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B&O Photo Tour


B&O Camden Cutoff
Modern day photo tour

Accompanying each photo below are:

Click a photo to see a larger view. Please send your comments and corrections to Steve.


<< Previous (index) | THIS PAGE: Camden Junction to Carroll Junction | Next (east) >>

Brief Historical Background:

Map

Map
Mile: Date: (Apr 1964)
Ease: View: N (up)
Area: IC2:
Map: Ba 42 Topographic Maps

Before the Camden Cutoff, to reach Camden Station from the west, trains followed a winding route through what is now Mt. Clare Yard, over the Carrollton Viaduct, then a sharp right onto the Locust Point Branch, then a left at Bailey's Wye. In addition to the inefficiencies of the winding route, soon the B&O discovered traffic was so heavy the double-tracked Carollton Viaduct was a bottleneck. Their solution in 1867 was to build the so-called "Camden Cutoff" that bypassed the snaking route over the Carrollton Viaduct, and led more directly to Camden Station.


Camden Cutoff

Camden Cutoff
Mile: 3.2 Date: Feb 2000
Ease: B+ View: NE
Area: B- IC2: 117
Map: Ba 42 E 6 Topographic Maps

At what originally was known as Camden Junction, looking NE from Patapsco Avenue bridge we see the southern end of Mt. Winans Yards. The tracks at the extreme left are the original B&O main line that traverses the Carollton Viaduct, a route CSX calls the Mount Clare Branch. The tracks on the right being negotiated by the coal hopper are those of the Camden Cutoff, which this page follows all the way to Camden Station.

Link: 1996


Gable Avenue

Gable Avenue
Mile: 2.9 Date: Dec 2003
Ease: A View: NW
Area: B- IC2:
Map: Ba 42 G 5 Topographic Maps

Though Gable Avenue closed as a grade crossing around 1970. it continues to provide an overlook into the yard. A 1915 atlas places the B&O's West Baltimore Station on the left, behind the photographer.


Tank Cars

Tank Cars
Mile: 2.8 Date: Feb 2011
Ease: B+ View: N
Area: B- IC2:
Map: Ba 42 G 5 Topographic Maps

Sometimes the yard is near empty, and other times you'll see equipment like this, a very different kind of tank car. Department of Defense DODX 40211 was the identifier on one of the flatcars.

During the 1800s, coal for steam engines had been available in the foreground.


Zepp's Bridge
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Zepp's Bridge
Mile: 2.6 Date: Sep 2009
Ease: B- View: NE
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 G 6 Topographic Maps

The Curtis Bay Branch gains elevation by following the Old Main Line on the left, then curving right and over the yard via what is known as Zepp's bridge.

Change for Curtis Bay Branch at this site


Mt. Winan's Yards

Mt. Winan's Yards
Mile: 2.4 Date: Apr 2001
Ease: C View: SW
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 G 5 Topographic Maps

This view looks back into the yard.

Though "Camden Cutoff" could mean "Bypass of Camden Station" instead it is the "Route to Camden Station".


Mt. Winan's Yards

Mt. Winan's Yards
Mile: 2.4 Date: Apr 2001
Ease: C View: NE
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 G 5 Topographic Maps

The view to the northeast from the same spot as the prior photo is more interesting. On the left is Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The brick structure at left center is the B&O Warehouse at Camden Yards. To the right is the former PSINet Stadium, home of Baltimore Ravens football.

Ahead, the yard necks down to a grade crossing with Hollins Ferry Road.

Link: 1995


CSX 8446
Updated mid-Jul 2021

CSX 8446
Mile: 2.2 Date: Feb 2011
Ease: A View: SW
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 G 5 Topographic Maps

1915 As seen from the Hollins Ferry Road grade crossing, a mix of engine designs leads coal out of the yard on a gray winter day.

The puddles reflect on the loss of the Gebhard Ice Pond that had existed on the right before being landfilled during the 1960s. Another source identifies the pond via the name C. Hephard. A 1915 atlas (right) lists the Susquehanna Ice Company at the northwest end of the pond.


Assistants

Assistants
Mile: 2.2 Date: Feb 2011
Ease: A View: NE
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 G 5 Topographic Maps

Assisting with the coal are CSX 8567, unknown, and CSX 4.

The B&O's Mt. Winan's Station had been located on the right.

Link: station photo


Signals

Signals
Mile: 2.2 Date: Feb 2011
Ease: A View: NE
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 G 5 Topographic Maps

Now our coal train is farther along. This photo captures the brief period the B&O's CPL signals (right) and CSX's new variety (left) co-existed here.


To Baltimore
Photo courtesy Tom Cochran

To Baltimore
Mile: 2.2 Date: Apr 1977
Ease: A View: NE
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 H 4 Topographic Maps

A similar view in 1977 without as much zoom shows Baltimore's then-new, pentagonal-shaped World Trade Center where Inner Harbor revitalization was just beginning. Tom reports the building on the left was part of the Maryland Glass Company.

