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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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Water Station
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Water Station
Mile: 106.5? Date: 1928
Ease: View: N
Area: T6: 343
Map: AA 1 K 11? Topographic Maps

Determining the exact location of this photo has been a challenge. Note the water gantry, as well as water in track pans from which properly-equipped steam engines could scoop up fresh water without having to stop. There are two candidate locations, neither of which is an excellent match.

Triumph VI authors Charles Roberts and David Messer caption this photo "... on the tangent approach to Stoney Run shown in a 1928 view looking northward." This suggests the PRR's Stoney Run Station is ahead, somewhere beyond the factory/mill on the right. That would put the factory trackside west of present-day BWI runway 10. The problem is the grading along this stretch is not flat enough for stable track pan water, i.e. the water would flow down the pan toward the low end.

The other candidate location is with Stoney Run Station behind the photographer. That puts the factory about where BWI Rail Station now resides. Such placement aligns the near water tank, as well as both the near and distant water gantries, adjacent convenient water supply in the form of Stoney Run tributaries. The grading is flat and level. This is not the spot Triumph VI describes but is where a local resident claims "Stoney Run Pumping Station" was. The factory might be part of Standard Gravel and Sand Company that had dredged Stoney Run.

A problem with both locations is neither the water equipment nor the factory appear in 1938 aerial photos of either stretch of track. Can anyone solve this puzzle?


Stoney Run

Stoney Run
Mile: 106.9 Date: Oct 2002
Ease: A View: E
Area: B+ T6: 344
Map: AA 1 K 11 Topographic Maps

(Old) Stoney Run Road's bridge over Stoney Run dates to 1965, before the grade crossing ahead was closed. A station dating to the B&P era had been in the northeast quadrant of the grade crossing. 1937 aerial

William Glover writes:

    "Best train watching spot that I ever had. I bet the road crossed at grade here into the '80s. Gates and signals and bells, 75+ mph freight and passenger trains, a small shaded stream, zero automobile traffic in the early 70s, it was great."

The bright arc to the right of the tracks on the April 1938 aerial at left suggests the PRR had recently realigned the tracks to ease the curve north of the grade crossing with (Old) Stoney Run Road. As we'll see later, Amtrak has done similarly elsewhere.


Stoney Run Station

Stoney Run Station
Mile: (106.9) Date: Mar 2019
Ease: A View: N
Area: A T6: 344
Map: AA 1 J 10 Topographic Maps

station history Though purported to be the B&P's Stoney Run Station building, this structure has been so modified over the years that now it merely resembles the actual station that can be seen on Triumph VI page 344. I applaud the historical preservation but wonder how much, if any, of this structure is original B&P from the 19th Century.

It can be found at the back of MDOT's office building along Corporate Center Drive. The elevated walking path leads to BWI Station.

Link: Stoney Run Station historical marker


Amtrak 173

Amtrak 173
Mile: 106.9 Date: Oct 2002
Ease: C View: S
Area: A- T6:
Map: AA 1 K 11 Topographic Maps

AMTK 173 flies past maintenance of way vehicles parked south of the (Old) Stoney Run Road grade crossing. The grade crossing Amtrak roadrailers has been superceded by the Stoney Run Road overpass seen in the distance.

You may have noticed this is a diesel locomotive, and that cargo-transporting Amtrak roadrailers, reporting mark AMTZ, are at the end. Roadrailers are truck trailers on flatcars, and for Amtrak were more commonly seen in the western half of the US than along the NE Corridor. This train could have been an equipment move, or one diverted from its usual route.

Due to shutter lag, these high speed trains were a real challenge to photograph with early digital cameras.


P.R.R. T.&T.D.

P.R.R. T.&T.D.
Mile: 106.9 Date: Oct 2002
Ease: C View: NE
Area: A- T6:
Map: AA 1 K 11 Topographic Maps

A Pennsylvania RR relic is found here in the form of initials on a utility accessway cover.

