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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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Icy Patapsco
Photo courtesy Johns Hopkins University

Icy Patapsco
Mile: Date: winter 1926/1927
Ease: View: N (up)
Area: T6:
Map: AA 1 Topographic Maps

Patapsco grade crossing This wintry photo predates electrification of the line. Careful pixel counting of width versus height of the bridge over the Patapsco River, and comparing those measurements with modern ones, suggests by 1927 the bridge carried 3 tracks.

The river appears to be sufficiently frozen for vehicles to traverse it then diagonally cross the tracks at the south end of the bridge where a locomotive is poised on the rightmost track. Surveys or other preparations to erect catenary poles astride the bridge may have begun by photo time.


Widened

Widened
Mile: 104.4 Date: Oct 2018
Ease: B View: N
Area: B+ T6: 343
Map: AA 1 K 5 Topographic Maps

levered Concrete added to both sides of some bridge piers was so meticulously linked with the prior stonework that no failures are apparent even after a century or so. The piers have managed the additional stress of supporting cantilevered catenary poles. Even the geese look suitably impressed.

At the river the line enters Patapsco State Park for a brief visit. That's the same park through which much of the B&O's Old Main Line treks.


MARC 4901
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

MARC 4901
Mile: 104.4 Date: Oct 2009
Ease: B- View: W
Area: B+ T6:
Map: AA 1 K 5 Topographic Maps

Dusk comes earlier and earlier during autumn.

At roughly 500 feet, this bridge over the Patapsco is the line's longest between Catonsville, Maryland and Washington, DC.


Time Warp

Time Warp
Mile: 104.4 Date: Oct 2018
Ease: B- View: NE
Area: B T6:
Map: AA 1 K 5 Topographic Maps

Beatles and Springsteen graffiti? Something tells me the water level adjacent this pier was lower during the 1970s.

The newer / older sections of this pier are evident; graffiti like Bing Crosby croons! would better match the electrification time period.


Amtrak 2023
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Amtrak 2023
Mile: 104.4 Date: Oct 2009
Ease: B View: N
Area: B+ T6:
Map: AA 1 K 5 Topographic Maps

Into the 21st Century the Patapsco River bridge has hosted 3 tracks but no more. Efforts have begun to add a fourth track between Halethorpe and Odenton, more specifically, between the Winans and Grove interlockings. The project's $600 million funding sounds insufficient to include a new bridge here.

The Amtrak lettering on the nose of the Acela units came in various colors until standardized to blue during 2013.


Arundel Sand and Gravel
Photo courtesy Johns Hopkins University

Arundel Sand and Gravel
Mile: Date: Apr 1938
Ease: View: N (up)
Area: T6:
Map: AA 1 Topographic Maps

By this time of this 1938 aerial, the line had been electrified; that's the Patapsco River bridge at upper left.

Served by PRR sidings to the east was the Arundel Sand and Gravel Company that began operation here during 1917. At peak it produced 30000 to 40000 tons of sand and gravel per day.


MARC 63
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

MARC 63
Mile: 104.5 Date: Oct 2009
Ease: B View: S
Area: B+ T6:
Map: AA 1 K 5 Topographic Maps

Prior to the sand and gravel company, the site (left in this view) was home to an iron forge and mill known as Stoney Run Hills.

In the distance, I-195 bridges the tracks.

Link: iron forge here


Amtrak 2027

Amtrak 2027
Mile: 104.7 Date: Oct 2018
Ease: B+ View: S
Area: B+ T6:
Map: AA 1 K 6 Topographic Maps

Two very different Amtrak engines meet near I-195.


Amtrak 512

Amtrak 512
Mile: 104.7 Date: Oct 2018
Ease: B+ View: W
Area: B+ T6:
Map: AA 1 K 6 Topographic Maps

Amtrak 512 Amtrak's new solar-powered locomotive occupies the center track while hooked up for a recharge.

No, actually that's AMTK 512, a GE model B32-8WH, in barricade duty while workers repair the center track. This 1991-built unit was given its Phase V paint scheme during 2015. The solar panel powers a track greaser.

