Last August on this blog I reported on work underway on the third-track extension of CSX's RF&P Subdivision (from CFP104, the current end of the three-track line, to CFP 98) in Alexandria. That report is still available at the bottom of this blog. Now, here's an update showing progress at two locations (Franconia Hill--marked "1" in the map above--and at the Franconia-Springfield Parkway, marked "2") as of November 5.
The photo below was taken from the Franconia Road highway overpass, looking north. Apparently work has been completed on the ballast, and now two lengths of ribbon rail have been dropped--although it escapes me why one rail is between the two tracks and the other is on the outside of track 2. Indications are that the track 1 extension will go where track 2 is today, while track 2 will be shoved left, closer to track 3. (Track order, from left to right, is 3, 2, and eventually 1). Incidentally, since my August report, Dominion Virginia Power has begun replacing the old four-legged towers along the railroad's right of way with monopole towers.
As a Metro train races north, Q409 grinds south to the summit of Franconia Hill:
A telephoto view of the roadbed work as Q409 rolls past. The picture reveals two more things: The erection and activation of wayside signals--note the signal bridge's heads have been turned--and the remaining four-legged electricity towers beyond the signal bridge:
An open view of work completed so far on the right of way:
The base of one of the new monopole high-tension towers--less aethestically pleasing than the four-legged towers, in this writer's opinion:
We now move a few blocks south of the Franconia Road highway overpass, where a large construction crew has been working for months to shave off the hillside to the right to make room for the new track. The steel I-beams will be pile-driven against the cut to provide support. Fleet Street runs along the top of the hillside to the right:
Loaded coal train U306 rumbles by the work site:
The huge I-beams. (For scale, I propped up my scanner on one of them.) They must be expecting a 7.9 earthquake:
The construction site as viewed from inside the Fleet Industrial Park. Note the industrial lead, severed last summer when work began:
Now let's move to location #2 on the map. This view looks down from the highway overpass where the Franconia-Springfield Parkway crosses above the RF&P. U306 has come to a halt because Q409 is ahead of them attempting to set off a bad-order car. It was my good luck to arrive just as concrete ties were being dropped into place for the new track. The cantilevered signal bridge, of course, is not yet in service:
Photography here is not made easy by this extravagant chain-link fence along the sidewalk above the railroad, identical to the one on the former US1 bridge over Pot Yard. The construction crew is working to the right of the Metro tracks:
Amtrak #94 rips through the work area northbound for a station stop in Alexandria as U306 sits and waits:
In the short time I spent at this location, the crew laid concrete ties all the way to the left of the signal bridge. The actual end of the new track will be only a few feet farther, just south of the highway overpass, where a new switch has been installed. Stenciled on the side of the signal control shanty is "Franconia Remote CFP 98.09":