The meaning of the P.R.R. part is obvious, even with the extra period. T.&T.D. stands for Telephone and Telegraph Department. I have found only one other T&TD cover (#853). Far more common is the next newer version of this cover which instead uses T.&S.D. for Telephone and Signal Department. On still newer versions AMTRAK replaces P.R.R. while the newest covers (as of 2019) show "Amtrak C&S" for Communication and Signals.

Link: T&TD info


MOW

MOW
Mile: 107.0 Date: Oct 2002
Ease: C View: NE
Area: A- T6:
Map: AA 1 K 12 Topographic Maps

Amtrak MOW equipment N14901 takes a break from the daily grind. This particular unit was labeled "undercutter" on its side.


From Stoney Run Road

From Stoney Run Road
Mile: 107.3 Date: Jan 2019
Ease: A View: NE
Area: A T6: 344
Map: AA 1 K 12 Topographic Maps

As AMTK 629 speeds past, visually above and right of it snow highlights a curve through the trees that marks a former railroad spur that had connected to aviation-related businesses along the periphery of BWI Airport during the 1950s and 1960s, back when it was known as Friendship International Airport. The spur carried freight not passengers.

Link: Friendship Airport at Kilduffs site


Everything But

Everything But
Mile: 107.4 Date: Feb 2005
Ease: B View: W
Area: A T6:
Map: AA 1 K 13 Topographic Maps

A train had passed just seconds earlier. Honest.


Milepost 108

Milepost 108
Mile: 108.1 Date: Dec 2017
Ease: B+ View: N
Area: A- T6: 343?
Map: AA 6 J 2 Topographic Maps

This is a candidate location for the water supply facilities in the photo at page top. The track is straight, and Stoney Run tributaries flow nearby as water sources. The main problem is the grade is a slight slope, one probably not suitable for track pans.


Harmans Spur

Harmans Spur
Mile: 108.1 Date: Dec 2017
Ease: B+ View: N
Area: A- T6:
Map: AA 6 J 2 Topographic Maps

The PRR built this siding for an industrial park during the 1960s after Koppers, maker of utility and oil industry components, opened here in 1966.


MARC 10

MARC 10
Mile: 108.1 Date: Dec 2017
Ease: B+ View: S
Area: A- T6:
Map: AA 6 J 1 Topographic Maps

MARC's lowest-numbered engine pushes past the spur at Harmans. MARC engines are always at the north end of the train, which means photos of them are always looking generally south into bright sky.


Linkage

Linkage
Mile: 108.1 Date: Dec 2017
Ease: B+ View: S
Area: A- T6:
Map: AA 6 J 1 Topographic Maps

As of 2019 the spur remains connected to the main line. Note the pipe that runs from bottom left, then under the track, then adjacent the right side of the track. That is a mechanical linkage between the track switch at the main and derail equipment on the spur. This design was favored by the PRR to keep the switch and derail settings coordinated.

Note the use of wooden crossties that can be cut more easily to the desired length (longer at swtches) than can concrete.


1910 Rail

1910 Rail
Mile: 108.1, spur Date: Dec 2017
Ease: B+ View: E
Area: A- T6:
Map: AA 1 J 2 Topographic Maps

Cambria rail 1913 Though the roughly 2-miles worth of siding at Harmans did not exist before the 1960s, many of its rails exhibit forging dates from the 1910s. These pieces have been recycled from elsewhere.

This rail is now pitted with age, but at one time it was fresh and new from the Pennsylvania Steel Company, a child of the PRR born from the need for rails stronger and less brittle than ones of iron.

Link: USA's first steel rails


MARC 4910

MARC 4910
Mile: 108.7 Date: Dec 2008
Ease: A- View: S
Area: B+ T6:
Map: AA 6 J 3 Topographic Maps

MARC 4910 rushes Christmas Eve passengers northeast past Old Dorsey Road's former grade crossing. The was this site of the PRR's Harman Station. The odd catenary pole spacing reflects the former presence of a lumber yard's siding on the left.


