Friday, May 16, 2014

Second-track bridge going in at Hyattsville wye (March 15, May 9)

CSX is double-tracking portions of its Alexandria Extension between Benning Yard (Anacostia) and the wye  (Hyattsville), where the line ties into the Capital Sub. After photographing the construction scene at the wye January 31 and February 4, I published a selection of photos here. Since then I've returned March 15 and May 9. Herewith are a few progress shots from those visits. CLICK ANY IMAGE TO ENLARGE IT.

March 15
Looking south from Tanglewood Drive. The wall here is finished . . .
 . . . but here, it's just beginning. The wall is to support the earth and ballast on which the new, second track will lie, then lead into a new bridge across the NE Branch of the Anacostia River, too low to be visible in this photo.

Q439 rolls past the construction site under a fine sky.
 And a little later, a loaded coal train--I missed its symbol--comes through on its way south.

 Moving to the north side of the river and the top of the wye, the scene has changed little since my previous visit (February 4). That grading to the left will allow the track to be slid over (eastward) a little, apparently to accommodate its southern end also being pushed eastward, so it can be attached to a new deck-girder bridge.
Backing across Decatur Street, note that no further work has been done for moving this leg of the wye to match the grading across the road.

May 9
It has now been two months since my previous visit. Progress is evident in a number of places, beginning with the creation of an earthen base for the new track.

Backing up from the scene above, stepping across Tanglewood Drive while facing north, we find something new since the February visit: A section of track has been laid in Tanglewood Drive. It lies there unconnected to anything north or south of it.

Now, I've stepped back across Tanglewood and am facing south.
Looking south across Tanglewood Drive, we find a new crossover installed and in use. Of course, a second track will be brought up on the right from the south and tied into the switch eventually--you can see part of it in the distance--and a new track will be added on the left side with another switch and then run behind me across the river to the east leg of the wye.
Here comes Q033 as it pulls through the wye and enters the Alexandria Extension.

Unlike what I've seen in previous visits, this time construction work is now visible for the new bridge on the opposite side of the old (currently active) bridge.

In this long telephoto shoot it becomes plain the old track in the foreground is going to connect to the new track coming up from the south. The new bridge will then receive the old track on the left.

Meanwhile, back at the wye . . . the graded portion on the left has now received a layer of ballast. That's all the progress I detected here.
See what I mean? The ballast stops cold at the sidewalk running along Decatur Street. Thinking about it, there may actually be no need to shove the leg into a different position where it crosses this street. Most of its swing will take place at the far end, where it will connect to the new bridge. Here at the street it may not require any movement at all, and the old grade crossing can remain.

Following the east leg of the wye toward the Capital Sub, nothing has been done where the east leg crosses Decatur Street. Maybe nothing new will be required. We'll check back in another month and report to you what's happened with this interesting project.

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