Friday, December 11, 2009

Update (December 3, 2009) on the CSX RF&P third-track extension

Here's a brief photo review of progress at Franconia Hill (CSX RF&P Subdivision, CFP99). On this visit to view trackwork either side of Franconia Road in Alexandria, Virginia, I noticed the contractor's name on the side of a truck: Polivka International, whose specialty (from their Web site) is railroad jobs. A list of current projects proclaimed contracts with all the Class Is. Home office is Charlotte, N.C.

In the two weeks since my last update on this location (November 17), progress was not easily apparent. For one, the south end of the new Track 1 at the Franconia signal bridge had yet to be joined to the north end of the new track only a few hundred yards to the south. Emphasis apparently has been on preparing the track bed, which was still ongoing.


Looking north from the Franconia Road highway overpass. Sorry about that bare tree in the middle; it was that or fall off the cliff!
Track bed preparation continues with roller packing at the skilled hands of a woman operator:

Looking south from the highway overpass via long lens revealed new Track 1 still has a gap here as well as north of the overpass:

Here's why any railroad places train-control employees at construction sites. Wouldn't want to encounter that beam at 60 mph or that operator wouldn't stop spinning until next Thursday:

The overall scene looking south from the highway overpass. At this time I was expecting P094 so I pulled out my scanner to check his progress.

And here he comes, right on schedule, rolling by the worksite at reduced speed as construction crews stand by. Minutes later I was visited by three (3) Fairfax police officers. Someone had spotted my scanner antenna and, of course, the camera. As usual they were polite as could be, and frankly, I don't blame the citizenry for calling me in. We currently (December 11) have five young men from Alexandria arrested in Pakistan for possible terrorism preparations.

That "suspicious-looking" scanner also alerted me to the approach of Q173, shown below easing past the worksite on the north side of the overpass, up the RF&P's ruling grade :

I then returned to the south side of the overpass to catch VRE301, the midday southbound, the cab of which can barely be seen behind the crest of Franconia Hill. The track gang backs away for the commuter to pass:


  1. Excellent job, as always. I wonder...Is that a swtich being cut it under the Franconia Hill southbound signal bridge? Maybe they will still leave a siding to place out of service cars. I wonder if there will be any connection from 1 to 2 or will it be one long siding from Springfield all the way to AF. Looking forward to your next installment. Rusty (

  2. John, do you have any updates?????