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March 1993


Aberdeen, Md., Train Station Has its 'Day'

Sunday, February 7, 1993, was a big day for the folks at Aberdeen, Maryland. For on that day the ribbon was cut for the city's MARC Penn Line commuter station following a $400,000 renovation project.

Sunday is normally a day for the station to be closed, with no commuter trains running, but on that day the building was full of atmosphere complete with dignitaries, onlookers, a model train layout, musical entertainment, speeches, and cookies and punch which they ran out of early.

"Harford County commuters have made riding the MARC a true success story," said County Executive Eileen Rehrmann. "In less than two years of service, the Marc Penn Line from Harford County to Baltimore and Washington has become one of the most traveled routes on the MARC commuter system. Harford County and MARC make a great team," she added. "Thanks to everyone for making it work."

The present station, situated along Amtrak's Northeast corridor, dates from the second World War. It was designed by Lester Tichy, chief architect of Raymond Loewy Associates, who also designed the station currently in MARC use at Odenton, Maryland.


'Railroad Rob' of Harpers Ferry

[By Allen Brougham] . . .

Robert Brzostowski can surely lay claim as Resident Railfan of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. That's his turf. He explains that while the locals do appreciate the significance of the railroad and its historical input to the community, his true love of trains must usually be shared with the cadre of railfans who venture to the area from other places.

Robbie, 19, has lived in Harpers Ferry since 1988. He works there, too, having the good fortune of a job in a restaurant which has its seating directly overlooking the station and tracks.

Much of Robbie's spare time is spent in the vicinity of the station, the place for one to most certainly meet the many railfans who flock to the area. And Robbie keeps in contact with many of them. They include railfans from as far away as Canada and Great Britain.

As things developed, Robbie's list of contacts grew and grew, and the task of staying in touch with everybody started to get a little out of hand. So late last year he undertook a new approach.... he started a newsletter.

His first issue, dated December 1, 1992, tells it all:

"Greetings fellow Railfans/Train Watchers. For those who do not remember me, I am the young kid you all have met at the train station here at Harpers Ferry.

"To those of you I have not written to, sorry! Many things have kept me occupied.

"This newsletter will be sent to you every month, or I might skip a month. This will keep you informed on what's going on here and around Harpers Ferry. It will also let you know what I have done during the month before."

There is no mistaking the purpose or intent of Robbie's newsletter through its name. He calls it:

Railroad Rob's Railroad Happenings.

Each issue has a different masthead design... a computer drawing of something appropriate, or (as shown below for the February issue) the station at Harpers Ferry.

Included in the content are tidbits about local locomotive sightings, roster and paint scheme updates, and stories and news in general about Harpers Ferry and the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.

He even included an item in his first issue about . . . . . me!


CSXT Redesignates Track in Cumberland

It is somewhat traditional to think of CSXT's Mountain Subdivision from Cumberland, Maryland, to East Grafton, West Virginia, as beginning its east-to-west route at Viaduct Junction. After all, that's where the line from Baltimore splits with Pittsburgh-bound trains going straight, and Grafton-bound trains going to the left. But the Mountain Subdivision officially began its lofty and scenic route back at Williams Street, near the present-day Amtrak station, which is six-tenths of a mile east of Viaduct Junction. This meant that trains from the east en route to the Pittsburgh line -- including Amtrak's Capitol Limited -- found themselves using a short portion of the Mountain Subdivision to

make their way from the Cumberland Subdivision (which ended at Williams Street) to the Keystone Subdivision (which began at Viaduct Junction), just six-tenths of a mile away. But that is all history now. Effective February 2, 1993, the track between Williams Street in Cumberland (Milepost BA 178.3) and Viaduct Junction (Milepost BA 178.9), previously designated as a portion of the Mountain Subdivision, is now designated as a portion of the Cumberland Subdivision.


