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B&O Washington Branch Photo Tour


B&O Washington 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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Aerial 1938
Photo courtesy Johns Hopkins University
NEW! mid-Sep 2020

Aerial 1938
Mile: 16 to 18 Date: spring 1938
Ease: View: N (up)
Area: IC2:
Map: Ho 20, AA 5 Topographic Maps

This low-resolution composite of aerial photos from 1938 shows the stretch of railroad from Jessup to Annapolis Junction had not yet seen much land development. Occupants of The Maryland House of Corrections, with its S-shaped rail connection with the main line, had the area to themselves for the most part.


Derail

Derail
Mile: 16.3 Date: Apr 2001
Ease: B View: SW
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ho 20 J 6 Topographic Maps

Resuming where we left off, to the left of the Columbia Branch is trackage that leads to the Jessup Auto Terminal. Even farther left are the dual tracks of the main line.


Insulators

Insulators
Mile: 16.3 Date: Sep 2002
Ease: B View: SE
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ho 20 J 6 Topographic Maps

A little knowm fact is during the 1880s B&O had its own telegraph company with wires that extended from Boston, Massachusetts to Galveston, Texas. Its slogan was "New Lines, Low Rates". During 1887 B&O sold the company to Western Union who continued to transmit telegrams until January 27, 2006.

Before the 2000s when CSX removed the disused utility poles lining their routes in the region, insulators by the thousands still adorned the tired poles. The Old Main Line was fitted with a high percentage of plastic insulators, but along the Washington Branch collector-favored glass insulators survived in an array of styles and colors.

mounted Made in U.S.A. plastic Hemingray Whitall Tatum
Many people collect insulators and therefore know them much better than me. Trackside I saw fewer of the one at top than the others. Collectors prize insulators of certain colors and manufacturers. Some of those illustrated were made by Hemingray, perhaps the one at top by Brookfield. If anyone cares to ID those here I'll be happy to add the details.

Links: B&O telegram, insulator photos, insulator list


CSX 6042 and 6013

CSX 6042 and 6013
Mile: 16.7 Date: Jun 2001
Ease: B View: N
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ho 20 H 7 Topographic Maps

Ready for duty at the Jessup Auto Terminal are CSX 6042 and 6013. Their job is to move autoracks around the facility.


Siding
NEW! mid-Sep 2020

Siding
Mile: 16.7, siding 0.3 Date: Apr 2018
Ease: B View: W
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ho 20 H 6 Topographic Maps

The siding on which the engines above were resting extends about a half mile west to Dorsey Run Road. Aerial photos during the 2010s show it in use from time to time. This siding, along with the Jessup Auto Terminal and Columbia Branch, all originated within a few years either side of 1970.


Caboose 903979

Caboose 903979
Mile: 16.8 Date: Sep 2000
Ease: B+ View: NW
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ho 20 H 7 Topographic Maps

Parked on the northeast side of (and behind) the auto facility was this caboose, now relegated to signpost duty. It reminds the train crews to look both ways.

You can drive your car almost to this spot, which is in the midst of the train switching operations for the auto facility, but I would not recommend doing so. This is a busy location with all sorts of train, car and truck activity. If you insist on visiting, pick a quiet day (weekend?) and go no farther than the entrance road, and perhaps you won't be chased away. Access is from Dorsey Run Road where you see the CSX sign. During infrequent visits by chance I've spotted CSX 8247 at Jessup four separate times spanning 15 years; it is an ex-B&O unit built during 1977.

CSX 2681 Apr 2001 CEFX 3169 Nov 2003 CSX 6149 Oct 2005 CSX 8247 Sep 2017

Links: CSX 8247 pics, 1982, 1985, 1986, SRS 131 1986


Road Slug

Road Slug
Mile: 16.8 Date: Apr 2002
Ease: B+ View: NE
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ho 20 H 7 Topographic Maps

Road slugs, which in the past could often be identified by their gray paint, are old engines that have been gutted of their operating equipment, and brought along simply to provide more traction. Electric power is cabled to them from the other engines. Sometimes road slugs are filled with concrete so as to provide even more weight, and traction.

CSX 2204 had been CO 3560 when it was delivered in 1964. During the early 2000s CSX repainted its road slugs into standard livery. This is the last known photo of 2204 wearing gray paint.

Links: 1985, 1985, 1985, 1985


Lashup
Updated mid-Sep 2020

Lashup
Mile: 16.8 Date: Apr 2002
Ease: B+ View: NE
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ho 20 H 7 Topographic Maps

lashup That road slug was tucked within this 8-engine lashup, the longest I've witnessed on the move. Included were CSX 9016, FURX 3042, CSX 6435, CSX 6486, CSX 2299, CSX 2204, and CSX 6485.

Those engines were followed by autoracks, which is what Jessup does best.