777A

777A
Mile: 108.7 Date: Dec 2008
Ease: A- View: NW
Area: B+ T6:
Map: AA 6 J 3 Topographic Maps

In Maryland the PRR spaced the access points for its trackside, underground cabling some 500 to 600 feet apart, and numbered them consecutively. If a new access point was later added, its number was given a letter suffix, such as in the 777A seen here.

The signage is angled and with large characters so it can be read from above via aircraft and satellite.


New Poles

New Poles
Mile: 108.7 Date: Dec 2008
Ease: A- View: S
Area: B+ T6:
Map: AA 6 J 3 Topographic Maps

The shift in track position may be related to the lumber yard's siding that had been on the left in the foreground. Note the speed limit signage of the ground-level variety, uncommon along the Penn Line.

The less-rusty poles in the distance reflect 1990s changes to the catenary to make room for the then-new MD 100 overpass.


Stone Culvert

Stone Culvert
Mile: 109.1 Date: Jul 2018
Ease: B- View: SW
Area: A- T6:
Map: AA 6 J 4 Topographic Maps

double culvert This is the only stone double culvert I have found along the Penn Line. It appears to be stone from end to end, long enough for four tracks above, which argues it is either newer than the circa 1870 era of B&P double-track construction, or was lengthened at a later date.

Since it has room for the planned fourth track, this box culvert will likely remain in service well into the 21st Century, if not beyond. Flowing under it are Stoney Run headwaters.


MARC 24

MARC 24
Mile: 109.2 Date: Jul 2018
Ease: B- View: S
Area: A T6:
Map: AA 6 J 5 Topographic Maps

MARC 24 hurries DC-bound commuters under MD 100. On the right beyond the road, during the 1940s the PRR had a short spur to serve a gravel pit.


Amtrak 613

Amtrak 613
Mile: 110.0 Date: Dec 2017
Ease: B View: NE
Area: B+ T6:
Map: AA 6 J 7 Topographic Maps

AMTK 613 thanks Severn's Substation #22 for the juice.


Grounding

Grounding
Mile: 110.0 Date: Dec 2017
Ease: B View: E
Area: B+ T6:
Map: AA 6 J 7 Topographic Maps

Electricity flows from the catenary into the engine's pantograph, through the unit's electric motors, then into the rails and/or ground. Since the rails are not guaranteed to be touching an earth ground, heavy duty wires like these connect the rails to the substation in order to be sure the circuit is completed.


Mirage

Mirage
Mile: 110.1 Date: Oct 2017
Ease: B View: N
Area: B+ T6:
Map: AA 6 J 7 Topographic Maps

AMTK 643 can go from mirage to in your face very quietly in under 30 seconds at the old Severn Station grade crossing.


CPLs

CPLs
Mile: 110.1 Date: Dec 2017
Ease: B+ View: S
Area: B+ T6:
Map: AA 6 J 7 Topographic Maps

Now that CSX has pulled out most of the B&O's iconic color position light signals, if you need a fix you can still find ones like these along the Penn Line. Compared to the B&O's signals these have smaller lenses and a different arrangement of "orbital" lamps.

In dusk lighting, catenary insulators resemble gnats as this train begins a 1% grade down to the Severn River.

Change for: B&O CPLs


Walkway

Walkway
Mile: 110.1 Date: Dec 2017
Ease: A- View: W
Area: B+ T6: 344
Map: AA 6 J 7 Topographic Maps

Tbe B&P's Severn Station was in the northwest corner at what is now Old Camp Meade Road while SV Tower sat in the northeast corner. During the first half of the 20th Century the road to/from Fort Meade was one of Anne Arundel County's busiest, so it was one of the line's earliest grade crossing eliminations (around 1940). This underpass serves as a safer crossing for pedestrians.

The 3.5 miles from here south to Odenton was double tracked until the third track opened in 1942. This segment, along with a similar one between Bowie and Seabrook, were the last between Baltimore and Washington to receive a third track.


Amtrak 2036

Amtrak 2036
Mile: 110.4 Date: Jul 2018
Ease: B View: N
Area: A- T6:
Map: AA 6 J 7 Topographic Maps

With grade separation, MD 174, Reese Road, took over for Camp Meade Road.

