Sunday Trip Up The Potomac – Part 3 of 3

by Jim on 2011/07/14

[Jimbaux is begging for his life; it’s hard to say that he will be complete before he dies.]

What’s up, my dear Jimbauxlings?  How are you all?  Are y’all ready for some more of Jimbaux’s train pictures and whacked out writings, eh?  Cool.

The Last 15 Pictures

. . . not of all time, but of my adventure up the Potomac to the Blue Ridge Mountains on Sunday 3 July.  Part 1 can be seen here, and Part 2 can be seen here.  Welcome to Part 3!  Enjoy, unpack, kick your seat back, grab your blunts, and grab your beers, ’cause Jimbaux’s going to bring you some photographic cheers!


We left off last time in the “Hub City” of Hagerstown, Maryland, and that is where we will resume our misadventure, which is about how this starts.  To refresh your memory, my efforts at finding decent views of the Norfolk Southern track in Hagerstown were vexed by these damned fences which seem to be all over the bridges in this part of the country, and I hate it!

Department of Foamland Stupidity

So, finally, I get to the northern throat of the yard, and there’s an overpass over the track.  Also, unlike with the overpass over the southern throat of the yard, this one had no fence; sweet!  There’s one problem: there isn’t any place to park up here.  I made a second crossing of the over pass, and as I drove across it that second time, I noticed that nobody was behind me.  This was a small window of opportunity.  I stopped in the right lane, put the flashers on, grabbed the camera, and got out, only to discover that not only were there cars behind me, but that one of them was, you guessed it, the pooooleeeece!

Dammit!  What’s a guy to do?  I know, pop off a shot before the office gets out of his vehicle, and that’s what I did:

What?  You think it wasn’t worth the bother?  I think you’re right, actually.  If I’m going to get questioned by law enforcement, I at least should get a good shot out of it, eh?  The lame shot above does not qualify.

Anyway, as for the encounter with the law enforcement officer, let’s just say that he was not a jerk about it (like the kind of power-tripping officers you’ll often find in the District of Columbia, even though, having said that, they have a difficult and often thankless job in the first place), I apologized for my stupidity, and I went on my merry way.

A Turning Point, My Cue To Leave

That little encounter, after all the fence frustration before, along with the cloudy skies and setting sun, convinced me that this was as far as I should go on this day, and that I should start making my way back to the crib, ya herd may.  So that’s what I did.



Yeah.  Cool.  All right.

Jesus Died So That We Could Drink Corn-Sweetened Food

How about you post your interpretation of the below picture in the comments section?

Although I went more than a year without drinking any sodas (late May 2009 until August 2010), I do drink my fair share today.

A Possible Tragedy on the Potomac

I got back to Brunswick as the sun was setting and decided that I’d settle for ending the day(light) there with whatever the CSX was gracious enough to throw me, but apparently something else had been thrown.

It’s possible that I was just inside the state of Virginia as I took the picture immediately above and the picture immediately below.  I got the impression that these rescuers were seeking someone who was lost in the river.

As if that wasn’t enough, there were searchers overhead too.  Check this out:

I have no idea what became of all of this, but that isn’t the last you’ll see of a helicopter today.

Back To Trains, Back to the CSX

Checked out the parked Geeps in this almost-dusk shot of the ex-B&O yard in Brunswick.

I sure wish the powers-that-be at CSX would just rename the railroad the “Chessie System” and just repaint all of the power in that cool Chessie scheme, since CSX uses yellow and blue colors anyway.

It’s Time To Get High

It was time to climb the bridge again so that Jimbaux could make his last stand atop the bridge as the sun set.  Before that, though, let’s look at a few pictures of how others were getting high on this Sunday evening.

Oh, yeah!  Neat little old churches are cool, another of Jimbaux’s favorite photo subjects.

And while we’re climbing, let’s have a little lesson on how elevation affects perspective.

How’s that?  Notice how the change in perspective also changes the interpretation you get of the subject.

Jimbaux’s (Almost) Last Stand

And as the sun sets on this day, Jimbaux gets these four shots on the CSX in Brunswick, Maryland.

It seems as though that was the same fire truck that was on the bridge earlier with the rescuers.

Loaded coal trains often park here, and as this article seems to indicate, they’ll soon be carrying some new cars!

I told you not to forget about that helicopter, right?   Look closely at this picture.

Well, as that was my last stand, the day is done, and I’m fresh out of pictures, or am I?


Yes, kiddies.  I think I told you in Part 1 to remember that corn and water tower shot, didn’t I?  Well, here I was again, hours later.  Enjoy.

I guess all is well that ends well, or something like that.  I hope that you have been both entertained and educated by this foray.  Thanks for joining me.


