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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.


<< Previous (east) | THIS PAGE: Annapolis Junction to Savage | Next (west) >>

Tarmac Switcher

Tarmac Switcher
Mile: 17.8 Date: Feb 2000
Ease: A View: N
Area: B- IC2: 95
Map: AA 5 E 9, Ho 20 H 9 Topographic Maps

Here's a closer and slightly older (Feb 2000) picture of the blue, ex-Lehigh Valley, ex-Conrail U23B switcher 2779 when the plant was briefly operated by Tarmac.

Link: 2004


VM Switcher
NEW! Oct 2017

VM Switcher
Mile: 17.8 Date: Sep 2017
Ease: A View: N
Area: B- IC2: 95
Map: AA 5 E 9, Ho 20 H 9 Topographic Maps

After Tarmac came Vulcan Materials who, by comparison, has lived long and prospered. Though the decades have taken their toll on its paint, the switcher has lived long as well.


Conveyor

Conveyor
Mile: 17.8 Date: Jan 2002
Ease: B View: NE
Area: C+ IC2:
Map: AA 5 E 9, Ho 20 H 9 Topographic Maps

At the minerals plant, hopper cars are pushed onto the former Annapolis & Elk Ridge RR right of way and in the process pass over this area where their contents are dumped through the screen seen here onto a conveyor system waiting below.

Visible behind the conveyor's lift in the distance is the MD 32 bridge.

Link to other pictures: ~2005


CSX 8414

CSX 8414
Mile: 17.8 Date: Oct 2003
Ease: A View: NE
Area: C+ IC2: 95
Map: Ho 20 G 9, AA 5 E 9 Topographic Maps

The mineral plant's elevator rises behind CSX 8414 while the engine waits for the red signal to clear. The bridge behind the signal is that of MD 32.


Cantilevered Signal

Cantilevered Signal
Mile: 17.8 Date: Oct 2003
Ease: A View: NE
Area: C+ IC2: 95
Map: Ho 20 G 9, AA 5 E 9 Topographic Maps

Zooming from the same spot as the prior photo shows the elderly cantilever signal stand. It's only after surveying most of the route that I've grown to appreciate this rusty survivor. In fact, it was the only one of its vintage on the Washington Branch.

This is an 8-lamp CPL, an uncommon breed. Most CPLs maxed out at 6 lamps, choosing to go naked at the NW and SE slots. Eight-lampers are installed where there is the occasional need to display what is known as a "Rule 290" Restricted Speed signal, a warning that unsignalled track lay ahead.

As of May 2013 this signal is no longer extant: CSX replaced it with their newer-style signals.


Roster Shot

Roster Shot
Mile: 17.8 Date: Oct 2003
Ease: A View: E
Area: C+ IC2: 95
Map: Ho 20 G 9, AA 5 E 9 Topographic Maps
Henkel's 1930s

The standard "roster shot" angle is one you won't see very often at this Web site. This time it serves to illustrate this engine's gray paint scheme.

You can drive right to this spot: from MD 32 take the Dorsey Run Road exit, head south and find Henkels Lane which parallels 32. Drive to where it ends trackside. A decade earlier Henkel's Restaurant would have blocked the view, as in the 1930s photo at right from near the same spot as mine; the photo appears to include a B&O penstock (water for steam engines) at right. Henkel's 1980s menu

Until it closed in 1997, Henkel's was located within a ~100 year old Annapolis Junction hotel. The restaurant was famous for its overstuffed sandwiches, and was a favorite of railroad crews. A menu dating to the 1980s is inset at right. In 1999, the building was intentionally burned down for a fireman training exercise.

Link: Henkel's history


Parking Deck

Parking Deck
Mile: 17.9 Date: Sep 2014
Ease: A- View: W
Area: B IC2:
Map: AA 5 E 9, Ho 20 G 9 Topographic Maps

During the 2010s CSX upgraded the stretch west from Annapolis Junction with new signals, switches and track. The switch near photo center suggests room for expansion, possibly a new Savage station siding for MARC trains.

In the distance, multi-deck parking for commuters is under construction adjacent to the MARC station. Two years later another parking deck would be built on the right. The edge of expanding Fort Meade is two miles to the east.

Link: Fort Meade info


From Parking Deck
NEW! Oct 2017

From Parking Deck
Mile: 17.9 Date: Sep 2017
Ease: A- View: NE
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ho 20 G 9, AA 5 E 9 Topographic Maps

The newer of the two parking decks provides this view of the action. Unfortunately it also blocks the view somewhat from the older deck.


Old Ties
NEW! Oct 2017

Old Ties
Mile: 18.0 Date: Oct 2003
Ease: A- View: NE
Area: B IC2:
Map: AA 5 E 9, Ho 20 G 10 Topographic Maps

Old crossties are loaded onto, ironically, trucks for disposal.

At right is the only D sign I've seen on a post all its own. Usually they share their placement with signals.


PA Tower

PA Tower
Mile: 18.0 Date: Sep 2014
Ease: A- View: NE
Area: B IC2:
Map: AA 5 E 9, Ho 20 G 10 Topographic Maps

CSX has retained the B&O name for this spot: PA Tower, which was the first tower west of HX in Halethorpe. The code names, often two letters, were also the telegraph call signs of the tower, and usually incorporated letters of the town nearby, in this case Annapolis Junction.

Link: 1953 at PA Tower? may be another location since building does not look like Henkels


Mile Stone 18

Mile Stone 18
Mile: 18.0 Date: Oct 2003
Ease: A View: N
Area: B IC2:
Map: AA 5 E 9, Ho 20 G 10 Topographic Maps

Neglected, forgotten and hiding in weeds was original mile stone 18, 18 rail miles from Baltimore. The opposite side of the marker had the mileage engravings, but was partially obscured by a discarded slab of concrete which was pushing the marker and causing it to lean. This is not a very respectful way to treat a loyal worker who had been on the job since around 1835.

I was unable to refind the stone marker while visiting the site during 2014.


CSX 902946
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

CSX 902946
Mile: 18.0 Date: Nov 2007
Ease: A View: SE
Area: B IC2:
Map: AA 5 E 9, Ho 20 G 10 Topographic Maps

During 2007 this caboose was rescued during 2007 from Caboose Row along Hammonds Ferry Road then given the makeover seen below.


B&O C2946
NEW! Oct 2017

B&O C2946
Mile: 18.0 Date: Sep 2017
Ease: A View: E
Area: B IC2:
Map: AA 5 E 9, Ho 20 G 10 Topographic Maps

B&O cabooses were usually painted red. This one is blue for the Royal Blue Line, the B&O's celebrated service between New York and Washington.

Link: more pics at trainorders.com


Autoracks
NEW! Oct 2017

Autoracks
Mile: 18.1 Date: Sep 2017
Ease: A View: E
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ho 20 G 10, AA 5 E 9 Topographic Maps

Autoracks often jockey back and forth here as they split apart or are trained together at Jessup terminal. At right, the restored caboose supervises.


Logos
NEW! Oct 2017

Logos
Mile: 18.1 Date: Sep 2017
Ease: A View: SE
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ho 20 G 10, AA 5 E 9 Topographic Maps

Rail company logos of differing eras roll by on passing autoracks.


Stencil
NEW! Oct 2017

Stencil
Mile: 18.1 Date: Sep 2017
Ease: A View: SE
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ho 20 G 10, AA 5 E 9 Topographic Maps

This "Owned by a bank or finance company..." stencil on some autoracks is a requirement of an agreement between railcar lessor and lessee that is spelled out in the dense legal document linked below.

    "(j) As soon as reasonably practicable, place decals, plates and/or such other marks, legends, or decals on the Containers to indicate that such Containers are owned by Owner and that they may be subject to a security interest in favor of one or more financial institutions. Manager may also label the Containers with all of its customary labels, marks and decals and/or to indicate that they are managed by Manager. The cost of placing all such marks, legends or decals on the Containers shall be included in the Per Container Price and Total Invoice Price paid by Owner."

Link: 2006 Form F-6 of Acom Co, Ltd.


From Deck
Photo courtesy Kirk Nabors

From Deck
Mile: 18.1 Date: Jul 2015
Ease: B+ View: E
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ho 20 G 10, AA 5 E 9 Topographic Maps

Before the newer parking deck got in the way, the older one facilitated a long, clear view.


Savage Station

Savage Station
Mile: 18.1 Date: Sep 2000
Ease: A View: NE
Area: B IC2:
Map: AA 5 D 9, Ho 20 G 10 Topographic Maps

The Annapolis Junction name had almost been squeezed out of existence as Jessup intruded from the northeast and Savage from the southwest before in 2013 the developer of the land on the left changed the project name from Savage to Annapolis Junction. Eventually this MARC commuter rail stop will probably be renamed too.

Link: AnnapolisJunction.com


Departing Station

Departing Station
Mile: 18.1 Date: Jun 2004
Ease: A View: E
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ho 20 G 10, AA 5 E 9 Topographic Maps

MARC 57 has just discharged evening commuters, and now it has a green light to continue toward Baltimore. This 8-lamp CPL is no longer extant.


