Todd's Railfan Guide to
Train and Transit Things to See

In General


In General

As stated on the homepage, the DC area lacks (in numbers) things to take pictures of if you came into town strictly for seeing what's left of the "old" days.  You come to Washington DC because of the backdrops and the combinations you cannot get elsewhere.  For instance:

●●  Shots from New York avenue looking down the throat of Union Station, where you won't find anywhere else, the combination of overhead wire, B&O dwarf CPL's, and the Capitol building, AND, MARC, VRE, and Amtrak.

●●  A CPL signal made from Pennsy PL parts (off New York Avenue, behind the Howard Johnson hotel).

●●  Amtrak and the VRE in the same yard, and maybe some Metro cars thrown in too if you can catch all three together (off New York Avenue, again).

●●  The "newest" streetcar system in the U.S. (for now), the dcstreetcar.

●●  Trains and the Metro system crossing the Potomac River, on bridges right next to each other.

●●  MARC trains and Amtrak trains coming into DC on parallel tracks, again, off New York Avenue.

●●  There are a number of unique places to catch parallel action:
               Alexandria VA (Metro and VRE/Amtrak/CSX)
               Rockville MD (Metro and CSX/Amtrak)
               New Carrolton MD (Metro and MARC/Amtrak)
               Union Station (Metro and Amtrak/MARC/VRE) from the bike trail along the tracks

Washington DC is conveniently served by three airports: Dulles, National, and BWI.  National is serviced by the DC Metro blue & yellow lines, and BWI by the Baltimore Light Rail System.  Dulles is slated for Metro service come 2015 or so by the Silver line.

Aerial shots are generally taken from www.bing.com/maps.  Snags of maps are from either Google Maps or Bing Maps as noted.  The snap-shots from Bing are made with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it! 
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


The map highlights some of the stuff to see in and around the DC area. 
Green dots indicate where "vintage" depots still stand, the one in Rockville is not used as a station.


Railroad Yards
Metro Subway Yards

Metro Bus Yards

Stations and Depots

Washington's Union Station


Rockville MD - ex-B&O Depot


Laurel MD - ex B&O Depot


Railroad Yards

CSX's xxxx

Norfolk Southern's Manassas Yard

Norfolk Southern's Alexandria  Yard


Metro Subway Yards

New Carrolton








There are two towers remaining in the Washington DC area: K Tower at Union Station, and the old Pennsy T Tower, location on the freight line south of Union Station.

K Tower




Alexandria Junction

Located on the NE side of DC, in the Maryland suburb of Hyattsville, is this former B&O, now CSX junction.  Trains from Baltimore split here to go either west via the Brunswick line, or south via the bridge over the Potomac on the old RF&P line to Richmond.  I have a separate page for it here.  It is easy to get to, and sees moderate traffic, altho at the beginning of the week, you may sit around for while with nothing to do! During the weekday, and soon (Dec 2013), you also have MARC trains to shoot.

Bus Yards

Shepherd Parkway

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro), local and federal officials opened the new Shepherd Parkway Metrobus Division, a modern, spacious and environmentally-friendly bus facility in Southwest Washington, D.C.  The new yard is located on the east side of 295 as it zips past the Naval Research Labs, it was easy to find with the sewage treatment fields in the picture!

The state-of-the-art facility sits on 16 acres of land with space for up to 250 buses. Initially, it will house 114 Metrobuses that operate on 50 routes mainly in Southeast and Southwest Washington, D.C., providing better bus service for thousands of customers in the District of Columbia.

The Shepherd Parkway facility consists of a maintenance and administration building, maintenance bays for repairs, inspections and servicing, bus wash, fueling station, and parking and storage for up to 250 buses. A compressed natural gas fueling station will be added next spring. Approximately 400 employees will work at the new Shepherd Parkway Metrobus Division.

Shepherd Parkway will be Metro’s first building with US Green Building Council LEED Silver certification. While in its initial stages, Metro committed to incorporating features to reduce energy and water consumption from the design and construction phases through to the ways the facility will be operated and maintained. Of note, Shepherd Parkway features a storm water filtration system, white roof, drought-tolerant landscaping, low-flow plumbing fixtures and lighting system with occupancy sensors. Additional environmentally-friendly attributes include being within ¼-mile walking distance from a bus stop, bicycle parking and priority parking spaces for fuel efficient vehicles.

“Better maintenance on our vehicles, improved employee working conditions and improved operating efficiency equals better service to the thousands of people who ride Metrobuses in Southwest and Southeast Washington every day,” said Metro GM and CEO Richard Sarles.

Shepherd Parkway replaces the former Southeastern Metrobus Division, which was more than 70 years old when it closed in March 2008 because of its proximity to Nationals Park. Metro broke ground on the $97 million facility in September 2009, using proceeds from the sale of the former Southeastern Metrobus garage and funds from the Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  More info here




Disclaimers: 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, especially if restaurants or gas stations open, close, or change names.  Most of my maps are a result of personal observation after visiting these locations.  I have always felt that a picture is worth a thousand words", and I feel annotated maps such as the ones I work up do the same justice for the railfan over a simple text description of the area.  Since the main focus of my website is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  Since most of us railheads don't have just trains as a hobby, I have also tried to point out where other interesting sites of the area are.... things like fire stations, neat bridges, or other significant historical or geographical feature.  While some may feel they shouldn't be included, these other things tend to make MY trips a lot more interesting.... stuff like where the C&O Canal has a bridge going over a river (the Monocacy Aqueduct) between Point of Rocks and Gaithersburg MD, it's way cool to realize this bridge to support a water "road" over a river was built in the 1830's!!!   Beware: ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.

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NEW 11/09/2013
Last Modified 09-Nov-2013