TS20: CSX’s Captivating “Dutch Line”
Written by: Gary Dolzall.
We explore the history and diverse operations of the upcoming CSX Hanover Subdivision for Train Simulator!
Coming soon to Train Simulator, the CSX Hanover Subdivision route is a remarkable rail line that packs extraordinary topography, operating challenges, numerous heavy-tonnage lineside industries – and American history – into 62 route miles that stretch from Hagerstown, Maryland, to Hanover Pennsylvania, and the nearby rail junction at Porters.
What is today CSX’s Hanover Subdivision was for decades a route of the much-beloved Western Maryland Railway, and the line was (and is) nicknamed “The Dutch Line” for its passage through the region’s beautiful and oft-times rugged “Pennsylvania Dutch” farm country.
As re-created for Train Simulator by High Iron Simulations, the upcoming route features urban settings at Hanover, Gettysburg, and Hagerstown; the rugged and demanding crossing of South Mountain (the northern extension of the Blue Ridge) and Jack’s Mountain; more than 20 lineside shippers; interchanges with four railroads; and passage through countryside that translates into a challenging “saw tooth” gradient profile.
High Iron Simulations has brought together an extraordinarily talented and experienced team – Rick Grout, Michael Stephan, Wayne Campbell, and Paul and Gary Dolzall – to create the Hanover Subdivision route for Train Simulator.
Today’s CSX Hanover Subdivision is relatively ancient, with the oldest portions dating to the 1850s. Like so many rail lines, the route was born via an alphabet soup of small railroads that eventually were merged, in this case to form a part of the Western Maryland Railway. By 1858, the route was completed west to Gettysburg – and then came the American Civil War.
The Battle of Gettysburg was fought on July 1-3, 1863, as the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia clashed with the Union Army of the Potomac. The initial fighting occurred west of Gettysburg along McPherson and Seminary ridges. At the time, the completed railroad extended only into Gettysburg from the east, but the grading had been completed farther west. What is today known as the “the Railway Cut” was the scene of hard fighting and is now part of the preserved and magnificent Gettysburg National Military Park. And it was from Gettysburg’s ornate railroad station on Carlisle Street that President Abraham Lincoln arrived by train four months after the battle to give his monumental “Gettysburg Address.”
Following the Civil War, work on the railroad was renewed, and what is today’s Hanover Subdivision route to Hagerstown was completed in 1889. The line remained part of the independent Western Maryland for nearly another century, until the 1973 formation of Chessie System (which integrated the operations of Chesapeake & Ohio, Baltimore & Ohio, and Western Maryland). In turn, Chessie System was absorbed in 1987 into CSX Transportation.
Given that much of the Hanover Subdivision was built both early and economically, the route is a demanding one. Its crossings of South and Jack’s mountains feature grades of more than 1.5 percent on the east and west slopes. The line is often circuitous and features horseshoes at Greenstone and Fairfield on the east slope and a tunnel atop Jack’s Mountain. Indeed, the nature of the “Dutch Line” earned it a second, less-eloquent nickname, “the tapeworm.”
The CSX Hanover Subdivision connects with the Norfolk Southern Lurgan Branch and Hagerstown District and the CSX Lurgan Subdivision at Hagerstown; the Maryland Midland at Highfield and Emory Grove; the Gettysburg & Northern (an ex-Reading line) at Gettysburg; and York Rail at Porters and Hanover. The route is extremely rich in originating tonnage, much of which is aggregates, cement, and agricultural products. Among the line’s 20+ lineside shippers are large quarry operations located at Security, Greenstone, and Bittinger.
Operations on the Hanover Subdivision are based at Hagerstown and Hanover. The route is not signaled and is operated via Direct Traffic Control (DTC) block occupancy. The mainstays of the Hanover Subdivision are symbol trains D795 and D797, which operate over the length of the line between Hagerstown and Hanover in each direction. Operating east from Hanover toward Emory Grove and Baltimore is the D796, which typically handles the interchange with York Rail at Porters while a job designated D778 works the numerous industries in and around Hanover. Stone trains nicknamed “Rock Runners” operate from the massive quarry at Bittinger (west of Hanover) to various locations around Baltimore. To reach its “island” operation at Hanover, York Rail has trackage (but not haulage) rights between Porters and Hanover.
The upcoming CSX Hanover Subdivision route will feature four locomotives – CSX’s SD40-3, SD40-2, and GE Dash 8-40CW, plus a short line GP9 – along with a variety of freight equipment. The route will include ten realistic and diverse scenarios (nine career scenarios and free roam scenario) and, as an optional purchase, you will be able to receive ten additional career scenarios – 20 scenarios in total – as part of a specially-discounted bundle!
