A coal hopper is just visiting the run-around track. A run-around
permits a crew to set off a short consist, flip the track switches,
then reposition the engine at the other end of that consist.
Such a track is needed when cars being pulled here
need to be pushed to complete a delivery at an end of the branch.
In the background,
someone is very serious about getting good TV reception. (Anyone
know who operates this tall communications antenna?)
Reader Russ Forte wrote around 2005 to say:
That antenna in the image you just posted is part of the new Police/Fire
communications system for eastern Howard County. It is one of three. The
second is on top of the hill by the ruins of the Patapsco Female
Institute in Ellicott City, and the last one is at Howard High School.
Howard High is near
the 100/108/104 junction. The new tower at HHS is 650 ft. tall. There
was an older tower 550 ft. tall there before. For a couple of years both towers
were standing. They just tore down the old one a month or two ago.
They built this new system because of dead spots with the old one.
There was that big fire in downtown Ellicott City a few years ago and the fire
department radios didnít work and they had to use runners to relay messages.