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jason July 14, 2011 at 09:16

Power tripping officers? Usually the police come to the level of the person who they are dealing with. That makes me think that you are a self-important jerk.


2 Victor Valdez July 14, 2011 at 11:24

Be carefull, dear jim we want so much more train pictures, that’s the things you ever deal with.


3 Tom Becket July 14, 2011 at 11:51

Jason has obviously not had to deal with cops in the northeast. NY and DC seem to be overloaded with police of various localities and authorites that have obviously taken themselves way too seriously. I have had encounters while train watching that varied from friendly chats(on the LIRR no less) to cops being total jerks, when I was nothing but respecful(East Syracuse PD, while watching CSX). I even got along with the CP cop in Binghamton NY, who was almost universally disliked by railfans and employees alike. I respected his turf, and he knew that I did so, and that I was not going to be a problem for him. So apparently, it’s not me who is the self important jerk. Granted, they’re all on edge there, even 10 years after 9/11, perhaps rightly so, but there’s a lot of unnecessary stupidity perpetrated by law enforcement toward those of us who want nothing more than to watch and photograph trains in peace. A check of the railfan press over the last 10 years will yield numerous examples, mostly in Jersey, but other places as well.

A couple of thoughts for Jimbeaux, now that my rant is over. There are many lovely churches in that part of the country. One that comes to mind is in Pohick VA, worth a ride down from DC. I remember going there with my dad about 35 years ago(I was a teen then). Very nice church and churchyard. Poking around northern VA you will find all kinds of interesting little churches, many of them date to colonial times.

If you get a chance and can afford the gas, head south from Hagerstown. The NS line heading through Front Royal and on down the Blue Ridge is really scenic, and there are places where the fences are not nearly so prominent. There are even some of the old N&W position light signals still in place, but they are falling. You may also be able to trace the steps of O Winston Link, as some of the buildings are still standing, though the Y’s and A’s are sadly long gone. When I find the slides, I’ll post a some links of shots I took down there years ago. Once south of Front Royal, US 340 follows the line for a long stretch down through Elkton and into Stuarts Draft, it’s a pretty easy chase.

The B&O is a little harder to follow, as there are really no parallel roads. You have to work your way into most locations, though there are some good ones. Point of Rocks has a really pretty station that sits in the Y between the Washington and Baltimore lines, and Harpers Ferry WV has the westbound shot of trains coming out of the tunnel and over the Potomac. Plus it’s a really interesting place in its own right.

Happy exploring!!


4 Jason July 14, 2011 at 22:15

I could care less about your dealings with officers in some hick towns that I would never go to. He made a remark about DC cops. He doesn’t realize that the DC police get calls all of the time about people on bridges, etc, and have to assume that the guy with the camera is either crazy or is going to jump.


5 Tom Becket July 15, 2011 at 17:40

Jason, I could care less that you care less. As it happens, my dealings with cops have been mostly in urban areas, primarily NY City and suburbs-hardly “hick towns”, whose residents are perfectly happy not to have to deal with your attitude, I’m sure. The NYPD has all the same problems to deal with as the DC PD, only more so. The officers can make whatever profiling decisions they need to in sizing up a situation-that’s the nature of the beast-but that’s no excuse for dealing with someone in the street, or on a bridge, discourteously, or for that matter, illegally, which was the focus of my comment. Some cops(not all, lest someone think I have a thing against law enforcement) start out with a bad attitude toward pretty much anyone they encounter, so “power tripping” is not necessarily an incorrect description. Someone with a camera on a bridge is probably not crazy, a jumper, or even a terrorist. He probably just wants to take some pictures. Let’s not overreact here, or someone might think you’re a self important jerk.


6 Tom Becket July 15, 2011 at 17:43

Meant to comment on the crosses. There are several hundred of those sets of phone pole crosses that have been set up around the mid atlantic and as far west as Ohio, if I recall. There was someone who was funding them, I can’t recall who exactly now, but there was a newspaper piece on them some years ago. Just a statement by someone who takes his Christianity seriously and wishes to evangelize in his own somewhat low key but visible way.


7 EDITOR - Jimbaux July 19, 2011 at 12:56

I’m loathe to comment on the police flap, but here I go. It’s obvious from both of Jason’s comments that he is making unwarranted assumptions. Tom basically sums it up in his own comments, but even Tom doesn’t quite know the specific reasons why I made the comment. He doesn’t need to know, however. Jason somehow extrapolated that I had an issue with taking pictures of trains off of a bridge in DC, as if that was somehow the only way I could possibly have an encounter with DC police or generate an opinion of them.

