The North Avenue and Cromwell Shops


This page gives you an overview of the two shops of the Baltimore Light Rail System.

The North Avenue facility was built in a former Pennsylvania RR Yard, part of which was retained for use as a transload facility for (mostly) dangerous liquids.  It was built concurrent with the first phase of the Light Rail System, and opened in 1991 to serve the testing of the LRV's when they arrived on the property prior to the opening of the system on April 1992.

The Cromwell facility was built around 1997, and although open in 1998 when I left the MTA, it was not being used as an active maintenance facility until a year or so later.

Trains going into the main shops at North Avenue pull into the North Avenue station, unload passengers, then call Light Rail Control for permission to enter the yard, using either Yard Lead A or Yard Lead B.

Trains at Cromwell have two storage leads past the end of the Cromwell station - but only from one of the tracks, the other dead-ends after the parking lot access road!?  So only one of the station tracks can be used for access into the yard.  I dunno who designed this, but the layout defies logical thinking. :-)  My guess they were too cheap to put in another switch - cost drives almost every decision the MTA makes about what to add..

Here is one view of the area where the North Avenue facility is built (just barely).... the yard is at the very top of the picture.  The picture shows (now) Penn Station on the right, and the tracks heading towards Washington DC and the Northern Central on the right.  Somewhere, I have a better picture of the area with more detail.

North Avenue

Signal at location 1 - one of the very few "oddball" aspects, ~1996.

A light rail train and the overnight Conrail freight side-by-side alongside the shops, ~1996.

An overnight Conrail freight waiting for clearance to return to Bayview, ~1996.

Signal S97, at location 1, ~1996.

805 and a ballast car on the MOW track, ~1996.

Track 3 being extended to the tail track, ~1997.

Shot of the service bays from on top of a car on track 4, ~1996.  Track 3 & 4 share one large service pit on 3a and 4a.

Couple of pictures of night work at Road A, ~1997.

Yours truly getting an award in 1996, John Agro on the left, head of the MTA, and George to the right, one of the foremen.



I love trains, and I love signals.  I am not an expert. 

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.

If this is a railfan page, 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 :-)

My philosophy: 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....

By the way, floobydust is a term I picked up 30-40 years ago from a National Semiconductor data book, and means miscellaneous and/or other stuff.

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! BE NICE!!! Contact info is here

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


NEW JAN21/2006, MAY05/2015, JUN29/2020
Last Updated: 30 June 2020