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:

Layout Update: 3/12/2019 – More Turnouts

The three turnouts in place for the track coming into Bethesda. Not the extra curved turnout on the right.

After building my first curved turnout a couple weeks ago I decided to build the next two to complete the track coming into Bethesda. I spent several hours over the weekend putting these together. When all three were done, I set them in place and realized I didn’t like how they worked. The first one was too tight of a radius. Hmmm… the only solution was to build one MORE turnout! This one a #10 LH with a 60″ OR and 46″ IR. It took me a few more hours to complete as I don’t have a FastTracks PointForm jig for a #10 turnout, only #8. So I used that and filed them down further to get the clearance I needed. Improvise. Adapt. Overcome… yeah.

Closeup of the curved turnouts.

Putting together the turnouts has been a tremendously rewarding experience and I take a lot of pride in how they turned out. I still have a bit of work to do with them, specifically I need to cut gaps, test continuity, fit them in place on the layout, paint, weather, install ties and wiring. Oh, and switch machines. *phew!* I’ll also need to modify the benchwork for the first siding which branches off at the start of the curve. This will be for the Griffith Consumers Co. coal & oil facility, which you can see here in this 1949 aerial view on NETR Historic Aerials. I will add a bit of a wing of plywood and Homasote subroadbed and then drop down for the coal unloading trestle. Ideally this facility will receive 2-3 40′ cars of fuel oil and coal. Here are some random LoC photos of the facility there. Unfortunately I don’t have a great shot of the trestle.


Horydczak, T., photographer. Griffith Consumers Co. Yard at Bethesda for Griffith Consumers Co. Bethesda Maryland, None. ca. 1920-ca. 1950. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/thc1995000330/PP/.

Horydczak, T., photographer. Griffith Consumers Co. Coal truck of Griffith Consumers Co. Bethesda Maryland, None. ca. 1920-ca. 1950. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/thc1995000332/PP/.

Horydczak, T., photographer. Griffith Consumers Co. Oil tanks of Griffith Consumers Co. Bethesda Maryland, None. ca. 1920-ca. 1950. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/thc1995000331/PP/.

Horydczak, T., photographer. (1947) Griffith Consumers Co. Coal pile in Bethesda, Maryland for Griffith Consumers Co. Bethesda Maryland, 1947. Sept. 18. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/thc1995000364/PP/.

Horydczak, T., photographer. (1947) Griffith Consumers Co. Wood pile in Bethesda, Maryland for Griffith Consumers Co. Bethesda Maryland, 1947. Sept. 18. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/thc1995000365/PP/.

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.