Tuesday, September 16, 2014

CSX's Alexandria Extension Wye Do-Over Nears Completion (September 14, 2014)

CSX is double-tracking most of its 19th-century Alexandria Extension between D.C. and Hyattsville, Maryland, where it couples to the ex-B&O (CSX's Capital Subdivision) via a wye. Where the double-tracking enters the wye's south tail, the switch that controls whether a train takes the west or east leg will be pulled out, thus separating the east and west legs. At that point the west leg will remain attached to the old single track, but the east leg will be attached to the new second track, soon to cross the Anacostia River. Just south of the river, two crossovers have been installed for directing trains this way or that. The new track, approaching from the south, currently stops at the south end of the new concrete bridge. We visited the scene Sunday, September 14. Herewith is a photo report.


From the west side of the bridge the scene looks as always--except for those new signals turned away from the railroad.

But, walk over to the center and you're staring north along the recently-finished bridge, now fully ballasted, awaiting rail. The wye is straight ahead around the corner to the left, behind the trees.

A view of the new bridge from its east side.

CSX Q130 approaches one of  two new crossovers while rumbling across the old bridge.

Southward view. Q130 crosses Tanglewood Drive and is almost upon the second of the crossovers, which it must take, of course, or else acquire a bright yellow hood ornament.

Q130 has now crossed to the easternmost track. We're unsure how CSX will number them yet; more later. Below are two more south-looking views of this spot.

Your photographer has now spun around on his heels and is facing north toward the new bridge and, beyond that, the wye. Panel track joined to the crossover awaits installation.

That concludes our update south of the wye. Now, let's drive around to the north side . . .

Standing with my back to Decatur Street, here's the view, looking south, of the new trackbed prepared weeks ago. This is where the east leg (shown here) will be slid once it's coupled to the new track crossing the new bridge over the Anacostia River. The B&O CPL will, alas, come down. Replacement signals will apparently be only those "Darth Vaders" south of the bridge, and those out on the CSX Capital Sub mainline controlling entrance and exit to/from the wye.

Walking south along the east leg toward the Anacostia River bridge.

We have now arrived at the north end of the bridges across the Anacostia. To the right is the other B&O CPL that currently controls northbounds approaching the switch at the south end of the wye. Our next report, in October if not sooner, will document the final stage of the project. Thanks for looking. --John

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