Link: pic by Baltimore Sun May 29, 1975


Hollins Ferry Road
NEW! mid-Jul 2021

Hollins Ferry Road
Mile: 2.2 Date: Jan 2021
Ease: A View: NW
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 H 4 Topographic Maps

The Hollins Ferry Road grade crossing witnesses an unusually high rate of gate running -- and underwear soiling. This runner got blocked by another motorist who unexpectedly decided to turn around just as the train approached. Collision was avoided by a few seconds.


Think Big
NEW! mid-Jul 2021

Think Big
Mile: 2.2 Date: Jan 2021
Ease: A View: N
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 H 4 Topographic Maps

Railfans don't run the gates or turn around, instead they enjoy finding out what's gonna roll past. The Lake Erie, Franklin, and Clarion Railroad (LEF&C, reporting mark LEF) was a short line in Pennsylvania with track that reached 80 miles at max. Per Wikipedia, "The corporate name was somewhat optimistic: the railroad CWCX 00001 never reached either Franklin or Lake Erie." Nevertheless, some 30 years after it ceased operation, LEF&C's boxcars can still be found. SGLR is the reporting mark of Seminole Gulf Railway which purchased many LEF boxcars.

And, how often does one get to see car 00001? CWCX is the reporting mark of Canandaigua Wine Company of New York. According to an online encyclopedia, Canandaigua is the second largest domestic producer of wines in the United States. The company's fleet consists of about only 10 railcars, so car numbering that includes five digits might just be somewhat optimistic as well.


Cry Wolf
NEW! mid-Jul 2021

Cry Wolf
Mile: 2.2 Date: Jun 2021
Ease: A View: E
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 H 4 Topographic Maps

One problem is some stationary trains like this one headed by CSX 6987 repeatedly activate the grade crossing gates at Hollins Ferry Road.

Trees have regrown trackside as industrial use has declined here. The white truck in the distance is riding Interstate 95.


Off the Beaten Track
NEW! mid-Jul 2021

Off the Beaten Track
Mile: 2.2 Date: Jul 2021
Ease: A View: NE
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 H 4 Topographic Maps

lost in the weeds On the right, CSX 4319 is looking more iron hog than iron horse.

It would be easy to mistake it for a derailed unit that has rolled down the embankment, especially when railcars it had been hauling are sitting alone on the main line above.


Sherwin Williams
NEW! mid-Jul 2021

Sherwin Williams
Mile: 2.0 Date: Jul 2021
Ease: B View: SW
Area: C- IC2:
Map: Ba 42 H 4 Topographic Maps

cover the earth But it was no derailment.

Every so often, CSX intentionally sends a unit or two down that weedy path to make a delivery or pick up at Sherwin Williams. This time CSX 6458 and 4319 got the call.

During 1946, Baltimore Paint and Color Works had been the first industry at this location.


Western Maryland

Western Maryland
Mile: 1.9 Date: Feb 2015
Ease: A- View: SE
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 42 H 4 Topographic Maps

The B&O and Pennsy had Baltimore mostly to themselves during the 19th century, but then the 20th century arrived, and with it the Western Maryland. The WM dug its route under the Camden Cutoff here, and the four-track Cutoff got a bridge. That bridge looks to have been built in phases because its central part, under the Cutoff's two center tracks, is of a different construction style than that under the two outer tracks.

Until removed around 2006, an interchange track that approached the camera and curved to the right had connected this WM route with Mt. Winans Yard.

Change for: WM line at this site


Aerial 1953
NEW! mid-Jul 2021

Aerial 1953
Mile: Date: Feb 1953
Ease: View: N (up)
Area: IC2:
Map: Ba 43 A 2 Topographic Maps

The Cutoff leads northeast from the bridge over the WM at the bottom-left corner. The bridge over Gwynns Falls is next. The B&O's Locust Point Branch curves in from upper left as it follows the city's planned street grid. The Locust Point Branch predates the Cutoff by almost 10 years, so it is appropriate to say the Cutoff next joins with and follows that branch.

The B&O's South Baltimore Branch curves in from bottom right. The three lines meet at Carroll Junction, site of Carroll (later CX) Tower. The track layout here is only a south leg short of a double wye.


Aerial 1964
NEW! mid-Jul 2021

Aerial 1964
Mile: 0.6 Date: Apr 1964
Ease: View: N (up)
Area: IC2:
Map: Ba 43 A 2 Topographic Maps

This is the same view 11 years later. The west leg of the wye was not very busy; the resolution of this aerial photo is too low to determine if that leg had yet been removed. In any case, it was no longer extant as of year 2000.

What is clear is the development to the southeast side of the Cutoff. Since the time of the prior aerial photo, Monroe Street has been extended southeast, and Russell Street is being widened to support traffic to/from a B-W Parkway that had opened during the 1950s.


Aerial 2019
Photo courtesy Google
NEW! mid-Jul 2021

Aerial 2019
Mile: 0.6 Date: 2019
Ease: View: N (up)
Area: IC2:
Map: Ba 43 A 2 Topographic Maps

By 1980, Interstate 95 added a layer on top of everything. Meanwhile, the railroad continues to follow the same route it has since the mid-1800s.

