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Thursday, July 23, 2009

09-07-23 PHOTOS: Capitol Limited Reverse

Over the years I have come to make a habit out of taking photos from the back of Amtrak's Capitol Limited on the former B&O Main Line due to the presence of a Railfan Window and a daylight run. However those familiar with my work may have noticed that all of those photo sets were taken in the eastbound direction as for whatever reason I just tended to take other trains out west.

Well last year in conjunction with my eastbound trip via the Cardinal I was in a position to take the Capitol Limited heading west and this opened up a brand new perspective on the sights and CPL's along the former B&O Main Line. Hopefully all of you will be as interested as I was to finally see some of your favourite CPL signals in a whole new light.

The full set in roughly chronological order can be found here if you wish to follow along between the photos I feature in this post.

Well upon leaving DC my train hit a bit of an isolated thunderstorn at Rockville, but fortunately the skies cleared at Point of Rocks providing that magical late afternoon lighting phenomia where the sun peeks in under the edge of the dark rain clouds. Here are the eastbound signals at Point of Rocks with the PoR station in the background.

That rainstorm fresh feeling persisted through the Point of Rocks and Catoctin Tunnels

Passing through Brunswick Yard I spotted the MARC historic fleet which between then and now was completely vanished :-(

Due to the remaining rainspots on the RFW I opted to take video for what ended up being a rather underwhelming, speed-restricted trip past WB Tower and the Brunswick MARC station. Note the use of pneumatic point machines at WB interlocking.

A few miles later I was shocked to discover that the decrepit CPL distant signal to WEVERTON interlocking has been replaced by a brand new CPL mast unit. Woo Hoo! Love that fresh paint.

Due to the drought of CPL signals between there and HANCOCK I went back to my sleeper for about an hour. On my return I caught what was relained of HANCOCK interlocking after the mechanical tower there was closed and demolished in 2007.

It was refreshing to finally be able to photograph the front side of half of the CPL's on the route that I had previously only had rear shots available of. One good example of this was the mixed Interlocking-Automatic bracket mast at Grasshopper Hollow.

Or B&O CPL gantry at Ambrose. BTW the left side of the right of way is a public road.

The late July evening sun began to seep into the Potomac valley at Sideling Hill.

Here lighting up the CPL Brackets at Turkey Foot.

Some of the views out the back were simply spectacular and sometimes an opposing freight move would help compliment the photo.

Bracket mast and mountain at Hansrote.

The famous Magnolia CPL's sort of snuck up on me and I missed a good shot of the, but here they are in the background of this photo of one of the Potomac River bridges in the Bridge-Tunnel-Bridge combo of the Magnolia Cuttoff.

You can see the route of the old main line bout 30 feet below the level of the cuttoff just past the Magnolia bridges. I should also mention that those pole lines are in service for the signaling system.

A little sad news that the eastbound CPL masts at OKONOKO were to be replaced by Darth Vaders :-(

The sun was really my friend as we approached Cumberland. Here the CPL masts at Longs Crossing.

 CSX runs a huge tie processing plant between Greens Spring and Patterson Creek. Would love to know where they get all the oak for the ties.

The "new" style gantry at Dans Run just before it was overtaken by shadow,

We were crossing over at Patternson Creek and I had just taken this picture when I heard some kids rocking our train. Unfortunately I was unable to catch them in the act, but I did take this picture of the perpetrators. 

The tower at Patterson Creek is closed, but that 50's construction is still standing strong.

Here is a video I found on YouTube from 1990 when the tower was still open. Note the GRS CTC machine with the little moving switch indicators. At the time this tower had CTC control between here and ORLEANS ROAD where HANCOCK tower would take over supervision.

I was getting hungry by the time we reached the Cumberland Terminal at MEXICO tower.

I only noticed in post production that one of the eastbound mast signals out of the yard was set to display a Restricting aspect for a movement as at the time I had been focused on the eastbound bracket mast.

I got a little bit more sunlight at WEST HUMP, which is named for the adjacent Cumberland yard hump.

 So there I called it a day to retire to the dining car and then to my sleeper where I broke into the 12 of Yuengling my friend had been chilling in the ice filled trash can ;-)

Due to the position of the sun I generally refrained from taking pics from the rear window as my train approached Chicago, however I was able to make use of the side windows on my sleeping car. Here one can see the newly re-signaled CP-482 at Porter. Porter had been last re-signaled in the early 90's with small target searchlights on modern mast supports, but for some reason NS decided to re-signal it again :-( This is where Michigan service trains branch off to the north.

Signal maintainers were up to something at CP-501.

I got this great shot of the westbound signal gantry at HICK tower which was fortunate as HICK is currently being re-signaled.

NS/CR/PC/NYC HICK tower also controlls CP-502, CP-100 (IHB) and two sets of local movable bridges.

For a tour inside HICK refer to this YouTube video.

 I will close things out by a "modern" syle B&O CPL bracket mast silhouetted against the morning sun. These too will soon be replaced :-(

Well enjoy, stay tuned next week for my travels around Chicago on the CTA and MERTA Electric division.

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