Monday, August 24, 2009

CSX RF&P third-track extension at Springfield-Franconia VRE station (August 2009)


Track Work on North Side of Franconia Hill (August 22, 2009) CFP 99

G880 creeps up Franconia Hill southbound, the RF&P's ruling grade. Notice the new ballast between Tracks 3 and 2. That's where the center passing siding had been (1947 to the mid 1970s, per Bill Griffin and others) and the new third track is going. Or, more likely, Track 2 (right) will be shoved left into the gap, and new Track 1 will go where Track 2 lies now.

Trailers 'n' empty juice reefers on the Q741.

Maybe 75 feet south of the Franconia Road highway overpass, CSX has installed this new signal bridge to await completion of the third track.

Backing away a bit, and nearly falling off the cliff, one can see the relationship of the new signal bridge to the highway overpass. Obviously the signals will be for northbounds only.

P079 rushes by the site of the former switch, turnout and industrial siding into the Fleet Industrial Park. A favorite prop of mine at this location had to go to accommodate that third track, alas.

Looking toward the railroad from inside the industrial park.

No more trains for this park. Once the big customers were Xerox and Premium Distributors.

Looking south where the industrial lead had been.

Trackwork at the South End of the New Third Track (August 23, 2009)
Behold the VRE station at the humongous Springfield-Franconia Transportation Center, looking north from the south end of the station. The rest of the facility is off to the left and consists of a Metro station, a bus station with Trailways and Greyhound logos on it, and the biggest parking garage I've ever seen. A hundred yards north of here is the south end of the triple track installed by the RF&P in 1947 (per Bill Griffin) and torn out in the mid 1970s.

In this view (above) you can almost make out the place under the highway overpass (Springfield-Franconia Parkway) where Tracks 3 (left) and 2 (right) had been spread apart to make room for the passing siding. The siding began there and ran north to AF (CFP104). The new track will go in the same space. A new turnout has now been installed, off to the right. As I said above, Track 2 will likely be shoved left into the old gap and new Track 1 will go where Track 2 had been.

Note the cantilevered signal bridge on the other side of the highway overpass, which will only be visible, of course, by southbounds.

P099 rips through the station and across the new switch.

P080 flies north through the station.

The same view. Where is the new signal for northbounds when the third track is installed?

P099 clearing the station beneath the passenger walkway connecting the transportation complex's third floor with the VRE platform.


  1. Very nice! I'm a VRE rider, so I get to see the new work each day - I hope it will improve the quality of the ride (concrete ties, welded rail, etc.). Nice pictures!

  2. Excellent pics. I have been trying to find a page that had some good pics and finally did. I rode the VRE on Tuesday and have some updated information. North of the station platform next to track 2 is a new signal for the switch that drops off to the right. I have read where track 2 will be shoved closer to track 3 and new track 1 will go into track twos current location. But from what I saw on Tuesday that is now the case. It sure looks like they are building a brand new trackbed next to track 2 in the mud as they are installing walling. They have laid ballest but still have a ways to go, but not sure if it's 6 months worth of work or 12 months. Also they have installed a double crossover south of the station platform called Ravensworth. At least if my memory is remembering correctly. I presume at the top of Franconia hill they will have a crossover to get from new 1 to 2. I don't think they would go 6 miles from the Springfield station to AF without at least one crossover.
    There is welded rail laid waiting to be installed pretty much the full 6 miles. And as you stated the signal bridges are in place with the signals turned.
    There is a signal blackout weekend coming up on Sat 11/14, Sun 11/15 and Mon 11/16 which will cause big problems for VRE on Mon 11/16. Once completed it will allow a heavy freight to travel from Springfield all the way to the Potomac River on Track 1.
    Also, Woodbridge station is near completion, but probably won't be 100 percent done until Dec 1st or shortly there after.

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