Saturday, February 8, 2014

Hyattsville CPLs and wye, redux: New RR bridge at the apex (February 3, 2014)

After posting my January 31, 2014 photos of the CPL-replacement project at the east and west legs of the wye at Hyattsville, Maryland (CSX Capital Subdivision), I learned interesting details from a CSX engineer about the new bridge being built at the apex. On Monday, February 3, I grabbed the camera and headed back for a look.


The scene. Looking southeast toward the decades-old B&O/CSX single-track, deck-girder bridge across the Northeast Branch of the Anacostia River.
Looking north across that same railroad bridge, extremely foreshortened in this low-angled shot. Construction equipment at the north end (background) and south end (right side) is being used to build retaining walls and abutments for a new bridge to be situated to the right (east) side of the current bridge. The new bridge will carry the track leading to the east leg of the wye, while the old bridge will carry a second track to the west leg. CSX has embarked on a project to double-track the Alexandria Extension, which runs from Benning Yard (south end) to the Hyattsville wye (north end).

A closer look at the CPL and grading for a new track that will cross a new bridge to the east (right) of the current railroad bridge. The view is north.

An even closer look at grading for the track that will lead to the east leg.

Southward view across the Northeast Branch bridge. At the far end work is in progress to construct abutments for the new bridge over the Northeast Branch. This new bridge will carry one of the tracks coming off the railroad flyover bridge.

Zooming into the previous view a bit and revealing work at the far end. Note the jog in the existing track.

A tighter zoom onto that jog in the track. Fasten your seat belt, because I'm going to speculate what might happen here: The new second track will apparently be run up the right side (note the loose rail to the right of the active track), the current active track will be cut at the jog visible above, and the new track coming up the right side will then be welded to the old track crossing the old bridge. The whole assembly will then run to the west leg of the wye. The current active track below the cut will be welded to new track running across the new bridge to the east leg of the wye. Again, this is just my speculation. We shall see what happens in a few weeks.
Looking south toward the flyover bridge. This photo was taken as I stood on the edge of Tanglewood Drive. To the right, work is in progress to build a retaining wall.
A closer look at the retaining wall.

A view of the east side of the retaining wall.

Looking south, here's the north end of the flyover bridge. In the foreground is a set of crossovers to direct northbound trains to one or the other leg of the wye, or southbounds to track 1 or 2.

All clear! Here comes Q031.

Finally, I've mentioned the railroad flyover bridge. Here's a view of its architecture from the northern quarter of its approximately one-mile length. This shot and the one below were taken from Upshur Street.

And that completes my overview of work on the north end of the Alexandria Extension. More to follow in the weeks to come . . .

Monday, February 3, 2014

Bye-bye B&O CPLs at the Hyattsville (Md.) wye

They're coming down while-U-wait--those old B&O-era Color Position Light signals. CSX is going "mod" as they expand system capacity. In the D.C. area only a few CPLs remain, including those controlling the wye in Hyattsville, Maryland, and their days are numbered. I paid my last respects Friday, January 31, 2014.

The wye is at the north end of CSX's "Alexandria Extension" (highlighted below in yellow), tying the Extension into the Capital Subdivision. The Extension actually begins farther south near Benning Yard (not visible in this map). Near Lloyd Street, halfway between route 450 and MD295 is the south end of the new railroad overpass that carries the Extension above a tangle of industrial businesses in Bladensburg. [Click any image below to enlarge it.]

[Above] The west leg of the wye is almost completely blocked by "stuff" involved in new-signal construction. One such new signal is visible to the left, its head turned, awaiting its big moment.

[Above] Looking south along the west leg of the wye.

[Above] Looking south along the east leg. Note the grading to the left, where the east leg will be shoved over when the southern approach to the wye's apex is separated into two tracks.

[Above] Work in progress at the south apex preparing for a second single-track deck girder bridge across the Northeast Branch of the Anacostia River. As mentioned above, the new bridge is to accommodate breaking apart the apex into two tracks, which will eventually run double-track all the down to the RF&P.

[Above] Presenting Q410, en route to Baltimore and beyond.

A view of the wye looking north. Note the pile of rocks behind the signal . . .

. . . because I'm now on top of it awaiting the next train.

 And here comes Q416. This is going to be an excellent shot!

Agh! I thought Q416 went to Baltimore, but alas, it's westbound--behind the construction junk!

Looking west along the Capital Sub, the west leg of the wye coming in from the left. A pair of wayside CPLs stand guard awaiting their replacements.

Looking east along the Capital Sub showing the back side of the same CPLs, with the wye's west leg off to the right. This signal location is called JD, recalling a tower once here.

Once upon a time Hyattsville had a genuine Frances Baldwin-designed B&O station here on the Capital Sub between the two legs of the wye. The old siding in the foreground was, remarkably, used by the Chesapeake Beach Railway, the trains of which came up the Alexandria Extension so passengers could connect with B&O trains. In the brambles between the trees is the concrete foundation of the depot. (See Harwood, "Impossible Challenge II, p. 157, for an excellent photograph.) In the distance the white object, I'm told, covered a stairwell leading to a tunnel for pedestrians that came up on the opposite side of the tracks.

The foundation of the old station is barely visible through the overgrowth.

This is the "white object" mentioned above that marked the stair to the tunnel under the railroad.

After shooting the wye area I drove south down Kenilworth Avenue to Lloyd Street for a look at the south end of the new (well, "new" a couple of years ago) railroad flyover across the industrial part of Bladensburg.

It was all I could do to get in, grab my shot through the car window, and get out without being run over by a dang truck! Note that this view borders Anacostia Park (left), bordered by a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire. Whew. Some pretty nice shots could have been gotten from the park, alas. Note also the rail laid down for construction of a second track. That concludes my report on this short visit; I hope you found it interesting. --John