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Friday, August 3, 2007

07-08-03 PHOTOS: West Baltimore and Bowie

Continuing to clear up my summer photo backlog here are pics from two additional Maryland area railfan locations. The first is WEST BALTIMORE interlocking on the CSX Baltimore Terminal Subdivision. WEST BALTIMORE was in the process of being re-signaled so I wanted to get down there before it was ruined for good. WEST BALTIMORE is at the west/south end of the Mt Clarie Yard and was part of the Old Main Line built in 1831.

The other location was the railroad museum at Bowie MD. This comprises the old PRR BOWIE tower and a PRR caboose. The tower was moved about 200 feet from its old location after Amtrak closed it in the 1980's and has been a museum ever since. I also took a walk around the Pope's Creek wye where the Pope's Creek Secondary branches off the NEC. This line has three coal fired power plants on it as well as local freight customers and sees a fair amount of traffic. Coal trains are brought up from the south although I do thing some traffic does come down from the north, but that is limited due to the tunnels in Baltimore City. The wye has an Amtrak substation in the middle of it and BOWIE is still an active Amtrak interlocking.

Finally I went up the road to take a picture of the PRR Position Light approach signal to BOWIE. It was a fixed aspect displaying Caution.

Full set of pictures are here:

A representative sample is as follows.

Here is a view of the meat of the current West Baltimore interlocking. Old Main Line ran to the left to where the B&O museum is today. New Main Line curves off to the right toward Camden Yards and the Baltimore Belt Line. The far right track is not part of the interlocking.

Other end of the interlocking. They have been reconstructing it for some time now.

The west end bracket mast is right up against a highway bridge making for some good closeups. You can see the new darth vader gantry.

Here's a view I don't think you can get anywhere else.

Bracket mast from the front, you can see the right hand signal is an automatic.

BOWIE tower museum.

Complete with a US&S Model 14 machine, minus most of its levers.

And a model board. Interesting how the layout has changed. In late PRR/early Amtrak times the line went from 4 tracks (probably 3+siding) to 2 tracks. Today it is 3 tracks straight through. The additional southbound track was probably constructed to allow freight access from the south after most through freight was eliminated on the NEC. I doubt the legend was original to the board. ;-)

Amtrak train with AEM-7 #941 speeding through BOWIE interlocking.

BOWIE substation.

BOWIE distant position light displaying a fixed Caution aspect to warm trains they are approaching BOWIE interlocking. Those well-focused PL-3 heads are extremely bright because unlike most railroad signals they use an internal parabolic reflector with an angled lens to prevent phantom aspects. When you see an amber PRR PL looking rather sickly its because the E&S department is not keeping the mirrors properly focused.

Closeup of the market light.

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