondson Avenue

Edmondson Avenue
Mile: 98.1 Date: Jul 2018
Ease: B+ View: S
Area: D T6: 334, 335
Map: Ba 34 G 11 Topographic Maps

Looking south, coming from the left the new alignment would briefly join the existing for passage under the Edmondson Avenue bridge (ahead). A small yard had been on the left, and Lafayette Station (also called Lafayette Avenue Station) below on the right.


Edmondson Station
Photo courtesy Google

Edmondson Station
Mile: 98.4 Date: Jul 2018
Ease: A View: S
Area: D T6:
Map: Ba 34 F 12 Topographic Maps

For PRR trains westbound from Washington, stopping in Baltimore has always been a problem due to the inability to turn around at Penn Station. Where Edmondson Avenue crosses the line, this building, now home to food/grocery/supplies stores, was built by the PRR about 1920 as a substitute for Penn Station. The idea was westbounds would stop here then bypass Penn Station by turning northwestward at North Avenue (the John Street Tunnel segment) via the incomplete tunnel there.

In part due to this station's location far from downtown, the idea was never fully implemented, however trains continued to stop here into the Amtrak era, per the 1979 schedule linked below. The structure along the left side of the building (at the "Pizza" sign) was part of a baggage elevator to the tracks below. Thanks go to Frank Wrabel for relaying this interesting PRR history.

Link: Amtrak Schedule 1979


Franklin Street

Franklin Street
Mile: 98.5 Date: Jul 2018
Ease: A- View: NE
Area: C- T6:
Map: Ba 34 F 12 Topographic Maps

From the area right of the distant MARC train, after squeezing under Edmondson Avenue the new alignment would shift west (left) of the existing, and require a new bridge over Franklin Street, the road being negotiated by the auto at bottom right.

Into the 1930s a siding split off to the right to serve the Amercan Ice Company. No evidence of the siding remains today.

Link: American Ice Company pics (and others)


Keystone

Keystone
Mile: 98.5 Date: Jun 2011
Ease: A View: E
Area: C- T6:
Map: Ba 34 F 12 Topographic Maps

A few original Pennsylvania Railroad keystone logos still lurk, such as this one embossed in concrete at Mulberry Street (US 40) next to the West Baltimore MARC station (left).


West Baltimore

West Baltimore
Mile: 98.5 Date: Jul 2018
Ease: A- View: SW
Area: C- T6:
Map: Ba 34 F 12 Topographic Maps

Westbound MARC 35 is pushing away from the West Baltimore MARC station that would be rebuilt adjacent on the west side of the existing station. The new alignment would traverse a new bridge over Mulberry Street before rejoining the old/existing alignment from the right near the MARC train. The Gwynns Falls Viaduct in the distance would likely be rehabbed, and the Pennsy's disused Gwynn Tower (center, distant) torn down.

Link: former stations in this area (archive)


Amtrak 2035

Amtrak 2035
Mile: 98.8 Date: Jul 2018
Ease: B View: NE
Area: C T6:
Map: Ba 34 E 13 Topographic Maps

Immediately after it finishes crossing over Warwick Avenue, southbound AMTK 2035 will also pass Gwynns Run, a stream that has been enclosed within underground pipes since the time of the nearby Wilkens Curled Hair Factory, i.e. so long as to be all but forgotten. Calverton Stock Yards were also here, with paved ground -- uncommon during the 1800s -- to minimize the mud. Next on the route and equally forgotten is the B&P's/PB&W's/PRR's small Calverton Station (sometimes called Gwynns Run Station).

There's room here for 6 plus tracks because it had been the location of Gwynn Yard, sometimes written Gwynn's Yard, Gwynns Run Yard, Gwinn Yard, and other permutations.

Link: study to daylight Gwynns Run (misleading title)


1953 Aerial
Photo courtesy Johns Hopkins University

1953 Aerial
Mile: ~99.0 Date: Feb 1953
Ease: View: N (up)
Area: T6: 335
Map: Ba 34 F 13 Topographic Maps

Gwynn Yard, shown here near its peak, received freight service from bridge 98 the 1890s into the 1980s. The B&P's small passenger station was located at the Calverton Road grade crossing on the southeast side of the tracks. The blue line represents approximately where Gwynns Run flows underground.