Link: more AMTK 512 pics


MoW

MoW
Mile: 104.9 Date: Dec 2017
Ease: B+ View: N
Area: B T6:
Map: AA 1 K 6 Topographic Maps

This self-powered catenary maintenance vehicle rolled into I-195's shadow, its windshield wipers also serving as windshield washers.


Furnace Avenue

Furnace Avenue
Mile: 104.9 Date: Nov 1999
Ease: A View: E
Area: B T6:
Map: AA 1 J 6 Topographic Maps

On the east side of Elkridge stands the line's oldest surviving underpass between Baltimore and Washington. This is likely a B&P original that dates to the decade of the 1860s. Like the bridge over the Patapsco, the western side of this one appears to have been widened for track three. Four tracks might not fit, meaning this bridge might be completely replaced during the 2020s, so don't delay if you want photos. The clock is similarly ticking on a few remaining original B&P bridges south of here.

Of much newer construction is I-195 which towers behind the narrow Furnace Avenue underpass. In the foreground is Stoney Run, a stream the RR parallels for several miles as it, and we, continue south to Severn, Maryland.


Movin' On
Screen captures via fair use

Movin' On
Mile: 104.9 Date: 1975 (Oct 2017)
Ease: A View: W?
Area: B T6:
Map: AA 1 J 6 Topographic Maps

In this scene from the 1975 TV series Movin' On, Claude Akins (or his stunt double) as Sonny jumps from the Furnace Avenue bridge in an attempt to take back his truck from hijackers, one of whom is oblivious below. Sonny does not know his rig is carrying dangerous cargo.

Reader SFC Charles Thompson wrote:

    "Steve, I really enjoy your website. I am currently serving in Afghanistan, and between missions I like to go to your site on my down time, as it is like a short visit home.

    "I do not know if many people are aware of this, but a small portion of the Pennsy, specifically the Furnace Ave. bridge, was featured in the TV show from 1975 called 'Moving On', Movin' On starring Claude Akins. The episode was #2 from season two, called 'From Baltimore to Eternity'. During the show the green semi 'Sonny' operated became stuck under the Furnace Ave. bridge. Claude's character, Sonny, climbed up onto the right of way to inspect the problem just as a Metroliner went past. Pretty dramatic footage to me at age 11. The bridge seemed remote to me, especially since this was before the construction of the I-195 spur to BWI. I don't know where to get a link to footage from the show, but it would be great for the Furnace Ave. bridge section."

As of this writing, Amazon Prime members can stream at no extra cost two seasons of the Movin' On series. The mentioned episode also contains on-location filming around Baltimore's Inner Harbor while its World Trade Center and Maryland Science Center were under construction.


MARC 7851
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

MARC 7851
Mile: 104.9 Date: Oct 2009
Ease: A- View: NW
Area: B T6:
Map: AA 1 K 6 Topographic Maps

MARC 4912 pushes this commuter train past the site of the PRR's Patapsco Station. A wider flat-graded area is all that remains of the station.


MARC 4912
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

MARC 4912
Mile: 105.0 Date: Oct 2009
Ease: B+ View: SW
Area: B T6:
Map: AA 1 K 6 Topographic Maps

Red lights illuminated: train is moving away.


MARC 4911
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

MARC 4911
Mile: 105.0 Date: Oct 2009
Ease: B+ View: S
Area: B T6:
Map: AA 1 K 6 Topographic Maps

White lights illuminated: train is moving closer.


Amtrak 2009

Amtrak 2009
Mile: 105.5 Date: Oct 2017
Ease: B- View: N
Area: B T6:
Map: AA 1 J 8 Topographic Maps

There are no track crossovers between here and BWI Station so normally one would conclude this middle-track train is not stopping there. As we'll see below, at photo time the station had platform extenders because the far track was under repair.


Amtrak 619

Amtrak 619
Mile: 105.5 Date: Oct 2017
Ease: B- View: S
Area: B T6:
Map: AA 1 J 8 Topographic Maps

AMTK 619 curls under MD 295, the B-W Parkway that in its early days was called the Baltimore Expressway.


