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Eckington Yards: 1923

Eckington Yards: 1923

        UPDATE: Click here for a better look at the big locomotive barely visible behind the freight yard sign.

"Eckington Yards, June 4, 1923." A rare and unusually detailed look at the Baltimore & Ohio rail yard in Washington, D.C., during that year's big gathering of Masonic lodges. National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.


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Dorms on rails

According to Herb Harwood this sort of dormitory setup in Eckington happened several times in this period. The extra sidings are made up of what's called "panel track", which is just what it sounds like: preassembled lengths like in your HO or Lionel set. They were normally used for temporary repairs but could also just be set down for this sort of arrangement.

Re: The Locomotive

EL class mallet indeed. And judging from its shiny condition it is on display. Such a low-drivered freight slugger would never have been used to haul passengers into DC. Mallets were built for tortuous routes over mountain grades, and on the B&O were rarely run east of Cumberland MD.

The locomotive

From what little is visible it appears to be a class EL-1 2-8-8-0 in original condition. They were built by Baldwin as Mallet-system articulateds -- compound engines with slide valves on the leading engine unit.

[For a better view of the locomotive, click here. - Dave]

Thanks Dave, that's a great photo. Two engines I'd love to run, for different reasons! :)

Fractional Objects

Note the Tracks 11-1/2 and 13-1/2. I used to work in a building that was specially constructed to make Curtiss-Wright propellers during WWII. The building was laid out on a grid system, only I didn't realize it at first. When I asked for directions and was told that my destination was "over by Door 8-1/2" I said, "Wha...?"

This must be

the largest gathering of passenger cars, and across the smoke covered background there seems to be the same amount.

I agree with chrmer

Out of nosiness, I went in and looked at an old USGS topo map from about 20 years after this photo was taken, and you can see where the rail lines swing inwards. If the topo map is accurate., *all* the tracks left of the shelter in this shot are temporary. The row of houses visible in the background would be the rear of the rowhomes along R street, and the shot would have to have been taken somewhere on Eckington Place just above the intersection with Florida Avenue.

The tracks are clearly visible in this map from 1945.

Honey-buckets abound!

It looks like the sleeping cars here were being used as lodging for the conventioneers. Waste cans are placed under the cars' toilet outlet pipes. There must have been a shortage of those as well since some look like ordinary cooking pots (Yikes!) instead of the galvanized pails with chutes attached.

I agree with tangoo2 that at least two of the tracks look like they were hastily laid right over the brick pavers.

East of Eckington

I'll surmise that this parcel of land is bounded by R Street NE to the north, the B&O rail line's junction with the Pennsylvania RR to the east (the core of today's Ivy City rail shops), New York Avenue to the south, and Eckington place to the west. If so, the photographer was facing east-northeast on a rooftop on the west side of Eckington Place. B&O team tracks remained on this site until at least 1980. The streetcar rails in the lower left foreground lead to and from the the streetcar barn at 4th and T Streets NE.

[Click to enlarge. - Dave]

Just extend the parking area quickly

It looks as if some tracks are laid only temporarily. Especially, the right-most track (that on which the boys sit with the tuba on the last Sleeper) and track 11 1/2 looks as if as the rails were laid without any gravel on the pavement. Also between 14 and 15 seems to have been laid a track. Maybe there were too many Masons in the city for the normal freight sidings.

And in the foreground a tram track with underground power line is to be seen. Unfortunately, the steam locomotive with Vanderbilt tender is covered by the B & O plate. Can eventually someone on the base of the few recognizable details see (Vanderbilt tub, slider control) recognize the loco?

(To the Moderators: Excuse my English, it is not my mother's language!)

[Sie schreiben ein geläufiges englisch! - Dave]

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