As you may guess by its running athwart the street grid, Calverton is one of the oldest roads here. By 1953 its grade crossing was closed, having been superceded by underpasses for Warwick Avenue and Franklintown Road. The latter is where bridge 98 (right) is found.


Disused Cage

Disused Cage
Mile: 99.0 Date: Jul 2018
Ease: B View: W
Area: C T6: 336
Map: Ba 34 E 13 Topographic Maps

This likely held equipment related to track switches to the various industrial sidings at Gwynn. Here graffitiers have been only partially successful at preventing phlogiston from escaping into the atmosphere.

Link: before rust there was phlogiston


Amtrak 665

Amtrak 665
Mile: 99.0 Date: Jul 2018
Ease: B View: SW
Area: C T6: 335
Map: Ba 34 E 13 Topographic Maps

Deep zoom shows AMTK 665 crossing the Gwynns Falls Viaduct. Disused Gwynn Tower is at right. It was preceded by VN tower that had been located at the Cemetery Lane (now Kinsey Avenue) grade crossing, not far from where the photographer is standing.


From Baltimore Street

From Baltimore Street
Mile: 99.1 Date: Feb 2016
Ease: A View: W
Area: C- T6:
Map: Ba 34 E 13 Topographic Maps

looking northwest 1930 Views of the viaduct come easily since Baltimore Street curves under it. Before Baltimore Street's valley-spanning bridge opened during 1932, Ellicott Driveway coursed under the railroad here. The Ellicott family operated several mills near here.

The aerial view circa 1930 (courtesy Gwynns Falls Trail and Enoch Pratt Free Library) shows the railroad bridge in the foreground, with part of Gwynn Yard at right, and Gwynn Tower at left. VN Tower stands at the near side of the tracks at photo right.

Link: Gwynns Falls Trail site


Gwynns Falls Viaduct

Gwynns Falls Viaduct
Mile: 99.2 Date: Dec 2015
Ease: B- View: W
Area: C T6:
Map: Ba 42 E 1 Topographic Maps

1913 The railroad's grand Gwynns Falls Viaduct stretches 580 feet across the valley, 85 feet above the stream. The PB&W crafted this open-spandrel arch to replace the B&P's double-tracked iron bridge at the same location. At left is bridge construction as Western Maryland (WM) trains witnessed it from below during 1913. Milepost 2 is part of the ex-WM, now CSX Hanover Subdivision.

Link: 1872 drawing


Spalling

Spalling
Mile: 99.3 Date: Feb 2016
Ease: B View: NE
Area: C- T6: 336
Map: Ba 34 E 13 Topographic Maps

1913 As you might guess from the arch indentation, the new bridge was constructed in halves while the WM operated below. First the north half was added adjacent to the 19th century iron bridge, then trains were switched onto it. Next the old bridge was torn down and a new south half built with two more tracks, seen at left under construction.

After more than a century the concrete is spalling and the bridge will need repair if not total replacement during the 21st century.

Link: Railway Review article


Join Arches

Join Arches
Mile: 99.3 Date: Feb 2016
Ease: B View: NE
Area: C- T6:
Map: Ba 34 E 13 Topographic Maps

The Droste Effect creates a cathedral-like appearance where the two double-tracked halves meet.


Bridges 1913
Photo credit unknown

Bridges 1913
Mile: 99.3 Date: ~1913
Ease: B View: SE
Area: C- T6:
Map: Ba 34 E 13 Topographic Maps

The Gwynns Falls Trail signmakers, confused by the similar arches of the later rail and road bridges, mislabeled this photo. The photo is not of construction of Baltimore Street's bridge, but rather of the 1913 replacement railroad bridge for the B&P's iron Gwynns Falls Valley bridge from the 1870s, seen with blurred train along its top.

The concrete details in this photo match those of the still-extant railroad bridge, not the Baltimore Street bridge that would later be built adjacent.

Link: Gwynns Falls Trail site


Bridges 2016

Bridges 2016
Mile: 99.3 Date: Feb 2016
Ease: B View: SE
Area: C- T6:
Map: Ba 34 E 13 Topographic Maps

bent

1977 The similar appearance of the arches is evident in this main photo. Amtrak now maintains its bridge, or defers maintenance, as the case may be.

