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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2016 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Georgetown Branch Trestle

Georgetown Branch Trestle

Summer 1982. This is about as good a print as one can get from a Kodak 110 Pocket Instamatic. This is a northerly view of the trestle that carries the B&O Railroad's Georgetown Branch over the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (near span) and Canal Road (second span). Built sometime around 1903, this structure was engineered to support steam locomotives-- much heavier than the diesels that came along 50 years later. At the time of this image, the line was still active, but just barely: it would be used until 1985 to deliver coal to the Government Services Admin steam plant in Georgetown, located at the east end of Whitehurst Freeway. Conversion of the plant from coal to natural gas effectively put this rail line out of business. It has since been converted to the Capital Crescent Hike/Bike Trail. Shorpyites may recognize the area immediately west of the GSA plant in this image.
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Steam on the Whipple

Greetings! Long time reader, first time comment. I have been researching the Georgetown Branch since 1999 for fun and for the model RR I'm building in my basement. I also maintain a website devoted to the line (). Over the years I have been lucky enough to have folks share photos and stories of the line, and have found many while doing my own research.

On Jun 6, 1948 the MSME (?) sponsored an excursion trip down the Georgetown Branch with B&O Q-1c 4320 up front, a couple passenger cars and a handful of cabooses (cabeese?). They ran from Eckinton Yard in DC down the branch and back, as far as I know. Longtime resident and railfan, E.L. "Tommy" Thompson was on hand to document the trip. I've got many photos of the excursion on my site but here's one that shows the whipple pin-connected truss bridge pictured above 4320 crossing it. Pretty cool. (From the collection of the late W.M. Duvall.)

A favorite ride

I usually worked the Baltimore area, but made several trips on the Georgetown Branch. I remember passing through Bethesda, where the railroad was positioned where a back alley should have been. You could watch diplomats in ill-fitting burmuda shorts burning a steak in their back yard...

The view into Virginia, as we passed out of Dalecarlia Tunnel high above the Potomac River will not be forgotten. Passing over the bridge pictured here, the tracks followed the Canal towpath into Georgetown.In season, you could see pretty girls jogging or sunning themselves...and of course, they would usually wave to the brave railroaders!

Yeah, the Branch was a nice change of pace from the high speed stand-back-you main line clockers. There was talk of using the Branch for light rail cars (it would have been a great trip), but the rails-to-trails folks won the day.

THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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