In General
Getting Here


In General

Location / Name:
Ivy City, Washington DC

What's Here:
Amtrak Maintenance Facility
DC Metro yard

GPS Coordinates: 38.915054,-76.988336 New York Ave, adjacent to the middle of the yard
You're in the city of Washington DC: No state, no county, no representation! (it's on their license plates)
ZIP: 20002
Phone A/C: 202

Scanner Frequencies:
CSX: 160.230
Amtrak: ?

Access by train/transit:
The Rhode Island Metro station is about a half a mile to the north of the two yards
The Union Station Metro station is about 3/4 of a mile to the south
DC's Union Station, where you have Amtrak, VRE, and MARC, it is about 3/4 of a mile to the south

Railfan Safety:
The Ivy City area is not especially a really safe place to wander around alone, bring a friend, better yet, bring along 2 or 3 friends
The hikey-bikey trail that runs parallel to the tracks coming out of Union Station seems to be pretty safe tho

The Scoop:

Ivy City used to be home to some great trains back in the old days of the Baltimore & Ohio, the Pennsylvania RR, the Richmond Fredericksburg & Potomac, the Southern Railway, and the Seaboard System.  Now it serves as the maintenance facility for Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, MARC, and the VRE.

Adjacent to the Amtrak Yard is one of several area DC Metro heavy rail (subway) yards.

Websites and other additional information sources of interest for the area:,_Washington,_D.C


The above map in PDF format is available here


  Ivy City Yard

Ivy City Yard, where all of the passenger and commuter trains are serviced and staged for the rush hours.  Union Station is to the left, Baltimore is to the right.

  the Metro Shops

The Metro facility is built on the site of the former Washington Terminal coach yard.  The aerial shot shows both the Washington Metro shops and yard, and some of the coach storage tracks (which is pretty much the way it looks when WT operated the yard).  Union Station is to the left, Baltimore off the bottom, and points west off to the right.

                  Metro signals along the trail.


For the signal fan, we have a variety of signals in the area.

On the Northeast Corridor, we have the standard Amtrak PCL's. 

Over on CSX, the old B&O, almost all of the CPL signals have been replaced with the standard "Darth Vader" type colorlight signals, in late 2014 or early 2015.  As of January 2019, there are still two full size CPL's standing next to the Metro shops, and all the signals in the throat and at the station are still dwarf CPL's.

With the railroads replaced legacy type signals all over the place, east, west, north, south, it is getting increasingly difficult to find signals different from the now standard colorlight signal.  HOWEVER, this area contains a most unique set of signals on the NEC, as you will see below.  When the Washington Terminal decided on using the B&O CPL signals as their "standard", the Pennsy used standard PL parts to build a B&O style CPL signal... very cool!

Last, but not least, we have the standard red/white/red transit style colorlight signals over on the DC Metro.

  Amtrak NEC PCL's

This set of PL signals can be found behind the Comfort Suites hotel on New York Avenue NE, where Montana Avenue crosses.  For inbound trains, this is the last set of "PL" signals.  The pictures were taken from the green circle.



About a quarter of a mile west from the Comfort Suites hotel is this CSX CPL signal location for WB trains.  The picture on the right was taken from the Comfort Suites hotel.


  Amtrak NEC PCL's as B&O Style "CPL's"

The inbound signals here are quite unique.  The last NEC signal set before reaching the CPL dwarfs on the signals bridges is located behind the Howard Johnson hotel along New York Avenue... if you look close, you will notice that the signals facing us are Pennsy PL's, and the signals on the far side, for inbound traffic to Union Station, are CPL's.  However, what you can't see from the aerial shot, is that the CPL signals on the inbound side are assembled from Pennsy PL parts.  This makes the two signals quite unique indeed!  As unique as the signals in Northumberland PA.  You can access the signals by going underneath the hotel, but take along a buddy, just in case, as our shoe prints weren't the only ones down there.  You can shimmy down the embankment where the green line is.

  Picture courtesy Jersey Mike

              The SB "CPL" side.

    The NB PL side.

  CSX CPL's at the Wye - East Side

These two signals control movements off the wye onto the EB track.  They're almost directly under the Brentwood Pkwy NE overpass.


  CSX CPL's at the Wye - West Side

These CPL's are still with us as of early 2019.  The two curved tracks on the right is the NEC, the single one on the left is CSX.
It is at these signals that CSX's Metropolitan Division starts and the Amtrak Washington Terminal ends.

  CSX CPL's at the Wye - North Side




Please Note:  Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  For those of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, my indexa page has a list of almost everything railroad oriented I can think of to provide you with at least a few pictures to help you detail your pike.

Every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct.  Once in a while, an error may creep in..... :-) 

Pictures and maps are worth a thousand words, especially for railfanning.  Text descriptions only get you so far, especially if you get lost or disoriented.  Take along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still better if you get lost! 
Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given! Contact info is here


Aerial shots were taken from either Google Maps or as noted, once in a great while maybe MapQuest.  The screen captures are made with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it! 

Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.


New 11/1/2011, 11/15/2016, 01/01/2017x
Last Modified: 06/13/2019