Jan 14, 2009

Railfanning the Inauguration Train

If you are planning to watch the "Obama Train" pass by, here are some good locations:

Perryville, Maryland: Just over the Susquehanna River Bridge, in Cecil County, the Perryville MARC station is the largest train station north of Baltimore. It has a wide platform, and if the station is unlocked (which isn't a certainty), indoor bathrooms. There are two large parking lots at the station. Perryville is a quiet town with little crime. The view of the tracks is pretty much from the left side, if you're facing north. Highly recommended.

Havre de Grace, Maryland: There is a small fishing park just under the bridge. Not a great close up view of passing trains, but pretty. Not my first choice.

Aberdeen, Maryland: Aberdeen features a small gem of a station, but it's a bit crowded. There is a platform on both sides of the tracks and a walkway that goes under the tracks. Meh.

Edgewood, Maryland: Just a parking lot and platforms, but it's a pretty large viewing area. There is access to both sides of the tracks. The station features two outhouses. Rumor has it that Mayor Quimby will be there making speeches (around two in the afternoon), which at the very least, may heat the surrounding atmosphere a degree or two. Recommended, though that area has been a bit crimey lately, I doubt it will be a problem on Saturday. The Baltimore Sun reports that Obama will stop in Edgewood at 2:30. Or maybe not.

Martin State (Essex), Maryland: Wide open on one side, the right side, when facing north. Recommended.

There haven't been many details released on the train times or equipment being used, but one can assume the consist will be all, or mostly, Amtrak equipment. However, there is a local rumor that an observation car will be placed on the rear of the train. Who knows, maybe those E-8's will be pulling the thing? Anyway, have fun, if you go, and please don't step past the yellow line on the platform (see top picture), and stay off the tracks. Amtrak trains run fast and quietly. "It’s a chance to witness history. Whether or not it goes by in a blur is still to be determined." - Delaware County Daily Times

Update: The Baltimore Sun/WJZ reports that Obama is scheduled to arrive in Baltimore at 4 p.m.

Update 2: Whistle Stop Tour Event Details Announced

Update 3: The Baltimore Sun reports that "People who can't make it downtown can see the president-elect (joined by Vice President-elect Joe Biden) at the Edgewood train station in Harford County, where the Democrats will address the crowd from the back of the train. Gates there open at noon for the 2:30 p.m. event."

Update 4: ABC2News.com reports the following official spots to watch the Obama train: "Harford County has designated three locations where people can gather to greet Obama as he makes his way to D.C. They are behind Havre De Grace Middle School on Lewis Lane, the Aberdeen train station on Route 40, and the Marc station in Edgewood. ... Cecil County has also designated two locations. They are the Perryville Marc Station and the Old Pennsylvania Railroad Depot in Elkton."

Update 5: Another Sun report states 'Mary Ann Lisanti, a member of the Harford County Committee to Elect Barack Obama, said the train will make a "rolling stop" in Edgewood. She says the train will slow to about 1 mph.'

Update 6: Obama train to include vintage rail car "Georgia 300"

Update 7: See Here comes Obama! There goes Obama! for some pictures of today's roll-by in Perryville, Maryland.

Photos: MDRails