RAILFAN GUIDES of the U.S.
Todd's Railfan Guide to
North Central Baltimore City - north
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The map below shows the north central part of Baltimore City.
This is a busy map, as there is plenty in this part of town to check out. Because of the quantity of pictures, I have divided it into two sections, Map 5 North, and Map 5 South. The north section will cover items 1 thru 7 and the Metro Stations. The southern section will cover everything else including the Light Rail stations and floobydust.
There is Amtrak's Penn Station, also home to MARC and light rail. Both the Light Rail and the Metro/Subway run thru the map.
The Light Rail North Ave shops and NS's Flexi-Flo terminal are across the Jones Falls from the Baltimore Streetcar Museum, and CSX's main line runs over all of this!
Although no-one has probably thought of it this way, when Howard St had trolley service, there was another triple level crossing (of sorts) in America besides the one in Richmond. The one in Richmond however was between three different Class One's, and in Baltimore, the Pennsy's track was in B&P tunnel, so you never had the opportunity for the same kind of picture.... still......
A picture of the action on the north side of the map.
1 Life Like Models
A short trip up Falls Road is the warehouse complex used by Life-Like trains. It's a wonder after all these years, that the whole mess hasn't slid off into the Jones Falls, as it sits on the bank of the Falls. I'm not sure if they still use the facility or not, but it was marked the last time I went by.
2 Ma & Pa Roundhouse
Located at the north end of the BSM track, is the old Ma and Pa roundhouse, still in fairly good condition because the City has been using it almost since the M&Pa gave it up in the 60's. It's used to store salt for the winter, and the BSM is supposed to get it one of these days, once the City decides to relocate their salt operation.
A little less fancy is a M&Pa warehouse, just south of the roundhouse, which we (the BSM) keep stuff in... it's not on the map, but it's easy to find.
3 Baltimore Streetcar Museum
The Baltimore Streetcar Museum is often overlooked by many because it IS in a downtown environment. The collection concentrates on cars from Baltimore. "1" is the visitors center, and "2" is the carbarn.
4 NS Flexi-Flo Terminal
The Light Rail shops (5) and NS Flexi-Flo facility (4) are co-located, and you really can't get into either one. However, if you take the entrance ramp to 83 north from North Avenue, and stay to your right to take the 28th Street exit, you can get really good shots from the ramp since it is elevated over the two yards. If a cop stops, as they often use the exit as a short-cut, just make sure you have a cellphone in hand, and tell him (or her) that your car quit, and you just got off the phone with triple-A or your wife for help.
5 Light Rail Shops
The yard leads off to the left as seen from a passing NB train.
At the relief point, where they change out operators - they normally do 2 hour shifts and then take a break.
First signal north of the shops, with the NS tracks to the right, and Flexi-Flo to the left.
6 the Light Rail "Rebel Yell"
The "Rebel-Yell" on the Light Rail line is so named because the tracks have to go up and down to negotiate going over the CSX tunnel, and then dipping under Howard Street. One "urban legend" floating around is that if the trains go fast enough thru here, the pantographs will stick in the down position. Not so says I. The pantographs do not have any sort of locking mechanism to allow that. The only thing that will keep them in the down position is the pantograph motor.
7 Penn Station
Penn Station is Amtrak's showpiece in Baltimore, and was renovated back in the 90's. It is accessible by car, bus, and Light Rail. If you come down the light rail from the north, you will have to transfer at Mt Royal to catch the train to Penn Station.
A NB heading into the station, and one heading out SB towards DC.
The entrance to B&P tunnel as seen from the platforms of Penn Station.
Signals around Penn Station
The majority, if not all of the signals at Penn Station are PL signals, either dwarf or pedestal type. It's not until you get back out onto the mainline that you find the Amtrak PCL's.
By the way, at the end of 83, at the corner of it, Fayette, and the start of President Street, is the Shot Tower. It's one of the few remaining examples of a Civil War era manufacturing facility for making shot.
Last Modified: 01/08/2012