Monday, May 24, 2010

Railfanning 5-21-10

Hi, Friend Rudy Volin and I went out on Friday to check out some locations in the Arlington/Alexandria, VA area for shots of VRE (Virginia Railway Express).

Our first stop was just north of Crystal City where a new park is being built next to RO interlocking. We had seen a photo of the construction area by our friend Mike Schaller showing two piles of dirt and I wondered if there was a shot to be had from one of the piles. Unfortunately, the dirt piles were located within a fence surrounding the park construction area, which was posted. So we moved on.

Our next stop was the US 1 bridge across CSX. We arrived there about 2:00 PM, just as a CSX freight headed north. This was one of 11 trains we saw in 2 hours. As we were walking up onto the bridge we heard L173 call for permission through a work area near the new park. The train is shown below.

Amtrak's northbound Silver Star was next up but I had not yet found an acceptable northbound angle from this side of the road so I passed. The next southbound train was Q703. The smell of garbage was really rank.

Amtrak #95 ran next followed by the southbound Silver Star (shown below).

Next VRE got into the act with two reverse moves into DC, one each from Manassas and Fredericksburg, VA.

Rush hour VRE service began with train #303, which was scheduled to depart the Alexandria Station at 3:57 PM.

CSX ran Q415 on Track 2.

The second rush hour VRE train we photographed was #327 for Manassas which was scheduled to depart Alexandria at 4:04 PM.

We then attempted to relocated to the station for the rest of the afternoon. However, there were no parking spots there so we looked for a location west of the station. As we were unable to find one we quit and went to dinner. All in all an interesting afternoon.

For interest I have included scans of the area taken in the 1975 - 1976 time frame. The first photo shows the same general angle as that for L173, above. In the view below Crystal city can be seen on the left above the slug, which was built from an Alco S-2.

Looking to the south from the Duke Street bridge AFT #1 (former Reading #2101) brings the American Freedom train into Alexandria in June 1975 after a run up the Southern RY. At his point #4449 would take over the job of powering the train.

AFT #1 and the American Freedom Train were back in Alexandria in December of 1976 at the end of its tour. I am not sure exactly where this was taken from.

I hope you enjoyed the photos.

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