CSXT to Add Four Service Lanes in Conrail Acquisition
CSXT has announced the formation of four service lanes as part of its takeover of Conrail lines. Pending approval of its joint acquisition application filed with Norfolk Southern before the Surface Transportation Board on June 25, the four service lanes will be headquartered in Philadelphia, Willard, Indianapolis, and Albany.
CSXT Adds New Dispatching Console
CSXT has added a new dispatching console. Called the "CR" console, it controls the Northern, Cincinnati, Columbus and Athens subdivisions. Realignment of other consoles has resulted in the following: James River, Rivanna, Peninsula and Newport News subdivisions to the AL console; Allegany, North Mountain, Piedmont and Washington subdivisions to the AM console; and Kanawha and New River subdivisions to the AN console.
Amtrak Introduces Boston-Newport News Overnight Service
Amtrak's Night Owl will be extended southward to Newport News, Virginia, beginning July 10. Renamed the Twilight Shoreliner, it will provide overnight service from Boston, and will be the first train to leave Washington in the morning toward Richmond.
Norfolk Southern Adds Crossover at Manassas, Virginia
A new crossover is now in service on the Norfolk Southern just north of the station at Manassas, Virginia. Named MOORE, for a signal maintainer who died from cancer, it allows northbound trains to cross over from number 1 to number 2 track, reducing delays to Virginia Railway Express (VRE) trains, especially on days when Amtrak's eastbound Cardinal operates.
VRE Coach Added to Amtrak's Crescent
A Virginia Railway Express coach has been added to Amtrak's Crescent for additional capacity. Currently, it is only open to patrons traveling to Virginia, but is expected soon to be open to other local customers as well. The car is cycled between Washington and Atlanta.
Washington Metro Begins Service to Franconia-Springfield
Washington, D.C., Metro began service to its new Franconia-Springfield station in Virginia on June 29. The new terminus of the Blue Line, it is the Metro system's 75th rail station. Constructed at a cost of $176.4-million, which includes trackage and real estate, it connects with the VRE stop at the same location.
George Ryan Retires
George David Ryan, 62, veteran Western Maryland and B&O clerk/tower operator, retired May 31 following 36 years of railroad service. He was the relief-shift operator at CSXT's West Cumbo Tower near Hedgesville, West Virginia, at the time of his retirement. He began his railroad career in June 1961 with the Western Maryland Railway at Hagerstown, Maryland, on the clerks' extra list, where he worked as a car checker, hump clerk and typist for about two years. He then moved into the accounting department in the old Hagerstown passenger station. In the accounting department, he worked as a mail boy, and then as a clerk verifying accounts payable bills. When the accounting department moved to Baltimore about 1975, he opted to stay in Hagerstown where he took a relief clerk's position at the yard office. He remained in Hagerstown until activities there were downsized during the early 1980's, and he then went to Brunswick, Maryland, working on the B&O extra list. He returned to Hagerstown briefly to learn the duties of NC Tower. He never actually worked there (NC Tower closed in 1986), but he did qualify and work as an operator on the B&O, first at West Cumbo, then Miller and Hancock, before taking the relief position at West Cumbo on a regular basis. As a kid, he recalls often watching minor league baseball at Hagerstown in true "knothole gang" fashion, through holes in the fence. He has long been fond of watching live baseball, and he plans in his retirement to attend major league games at all ball parks along the East Coast. He and his wife live in Hagerstown, and they have three children and two grandchildren.
Bay Shore Park Trolley Station Renovated
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources recently completed renovation work to stabilize and restore the former Bay Shore Trolley depot located on the grounds of North Point State Park in eastern Baltimore County. Once an amusement park frequented by visitors from Baltimore, Bay Shore Park, located on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay near the mouth of the Patapsco River, featured its Crystal Pier, a roller coaster, other rides called the Sea Swing, Thingamajig, and Whirl-A-Drome, a dance hall and music pavilion. The trolley line from Baltimore actually passed under the roller coaster before reaching the depot. The 208-foot long station is about all that is left of the amusement park, which closed in 1947. According to the State Parks publication "Gunpowder Currents," the structure, which resembles a pavilion, is made from Georgia Pine timbers. During renovations, the rotting bases of the timbers were removed and replaced with new wood to maintain structural integrity. The building also received a new roof. Plans are to make the depot available for rental for weddings, family reunions, company picnics, etc. The Bay Shore Park grounds were purchased by the Bethlehem Steel Company about 1948, which used the property as a hunting and fishing camp for its executives, among other uses. The state of Maryland acquired the property in 1987 and renamed it North Point State Park.
Martinsburg Station Dedicated
It's now known as "Caperton Station - Martinsburg's Intermodal Transportation Center." Named for former governor Gaston Caperton, in whose term the project was funded, the completed addition to the 1847 former Hotel Berkeley and B&O train station at Martinsburg, West Virginia, was dedicated in ceremonies on June 21. Said to be the oldest working train station on Amtrak's system (when considering the original portion of the building, not currently in use), the building has been readied for passengers as part of an Intermodal Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) grant which will eventually include a pedestrian-enclosed footbridge over the CSXT mainline and commercial reuse of the former B&O shops complex across from the station. The old portion of the building will also be put to commercial use. Washington-bound MARC commuter trains originate here on weekdays, in addition to daily stops by Amtrak's Capitol Limited. Passengers will enter the building through the rear from a spacious parking lot area into the waiting room, and then descend by steps or elevator to track level. The facility will not be staffed by an Amtrak agent, at least not as presently planned, but a MARC agent will be on duty three mornings and two evenings a week. The building will be opened for all trains. It is also intended that buses will serve the facility.