Todd's Railfan Guide to
A northeast suburb of Washington DC
Alexandria Junction
Former location of B&O's JD Tower

In General
Getting Here


In General

JD, or Alexandria Junction, is where WB (SB) CSX freights split and either head south towards Virginia, or west to Union Station or the west.
It is now called Riverdale on CSX timetables.

There is no one place to get pictures of everything coming thru here, as the wye is spread over a fair distance, and "stuff" is in the middle of the wye, making it difficult if not impossible to find a single good vantage point.

Heading south from here, the tracks eventually wind up next to 295 as the highway parallels the DC Metro, and then crosses the river.  On the south side of the wye is a unique excessive height detector system.  Adjacent to the north side of the wye is an old streetcar R-O-W.

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.

Aerial shots were taken from either Google Maps or www.bing.com/maps 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! 

My RSUS 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.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still better if you get lost!  I belong to AAA, which allows you to get local maps for free when you visit the local branches.  ADC puts out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their state maps do not have the railroads on them.  If you can find em, I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and concise graphics, and they do a really good job of showing you where tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads.

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

Getting Here

Hyattsville is fairly conveniently located inside the Washington Beltway, off MD 295 - the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

From 295, take the exit for Riverdale St, MD 410.  Head west.  You have two choices for getting to the wye.  One is to stay on Riverdale Rd all the way toUS i - Baltimore Ave, and then taking a left, OR, taking a left onto Kenilworth Ave, and taking a right on to Decatur Street.  This route puts you into the middle of the wye.

The other maps below should give you an idea of how to get here, but I would bring up one point which not many will be aware of yet.  They recently completed the constructed a really nice interchange between I-295 (see the inset), which runs along the eastern shore of the Potomac, and I-395/695, which goes thru downtown Washington DC, making the trip thru DC a lot nicer and cleaner.  If you are coming up from the south, I would recommend this route as a way to travel thru or around DC, and especially for this railfan location!




  Drawing courtesy Fred Dunn


          Photos by Steve Martin and Fred Dunn.

For a site devoted exclusively to B&O's JD Tower, check out Don Smith's website: http://www.jdtower.org/ 
I'd like to thank Don, Fred Dunn, and Steve Martin for all of the time they spent at JD and assembling this great resource.
We are in their debt for preserving history.
For additional photos of towers on the B&O, click here

All of these screen captures are from: http://www.bullsheet.com/news/199204.html
Much more info is on that page, this is just a teaser.
The author of the Bull Sheet, Alan Brougham, worked at the tower for six and half years!


   1        Equipment and excessive height detectors















Sorry, I didn't catch any pix of this signal, has anyone else?







     These photos by Steve Martin, shows JD in the distance.

   A shot facing JD from 31 crossover, 1992.  Photo by Fred Dunn.

     On the other side of the tree line from location 10 is the old trolley line.



Saturday 8/16/2014

Update of the progress on the CPL replacement on a beautiful afternoon with Mike B.





Update Sunday 3/13/2015

Update of the progress on the CPL replacement on another beautiful afternoon with Michael W. 
Also stopped at Union Station to take streetcar pictures and shots from up on top of the parking garage.
They are also in the process of installing a second track on the southeast leg of the wye heading down to Virginia.





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New 02/17/2008
Last Modified: 04/27/2015