Tuesday, September 21, 2010

D.C. Streetcar Construction Update (Sept 19, 2010): Anacostia Line

Source: www.bing.com

Construction on this line has been oh . . . so . . . slow. For awhile last winter, nothing happened for weeks. I checked again May 5 (see archived blog for that date), and yet again found very little new. I began to wonder if they'd finish in time for the Tricentennial.

This time, however (Sunday morning, September 19), I found something had moved. There was actual, perceptible progress. Let's take a look. Below is the north end-of-track on Firth Sterling Avenue. At my back is Suitland Parkway. I'm not sure what's being done in that hole on the left, but the second track, on the right beyond the Jersey walls, is now finished:

I'm straddling the Jersey wall so you can see the completed track on the west side of Firth Sterling. Last May, they had just started work on this track:

And directly behind me, just beyond Suitland Parkway, the CSX ex-B&O Shepherd Branch lies buried in the weeds. This is the route, I believe, that the streetcar line will eventually follow en route to the Anacostia Metro station:

Now, let's reverse direction and head south down Firth Sterling to see the finished parade of street lights, which we're guessing will one day support catenary:

The two tracks form an S-curve as they negotiate the gap under I-295. They're completed now and tidy-looking--well, except for the center of the road:

Crossing under I-295 we were pleased to find work had pretty much been wrapped up on the curve that turns the line down South Capitol Street. This view is from the west side of the interstate, looking back north:

Now, dear reader, turn 180 degrees and you'll see the two tracks continuing along South Capitol Street and then merging into a single track in the distance:

Let's zoom in a bit. The junction itself is still under construction and switching equipment remains to be installed:

Walking south down the now-finished tracks, we spot something new--a turnout being built to take a northbound trolley across South Capitol Street into a yet-to-be-built maintenance shed on the left. The turnout is off to the right, and directly in front of the camera is a gash carved into the southbound lane of the highway that will one day accommodate a track over to the shed:

The next few shots examine the turnout in some detail. In the background you can see a metal box between the rails that apparently houses a motor for shifting the switch points:

 Now we're looking north at the turnout:

And here is where the turnout leads toward across the street--at present, to an empty lot:

We wrap up this report by turning back around to the south (Getting dizzy?) and staring at the same end-of-track in the weeds we've been seeing since the project began:

Let's hope the next report will contain a bit more drama. Meanwhile, be sure to see my separate report on the H Street NE streetcar line's construction, which is seeing real progress.

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