Category Archives: Georgetown Branch related links

Early Aerial Photos of DC

These aerial photo mosaics shot over DC in the early 20th century are incredible.

Aerial photographic mosaic map of Washington, D.C., Sept 13, 1922
https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3851a.ct004537/?r=0.132,0.313,0.095,0.079,0

Aerial photographic mosaic, Washington, D.C., 1918
https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3851a.ct004536/?r=0.047,0.534,0.27,0.225,0

It is striking to me just how built-up the city has become over the last one hundred years. Looking at the mosaic from 1922, I’m not certain there is a bridge across Canal Rd. at the future site of Arizona Ave. It appears there is only the bridge across the Canal. Perhaps there was a smaller bridge there? My sources are not clear. More research is in order!

Georgetown Barges and Tug Boat Considerations

Went to the big Railroad Hobby Show in Springfield, MA this past weekend and wow, it was a doozy. The show was massive and loaded with great stuff. I picked up a few cool things for the Georgetown Branch, including a Sylvan Scale Models HO Barge with Coal resin kit. I also checked out the Sea Port Model Works tables and took a good hard look at some of their models. Just lovely. I have my eye on one of the harbor tugs for my own layout.

But, the whole thing got me thinking about what the barges looked like in Georgetown in the heyday of production down at the waterfront, by Smoot Sand & Gravel. Here are some cropped aerial images to get the juices flowing and get some ideas going. Enjoy!

Note what appears to be a tug, nestled among the barges.

Unfortunately I don’t have dates for these images. They are part of a book that was loaned to me by H. Smith and now resides at the B&O RR Historical Society Archives in Eldersburg, MD. The images seem to date from the late 1940s to the early/mid 1960s. You can view these and more images from this collection, in full size, in my Gallery.

New Photo Of Rock Creek Trestle

As you all know, the Rock Creek trestle was torn down last Winter/Spring. I was able to take some photos before the final blow was struck and thankfully captured some crucial images of the structure. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take measurements, as the deck had closed before I had a chance to get up there, although a crane operator mentioned that the girder bridge section was slated to be preserved, as it was deemed historic. (dates back to early 1900s)

Montgomery County Parks Dep’t. posted this on Twitter today:

Site of the B&O Rock Creek trestle.

The view is from the hiker-biker path and is facing to the North. To the left, you can see the old abutment built by the B&O in 1972, which held the rebuilt section of the trestle. (steel) In the foreground, if you look very closely, you will see the old wooden pilings, cut down and about to be entombed in concrete. Here is a photo I took about one year ago today:

Jan 16, 2019: B&O Rock Creek Trestle
Jan 16, 2019: B&O Rock Creek Trestle

I am currently in the process of building a model of this trestle. More updates soon.

Rock Creek Trestle Construction

The Purple Line folks have shared a couple images on Facebook. The shots were taken atop the old B&O abutments to the trestle across Rock Creek. The new right of way is about 15′ lower than the original RoW. They “shaved” the top down. (the new bridges will be much lower than the original one.) https://www.facebook.com/marylandpurpleline/


Construction #PurpleLineMD bridge abutments and retaining walls is ongoing near Rock Creek.

Construction #PurpleLineMD bridge abutments and retaining walls is ongoing near Rock Creek.

Modern CSX Loco on GB Siding

This video of a folk song being performed at a recent celebration of the Talbot Ave bridge (slated for demolition tomorrow) has a neat shot of a CSX loco sitting on the Georgetown Branch lead, which I would wager is a rare sight.

A CSX loco on the Georgetown Branch siding. Still from video, credit to: Brigitte Yuille.

Talbot Avenue Bridge_Train Song from Brigitte Yuille on Vimeo. The view is right at the 56 second mark. (Thanks, Greg!)

Closeup of the loco. Still from video, credit to: Brigitte Yuille. Probably an EMD SD70 variant. (Thanks, Dave!)

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.