May 17 Demolition Date Set For Talbot Ave. Bridge

Looks like we have a date for the demolition of the historic Talbot Avenue bridge. If you would like to experience this historic structure, time is of the essence. It will survive for only a few more weeks. Thankfully the main beams of the bridge (perhaps the only part of it original to the 1918 structure) are slated to be preserved and placed along the Capital Crescent Trail.

East Side of Rock Creek Trestle is No More

Greg C. visited the Rock Creek site this past Tuesday morning and witnessed the missing wooden trestle. It’s gone! :'( This marks the end of an era, the bridge having stood since 1892 has finally gone down. A new pair of bridges will replace this one, carrying the Purple Line rapid transit and the Capital Crescent Trail across the valley at about half the height of the original trestle. RIP.

4/9/19 – the wooden trestle is no more. The steel 1972 rebuilt section of the west end still stands, for now. Photo courtesy Greg C.

A photo from the Friends of Forest Glen Facebook group shows the demolition in progress. If only I could have gotten up there to measure those timbers. :'(

4/8/19 – Photo by Ed Murtagh from the Bethesda Chevy Chase Back In The Day Facebook group.

Rock Creek Trestle Demolition Progress

View is west, standing on the northern side of the right of way. The Creek and the trestle are behind the crane. Sadness.

Georgetown Local, April 1982

April 23, 1982. The Georgetown Local is heading down the Branch toward Georgetown and has just crossed River Road in Bethesda. B&O EMD GP38 3848 (blt 1967) is on point. From an eBay auction I recently won, photographer unknown. Note the graffiti on the nose which I assume reads “RADIO EQUIPPED.”

B&O Valuation Maps Going Online

The National Archives has started posting their collection of valuation maps online. Right now, not everything is live, but more is sure to come. Visit the collection of B&O materials here: https://catalog.archives.gov/id/1180861

I was unable to find anything Georgetown Branch related at this time, but I will be checking back and will update this post when I do. Could you find anything interesting on there? I hope so! The collection really is fantastic.

Here are a list of the val maps I need for the GB.

Layout Update: 3/25/2019 – Cables & DCC Fun

After wrapping up the curved turnout build, I haven’t been back to the layout much over the last couple weeks. A few things have happened, so in the interest of momentum, I’ll share them here.

Last Fall I inherited an old Digitrax Super Empire Builder starter set, which is about 15 years old, from an old friend. This allowed me to switch from DCC++ to Digitrax for my main DCC system. (I’ve preserved my DCC++/JMRI/RPi setup for use as a programming and testing platform.) The Digitrax DT300 throttle that came with the set appeared to have been a victim of the capacitor plague and Digitrax had some sort of warranty repair program for repairing it. It will be going back to Digitrax for the repair soon. (they are just now getting back on track after being ravaged by hurricane Michael last year.)

So far, I have been using my backup throttle, an old UT-1 which I purchased about 17 years ago so I could run trains on the old MCMR club layout. The layout was gone shortly after I purchased it and I have never really had much use for it. With my new Digitrax system, I finally do! Since earlier in the Winter when I picked up the Digitrax system, I’ve used the UT-1. It works fine for running stuff around and testing it but I have been plugging it directly into the DB150 which means I can only use the throttle at one end of my long room. So, this weekend I decided to make some LocoNet cables. I have had some old inherited Cat5 cable that was left over from the old club storage area and some 6-pin RJ12 connectors and the proper crimping tools stashed away. I broke everything out and sat on the couch and did some crimping while watching TV with the wife. It went well. I had a bit of a re-learning curve as I figured out the process again. I attempted to use the cutter/stripper on the tool I have, but it would slice too much insulation and into the wires damaging them. I ended up using an X-Acto knife to carefully cut back the insulation. I also realized that my vision requires the use of glasses and an opti-visor to really get the wires correct!

The Digitrax LT1 tester proved to be tricky, as well. I read through the directions but I must have skimmed the part that said you must have a throttle plugged in for it to work correctly. (thank you Tom M. for helping me figure this out!) Anyway, once I got that working, the cables checked out and I hooked them up to a couple of the old Loy’s Toys cab bus fascia panels I have, and voila! I could now plug in my throttle at various spots around the room. Worked fine.

Lastly, I had a little bit of fun with some non-DCC locos I have collected over the years. I decided to put some basic decoders I have laying around into these engines and see if they will run. I fired up the DCC++/JMRI system and got to testing. I managed to get my Athearn Genesis 2-8-2 USRA light mikado and my Life-Like Proto2000 S1 up and running. I couldn’t fit the S1 shell back on and in doing some online research I found that these locos have a critical flaw that needs attention before the decoder can be properly installed. That will be next on my list.

So that’s it for now. Spring is here and thus my time in the layout room is being challenged by chores, yard work and other fun things. I’m hoping that I can continue as I really do have some great momentum right now. I visited my friend Kelly yesterday and saw his Georgetown layout which is really coming along nicely! He is modeling the area of G-town from the Aqueduct bridge to the “new yard” at Wisconsin Ave, with plans for expansion. Very cool!

Rock Creek Trestle Demolition Date Set

The bell is tolling for the Rock Creek trestle. The Purple Line has announced that beginning on March 26, demolition will begin as they remove the path across the top and then begin demolishing the trestle itself. Already the wood planking atop the trestle is being removed.

Photo from @PurpleLineMD

I am hoping to visit the site to witness some of the demolition. It’s heartbreaking to read about. RIP.

UPDATE:

Documenting the Talbot Ave Bridge

As most of you will know, the bridge which crosses the B&O’s Metropolitan Branch and Georgetown Branch lead at Georgetown Junction is slated to be torn down. The sides of the bridge, which once belonged to a turntable, are to be saved and placed along a new stretch of the Capital Crescent Trail, which is nice. The bridge was constructed at some point around 1918 and has seen several refurbishments over the years. Much of the support structure rusted away over the years and as such the bridge has been condemned for the last year or two. Thankfully, it was recently re-opened to pedestrian traffic.

Photos from our visit are here in my Gallery.

Here I am on a chilly Sunday posing in front of the Talbot Ave. bridge. It snowed a bit while we were there. Note the giant logs laying on the ground; evidence of the brush and tree clearing the Purple Line folks are doing. Photo by Greg C.

Greg C. and I spent a morning at the bridge documenting it both with a measuring tape and with a camera. All in all, it was a very successful trip and I feel confident that I have enough data to accurately model the bridge in HO scale for my layout. Unfortunately, the model will have to be modified a bit to fit in my space, but I plan on being as accurate as I can. I think once complete, it will be a really neat model. Here are a few a sneak peeks at the drawing I am developing of the bridge structure: