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Sunday, June 23, 2013

13-06-23 PHOTOS: Limited Enthusiasm

Well its time for the 11th and final part of my third annual cross country Amtrak Trip featuring the Southwest Chief. As in the other trips I will be once again traveling back to Washington, DC via Amtrak Capitol Limited. This year thanks to the resignaling efforts of CSX there are only a handful of B&O CPLs left for me to enjoy so as the title of this piece reflects this leg of the trip is starting to become more and more of a time kill. Nevertheless there was more than a little freight train action to keep me occupied combined with the ongoing doublestack clearance project so lets get on with the show.

You can find the full set of photos here.

We begin after breakfast at the Connellsville Amtrak station where a troop of Boy Scouts has just disembarked for a trip.

Connellsville Yard power with the old VI Tower in the background.

While this area had been re-signaled years ago GREENE JCT held out as an island of CPL signaling. Unfortunately this would be my last trip past the CPLs.

Due to a wrong camera setting I had some problems getting photos of the conga line of trains that were lined up at GREENE JCT waiting for us to clear up. I did manage to fix it in time for this long hood shot of C40-10W #5458.

Past the right of way split at Confluence I got some pictures of the clearance work inside the Brook Tunnel

The brick lining is being bored out and replaced with shotcrete. Not sure why CSX is bothering to clear the route for doublestacks. At 22mph average speed shippers know to just use NS.

West end of the single track segment at the new Fort Hill interlocking which replaced the older Shoo Fly Interlocking. This single track segment has been a bottleneck on the former B&O main line route for about 50 years now. The removal of the two tunnels it was built to accommodate will allow full double tracking.

Site of the old Shoo Fly tunnel. Was this really cheaper than just boring it out?

 Removing the Pinkerton Tunnel was just a wee bit more involved. 0.0!

Former B&O station at the Rockwood Wye.

The ex-B&O station in Myersdale, PA used to host the Capitol Limited. I am uncertain when the stop was eliminated.

Tunnel boring equipment outside the western portal to the Sand Patch tunnel.

Here we see the B&O Allegheny Summit which at 2283 feet above mean sea level is the highest of the three Allegheny crossings. The summit occurs in the middle of Sand Patch interlocking which includes a crossover with a helper pocket. While not as high as the 7000 foot summits on the Raton Pass route, the double track main line certainly lends this one more gravitas. 

CSX C44-10W #5247 approaching the notched 1914 Sand Patch tunnel.

The Falls Cut tunnel hasn't had any work done yet, but the plastic surgeon has been busy with his marker.

CSX's penchant for throwing babies out with bathwater isn't limited to old school CPL type signals. Here we see the old new Darth Vader masts being replaced by new new Darth Vader masts at the FO Tower hand crossovers on the east Sand Patch slope. This section was "only" re-signaled c.2000. 

C40-9W with GP38-2 hanging out in Cumberland Yard.

CSX ES44AC #829 waiting at WEST HUMP.

GP40-2 #6987 with a road slug preparing cuts of cars for classification via the Cumberland Yard hump.

Another CSX GP40-2 #6925 sitting in the middle of MEXICO interlocking. 

Pairs of GE's and Geeps waiting for a signal at Paterson Creek interlocking. Seen here are SD50-2 #8548, GP40-2 #6156 and ES44ACs #848 and #877.

Another train on the siding track near Greens Spring with AC4400 #257 and SD70MAC #4814 adjacent to the wooden tie processing plant.

Another westbound train at Little Niagara approaching the point where the Old Main Line rejoins the Magnolia cutoff.

Notched and blasted Carothers Tunnel.

Graham Tunnel ready for doublestaks. 

Stuart tunnel in the process of having its pristine 1914 concrete lining ruined.

Tunnel tailings at Hansrote.

Randolph tunnel, also notched.

Skipping ahead a bit here is the now closed WB tower at Brunswick, MD.

 MARC diesels and Pullman Gallery Cars in Brunswick Yard.

My plans to get additional photos of EAST BRUNSWICK interlocking were dashed when I noticed that it had been re-signaled along with the HIGH ROCK automatic CPLs.

A CSX MoW gang was hard at work through The Dickerson MARC station.

CSX ES44AC #923 approaching the new signals at SENECA FILL. In 2012 all of the remaining 1990's vintage B&O CPLs between Point of Rocks and Washington, DC were replaced probably because of funds to "upgrade" the commuter rail service. I suspect that CSX will see far more benefit from all the new hardware and interlockings than the public MARC commuter service will.

The newest of the three new interlockings was a full crossover at CLOPPER. Crossovers at DICKERSON and TUSCARORA entered service in 2012. 

Now all through the trip my friend had said that he has seen one of the specially painted engines on the front and I assumed that this simply meant one of the Amtrak "heritage" engines and I figured we would have time to take photos of it at Washington, DC. Well it turned out that it was actually P42DC #42 with the as of yet unveiled "Amtrak Salutes Veterans" paint scheme. Still, you could make out what it was under the white plastic.

Well the lighting is terrible with the engine pulled so far up to Union Station, but with the photo of P42DC #173 I can proclaim for a third time.



  1. I hate to have to correct you, but CSX 8548 is NOT a GP50-2 at all (CSX or Chessie OR Seaboard), NEVER HAD "GP50's"! Thats a SD50, thats been rebuilt to what CSX calls or refers to as a SD50-2!