Links: 1985, 1985, 1985


Jessup Auto Terminal

Jessup Auto Terminal
Mile: 16.9 Date: Oct 1999
Ease: A View: SE
Area: B IC2: 306
Map: Ho 20 G 7 Topographic Maps

If you buy a new car in the Baltimore-Washington Area, chances are it has passed through the Jessup Auto Terminal. This is the view from the Dorsey Run Road side of the facility.

Vehicles are shipped in the autoracks seen on the right. Racks have doors on their ends to facilitate loading and unloading. A kind security guard described the unloading process as follows: end doors

  • train crews arrange the racks in groups of five
  • the vehicles have been loaded onto the racks such that they all face the same direction
  • temporary ramps are placed between the racks
  • a team of drivers climbs into the cars and moves them out in bang-bang fashion
  • the drivers park the cars in numbered spaces
  • notice how all the cars are parked at the left edge of the space (to help reduce door dings)
  • a chase van follows the group to pick up all the drivers and return them to the racks
  • in 1999 the drivers were paid $5 per vehicle they unloaded


Unloading...

Unloading...
Mile: 16.9 Date: Oct 1999
Ease: A View: E
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ho 20 G 7 Topographic Maps

Zoom views show vehicles heading down the unloading ramp while another 2017 waits to follow. The brick building in the distant background is the Maryland House of Corrections facility at "The Cut" as prisoners call it. The expression refers to Jessop's Cut where B&O cut into the hillside to build the railroad.

The drivers don't waste any time: the vehicles come flying off the racks at high speed. Only one vehicle is allowed on a ramp at a time. The decades-old process remained basically the same in 2017 (right). The white chase van transports drivers back to the racks from where they parked the offloaded vehicles.


Ramp

Ramp
Mile: 16.9 Date: Oct 1999
Ease: D View: N
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ho 20 G 7 Topographic Maps

In a case of necessity being the mother of invention, to greatly simplify the loading and unloading of P.T. Barnum's circus train, in 1872 William Cameron Coup created the first system of ramps and connecting plates between railcars. Those in use today are direct descendants of that system


Waste Management

Waste Management
Mile: 17.3 Date: Mar 2001
Ease: A View: N
Area: B IC2:
Map: AA 5 F 8, Ho 20 H 8 Topographic Maps

On the opposite (east) side of the tracks is the source of some of those stinky trash trains: Waste Management's facility in Annapolis Junction / Jessup. This facility opened around year 2000. That's the prison again in the background, right.

7522 USWX 7522 has just finished pushing out several cars of trash onto a siding to await CSX escort to Some Other Place. The train of green cars to a landfill is known as the Emerald Express.

This EMD GP9 locomotive began life in 1956 as Pennsylvania Railroad 7079. Later, Conrail converted it to a model GP10.

Links: PRR 7079, 2000, 7522 video


CSX 3128
NEW! mid-Sep 2020

CSX 3128
Mile: 17.3 Date: Oct 2018
Ease: A View: W
Area: B IC2:
Map: AA 5 E 9, Ho 20 H 9 Topographic Maps

On a crisp autumn day, one of General Electric's ES44AC-H units rolls past Waste Management's connection with the main line.


Brock Bridge Road

Brock Bridge Road
Mile: 17.3 Date: Mar 2003
Ease: A View: SW
Area: B IC2:
Map: AA 5 F 8, Ho 20 H 8 Topographic Maps

If it's green, it's compatible with Waste Management. iti 2

"Ron & Maggie" provided some details about this old beast:

    "It's an EMD SW8 built 9-51 and was former LV 259 then CR 8673 now ITI 2. Power should still be by the old 567B-8, but could have 567BC or 645 assemblies. The original exhaust stack had some type of spark arrestor on it that is missing."

Links: LV 259, CR 8673


USWX 2
NEW! mid-Sep 2020

USWX 2
Mile: 17.3 Date: Sep 2020
Ease: A View: SW
Area: B IC2:
Map: AA 5 F 8, Ho 20 H 8 Topographic Maps

On its 69th birthday the unit was still going strong, a testament to the reliability of EMD switchers of its era.

iti 2 Not many locomotives have been retrofitted with a window air conditioner. The other exterior box is a Whisperwatt 7000 diesel-fueled AC generator that ostensibly powers the air conditioner.

ITI represents a former owner, Intermodal Technologies, reporting mark ITIX. Despite its retained ITI 2 lettering, officially this unit is now USWX 2.

Links: ~2004, ITIX pics, ITI corp


TrackMobile

TrackMobile
Mile: 17.4 Date: Apr 2001
Ease: A View: NE
Area: B IC2:
Map: AA 5 F 8, Ho 20 H 8 Topographic Maps

Waste Management also has (had?) a more diminutive machine for moving the trash cars: a TrackMobile, seen here crossing Brock Bridge Road.

Link: JRWX 8379


Air Supply

Air Supply
Mile: 17.5 Date: Jan 2002
Ease: B View: E
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ho 20 H 9, AA 5 F 9 Topographic Maps

Back at the main line, this trackside device provides air to brake systems of detached cars bound for or departing the Jessup Auto Terminal. The braking system of each car takes several minutes to charge, so this trackside system saves time by loading air before the locomotive power ties on.