As I’ve mentioned several times, the shots in that area suck anyway, and other than the pictures I recently took from inside Union Station, I’ve never even made any attempt at taking a train picture inside the district except for in about 2005 when I waited for a VRE train at L’Enfant that never showed up anyway.

Rather, my negative experience of SOME police in DC comes from experiences totally unrelated to photography or trains, and my opinion is also influenced by the negative experiences other friends have had with DC police, and these, too, had nothing to do with trains or photography.

Tom is totally right that if a police officer sees someone standing atop a bridge with a camera, that maybe he should assume that the photographer merely intends to take a picture and not do any harm to anyone. To automatically assume that “the guy with the camera is either crazy or is going to jump,” is to already pass judgment, and if Jason expects that that’s the way a police officer should act, then he’s just proving that we do indeed have legitimate criticisms to make of such police.

I actually know at least one police officer who became a police officer because he couldn’t stand the negative opinion so many others had of law enforcement officers. I admired him for that. Similarly, I often say that I became a school teacher partly because I can’t stand most school teachers.

I’m not sure why Jason is in such haste defense of DC police over an oblique reference I made to how some of them — not the department as a whole — often act. He may be a DC police officer, but I would hate to think that someone who has the honor of enforcing the law in the nation’s capitol is that narrow-minded, judgmental, uptight, and ill-informed. Therefore, I’ll give the DC police department the benefit of the doubt and assume that their ranks do not include Jason.


8 Momma B July 19, 2011 at 21:50

Tsk, tsk, tsk, Jason and Tom. I am sure both of you could NOT care less what the other thinks. That being said, police officers are human, and being so have admirable qualities and not-so-nice weaknesses. Jimbeaux, you surely remember the article in the TP about a woman who was taking pictures of the Causeway as she drove or rode from Mandeville toward Metairie. This was after 9/11 and people were afraid that she was prepping for some dastardly deed. The woman was outraged that people could think that her sight-seeing jaunt was a prelude to destruction by those in the evil axis.
Now, I believe that the police in DC, NY, and other Eastern seaboard areas are not that different from those in New Orleans, Houston, or other Gulf Coast cities. (Well, they are reticent compared to their Southern brothers.) I remember my ex told me a wonderful story about driving 70 in a 55 mile zone. The good ol’ boy sheriff who stopped him let ex know where he stood when he drawled, “Take ur laacense out ur billfol’, boy (pronounced bow eh, accent on bow).” They are there primarily to serve and protect, but they do so much more. Sometimes their patience is strained by the rest of us who think collectivelythat rules were made to be followed but individually think that exceptions should be made “just this once.”
As a matter of fact, James, think how often your own patience was strained by thirty-odd ninth graders. Then remember how often those cherubs thought you were a jerk because you wouldn’t lighten up, you wouldn’t see the situation through their eyes, or because you insisted rules must be followed.


9 EDITOR - Jimbaux July 19, 2011 at 22:08

Momma B., since both Jason and Tom kept talking about it, I assumed that they really COULD have cared less about the whole thing!

Thirty-odd ninth-graders? Maybe all at once, but I never yelled at anyone individually, automatically assumed the worst of intentions in them, or set them up for failure, especially when they weren’t hurting anyone — like not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign when there’s NOBODY around!

I’m not anti-law enforcement at all. I’m against the abuse and the power-tripping that often does take place.


10 Alex K. July 20, 2011 at 19:05

Hey, Maryland resident here adding fuel to a dead discussion, To date, all but one encounter I’ve had with a DC cop has been unpleasant.

Most especially the time I got pulled over on my motor scooter (which had an engine more suitable for a riding lawn mower) and was told that if I didn’t stop arguing the law that he was supposed to uphold with him, the cop was going to arrest me. The law we were ‘discussing’ was that in Maryland my vehicle has such a weak engine that by law I can’t get it registered and therefore do not need a license or tags, but according to DC law ALL motor vehicles require tags. Given my status as a Maryland resident I’m exempt from this rule and had the nice gentleman arrested me I would have been released and then promptly sued him for Harassment, false arrest, and defamation if anything had ended up on my record.

There’s also the matter of the time I called the police to file a report in DC which took two hours and the police never leaving the station before I got up and left. My frustration comes from the fact that during my wait 3 police cars were investigating something a block away and never came over despite my arm waving and yelling to get their attention. Conversely that same day I called the police in MD for the same reason and they were there in 10 minutes. reason I called them was that I had chased a robber over the line that separates MD and DC. MD responded promptly and told me to go the 3 blocks back into DC and call their police…who never showed up.

I’m not going to knock police in general or even DC cops specifically due to the fact that DC laws in general are retarded, which makes the cops’ jobs harder…. But Dc cops still suck. And that’s why I reside in MD.


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