Under MD 295

Under MD 295
Mile: 105.6 Date: Oct 2017
Ease: B- View: S
Area: B T6:
Map: AA 1 J 8 Topographic Maps

The ramp in the distance connects northbound MD 295 with eastbound I-195 into BWI Airport. There are bags of room for the fourth track here as even the catenary poles were spaced in anticipation of another track, though the PRR probably did not anticipate a 100-year wait.


From MD 295

From MD 295
Mile: 105.7 Date: Mar 2018
Ease: A View: S
Area: A T6:
Map: AA 1 J 8 Topographic Maps

A similar view of that ramp and the tracks from MD 295...

Note that the nearest catenary poles were reduced in height when the wiring was redone to make room for the road.


Pole Moved

Pole Moved
Mile: 105.8 Date: Oct 2017
Ease: B- View: S
Area: B T6:
Map: AA 1 J 9 Topographic Maps

target Original concrete pole bases, like the closer one, have beveled edges at top that serendipitously cause the rusty wash to avoid staining the corners. Newer installations, such as the example beyond, usually are not beveled. Most of the catenary's steel poles in Maryland are of the I beam variety. Tube-shaped poles are found north of Maryland.

Many of the poles have black and white targets taped to them. The tape is drying which suggests it has been there for a few years. I surmise the targets enabled a computer aboard a moving train to more easily "see" the poles and either make precise measurements or record the condition of the concrete base. This base looks fine but some others are starting to crack. I have not seen the spray-painted symbol and 46 on other bases. The value 105.71 reflects the location in track miles from Philadelphia, but it might be wrong since this pole is closer than 0.29 miles to milepost 106.


Amtrak 2026

Amtrak 2026
Mile: 105.8 Date: Oct 2017
Ease: B- View: N
Area: B T6:
Map: AA 1 J 9 Topographic Maps

AMTK 2026 is northbound.


BWI Airport Stop

BWI Airport Stop
Mile: 105.8 Date: Oct 2017
Ease: C+ View: S
Area: B T6:
Map: AA 1 J 9 Topographic Maps

AMTK 2029 is pulling out of BWI Rail Station. Note the yellow platform extenders on the right while the rightmost track was out of service.


Culverts

Culverts
Mile: 106.0 Date: Mar 2019
Ease: C+ View: SW
Area: B T6:
Map: AA 1 K 10 Topographic Maps

Given the muddy challenge reaching this location I was hoping to be rewarded with a 19th Century B&P stone culvert. Unfortunately none of the several culverts in this vicinity date to the B&P, at least not on their east side. I leave it to someone else to navigate the swamp and check the west side.


BWI Station

BWI Station
Mile: 106.2 Date: Jun 1999
Ease: B View: S
Area: B+ T6: 344, 388
Map: AA 1 K 10 Topographic Maps

It's been called the ugliest train station on the Northeast Corridor, and I have to agree. Despite its brutalist architecture the BWI Rail Station provides a handy connection with the airport.

Here an Amtrak train on the center track blows past a MARC commuter train slowing to stop at the station. The northbound platform's 350-foot length at photo time was subsequently tripled.

Links to other pictures: aerial view 1999, 1999


Interior

Interior
Mile: 106.3 Date: Dec 2017
Ease: B View: S
Area: B+ T6: 344, 388
Map: AA 1 K 10 Topographic Maps

The BWI stop began life during 1980 as one for four MARC trains per day. As of status board 2019 a train stops here roughly every 10 minutes on average, making the station Amtrak's 13th busiest in the country. The original ticket sale and passenger waiting area (depicted here) was outgrown years ago.

The Penn Line hosts more trains than shown by the arrival/departure screens because these screens list only the trains stopping here.


Parking Deck

Parking Deck
Mile: 106.3 Date: Dec 2017
Ease: B View: SE
Area: B+ T6:
Map: AA 1 K 10 Topographic Maps

As late as the mid-1990s one could park a car 200 feet from the tracks then hop aboard a train a few minutes later. That single-level lot evolved into this multi-level deck with room for 3000 cars.