Look! That catenary pole near AMTK 2011 is bent and probably about to tumble!

Uh, no. Per the HAER photo clip on the right it was bent and leaning when ex-Pennsy Amtrak GG1 910 powered by during the 1970s, and probably was years before then too.

Link: LoC source photo


Gwynn Tower

Gwynn Tower
Mile: 99.4 Date: Feb 2016
Ease: B View: E
Area: C- T6: 335
Map: Ba 42 E 1 Topographic Maps

tower closeup Gwynn Tower was initially named Gwynns Run Tower. Centralized traffic control spelled the end of the PRR's towers, and Gwynn was no exception. It went disused during the 1980s, and has deteriorated since.

Building a B&P Tunnel replacement will bring big equipment to the area, making for a logical time to demolish the tower.

Links: 1980 pic with GG1, 1995, PRR tower list


MARC 4915

MARC 4915
Mile: 99.4 Date: Feb 2016
Ease: B View: SW
Area: C- T6:
Map: Ba 42 E 1 Topographic Maps

Immediately south of Gwynn Tower eight signals regulate trains in two directions along four tracks. A fifth track was removed during 2012.


Amtrak 2022
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Amtrak 2022
Mile: 99.9 Date: Oct 2007
Ease: B View: N
Area: C T6: 337
Map: Ba 42 C 2 Topographic Maps

That fifth track is visible at right in this older view under Frederick Road.


Sidings
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Sidings
Mile: 100.0 Date: Oct 2007
Ease: B View: N
Area: C T6: 337
Map: Ba 42 C 2 Topographic Maps

The extra track connected to these assorted industrial sidings south of Frederick Road. The B&P's/PB&W's/PRR's Frederick Road Station, previously named Carroll Station, had been on the right. A Wikipedia reference claims the station remained in use until 1984, but the latest I could confirm from a train schedule was 1971.


Amtrak 2011
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Amtrak 2011
Mile: 100.0 Date: Oct 2007
Ease: B View: S
Area: C T6:
Map: Ba 42 C 2 Topographic Maps

Via a wye on the left the extra track also connected to the Claremont Branch that served stockyards between the Penn Line and the B&O's Old Main Line. The stockyard slogan was "Every hoof under one roof."


Guard Rail
Photos courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Guard Rail
Mile: 100.0 Date: Oct 2007
Ease: B View: E
Area: C T6:
Map: Ba 42 C 2 Topographic Maps

1915 The Claremont Branch opened in 1892 and, due to a decline in use after the mid-20th Century, preserved some older examples of track equipment, such as these dated 1915 and 1925.

"Manganese Guard Rail 1925 Manufacture Type N" - Manganese added to the steel created a harder, tougher material better able to withstand impacts. It was, and still is, often used for rail frogs. Guard rails were likely used here to reduce the chance a train would derail and spill onto the adjacent, active, high-speed tracks.


Amtrak 917

Amtrak 917
Mile: 100.0 Date: Jul 2015
Ease: B View: N
Area: C T6: 338
Map: Ba 42 C 2 Topographic Maps

All that old trackage was cleaned out by the time of this photo at milepost 100. Amtrak would retire this and all its AEM-7 locomotives within the year that followed.

The AEM-7s had in 1980 replaced Amtrak's ex-PRR GG1s. During 1935 PRR GG1s 4800 and 4880 had made the inaugural trip along the then-newly-electrified route between New York City and Washington.

Link: pic of GG1 number 4800


Milepost 100

Milepost 100
Mile: 100.0 Date: Jul 2015
Ease: B View: W
Area: C T6:
Map: Ba 42 C 2 Topographic Maps

This spot near St. Agnes Hospital is 100 railroad miles from the PRR's Broad Street Station in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Amtrak 2024

Amtrak 2024
Mile: 100.1 Date: Jul 2018
Ease: B View: NE
Area: C T6:
Map: Ba 42 C 2 Topographic Maps

At photo time Acela units such as AMTK 2024 still had a decade or two of useful life. Actively used motive passenger rail equipment generally lasts 30 to 40 years. Rail equipment made by one particular manufacturer, Budd, has often lasted 50 years.

During 2018 Amtrak fenced off the Claremont Branch wye on the right.

Change for: Claremont Branch tour at this site


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