Thursday, May 27, 2010

Update (26 May 2010) on CSX RF&P Track 1 Extension Project

For several weeks it's been difficult for me to report on the laying of the RF&P Track 1 extension south of AF (CFP104) because work has been in hard-to-reach locations. At present, all I can witness is at AF, where crews have now gotten the rail, concrete ties and ballast in place from the signal bridge up to Cameron Run.

These photos, taken 26 May, include this one of a tamper/liner parked on the new Track 1 extension across from the former grade crossing at the end of South Quaker Lane in Alexandria. This is adjacent to the Seminary signals (junction with the NS horn track) directly behind me:

VRE 309 rolls south of AF (the interlocking is north of the signal bridge in the background) on Track 2. New Track 1 is barely visible between the locomotive and the gray box:

Inexplicably, this pile of wooden ties has appeared at the foot of South Quaker. The new track is being "shoed" with concrete ties, and AF was totally rebuilt within the past decade, so this is a minor mystery:

VRE 338 with cab car V722 in charge comes up the NS north passenger track during the afternoon commuter rush. The new RF&P track is the last one inside the signal bridge near its left leg. Look closely and you'll see it's thoroughly buried in new ballast:

VRE is approaching a junction called "VAL," where it will move onto CSX and proceed to Alexandria station.

Cut-in of the Track 1 extension (AF/CFP 104 to its junction with Track 2 across from the Franconia-Springfield Transportation Center at CFP 98) is still, as far as I know, scheduled to take place over the July 4 weekend.

Update (26 May 2010) on CSX RF&P Cameron Run bridge project

With only a few days left before the big move, contractor Skanska has most--but not all--of the heavy scaffolding in place. A job site supervisor told me that sliding the new bridge into position may not happen until Monday, even though the four-day shutdown of the railroad begins Friday (28 May) after all evening VRE trains have passed.

Below is a brief photo review of the site as of 26 May.

In the photo below, note the heavy steel beams lying on the RF&P right of way, plus more on the ground:

The steel beams near the railroad are very apparent in this shot. How will they be used? Supporting framework for the new bridge's "final resting place"?

Amtrak 171 is southbound for Lynchburg on the NS horn track as it passes a pair of steel workers:

Peeking via telephoto lens under the new bridge, a new concrete column and steel supporting structure are visible:

The "railroad north" end of the new bridge, revealing this end of the heavy "slide scaffold" (my term):

Lying off to the side are several scaffold pylons that have yet to be driven into place:

A closer look at the "slide scaffold":

VRE 331 gets a wave from a worker as it rumbles through:

As VRE 331 bounds toward a cluster of construction workers, they watch with possibly a little apprehension as they're standing quite close to the horn track. The white car between the horn track and a yard track is occupied all day, every day by a guard who sees to it that no one crosses the track into the work site. I asked him if he wasn't a little queasy about parking so close, but Mr. Invincible just harumphed:

My next post, I hope, will report the actual installation of the new bridge . . .

Friday, May 14, 2010

Update on Cameron Run bridge construction (CSX CFP102)--May 14, 2010

We now know the new bridge will be installed over the Memorial Day weekend. Friday through Monday and possibly a little longer will be given over to the project as CSX shuts down the RF&P through this area. Commuter trains and Amtrak are making alternative plans involving Metro and shuttle buses. Freight rerouting is not known at this moment. The contractor, Skanska, is pouring on the heat to be ready in time. Here's the latest photo report, which reveals at last how the bridge will be slid into place. This was not evident at the time of my last report (April 18).

First, here are a couple of shots from May 1, when the contractor had begun painting the bridge:

Now, here's the May 13 gallery. From this wide angle, the only change apparent is that fresh coat of white paint, perhaps primer; it's hard to imagine leaving a railroad bridge painted white:

The old bridge, still in use, is set for removal by "demo" (demolition), per one of the contractor's employees. Under the bridge you can see writing in orange:

Here's a closer look at that orange writing:

Now, we've been wondering what this feature is. Midway through the new bridge there's this hinge-like apparatus. Does it allow for articulating the two sections of the bridge? It's going to be on a slight curve, so maybe that's its purpose:

At last we can see how the new bridge will be slid into place. In previous reports you saw there were no columns or horizontal I-beams reaching from the new bridge over to the old bridge. Now there's this one, which begins atop the column nearest the NS horn track (foreground) and runs against the old bridge in the distance:

The new horizonal I-beam can be seen more clearly from this perspective:

That's the only one erected so far. However, more were arriving on May 14 when I paid an impromptu visit to the site. Three flatbed trucks, each with an I-beam like the one above, were queued up to enter the job site as I was leaving. Two weeks from today till "show time." More later . . .

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

D.C. Streetcar Showcase (May 5, 2010)

The District's DOT brought one of their Czech-built streetcars, which have been in storage the past few months in the Greenbelt, Maryland Metro lot, into downtown Washington for public inspection at an event they're calling the "DC Streetcar Showcase." They've put the streetcar plus two "DC Circulator" buses and even a bicycle on display (the city now operates a bike rental service) in the "City Center" parking lot at 9th and H Streets NW. The Showcase runs through Saturday, May 8.

Your scribe was there when the Showcase opened this morning (May 5) along with a squad of TV reporters including NBC4 (WRC-TV), the Spanish-language network Univision (a Latino viewer's treat for Cinco de Mayo), cable Newschannel 8, and various others with not-so-sophisticated-looking video cameras. I also chatted with the fellow who runs the "Greater Greater Washington" blog site, which has also been covering the progress of the streetcar lines' construction.

Without saying more, I'll let the photos and A/V materials tell the story: