We walked to the town of Brunswick and its big marshalling yard for the CSX railroad last Sunday. We encountered the freight trains well before we got there.
We were still driving from home towards the parking lot at Lander Lock, the starting point of our walk, when, at Dickerson, I sighted the rear-end of the freight train crossing the bridge over the road. The train was headed towards the bridge at the Monocacy river. When we reached Point Of Rocks about 10 to 15 minutes later, we saw the same train running on the tracks parallel to the road we were on. We then landed up at Lander Lock another 10 to 15 minutes later just as the same train was passing by. We had to stop at the railroad crossing to let it go by before proceeding to the parking lot.
It was in the 30s when we started our walk from next to the lock house.
It was the Sycamore trees that drew my attention early in the walk. One wonders if I ever will tire of their majesty?!
The first stop was Catoctin Aqueduct. You can see how low the sun was in the sky from this picture that was taken from the walkway on one side of the aqueduct.
We could hear the activity in the railroad yard even before we crossed Little Catoctin Creek a little later.We had to go down to the level of the creek to cross the creek. The original culvert over the canal was destroyed in a storm in May 2018 and has still not been replaced.
Little Catoctin Creek is located near the eastern end of the Brunswick railroad yard. The first thing we noticed was the back-and-forth shunting activity going on with a locomotive consist of three engines attached to a number of freight cars carrying containers with J. B. Hunt logos on their sides. (We originally mistook them for containers carrying ketchup and other tomato products!🤨)
The railroad yard was, as usual, full of freight cars dispersed over the different tracks. You could see and hear the occasional locomotive located behind the carriages on the tracks closer to the trail. There is a background rumbling sound of the locomotives at rest, and the occasional creaking and clanging of metal when freight cars are being moved around, when you are walking in this area.
This is a picture from the trail beside the yard.The sky was absolutely clear! This part of the towpath has actually been converted to a gravel road that people can drive on to get to a privately owned family campsite next to the river.
The distance we covered during the walk was a little more than what we usually tackle. The Brunswick parking lot for the towpath was slightly further away than what I had expected. I took some additional time to walk the extra distance on my own, looping back on the road next to the railroad yard to get back to the trail. This is a picture of the Maryland Route 17 bridge at Brunswick taken during that part of the walk.There were a couple of trains parked on the tracks at the far end of the yard.I see trains at this location almost every time I pass by on the road. (You can actually see these trains on the other side of the bridge if you open up the picture of the bridge!)
As we were departing the area of the railroad yard on our way back to Lander Lock, the train that we had seen moving about in the yard let out three blasts of its horn (similar to this sound) and started moving in our direction. It was still moving quite slowly, still picking up speed, when the locomotives passed us by. The train consist itself was much longer than the J. B. Hunt set of container cars that we had originally seen. With its over 160 varied freight cars, it was long enough (and slow enough!) that we even reached the Catoctin Aqueduct on foot on the trail before the train fully passed us by!
We made a stop at the Rocky Point Creamery on our drive back home to pick up some ice cream. We have driven past this place for many years, and this is the first time we stopped to investigate further. The ice cream remains to be consumed at this point in time!