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Edition #37, September 1, 2006

Little Flags at Anacostia Tower

Photographer: Mike Schaller

                             Photo by Mike Schaller

Little Flags at Anacostia Tower

The little surveyor’s flags are an indication of big changes for a favorite section of track.  The changes will eliminate Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Color Position Lights and Pennsylvania Railroad position signals, including the PRR dwarfs in the foreground, in favor of those antiseptic auto-traffic-signal type signals.  The “B&O Connection Track” will be straightened out and double tracked.  This will help CSX move trains through Washington, D.C.  However, the trappings of the predecessor railroads will be removed.  Rumor has it that the Anacostia Tower will also be removed.

This is the track where the B&O connected to the PRR next to the Anacostia River in D.C.  This connection was made in the early 1900’s and allowed the B&O to send trains south of the Potomac River by using the PRR tracks through D.C.  This ended the PRR exclusive control of the railroad bridge over the Potomac.  This Connection Track is not long; it currently runs from CFP 115.4 to 114.8 in CSX’s Capital Subdivision’s Alexandria Extension.  At the east end are B&O CPLs.  At the west or south end of the Connection Track stands a PRR position light and Anacostia Tower.  The tower does not control the interlocking anymore.  It has been used by the Anacostia River bridge tender for the rare raising of the Anacostia River Bridge.  This is now supposed to be able to be done remotely from Jacksonville.

I came down to Anacostia to get a photograph of the tower at night.  I always thought that headlights of a westbound train on the B&O Connection Track would illuminate the tower as they passed by.  Here Q413 is doing the honors at about 0500 on January 27, 2006.  The curving tracks in the foreground are CSX’s Landover Sub which used to be the PRR tracks. Lights from the cars of early morning commuters can be seen on the Pennsylvania Avenue Bridge in the background.

Mike Schaller

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