Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Railfanning 1-27 and 1/28

Hi, The Washington, DC metro area got roughly 8 inches of snow between about 4:00 PM on 1/26 and 4:00 AM on 1/27. Friend Dale Diacont arrived the morning of 1/27 for a 2 day visit so we headed out to see what we could find. I decided the roads could be dicey so we stayed pretty close to home.

Our first stop was at Washington Grove on CSX's Metropolitan Sub, in the southern part of Gaithersburg, MD. About 11:30 AM we photographed D765 leaving the trash transfer station on the north side of Rockville, MD heading for the steam generating incinerator in Dickerson, MD. The steam is sold to the Morant Energy power plant at the site. About 12:20 PM, with the radio quiet we quit for lunch.

After lunch we headed for downtown Gaithersburg. However, it was quiet for most of the afternoon. Finally, about 4:00 PM Q415 came east/south. As there was supposed to be a flagman just north of the depot and the train could not raise him, the dispatcher ordered the crew to stop the train at the point where the flagman was supposed to be, and then proceed looking out for contractor equipment. Without telling anyone the flagman had gone home. Thus the train was stopped just short of a summit, which occurs in front of the station and could only get up to crawling speed as it passed us.

This gave us the opportunity to beat the train to Washington Grove even though we had to travel over a mile and the train had to go less than a 1/2 mile.

In fact, even at this point the train was going so slowly that I was able to take the photo above and run down the platform to get the photo below.

On the block of Q415 was Q138, also at Washington Grove.

The first commuter train of the day roared west through Washington Grove as Q138 crawled east. This was our last train of 1/27.

Dale wanted to go to New Carollton to photograph MARC trains. His thought was to shoot from the Metro platform. However, when we got to New Carollton we found we would be parking in a structure and I suggested we check out the view from the top deck. He found that perspective satisfactory so that's where we shot from for about 45 minutes. The following photos show a few of the angles available.

I had mentioned earlier that one could photograph the throat of Washington Union Station legally from the back porch of the old REA building and Dale asked if we could take a look. While we were there I was approached by Amtrak Police officers. They merely wanted to know what I was doing. They were careful to explain that I was not on Amtrak property and taking train photos from that spot was perfectly legal. However, in light of 9/11 and subsequent events they needed to be aware of what was happening.

After leaving Washington Union Station we headed to the BWI Airport station to pickup Dale's friend, Robert Richardson. I had met Robert briefly a few years ago but this was my first opportunity, which I thoroughly enjoyed, to get to know Robert. After lunch Dale asked if we could take a look at the Canton Railroad and Severstal. In the photo below a former CP SW1200 is switching Canton's former CSX Penn Mary yard.

We caught a CSX yard transfer just outside Penn Mary.

Then we headed for Severstal. This is the former Bethlehem Steel Corp. Sparrows Point mill. Most of it currently is shut down. We shot 2 SW1500s. As we were about to leave a mill employee pulled up behind us and asked what we were taking pictures of. We told him but he informed us that as we were on private property we would have to wait to talk to a security person. The security guard showed up a few minutes later and, after ascertaining we were not either terrorists or out to commit industrial espionage, told us we should leave and not come back without permission.

Our next last stop was to shoot the first Camden Line DC bound commuter train as it ran from MARC's Riverside facility to Camden Station.

Finally, Dale asked if we could check out West Baltimore. We spent about 1/2 hour there and saw 4 trains. The train immediately below is eastbound and will soon making its station stop in Baltimore.

This train has just stopped for a passenger and is now headed for DC.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures.

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