William Glover recollects:

    "Now we get down to the Reese Road bridge crossing. I worked at Fort Meade in the early '70s with my father before and after graduating from high school; he had worked there for years, and Telegraph Road to Reese Road was the shortcut to Fort Meade from Glen Burnie back then. Many, many times I stopped at this spot to kill time and watch trains.

    "It was at this spot in 1968 that my father brought me to see a special train, one that I never wanted to see, one that I never forgot, one that eventually brought change to a country in turmoil, the one that carried Bobby Kennedy to his final resting place. I guess 50 or so people lined the tracks here, very quiet and solemn, this is the only time in my life I remember not being happy to go train watching.

    "At the Reese Road bridge, the main line was four tracks until they started replacing the wooden ties with concrete ones."

Link: RFK funeral train


MARC 27

MARC 27
Mile: 110.4 Date: Jul 2018
Ease: B View: S
Area: A- T6:
Map: AA 6 J 7 Topographic Maps

Baltimore-bound MARC 27 shrugs off summer heat...


Amtrak 653

Amtrak 653
Mile: 111.1 Date: Feb 2019
Ease: B View: S
Area: B+ T6:
Map: AA 6 J 10 Topographic Maps

... perhaps not as easily as AMTK 653 warms a winter's chill.


Derail

Derail
Mile: 111.8 Date: Jul 2018
Ease: B View: S
Area: B+ T6:
Map: AA 6 J 11 Topographic Maps

This spur serves businesses along MD 170. The extra pieces of rail help ensure that an escaped railcar does not upon derailing roll toward the main line but instead rolls away from it.


Amtrak 2015

Amtrak 2015
Mile: 111.8 Date: Jul 2018
Ease: B View: S
Area: B+ T6:
Map: AA 6 J 11 Topographic Maps

The 3.5 mile section between Severn and Odenton did not get its third track until the 1940s. Beyond the signals is MD 32.


Breakage

Breakage
Mile: 111.8 Date: Jul 2018
Ease: B View: N
Area: B+ T6:
Map: AA 6 J 11 Topographic Maps

Most of the roughly 90-year old concrete bases of the catenary poles remain in good shape, not this one though.


Severn Run

Severn Run
Mile: 112.2 Date: Dec 2017
Ease: B- View: E
Area: B T6:
Map: AA 6 J 12 Topographic Maps

ice The west side of Severn Run's stone arch bridge is B&P 19th Century construction. The zoom view into its icy walls shows the east side is newer, and provides room for four tracks on top.

A storm washed out this bridge on August 13, 1873, barely a year after the B&P opened for service. This is the largest stone arch bridge the B&P built.

Link: 1970s LoC photo


Amtrak 665

Amtrak 665
Mile: 112.5 Date: Jan 2018
Ease: B View: S
Area: B+ T6:
Map: AA 6 J 13 Topographic Maps

Jackson Grove Road had crossed at grade here, but now MD 32 provides a safer way. The railroad calls this location Grove.


Icy Blast

Icy Blast
Mile: 112.5 Date: Jan 2018
Ease: B View: N
Area: B+ T6:
Map: AA 6 J 13 Topographic Maps

On a frigid day, it's not easy to hold the camera steady when a train's trailing gust wave drops the wind chill well below 0.

This view peers over 1.5 miles of frozen rolling hills to the curve. This is part of the Penn Line's second-longest stretch of straight track between Baltimore and Washington. The signals control crossovers at Grove, the first place south of Halethorpe that trains can change tracks.


Amtrak 662

Amtrak 662
Mile: 112.7 Date: Jul 2018
Ease: B View: NW
Area: B T6:
Map: AA 6 J 13 Topographic Maps

On a much more hospitable day, AMTK 662 rolls south under MD 32 and Grove's signals.


MARC 16

MARC 16
Mile: 112.8 Date: Jul 2018
Ease: B View: SW
Area: B T6:
Map: AA 12 J 1 Topographic Maps

July's heat distortion won't stop this MARC train from completing its assigned route.


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