Looking West

Looking West
Mile: 18.2 Date: Jan 2003
Ease: A View: W
Area: B IC2:
Map: AA 5 D 10, Ho 20 F 10 Topographic Maps

On a rainy winter day this is the view of westbound trains shortly after they depart Savage Station. Brock Bridge Road parallels the tracks.

A map from around 1900 shows a road split off here to the left, headed south, crossed the Patuxent River and connected into what is now the Russett Community accessed via Rt. 198.


Spur

Spur
Mile: 18.6 Date: Oct 2003
Ease: C View: W
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ho 20 F 10, AA 5 C 9 Topographic Maps

An almost mile-long spur splits off from a siding to serve the area around the Little Patuxent Water Treatment Plant. Until the 1980s, this spur connected to a large number of industrial facilities in both the Corridor Industrial Park and Junction Business Park. Much of that track has been pulled up, but some still does venture far enough west to cross Greenwood Place. As of 2004, the track there has some shine to it and a few boxcars are sitting on a siding.

Brock Bridge Road parallels the tracks on the left, but is too low to provide a view of this spur. Despite driving past here many times, until recently I did not know this spur still existed.

Reader Al Moran filled in some details:

    "The track that parallels the mains west from Jessup to Savage is called the Westbound Storage Track and the track to the Corridor Industrial Park comes off of it. You are right in that you can't see it from the road because it is at a lower elevation then the main. At one time, there were at least 20 customers up there but now there is only one, Hannah Paper."


On Spur

On Spur
Mile: 18.6, spur Date: Oct 2003
Ease: C View: N
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ho 20 E 9, AA 5 C 9 Topographic Maps

Autumn colors are just starting along the infrequently used spur, where a lonely coal hopper sits on a siding. In the background, someone is very serious about getting good TV reception. (Anyone know who operates this tall communications antenna?)

Reader Russ Forte wrote to say:

    "That antenna in the image you just posted is part of the new Police/Fire communications system for eastern Howard County. It is one of three. The second is on top of the hill by the ruins of the Patapsco Female Institute in Ellicott City, and the last one is at Howard High School. Howard High is near the 100/108/104 junction. The new tower at HHS is 650 ft. tall. There was an older tower 550 ft. tall there before. For a couple of years both towers were standing. They just tore down the old one a month or two ago.

    "They built this new system because of dead spots with the old one. There was that big fire in downtown Ellicott City a few years ago and the fire department radios didnít work and they had to use runners to relay messages."


Looking Southwest

Looking Southwest
Mile: 19.0 Date: Oct 2003
Ease: C View: SW
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ho 20 E 10, AA 5 B 9 Topographic Maps

Back on the main line, this is the view southwest at mile marker 19. There was no mile stone here that I could find, but there was a old "mile marker on a rail" hidden in the brush on the opposite side of the tracks.


Little Patuxent Bridge

Little Patuxent Bridge
Mile: 19.4 Date: Sep 2000
Ease: B View: N
Area: A IC2:
Map: AA 5 A 10, Ho 20 D 10 Topographic Maps

Continuing south, the next significant structure along the Washington Branch is this bridge over the Little Patuxent River in Savage. At one time, a Bollman Bridge spanned the river here, but now this rather plain one does the job. This is the location of the very first Bollman Bridge installed by the B&O. Before the Bollman, a 50-foot single (!) arched stone bridge was used, but it washed out in a flood on October 7, 1847.

To obtain this view, look carefully through the trees while driving past on Brock Bridge Road.


Little Patuxent Bridge

Little Patuxent Bridge
Mile: 19.4 Date: Sep 2001
Ease: C View: SW
Area: A IC2:
Map: Ho 20 D 10, AA 5 A 10 Topographic Maps

Here's the view from trackside looking south.

A plaque on this corner of the steel structure says it was built by the "American Bridge Company, U.S.A. 1920".

Between the bridge and the tall signal tower in the distance, the Patuxent Branch veers off to the right (northwest). The Patuxent Branch is the subject of the next page of this tour.

Link: Real-time USGS stream flow data near this location


Little Patuxent Bridge

Little Patuxent Bridge
Mile: 19.4 Date: Aug 2013
Ease: B- View: S
Area: A IC2:
Map: Ho 20 D 10, AA 5 A 10 Topographic Maps

At one time, the B&O considered starting its Metropolitan Branch (the shortcut that connects Washington and the Old Main Line) here. The route would have followed the Patuxent River, then branched to Gaithersburg, then up to the OML. Had that route been chosen, land development in central Maryland would have progressed quite differently (for example, less undeveloped room for the town of Columbia?).



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