Heavy tonnage, rolling farmlands, rugged mountains, contemporary motive power, and the history-rich and scenic countryside of Maryland and Pennsylvania all await you in the upcoming CSX Hanover Subdivision route for Train Simulator! – Gary Dolzall
Coming soon to Train Simulator, the CSX Hanover Subdivision route is a rail line that packs extraordinary topography, operating challenges, numerous heavy-tonnage lineside industries – and American history – into 62 route miles that stretch from Hagerstown, Maryland, to Hanover Pennsylvania, and the rail junction at Porters. Climbing the east slope of the Blue Ridge, a pair of CSX Dash 8-40CWs emerge from Jack’s Mountain Tunnel. Screenshots by Gary Dolzall.
What is today CSX’s Hanover Subdivision was long part of the much-beloved Western Maryland Railway, and the line is nicknamed “The Dutch Line” for its passage through the region’s beautiful and oft-times rugged “Pennsylvania Dutch” farm country. The route’s WM heritage is recalled by the faded but still visible lettering on the bridge over Rock Creek at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Note: Screenshots depict content in development.
The western terminus of the upcoming CSX Hanover Subdivision route is Hagerstown, Maryland, once the home city of the Western Maryland. At still-sprawling Hagerstown Yard, CSX GEs occupy the Lurgan Subdivision main as a train bound for the Hanover Subdivision with CSX SD40-3 4218 on the point begins its pull eastbound.
The Hanover Subdivision serves a variety of lineside industries, among them large quarry and cement facilities that generate heavy tonnage for the line. Just east of Hagerstown, a duo of CSX GE Dash 8-40CWs in the railroad’s “YN3b” livery pass through the massive cement plant and quarry complex at Security, Maryland.
Even in its farmland sections, the Hanover Subdivision features a “roller-coaster” profile, a fact on clear display as a CSX freight makes its way eastbound near Smithsburg, Maryland. Because of its sawtooth profile and numerous curves, “The Dutch Line” also garnered a second, less-eloquent nickname, “the tapeworm.”
The summit of the Hanover Subdivision is at the aptly named Highfield, Maryland, and the location is also the site of CSX’s interchange with the short line Maryland Midland Railway. A pair of eastbound CSX GEs are working the interchange at Highfield. The trackage to the left is that of CSX, and to the right is that of the short line (which is also ex-Western Maryland trackage).
On the rugged and scenic east slope of the Blue Ridge (South Mountain), the Hanover Subdivision features two horseshoe curves, one of which – at Greenstone, Pennsylvania – is also the site of a massive and busy aggregates quarry and processing facility.
“Hallowed Ground.” At Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the Hanover Subdivision passes through the preserved Civil War Gettysburg National Military Park. Approaching “the Railway Cut,” a scene of hard fighting on July 1, 1863, CSX Train D797 passes the monument to the Union Army’s “Fourteenth Brooklyn” regiment (above). It was at Gettysburg’s ornate station on Carlisle Street that President Abraham Lincoln arrived to give his timeless “Gettysburg Address.” CSX SD40-3 4082 is leading a nocturnal westbound freight past the historic station (below).
Along with aggregates, agricultural products generate tonnage for the Hanover Subdivision. East of Gettysburg, at Granite, Pennsylvania, a pair of CSX SD40-2s are working past a large animal nutrition facility. The upcoming CSX Hanover Subdivision route will feature four locomotives – CSX’s SD40-3, SD40-2, and Dash 8-40CW, plus a short line GP9 – and a variety of freight equipment. The route will include ten realistic and diverse scenarios (nine career scenarios and free roam scenario) and, as an optional purchase, you’ll be able to receive ten additional career scenarios – 20 scenarios in total – as part of a specially-discounted bundle!*
Hanover, Pennsylvania, is a primary operating hub for the subdivision and is home to numerous lineside shippers. Just west of Hanover at Bittinger is an expansive quarry and processing facility served by CSX. A pair of EMD SD40-2s are working a “Rock Runner” train at the quarry complex (above). Some of Hanover’s shippers are served by a York Rail “island” operation along ex-Pennsylvania Railroad trackage, a duty short line Geep 1754 has well in hand (below).
On the east side of Hanover, CSX SD40-3 4038 leads an eastbound train past one of several large food processing plants on the line. Heavy tonnage, rolling farmlands, rugged mountains, contemporary motive power, and the history-rich and scenic countryside of Maryland and Pennsylvania all await you in the upcoming CSX Hanover Subdivision route for Train Simulator!
Screenshots and images displayed in this article may depict content that is still in development. The licensed brands may not have been approved by their respective owner and some artwork may still be pending approval.
TS20: CSX’s Captivating “Dutch Line”