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Friday, July 29, 2016

16-07-29 PHOTOS: Savage Meet

In recent years CSX has made a number of infrastructure upgrades to its Capitol and Metropolitan Subdivisions that host weekday commuter operations from Maryland's MARC service provider. I should probably mention that this was probably not done out of the goodness of their heart, but because they got some sort of State or Federal money to make the upgrades. Because the Capitol Sub between DC and Baltimore had already been sprinkled with State funded crossovers back in the 90's, the upgrades there mostly served to improve freight service. One major bottleneck was the bulk auto delivery terminal in Jessup, MD. Trains of autoracks would have to foul the main line as they stretched through PA TOWER interlocking due to the shortness of the yard lead.

The solution was a new third track between the auto terminal and SAVAGE interlocking, about 2 miles to the south. This third track passes through the Savage MARC station and effectively eliminates the bottleneck. While funding for all day service on the MARC Camden Line has not materialized, one additional afternoon round trip, turning to DC at the popular Dorsey Park and Ride station, was added. This created a meet between the first DC bound train from Baltimore and the early Dorsey turn train out of DC in the vicinity of the Savage station (they are in fact separated by 4 minutes on the timetable).

In addition to the Savage meet I have photos from the Amtrak BWI Rail Station and CSX freight action on the Baltimore Belt Line.

In fact let's begin at the BWI station with a typical midday consist of new split level Bombardier coaches sandwitched between MP36PH-3C #17 and single level cab car #7756.

I was at BWI at a busy time with Train 79, the southbound Carolinian, running on the center express track with ACS-86 #651, being followed by a more typical Regional pulled by ACS-86 #663.

 An non-stopping Acela trainset soon passed by on the local track with power car #2019 in the lead.

 Followed by a northbound Regional pulled by ACS-86 #609.

When the MARC train I was waiting for finally showed up, it was led by single level cab car #7749.

I happened to be in Baltimore for the large Artscape arts festival, and while seeking out some shade under the old B&O Mount Royal Station trainshed I caught a pair of GE ES44AC;s (#881 and #3174) working hard up the grade from the Baltimore waterfront to the highlands north of town. Back in the age of steam these tunnels and this grade combined to force the B&O to install the world's first Main Line electrification system to provide a smoke free assist to through trains as they battled the grade.

CSX C44-10W #5256 pops out of one of the short tunnels under Mt Royal Ave and into the trainshed as it brakes a manifest freight down the hill.

Some CSX MoW equipment was occupying the North Ave passing siding.

Here are a pair of trains traversing the Jones Falls viaduct that also crosses the Baltimore Streetcar Museum. The first westbound train is led by CSX AC4400 #92 and the second by C44-10W #5228 and ES44AH #958.

Speaking of the grade out of Baltimore, here CSX C40-8W #7920 and C40-10W #5363 rumble up the Baltimore Belt Line as it passes through the cut between Charles St and St. Paul St. This was the site of the of the big retaining wall collapse back in 2014.

Here we see the Savage MARC station, whose track 1 now sits within the limits of the new PATUXENT interlocking. At this point the third track had always been in place as an industrial siding between here and SAVAGE interlocking, however it was non-interlocked and did not connect through to the Jessup terminal's lead. PATUXENT interlocking provides an power operated crossover between the siding and the main track for westbound trains. Eastbound trains enter at SAVAGE interlocking.

B&O Caboose C-2946 is preserved across the street from the MARC station at the B&O Historical Society.

 Before the first southbound MARC train arrived on the scene, the dispatcher decided to squeeze in one last merchandise freight headed by ES44AH #991 and re-engined AC6000 #674.

As a surprise bonus, the merchandise freight had the CSX chemical safety training train attached to the rear.

The surprises continued as the westbound MARC train from Baltimore turned out to be triple header with MP36PH-3C engines #17, #32 and #21!

 Video of the triple headed commuter train departing. I believe that at least one of three engines was shut down.

The eastbound train to Dorsey was sporting a more conventional single MP36PH-3C with MARC #24.

MARC train 848 departing Savage with cab car #7760.

Next week tune in for some random Philly area commuter rail and PATCO photos.

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