The topography of Baltimore is oddly hilly as the Chesapeake Bay runs right up to the interior highlands instead of rippling around the coastal plain as is the case elsewhere along the NEC. Moreover, the position of the harbor forces the nominally north-south railroads to cut east-west across the local drainage profile, resulting in the various trenches and tunnels that the city has become famous for. Here are some photos taken along the former B&O Baltimore Belt Line, around Penn Station and on the northern half of the light rail line.
Because of the stiff grade and frequent tunnels, the Baltimore Belt Line was the site of the world's first main line electrification back in 1896, with electric locomotives assisting steam engines between Camden Yards to Clifton Park to reduce the amount of smoke in the confined spaces. Back in 2014, a retaining wall along 26th Street in Baltimore collapsed onto the tracks and while the railroad was operational within 48 hours, the street took nearly a year to fix as the city had to dig down to track level and pour new concrete foundations to fix a chronic sinkhole problem that was the root cause of the collapse. Here is the reuilt street and retaining wall adjacent to the single track main line.
Here we see brand new CSX ET44AC #3269 emerging from the Charles Street
tunnel. This is basically a Tier IV emissions compliant ES44AC, which
may assist with some tactical smoke and soot issues, but will only make carbon friendly rail transportation less compeditive with road vehicles.
Here you can compare #3269 with C40-8W #7331. The ET44's have several
times the cooling capacity to service the intercoolers needed to reduce
the tempature of the charge air to reduce NOx and a particiulate filter
fitted to the exhaust stack. It is no wonder that NS has chosen to
rebuild older units than put up with the EPA's bullshit.
Speaking of rebuilt units, here is CSX SD40-3 #6507 being towed behind
the two road units to some new yard assignment. Note the remote control
Later on a pair of eastbound CSX C40-10W's, #5265 and #5307 emerged from the Charles Tunnel
Another C40-10W, #5434, passed by in the trailing position of a westbound train.
In this video we can see and hear CSX C40-8W #7920 and C40-10W #5363 rumble up the steep grade up from the Baltimore waterfront.
As you can see, CSX sometimes likes to pool certain classes of locomotive on certain routes and it looks like the ET44's are being assigned to the east coast along with the C40-10W's. Here #3320 leads a slightly older EH44AC #902. The new engines appear to be paired up with older ones in case of reliability issues. From the specs the new emissions controls are a real rat's nest requiring extra turbos, EGR piping and synthetic oil. Here is a better view of the roof on #3320.
Another westbound passed with AC4400 #559 and EH44AC #3067.
After exiting the famous Howard Street Tunnel and before reaching the tunnels under Charles and St. Paul Streets, the Baltimore Belt Line must cross the Jones Falls valley on this curved bridge. Note the Baltimore Streetcar Museum at the upper left.
Here we see a rather grimy MTA Light Rail LRV #5041 at the North Ave station.
And here is LRV # 5026 at Hunt Valley.
Down on the platforms at Baltimore Penn Station, Amtrak ACS-86 #640 was pausing with a southbound Regional train.
While MARC bi-level Kab Kar #7851 waited the return to duty on one of the storage tracks.
Well that's it for the Spring cleanup. Next week I begin my 2016 Amtrak cross country trip on the Sunset Limited.