RAILFAN GUIDES of the U.S.
Todd's Railfan Guide to
This guide covers Bowie MD, a town on the old Pennsy mainline, now the NorthEast Corridor. Bowie is Maryland's third largest incorporated city.
Bowie has a MARC station, kinda, it's a little north at Bowie State University. The next station going south is Seabrook.
Bowie is home to the Bowie RR Museum, AKA the Huntington RR Museum, and is centered around the old Pennsylvania Railroad Bowie tower and depot.
The Pope's Creek Branch splits off from the NEC in Bowie, and heads south to a couple of power plants. Back in the Pennsy, then PC, then Conrail days, the coal used come to the branch via Harrisburg PA and the Port Road down to Perryville MD, where it would head south to Bowie. Since CSX assumed control of the branch after the Conrail split-up in 1999, the coal has come from the south... Via CSX's Benning Yard on the east side of Washington DC, along MD 295 at US 50.
The interlocking was changed in 1984 to accommodate the southbound freights, that is also probably when the NB signals were moved south.
For some interesting reading, here is a link to a study by the state on extending passenger service south from Bowie.
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.
There are two fairly easy ways to get to Bowie. One is coming from either I-95 or the Baltimore-Washington Parkway from the west of Bowie via MD197. The other way is getting off the Capitol Beltway (I-495/I-95) at exit 20, the MD450 exit, and then look for the signs for MD564.
For the above map in PDF format, click here
Huntington Railroad Museum
GPS Coordinates: 39.007124, -76779157
For more info: http://wx2dx.net/rrmuseum/rr.html
In the aerial view below, the green arrow points to the museum, which used to be the Bowie station until around 1989 when it was moved here. The museum is named after the original name for the town before it was renamed to Bowie in honor of the PB&W president of the same name.
The red arrow points to where the tower used to be. The blue arrow points to where it is today.
Across the tracks from the dwarf PL signal is where the last Bowie "station" used to be, which can be seen in Jim's pictures below.
The pictures are courtesy Jim Nowotarski, and are from the mid 1970's.
Many thanks to Jim for sending these to me!
Notice the NB signals in Jim's pictures were moved south about 1500ft or so.
Bowie State MARC Station
GPS Coordinates: 39.020754, -76762070
This station replaced the "old" Bowie station in 1989.
Not many colleges can claim a train stop on their campus!
These are taken from the grounds of the museum.
The southbound signals.
The northbound signals.
This dwarf PL signal controls the branch line traffic onto the NB mainline.
Last Modified 20-Jun-2016