RAILFAN GUIDES of the U.S.
Todd's Railfan Guide to
Amtrak's Ivy City Facility and the Metro Shops
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GPS Coordinates: 38.915054,-76.988336 New York Ave, adjacent to the middle of the yard
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
Amtrak's, VRE's, and MARC's Union Station is about 3/4 of a mile to the south
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
The hikey-bikeky trail that runs parallel to the tracks coming out of Union Station seems to be pretty safe tho
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 DC Metro's heavy rail yards.
For the signal fan, this area contains a most unique set of signals as you will see below, where the Pennsy used PL parts to build a B&O style CPL signal... very cool!
Websites and other
sources of interest for
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.
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.
1 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.
2 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.
1 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.
2 WB CSX CPL's
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.
3 Amtrak NEC PCL's and 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.
The SB "CPL" side.
The NB PL side.
4 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.
5 CSX CPL's at the Wye - West Side
These CPL's sit in the shadow of New York Avenue. The two curved tracks on the right is the NEC, the single one on the left is CSX.
6 CSX CPL's at the Wye - North Side
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: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.
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Last Modified: 03/05/2014