Carroll Junction, which the tour will soon reach, lies between Monroe Street and I-95, however before that is Gwynns Falls...


Gwynns Falls Bridge

Gwynns Falls Bridge
Mile: 1.7 Date: Dec 2001
Ease: B View: SW
Area: C+ IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 4 Topographic Maps

The Camden Cutoff bypasses the Carrollton Viaduct, but it has to cross the same stream (Gwynns Falls) as that venerable structure. It does so here via what track maps list as Blue Top Bridge, just south of where I-95 now crosses overhead. This view looks back SW, away from the city. According to "Real Stories from Baltimore County History" the stones used to build the Cutoff, and presumably this bridge, were hauled from Relay where the Old Main Line was cut into the hill near the Thomas Viaduct monument.

It's far more level, straight and simpler here than at the Carrollton Viaduct. Rail construction at this spot dates to the 1850s and almost certainly initially spanned the stream via a Bollman bridge. It's likely the bridge seen here replaced the Bollman design during the early 1900s. Four tracks cross the water, three active and the one in the foreground obviously disused some time ago.


Spezi
NEW! mid-Jul 2021

Spezi
Mile: 1.5 Date: Jun 2021
Ease: A- View: SW
Area: C+ IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 3 Topographic Maps

Orange juice below, Pepsi above. Spezi is a cola-plus-orange-juice beverage popular in German-speaking countries. The bright railcars crossing the Gwynns Falls bridge belong to Tropicana. CSX no longer operates the "juice train" as a unit train (Tropicana cars only) that transported orange juice fron Florida to New Jersey.

For more than a century, the railroad had this spot to itself. Between 1960 and 1980, both Monroe Street (photog) and Interstate 95 (Pepsi) arrived.


CPL Tower

CPL Tower
Mile: 1.7 Date: Dec 2001
Ease: B View: NE
Area: C+ IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 4 Topographic Maps

Before CSX removed it, this CPL tower near I-95 was one of the more stately in the area. When better visibility is required due to hills or visual clutter, the CPLs were mounted high on towers. The signal on the right is just two shy of a a complete set of lamps, missing only the pair that can display Restricting.

Link: 2011


Monroe Street Bridge

Monroe Street Bridge
Mile: 1.6 Date: Dec 2001
Ease: B View: NE
Area: C+ IC2: 143, 273
Map: Ba 42 J 3 Topographic Maps

The green/yellow bridge dates to the circa 1960 extension of Monroe Street, and has since been replaced (2006) by a bridge of higher clearance at the same location.

This is the view toward the city from under I-95. At the right, almost hidden by the shadow of the interstate highway overhead, is an all but forgotten concrete whistle post that has seen many trains roll past.

Farther on the right, the South Baltimore Branch (now CSX South Baltimore Industrial Track) curves in to connect with the Cutoff at Carroll Junction. Where the two meet ahead, CX Tower had stood on the near side of Monroe Street.

Link: 1970s


Carroll
Photo courtesy HH Harwood collection
NEW! mid-Jul 2021

Carroll Junction
Mile: 1.5 Date: Nov 1941
Ease: B View: N
Area: C+ IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 3 Topographic Maps

During the 1930s, the Baltimore & Annapolis Railroad picked up the pieces of the failed Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis Railway, and arranged to share part of the B&O's route to Camden Station. Pictured here is a 2-car B&A fantrip using BA 92 and BA 325, an ex-Long Island Railroad open-platform el car the B&A operated as a mail car.

By 1950, the then-new B-W Parkway would sever this B&A connection with the B&O, and end its passenger operation. The B&A would soldier on as a freight operation until 1985.

A rebuilt version of B&O's Carroll (CX) Tower would likewise endure until 1985, having been hemmed in a few years prior by Interstate 95. I-95 bridged over the railroad about where the photographer was standing for this shot.

Links (CX Tower): ~1940, ~1950, 1970s, 1978, ~1980, board, levers


Merging

Merging
Mile: 1.5 Date: Mar 2015
Ease: B+ View: NE
Area: C+ IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 3 Topographic Maps

Northeast of Monroe Street, the B&O Locust Point Branch (left), the Camden Cutoff (center) and the South Baltimore Branch (right) join to form the main line into Baltimore. All three are now parts of CSX's Baltimore Terminal Subdivision. In the distance, a truck is crossing the railroad at Bush Street.

The right of way is extra-wide here in part due to former sharing with elevated tracks of the Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis Railway parallel on the right.

Links: 1947 color. ~1950, 1984, 1995, 1996
Change for: WB&A tour at this site


CSX 3175
NEW! mid-Jul 2021

CSX 3175
Mile: 1.5 Date: Jun 2021
Ease: A- View: NE
Area: C+ IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 3 Topographic Maps

Westbound CSX 3175 and CSX 30 haul a train that required 6 minutes to pass. (This is a digital composite of two photos to remove chain link fencing that had obstructed part of the view.)

Ahead, this tour will follow the route as it winds to the right of M&T Bank Stadium (at upper right) then left to Oriole Park at Camden Yards (at left edge).


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