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B&O Photo Tour

B&O South Baltimore 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.


Brief Historical Background: South Baltimore Branch

Map

Map
Mile: Date: (Apr 1964)
Ease: View:
Area: IC2:
Map: Ba 42 Topographic Maps

We'll tour the branch in milepost order, beginning at Cliffords. Note this map is oriented such that North is on the right. North and west view photos are forward looking, while south and east ones are reverse to the direction of the tour.


Milepost 0

Milepost 0
Mile: 0.0 Date: Jan 2015
Ease: B View: NW
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 K 8 Topographic Maps

At Cliffords the SBB is the nearest track which has just split from those adjacent belonging to the Curtis Bay Branch. The ones further left are part of Baltimore's passenger Light Rail system.


Light Rail

Light Rail
Mile: 0.5 Date: Feb 2015
Ease: B View: SE
Area: C+ IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 7 Topographic Maps

Though this Light Rail train has just crossed under the Curtis Bay Branch, it is a relative newcomer. The bridge dates to 1914 when the B&O declined to allow the Maryland Electric Railways Company (Baltimore & Annapolis Short Line) to continue to operate the latter's trains upon B&O track from here into the city. The electric trains were rerouted onto their own right-of-way parallel to the B&O's SBB, now at higher elevation on the left.

Unseen on the right is a similar, older (1908) bridge over the Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis. The electric train companies struggled to compete, and went through several reorganizations and names such as the Baltimore & Annapolis Railroad (B&A), the Annapolis and Baltimore Short Line, and the Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis Electric Railway.


Cherry Hill

Cherry Hill
Mile: 0.5 Date: Feb 2015
Ease: B View: NE
Area: C+ IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 7 Topographic Maps

Around 1990 the Baltimore Light Rail system revived the B&A's old route to provide passenger train service between BWI Airport and Baltimore, plus many local stops such as this one at Cherry Hill.

With the clutter of utility lines, the SBB is tough to spot parallelling the tallest poles on the right. In the distance note the stack of Baltimore's waste-to-energy facility operated by Waste Management Resco. It will appear in several photos below.


John C Louis

John C Louis
Mile: 0.7 Date: Feb 2015
Ease: B View: SE
Area: C+ IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 6 Topographic Maps

None of the industries along the branch still receive train service. In the past companies such as D.C. Intercel, Danny & Sons, and General Index Manufacturing were railroad customers, but without them the SBB does little more than connect to the Hanover Subdivision (ex Western Maryland).


Stop-Light Signal

Stop-Light Signal
Mile: 0.9 Date: Feb 2015
Ease: A- View: N
Area: C+ IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 6 Topographic Maps

At Waterview Avenue's complex grade crossing CSX trains refer to a standard automobile traffic signal, an uncommon arrangement (there's another at Merritt Boulevard in Dundalk). I suspect this signal is tied to the ones seen by motorists, hence the design. Via the control boxes on the right CSX can manually force the Waterview Avenue auto traffic signal to red.


Waterview Avenue

Waterview Avenue
Mile: 0.9 Date: Apr 2015
Ease: A View: NW
Area: C+ IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 6 Topographic Maps

runner This is a troubled intersection. The problem is busy 4-lane Waterview Avenue is met by both the South Baltimore Branch and the Light Rail, as well as Kloman Street which is squeezed between in a sort of no-mans land.

The meeting of so many routes makes for lots of signals, poles, wires, and signs... plus lots of confusion, so I can't really blame the driver in the animation at left who is emerging from Kloman Street. I suspect this grade crossing witnesses an unusually high number of collisions.


CSX 5965

CSX 5965
Mile: 0.9 Date: Aug 2013
Ease: A View: SE
Area: C+ IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 6 Topographic Maps

At the grade crossing one is far more likely to be stopped by a Light Rail train than CSX, but it does happen.


Family Lines System

Family Lines System
Mile: 0.9 Date: Jan 2015
Ease: A View: E
Area: C+ IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 6 Topographic Maps

Branch traffic consists largely of short, mixed-freight. Rolling stock is where you can find decades-old reporting marks. The "Family Lines" name was used from 1972 to 1982 for an amalgamation of railroads, the largest of which were the SCL and L&N.

A merger summary that omits many smaller roads:

    Atlantic Coast Line + Seaboard Air Line => Seaboard Coast Line
    Seaboard Coast Line + Louisville & Nashville => Family Lines => Seaboard System
    Baltimore & Ohio + Chesapeake & Ohio + Western Maryland => Chessie System
    Chessie System + Seaboard System => CSX

Links: Family Lines, merger chart


BOZ 206238
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

BOZ 206238
Mile: 0.9 Date: Apr 2007
Ease: A View: N
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 6 Topographic Maps

BOZ was the reporting mark for the B&O's Trailers on Flatcars (TOFC) service. This trailer, with painted Chessie System cat, had sat in the NW corner of the Waterview Avenue intersection but has since been hauled away.


Westport

Westport
Mile: 1.0 Date: Aug 2013
Ease: A- View: N
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 5 Topographic Maps

At left the Baltimore stack towers in the distance, and closer is the Light Rail's Westport station. Due to the 2009 economic downturn, a waterfront housing development has struggled to commence on the right on land formerly occupied by the Carr Lowry glass factory. Between, an old CPL, one of the last of its species, has eluded capture by hiding on this lesser-used branch.

Links: 2013 Sun article, sales site


Restrict-Only CPL

Restrict-Only CPL
Mile: 1.1 Date: Aug 2013
Ease: A View: NE
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 5 Topographic Maps

closeup closeup APP closeup P And it's no ordinary Color-Position Light signal, it's a 2-lamp restrict-only variety, the only one known in the region even back during CPL heydays.

The faded P sign ("permissive" approach) modifies the signal to allow tonnage (heavy) trains to proceed at restricted speed without first stopping, rule C-295. This combination of restrict-only and P may have been the only one used anywhere on the B&O system.

Different lighting clarifies the B&O P sign has been repurposed into a Chessie APP sign. APP photo from 2010 and courtesy Dave Hiteshew.


Wenburn Street

Wenburn Street
Mile: 1.2 Date: Aug 2013
Ease: A View: NE
Area: D+ IC2:
Map: Ba 42 K 5 Topographic Maps

Where Wenburn and Kloman Streets meet, the Light Rail, being lighter, lifts over the heavy rail of the SBB.

Baltimore Gas and Electric's Westport Generating Station, a filming location of the movie 12 Monkeys, had hulked on the right prior to being demolished in 2008. The East Coast Greenway crosses the SBB here.

Links: aerial photo, Westport Generating Station, East Coast Greenway


Join

Join
Mile: 1.4 Date: Feb 2015
Ease: B+ View: SE
Area: D+ IC2:
Map: Ba 42 K 4 Topographic Maps

In this reverse view, the SBB (left) and ex-Western Maryland (Hanover Subdivision, right) join forces.

Link: Carr Lowry glass factory


Split

Split
Mile: 1.4 Date: Feb 2015
Ease: B+ View: NW
Area: D+ IC2:
Map: Ba 42 K 4 Topographic Maps

Prior to 1990 the Western Maryland tracks (left) had not curved, but rather continued off photo-edge right to cross the Spring Garden bridge into Port Covington.

The Port's closure stressed jobs and property values adjacent to the tracks, resulting in several abandoned, now-crumbling homes off frame on left.

Link: bridge photos


Annapolis Road

Annapolis Road
Mile: 1.5 Date: Jun 2015
Ease: A View: N
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 4 Topographic Maps

Centuries before I-97, Annapolis Road connected Baltimore and the state capital. The nearer grade crossing is that of the ex Western Maryland, the further belongs to the SBB.


Crossing

Crossing
Mile: 1.5 Date: Jun 2015
Ease: A View: W
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 4 Topographic Maps

Flashers but no gates guard the SBB at Annapolis Road. MD 295, the BW Parkway, crosses overhead in the distance, but closer than that you may notice the safety platforms of a railroad bridge.