Amtrak 657

Amtrak 657
Mile: 106.3 Date: Dec 2017
Ease: B View: N
Area: B+ T6:
Map: AA 1 K 10 Topographic Maps

Amtrak 657 As seen from the station, two trains round the bend at MD 295. Prior to BWI, the PRR's Stoney Run Station (also written Stony Run) had been about a half mile south of here.

For over 3 miles the line parallels Stoney Run out of the Patapsco Valley. Creekside land was easy for the B&P to acquire since that land was rarely suitable for housing or farming.


Amtrak 2036

Amtrak 2036
Mile: 106.3 Date: Jan 2019
Ease: B View: N
Area: B+ T6:
Map: AA 1 K 10 Topographic Maps

By 2019, trackwork had been finished and the platform extenders removed. That meant trains on the center track would resume not stopping at BWI.

The electricity supply wires are roughly 15 to 22 feet above the track. The engine-top pantograph that touches the supply is designed to raise and lower as needed.


Security

Security
Mile: 106.3 Date: Dec 2017
Ease: B View: N
Area: B+ T6:
Map: AA 1 K 10 Topographic Maps

K-9 Security always has a presence along the line, but during the busy holiday season it is increased, including more K-9 units.

This black lab is wearing DO NOT PET signage.


Two Trains

Two Trains
Mile: 106.3 Date: Nov 2018
Ease: B View: N
Area: B+ T6:
Map: AA 1 K 10 Topographic Maps

I recall the trains being standing room only during Thanksgiving week. On the right is a temporary station while a new station is built in preparation for adding the fourth track.

Trains on all four tracks will be made accessible by the addition of a center platform.


Temporary Station

Temporary Station
Mile: 106.3 Date: Mar 2019
Ease: B+ View: NW
Area: B T6:
Map: AA 1 K 10 Topographic Maps

AMTK 2027, MARC 26, and MARC 35 find this double-wide holding down the fort while the new, larger station is built.


Under Construction

Under Construction
Mile: 106.3 Date: Mar 2019
Ease: B+ View: W
Area: B T6:
Map: AA 1 K 10 Topographic Maps

BWI's is one of few rail stations in the US to be enlarged after 1950.

Link: 1980 station dedication


Identity Crisis

Identity Crisis
Mile: 106.3 Date: Mar 2019
Ease: B+ View: W
Area: B T6:
Map: AA 1 K 10 Topographic Maps

Given the number of different transportation entities involved, the variety of names for the rail station on signs and official sites online should not surprise. BWIRS

  • sign, above: BWI MARC TRAIN RENOVATION & EXPANSION
  • sign, right: BWI RAIL STATION
  • sign, right: AMTRAK / MARC STATION
  • sign, below: my BWI
  • sign, below: BWI MARSHALL AIRPORT
  • sign, below: BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, MD
  • online: Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport
  • online: Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshal (sic) Airport
  • online: Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport
  • online: BWI Marshall Airport (BWI)
BWIMA BWITMAMD Nitpicks: "BWI MARC TRAIN RENOVATION & EXPANSION" implies it's the trains that are being renovated and expanded. The sign's red/white/blue background matches the flag of the Netherlands.

Amtrak's sign placement obscures the big green sign behind, yielding a cringeworthy "Passenger Discharge Pickup".


Platforms

Platforms
Mile: 106.4 Date: Dec 2017
Ease: B View: N
Area: B+ T6: 344
Map: AA 1 K 10 Topographic Maps

Though this northbound platform was lengthened to over 1000 feet during 2008 it will need to be redone to handle the fourth track.

December's green trees are pines. Many varieties of pine do well in sandy soil, such as that found here within the coastal plain. The last time most of Earth's ice melted this area was underwater, as it will be again eventually.

Link: 2006 looking south


Plane

Plane
Mile: 106.3 Date: Jan 2019
Ease: B View: S
Area: B+ T6:
Map: AA 1 K 10 Topographic Maps

As AMTK 2017 and a plane depart, this page will end, but the next page has six more track miles of coverage.


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