Category Archives: Prototype

Things to do with the Georgetown Branch prototype.

B&O S2 9023 in Bethesda ca 1964

This photo had to have been taken around 1964, as I believe the Air Rights building (visible under construction in the distance) was completed in 1966. S2 9023 was built between 1943-48. I’m not sure of its original three digit number. The B&O Freight Station is visible to the left of the cab and the engine is sitting on the main, just past Bethesda Ave. I stumbled on this photo while looking at the B&O Diesel Roster on North East Rails. Photo by Bud Laws.

Maloney Concrete: Truck Colors UPDATED

The Bethesda area of my layout will feature the Maloney Concrete plant fairly prominently. I would like to have a few trucks parked nearby and the correct color scheme is important. Unfortunately I don’t have any color images showing what vehicles they owned in the 1940s and 50s looked like but I do have a few from the late 1970s. These images were shared with me by Don Wetmore and thankfully have some of the Maloney fleet pictured in the background. There is some variance here, specifically in the wheels and front bumper and guard which shows most painted red and some painted white. Cab is painted a dark green. Frame, bumpers and some trim/wheels are red. Mixing apparatus, platforms and fuel tanks are white, overall. This is just a starting point and a generalization until I can get some better photos. Last week I picked up an Athearn Mack B concrete truck that I plan on respraying when I can find the time. 🙂

John King, local historian, modeler and railfan, reached out to me and shared a wonderful photo that he took back in 1969 which shows in GREAT detail a Maloney Concrete mixing truck! Here are the details:

John writes:

This was August, 1969 in Rockville at the intersection of MD 355 and Gude Drive.   At the time this was the used car lot for Rockmont (now Ourisman ) Chevrolet. They were paving the storage yard with left over concrete.  I was working there for a summer job so, needless to say, you know who got the task of smoothing the stuff out after it was dumped.

Maloney’s Rockville plant apparently had low clearances requiring this style truck.  I remembered this style from when they delivered cement to our farm  a few years earlier. Not sure if they used this type of ready mix truck at any of their other locations or not.  I think there was a hatch on the side of the drum for loading the materials as opposed to both loading and unloading on the rear of the more modern style mixers.  If nothing else, it confirms the green paint with red frame and wheels.    
Also, note that the sign shows this type of truck, not the more modern ones.
August, 1969 – Route 355 and Gude Dr, Rockville, MD – Maloney Concrete mixing truck #31. Photo by John King.

The Shadow Knows…

While poking around on the DDOT archives, I came across some wonderful aerial images showing the west end of Georgetown yard. This area is particularly interesting, as there were some features there that are long gone and would add lots of flavor to the model railroad. In particular, there were many small shanties and docks along the waterfront for leisure. There is a tunnel under M St/C&O Canal here that gave access to this area from the Foundry Branch valley. I believe this tunnel probably dates back to the canal’s construction, but that’s a research topic for another time. Anyway, a little itty bitty tiny detail that I noticed while looking closely at the photo is the presence of a B&O crossbuck, visible on both sides of the crossing here. Now, had the sun been at a higher position, I may have never noticed it, but they are clearly visible when this photo was taken. Very cool!

Can you spot the crossbuck?

Mail Trains in Georgetown? A Mystery.

While perusing eBay for possible Georgetown Branch related imagery, I came across this photo, which is sourced from the Library of Congress:

Something New in Postal Facilities. [Between 1919 and 1932] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.
Something New in Postal Facilities. [Between 1919 and 1932] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.
The caption reads:

Postal service employee meeting train in Georgetown, D.C. to collect shipment of mail arriving from Rockville, Maryland.

My understanding is that passenger service never existed on the GB apart from a few legendary troop trains and excursions. This makes sense, as there were really no platforms or stations along the route to properly serve passengers. Mail, well, that could be another story. A mail train to Georgetown could make sense, as it’s really just a type of freight. If anyone has any chops for identifying that passenger (mail?) car in the background of this image, or that sign (possibly advertising the new mail service) I would be most appreciative. I’m fascinated!

Oct, 1921: Concrete Magazine Article About Rosslyn Steel & Cement

Oct 1921 – Concrete Magazine article on Rosslyn Steel & Cement

While searching for documents, I stumbled on this article from Concrete magazine, published in October 1921 and scanned by Google. The Rosslyn Steel & Cement Co. property has always been of interest to me, as it was served by the B&O in Georgetown. There was a siding that came off the B&O’s Water St. tracks and curved into the RS&C property, past the large concrete cement elevator and into their massive steel fabrication facility. A quite large and long shed housed the steel operation where they produced re-bar and other steel assemblies for use in their construction projects.

The special thing about this article is that it shows very detailed plans for the RS&C plant and a couple wonderful photographs! They also detail the operations of the cement elevator and the mechanical function of the loaders and unloaders. Really neat stuff! These images and the article text finally give a detailed look at how this plant appeared and was laid out on the site. I’m planning on modeling at least part of it, if I can figure out how to fit it into my layout.

Rosslyn Steel & Cement plant in Georgetown, ca 1921


Interesting Article Featuring Smoot Sand and Gravel

I stumbled on this really fascinating article about quarrying on the Potomac River, something that I had never heard of. I knew that Smoot Sand & Gravel, a major customer for the B&O’s Georgetown Branch, did dredging in the Potomac River for sand and gravel, but I did not know they did quarrying, and to such a large scale! Apparently there were many, many quarries located on the Potomac shores which were all abandoned some time in the late 1930s/early 1940s. This article outlines some of those details and shows the location of one such quarry with equipment still left behind. Amazing. I will have to go!

1948-1961: DC Transit at Dalecarlia Photo Collection

Jun 3, 1951: CTCo 766 at Dalecarlia

Once again, J. Shriver has graciously shared another truly magnificent collection of photos. This time it’s a nice slice of images spanning over 13 years focusing on the DC Transit’s Cabin John line where it passed beneath the B&O’s Georgetown Branch. The photos so wonderfully depict the details of the DCT right of way that I have NEVER seen and so much yearned to see in detail! The images depict several fan trips and excursions, from best I can tell, as well as a few explorations and other journeys. Photographers vary. Enjoy! To view, click here.

Sep 26, 1948 – Whitehurst Freeway Construction photos

View is East at the end of Water St, looking at the tail end of the Whitehurst Fwy. construction. On the left is the King Coal Co.

J. Shriver shared a handful of other really neat photos he has in his collection showing construction of the Whitehurst Freeway back in 1948. The photographer was Charles Murphy. The photos are rich with detail including the King Coal Co. as well as the Rosslyn Steel & Cement silos in the background. Check the photos out here.