TS21: Fast Track to the Nation’s Capital
Written by: Gary Dolzall.
Coming soon to Train Simulator, the Northeast Corridor: Washington DC – Baltimore route will deliver fast-paced railroading to and from America’s capital city!
Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor: It is a crown jewel of American railroading. The Northeast Corridor stretches 467 miles from historic Boston South Station to magnificent Washington, DC, Union Station, and soon, the bustling southern portion of the “NEC” – from Baltimore, Maryland, to America’s capital city – will be coming to Train Simulator 2021!
What is today the New York-Washington segment of the Northeast Corridor achieved greatness with the Pennsylvania Railroad’s grand electrification project of 1932-33, and ever since it has been host to busy, fast, and famous railroading. In May 1971, Amtrak assumed intercity passenger operations on the Northeast Corridor and later that decade became owner of the route between Washington and New York.
Train Simulator’s upcoming Northeast Corridor: Washington DC – Baltimore route will re-create the corridor from Washington Union Station to Baltimore’s Penn Station, a distance of 41 route miles. Washington Union Station, one of America’s most grand and beautiful rail stations, is second only to New York Penn Station on the NEC in passenger arrivals and departures, with 4.3 million in 2019. Baltimore Penn is busy as well, with 921,000 arrivals and departures in 2019.
With the Corridor hosting Acela high-speed trains and regional and long-distance services, Washington is, of course, a busy and vital operating hub for Amtrak. Located nearby Washington Union Station are K Tower, which governs movements in and out of the station; the Amtrak coach yard; and famed Ivy City, which is home to Amtrak’s Ivy City Maintenance Center and Alstom Transportation facilities which together provide state-of-the-art support to Amtrak’s high-speed train equipment.
While many may envision the Northeast Corridor as stretching through endless dense urban and suburban settings, the NEC often traces its way through open countryside. Such is frequently the case between Washington and Baltimore, where the route passes through wooded country typical of coastal Maryland and crosses rivers including the Anacostia, Patuxent, and Patapsco. The line is primarily triple track, with two-track sections north out of Washington and approaching Baltimore as well as a short four-track main north of Halethorpe. And, of course, the route is high-speed territory, with track speeds of up to 125 mph.
Between Washington and Baltimore, the Corridor hosts two Amtrak stations: New Carrolton, Maryland, and the BWI Marshall Airport station adjacent to Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. The Northeast Corridor also serves as the Penn Line of commuter carrier Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC), which operates additional stations at Seabrook, Bowie State, Odenton, Halethorpe, and West Baltimore. Odenton is also home to an important Amtrak maintenance of way base.
Few are the cities in America with a longer or deeper connection to railroading than Baltimore, and Baltimore Penn Station is a memorable structure built by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1911. The station rests near the north portal of the historic Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel. The “B&P” Tunnel (actually consisting of three bores) dates to 1873 and stretches more than 7,600 feet in length. With its two tracks and 30-mph speed limit, the B&P Tunnel represents an operating challenge on the NEC.
Over the decades, the Northeast Corridor has seen the passage of countless types of memorable locomotives and equipment, from the Pennsylvania’s classic GG1 to the pioneering Metroliners, from Amtrak’s long-lived AEM-7s to today’s Acela and ACS-64 electrics. The upcoming Northeast Corridor: Washington DC – Baltimore route will include a variety of contemporary Amtrak equipment, including the Siemens ACS-64 and Amfleet I and Amfleet II passenger equipment, the stylish and fast Acela train sets, and passenger equipment suitable for Amtrak’s long-distance trains. For commuter service, an unbranded MPI MP36PH-3C and Bombardier MultiLevel equipment are included
It will soon be time to climb aboard Amtrak’s high-speed Acela and flashy ACS-64 speedster to experience American passenger railroading at its best – with the Northeast Corridor: Washington DC – Baltimore route for Train Simulator! – Gary Dolzall
Train Simulator’s upcoming Northeast Corridor: Washington DC – Baltimore route will re-create the famed Amtrak corridor from Washington Union Station to Baltimore’s Penn Station, a distance of 41 route miles. Amtrak ACS-64 644 is approaching Washington Union Station (above), while at Baltimore Penn Station (below), Acela and Northeast Regional trains occupy the platforms. Screenshots by Gary Dolzall.
Making its departure from Washington Union Station on the upcoming Northeast Corridor: Washington DC – Baltimore route, an Acela eases past one of the numerous historic railroad landmarks of America’s capital city, the long brick Railway Express Building. Note: Screenshots depict content while still in development.
Washington bound on the upcoming Northeast Corridor: Washington DC – Baltimore route, an Amtrak ACS-64 leads Amfleet equipment under a Pennsylvania-style signal bridge and through Langdon. That is CSX Capital Division trackage to the left. The Train Simulator Northeast Corridor: Washington DC – Baltimore route will include a variety of contemporary Amtrak equipment, including the ACS-64, Amfleet equipment, and the high-speed Acela.
Between Washington and Baltimore, Amtrak serves two intermediate stations, New Carrollton, Maryland, and the BWI Marshall Airport station. Northbound Acela 2009 is easing to a stop at the BWI Marshall Airport station. A majority of Amtrak trains call at BWI’s station.
While the Northeast Corridor may evoke images of trains rushing through urban and suburban environs, portions of the “NEC” pass through scenic and open country. Such is the case as an Acela hustles north near Odenton, Maryland (above), and a southbound regional train glides high above Gwynns Falls near West Baltimore (below). The rail line visible in the valley is an ex-Western Maryland Railway CSX route.
Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor also serves as the Penn Line of commuter carrier Maryland Area Regional Commuter, known as MARC. An Acela and commuter train share the line’s triple tracks (above). The upcoming Northeast Corridor: Washington DC – Baltimore route will include commuter stations at Seabrook, Bowie State, Odenton, Halethorpe, and West Baltimore. At Halethorpe, a southbound Amtrak train passes through the commuter station (below).
Located south of Baltimore Penn Station is the historic Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel, which dates to 1873 and stretches more than 7,600 feet in length. Amtrak ACS-64 644 has just emerged from the south portal of the B&P Tunnel as it makes its way toward Washington.
South of Baltimore, Amtrak trains meet at speed. It will soon be time to climb aboard and experience American passenger railroading at its best – with the Northeast Corridor: Washington DC – Baltimore 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.
TS21: Fast Track to the Nation’s Capital