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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.


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, at the left is a siding that leads to the Jessup Auto Terminal. Even farther left are the dual tracks of the main line.


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

Awaiting duty at the Jessup Auto Terminal are a pair of CSX engines. Their job is moving the auto racks around at the facility.


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 is 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?) like I did, and perhaps you won't be chased away. Drive in from Dorsey Run Road where you see the CSX sign.


Road Slug
NEW! Aug 2003

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

Here "road slug" CSX 2204 partakes in a 8-engine lashup pulling a long train through Jessup. Road slugs, which can usually 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.

Link to older picture: 1976


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 auto racks seen on the right. A kind security guard described the unloading process as follows:

  • 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
  • the drivers are paid $5 per vehicle they unload


Unloading...

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

Here's a telephoto lens view of an SUV heading down the unloading ramp while another waits to follow. Take my word for it: the vehicles come flying off the racks at high speed. These drivers don't waste any time. Only one vehicle is allowed on the ramp at once.

The brick building in the distant background is a Maryland House of Corrections facility (a prison).


Ramp

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

Here's a closeup of one of the ramps.

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 decendants of that system


Waste Management

Waste Management
Mile: 17.1 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.

Switcher 7522 has just finished pushing out several cars of trash onto a siding to await diesel power. I've witnessed the process twice, both times around 2:00 or 3:00 on a weekday afternoon.

That's the prison again in the background, right.


7522

7522
Mile: 17.1 Date: Mar 2001
Ease: A View: N
Area: B IC2:
Map: AA 5 F 8, Ho 20 H 8 Topographic Maps

Here's a better view of the switcher.


TrackMobile

TrackMobile
Mile: 17.1 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.


Brock Bridge Road
NEW! Aug 2003

Brock Bridge Road
Mile: 17.1 Date: Mar 2003
Ease: A View: SW
Area: B IC2:
Map: AA 5 F 8, Ho 20 H 8 Topographic Maps

You never know what motive power they'll come up with next at Waste Management. In 2003, I saw this switcher, labelled ITI 2.

"Ron & Maggie" provided some details about this old beast: "it's an EMD SW8 built 9-51 and was former LV 259 than 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."


ITI 2
NEW! Aug 2003

ITI 2
Mile: 17.1 Date: Mar 2003
Ease: B View: SE
Area: B IC2:
Map: AA 5 F 8, Ho 20 H 8 Topographic Maps

Here's another view. The train of green cars to the landfill is known as the Emerald Express.

Link to other pictures: ~2004


Air Supply

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

My understanding is 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: C+ 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 in the Annapolis Junction / Jessup area. 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: C+ 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).

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


Bridge 19A

Bridge 19A
Mile: 17.7 Date: Jan 2002
Ease: C+ 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.

But two 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.


Vulcan Materials

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

The Vulcan Materials elevator towers over their switcher. The plant is located just south of where present day MD 32 crosses over the Washington Branch. This position is directly within the wye initially formed in 1838 between the B&O's line and the Annapolis and Elk Ridge (A&ER) railroad. In fact, 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 in Jessup northwest to the Old Main Line in Mt. Airy, MD.

Link to other pictures: VULX 2779



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