The Hill Gets Steeper, Head of CSXT Says

CSX Transportation president and CEO Pete Carpenter, speaking at a recent senior managers' meeting, made reference to the retrenchment of Sears, Roebuck and Company, its writing off $1.5 billion, eliminating 50,000 jobs, and leaving the catalog business, as an example of a company "struggling to regain better days." He used this reference to emphasize to employees of CSXT that they must continue to work toward "being the best." Last year was a "super year" for CSXT, he said, but "our challenge now is to sustain the momentum. We must commit as a team and avoid complacency, because the hill does get steeper."


Conrail to Reduce Engine Idling in Massachusetts

Consolidated Rail Corporation has agreed to reduce the idling of locomotives at certain rail facilities in Massachusetts. According to press reports, Conrail said terms of the agreement call for it to limit idling to no longer than 30 minutes at specific facilities, and the company will begin testing new technologies toward eliminating the need for idling in colder weather.


Southern Tier Line Track Changes

Vic Stone, a student at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, has sent along the following information about track changes on Conrail's Southern Tier line. They include the removal of No. 1 track (the westbound main) between Milepost 279.5 and CP-GIBSON at Milepost 290.1, and the removal of No. 2 track between CP-CASS STREET at Milepost 331.8 and Swain at Milepost 348.1. At Swain, a new switch connects the controlled siding (old No. 2 track) with the main (old No. 1 track).

Reportedly, there are more changes to come.


'One of a Kind' CSXT Locomotive Paint Scheme

Bob Michaels of Howell, Michigan, sends word on what appears to be a one-of-a-kind CSXT locomotive paint scheme. C30-7 unit 7024, which shows on his roster as a Yellow Nose 2, had earlier been repainted from a Yellow Nose 1. It made an appearance passing the Howell Locomotive Paint Scheme Sighting Station back on December 5. It was well after dark, says he, and he only had about a two-second look as it passed. But he could tell that there was "something different" about it. The unit stayed away for a number of weeks, but it reappeared in the Howell area early last month. With the help of his son, a more positive identification was made.

Here is his description of it: "It was obvious they redid the entire yellow on the nose front and rear and frame stripe. The yellow frame stripe was much thicker than previous. The big difference, though, is the fact they wrapped the yellow around the side of the short nose just like a Yellow Nose 2. So instead of it being blue beyond and above the wrap-around, it is gray. It sort of looks like an L&N unit the way the yellow used to come around the side of some of their paint schemes. Despite this, I guess we'll have to call 7024 a Yellow Nose 1 instead of a Yellow Nose 2."


CSXT Locomotive Roster

The roster included 2,929 units as of February 15, 1993... CLICK HERE


National Park Service to Acquire Harpers Ferry Train Station

CSXT and the National Park Service have reached agreement for the trade of property, with the railroad acquiring some land in Cumberland and the National Park Service acquiring the station at Harpers Ferry.


Connection Track to be Built at New Castle, Pa.

Amtrak's board has voted to spend $2.6-million as Amtrak's share toward building a track at New Castle, Pennsylvania, to connect CSXT and Conrail for use by the Broadway Limited which will eliminate a backup move. According to issue 473 of Rail Travel News, the project should be completed in the Fall of 1994.


New Crossbuck Sign Being Introduced to Rail Industry

A new type standard crossbuck sign, equipped with a red and chrome striped yield sign, is being introduced to the railroad industry, starting in Ohio.


Maryland Midland Receives First of Three GP38DC Locomotives

Maryland Midland unit 301, a GP38DC, has arrived and is in service. It and two others are being purchased from Helm Financial Corporation. The three units will be numbered 300-302.


John Murrow Takes Position With MARC

John Murrow was recently appointed assist-ant trainmaster with the Maryland Rail Commuter Service in Baltimore.

Formerly a chief train dispatcher on CSXT's Baltimore Division, he elected to take a separation when the Baltimore-area dispatching functions were transferred to Jacksonville, Florida, in 1989. He later took a job with Amtrak as operator at K Tower in Washington. He began his duties with MARC in January 1993..