CSX 654

CSX 654
Mile: 17.6 Date: Jan 2002
Ease: B View: S
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ho 20 H 9, AA 5 E 9 Topographic Maps

CSX 654 speeds containers eastbound on a weekend afternoon under the Guilford Road bridge at a location the railroad calls Meade. The siding in the foreground leads back to the Jessup Auto Terminal behind the photographer.


Dwarf CPL

Dwarf CPL
Mile: 17.6 Date: Jan 2002
Ease: B View: S
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ho 20 H 9, AA 5 E 9 Topographic Maps

Here's a better view of the small signal which is known as a dwarf CPL (color position light). Since the time of this photo this CPL has been removed.

The blue object off in the distance beyond the bridges is the Vulcan Minerals switcher, which can be better seen in photos to follow.

Link: 2013


Do Not Regulate
NEW! mid-Sep 2020

Do Not Regulate
Mile: 17.7 Date: Sep 2020
Ease: B View: N
Area: B IC2:
Map: AA 5 E 9, Ho 20 H 9 Topographic Maps

Various searches and queries have turned up no information about the meaning of this sign adjacent the Jessup Auto Terminal lead. It might be an instruction to maintenance crews to not regulate the ballast here due to the presence of air supply lines.


Bridge 19A

Bridge 19A
Mile: 17.7 Date: Jan 2002
Ease: B View: NE
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ho 20 H 9, AA 5 E 9 Topographic Maps

Bridge 19A carries Guilford Road over the tracks. The granite blocks give evidence that the first bridge here was single lane. The concrete looks to be an addition that widened the bridge to 2 lanes, probably sometime around 1930. During the 2010s the bridge width was doubled again to 4 lanes.

But those lanes were not enough to supply the growing town of Columbia located a few miles to the west (left). At my back is the bridge for Maryland Route 32, sometimes called the Patuxent Freeway, which beginning around 1984 offered a bypass for the traffic-clogged Guilford Road. In 2001, the Route 32 bridge was expanded from 4 to 6 lanes.


From MD 32

From MD 32
Mile: 17.8 Date: Sep 2017
Ease: A View: SW
Area: B IC2:
Map: AA 5 E 9, Ho 20 H 9 Topographic Maps

Annapolis Junction has been burgeoning due to base realignment (BRAC) Aerial 2017 by HoCo that brought more cybersecurity people to nearby NSA.

Aerial photo from 2017 at right looks west (credit Howard County). That's the railroad running diagonally at bottom left, with MARC's Savage stop just off the left edge. Anyone who hasn't been here since 2012 or so will be amazed by the changes.

Link: AnnapolisJunction.com


More Cowbell

More Cowbell
Mile: 17.8 Date: Nov 2008
Ease: A View: SW
Area: B IC2:
Map: AA 5 E 9, Ho 20 H 9 Topographic Maps

You want more trains? No problem! Here are two trains plus the blue switcher captured in the same photo while driving past at 55 mph on MD 32.

Do not try such trick shots while driving yourself, let someone else take the wheel while you ride "shot-camera". For the record, that's CSX 8595 eastbound on the team track. There are no parking decks on the right because this was snapped before redevelopment began in earnest.


Tarmac

Tarmac
Mile: 17.8 Date: 2001
Ease: A View: SW
Area: B IC2:
Map: AA 5 E 9, Ho 20 H 9 Topographic Maps

Going back even further in time to what may be my oldest photo of the spot, we see Tarmac's tower / elevator on the left and Furman Lumber on the right. A truck weigh station is within the opening at the bottom of the tower.


Switcher 2
Photo credit unknown
NEW! mid-Sep 2020

Switcher 2
Mile: 17.8 Date: ~1990
Ease: A View: E
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ho 20 H 9, AA 5 E 9 Topographic Maps

I have lost track of the person who shared this photo of what he said was Tarmac's Alco-brand switcher circa 1990. If that is you, let me know so I can add a photo credit. Before Tarmac, Wimpey Minerals, WIMX, had a different switcher numbered 106.

Links: 1992 WIMX 2, 1992 WIMX 106, 1994 video with both switchers


Vulcan Materials

Vulcan Materials
Mile: 17.8 Date: Jan 2002
Ease: B View: N
Area: B IC2: 154, 393
Map: AA 5 E 9, Ho 20 H 9 Topographic Maps

What became the Vulcan Materials elevator towers over the blue switcher; the elevator dates to around 1960. The facility, just south of MD 32, is inside the wye initially formed in 1838 between B&O's line and the Annapolis and Elk Ridge (A&ER) railroad. The spot at which this picture is taken is very close to the location of the 1877 passenger station here (see IC2 pages 154 and 393).

Security concerns in Washington have led to studies of possible alternate railroad routes. One known as the "Howard County Overland Route" would create an entirely new double track right of way from here northwest to the Old Main Line in Mt. Airy, MD.

Link to other pictures: VULX 2779
Change for: A&ER RR tour



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