Gwynns Falls

Gwynns Falls
Mile: 1.5 Date: Feb 2015
Ease: B View: SE
Area: C- IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 4 Topographic Maps

After crossing Annapolis Road, the SBB crosses the same Gwynn's Falls spanned upstream by the majestic Carrollton Viaduct. The ice-blue color is appropriate since morning temperatures had dipped below zero for the first time in over a decade.

Link: Annapolis Road grade crossing


CSX 1214

CSX 1214
Mile: 1.6 Date: Feb 2015
Ease: A View: SE
Area: C- IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 4 Topographic Maps

Frigid weather stops neither real railfans nor switchers 1214 and 1188 from mixed freight.


Russell Street

Russell Street
Mile: 1.6 Date: Feb 2015
Ease: A View: NE
Area: C- IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 4 Topographic Maps

1964 aerial Now we're much closer to the "Baltimore" stack; it's located in what had been the outfield of Maryland Baseball Park, home of the Baltimore Black Sox from 1921 to 1932. At our feet are the remains of the Russell Street bypass added while that street was being remolded into MD 295, better known as the BW Parkway, on the left... the mixed freight is approaching from the right. On the 1964 aerial photo at right X marks the photographer's location.

During 1964 the photo plane captured the northbound MD 295 bridge near completion while the southbound side is little more that steel framing. Russell Street is rerouted via temporary blacktop around the Monroe Street - MD 295 construction zone. About two decades later elevated I-95 would be added above that intersection, running west-east, left-right in this view.

Link: Maryland Baseball Park


CSX 900422

CSX 900422
Mile: 1.6 Date: Feb 2015
Ease: A View: S
Area: C- IC2:
Map: Ba 42 K 8 Topographic Maps

An old caboose has found a second career as a shoving platform. Shoving platforms are employed when rules require an employee to stand on and monitor a group of cars being moved. The B&O favored this bay window design suggesting this unit had once been painted B&O caboose red.

Link: more pics of this caboose


CSX 1188

CSX 1188
Mile: 1.6 Date: Feb 2015
Ease: A View: NW
Area: C- IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 4 Topographic Maps

The mixed freight clears MD 295 as its tankers trundle over a disused ramp (next photo). Elevated I-95 is in the distance.


Disused Ramp

Disused Ramp
Mile: 1.7 Date: Mar 2015
Ease: B View: N
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 4 Topographic Maps

This temporary ramp was left behind after MD 295 (unseen on right) opened during the mid-1960s.

Between 1908 and 1935 the Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis railway had joined the SBB on the left, what was called Carrolls Junction, for the trip into Baltimore. Some B&O trains, notably specials to the Army-Navy football game in Annapolis, would ride the WB&A.

Though various WB&A artifacts can be found elsewhere, none survive here.

Link: WB&A at Westport


I-95

I-95
Mile: 1.8 Date: Mar 2015
Ease: B View: N
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 4 Topographic Maps

A tiny one-land bridge facilitates maintenance access under I-95.


Switch

Switch
Mile: 1.8 Date: Mar 2015
Ease: B View: N
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 4 Topographic Maps

Shadows hide this uncommon switch position indicator.


Main Line

Main Line
Mile: 1.9 Date: Mar 2015
Ease: B View: NE
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 3 Topographic Maps

Here the South Baltimore Branch meets what had been the Camden Cutoff, now the main line of CSX's Baltimore Terminal Subdivision. The center of Baltimore city is less than 2 miles ahead.

In the past this was known as Carroll Interlocking, the home of CX Tower. The many CPL signals that had stood in this vicinity are now gone.

Link: CX Tower and CPLs


Back to Zepps

Back to Zepps
Mile: 1.9 Date: Mar 2015
Ease: B View: SW
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 3 Topographic Maps

Within the shadow of the Monroe Street bridge, one can turn to look the reverse direction and find I-95 nearby plus Zepp's Bridge distant where it marks the Curtis Bay Branch's start/end. The tracks curving on the right began life as the Locust Point Branch, but are now part of the Mt. Clare Branch.


Jump to the western end of the Curtis Bay Branch

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