• New Bay View Bridge troubles and crowded sidings

  • Discussion pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Discussion pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Moderator: therock

  by RailVet
The word from the Baltimore area:

The big engineering project this year in Baltimore is the replace of the 1885 truss bridge that carries the CSX branch to the Canton area of north Baltimore over Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor. The bridge noticeably has a “rod and pin” type construction that certainly looks like it is from the 1800s but it must have been well constructed to last this long. In any case, its equally old twin less than a mile away will still remain in use over the former PRR now NS freight line to the waterfront.

Again incredibly, this bridge dates from the original construction of the Baltimore & Ohio’s “Royal Blue Line” from Baltimore to Philadelphia and predates the construction of the Baltimore Belt Line which today is the main through route. Although technically now a single track branch, this line is still very important. It provides the connection for interchange with Norfolk Southern, Canton Railroad, and the Sparrows Point branch to the former Patapsco & Back River Railroad.

The connection with the Norfolk Southern is also the route CSX coal trains destined for the “independent” Consolidated Coal Company’s export coal docks. In addition, CSX intermodal traffic in and out of Baltimore uses this route to access the Seagirt Marine Terminal… the main state-owned intermodal yard along the waterfront. While the interchange traffic with NS, Canton, and ex-PBR is modest and could probably be delayed for days, the intermodal trains are “time sensitive” and the coal traffic also needs to be kept on schedule.

After many months of construction and preparation, it appeared a clever replacement bridge project was ready to be installed. The whole thing looked like an engineering project the ancient Romans would appreciate as the new bridge would be in to place over specially constructed guideways, while the old bridge would be scrapped in place. Supposedly this would take place at night over this past weekend as power would have to be turned off over the busy Northeast Corridor… and Amtrak traffic in the middle of the night on a weekend is minimal.

Unfortunately, the ancient Romans were in fact not in charge, as apparently something has gone wrong and the project is now slated to not be completed until this Thursday. With the CSX Canton line now unexpectedly severed, apparently en-route trains have been stopped everywhere. Baltimore storage sidings are stacked up with trains and reports are they are filling the sidings on “the Old Main Line.”

These include a couple of eastbound Q138 intermodal trains…. one would think CSX would be liable for all delays to this type of freight. One report had some of these trains being re-routed via Chambersburg over the old Lurgan subdivision but not sure what good that would do. One supposes in theory a train could be handed off to the NS via Harrisburg and routed into Baltimore via their line but it would still be very complicated to try.
  by amtrakhogger
The replacement of the bridge was unique. The new bridge was constructed on site and the slid into place in between (or inside) the old bridge. Then, the old bridge was slid out from under the new bridge and now it is off to the side. It was not what I was expecting.