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BTW, here's an interesting first-hand account of the Shepherd Branch when it was still used by DC Water.

"The branch was called the Shepherd Industrial Track. The junction with the B&O Alexandria Extension was at Shepherd Junction near Benning Yard. The track is still intact except for the actual connection (the story goes that it was sold to DC for a light rail project). As to where the light rail would go and who would ride it remains a mystery. This branch goes through some tough neighborhoods. Shepherd Junction was eliminated with the new track arrangement at Anacostia. The branch was the original B&O line to the south via a car ferry. It was later used during wartime as a bypass to Alexandria with the pontoon bridge for awhile as stated. Prior to 9/11, the plant was already in the planning stages to switch from chlorine to another chemical/process. 9/11 hastened the changover with the last run on 12/17/01. A local TV news crew covered the "event". We left the cars in a runaround track. The plant had a trackmobile of some type that moved the cars into the unloading area. This was right near the river although I don't think it was right at the original end of the line. Up until split day, the work was handled by the D780 local out of Jessup, Md. After split day, it was worked by the B701, a Benning based local. It was usually done on the weekends as an extra job. This was pretty much an all day affair. You had to have spacer cars between the tank cars and the power. When it was the D780, they used a caboose most trips. After split day, they usually had an engine on both ends if they were available. After you got the train together, you had to talk to both the AU (CSX) and NI (CR) dispatchers. The zig zag move that was needed blocked the mainline for a bit so it was hard for us to get the time to do it. Once you got this far, you had to call both the Air Force Base and the Naval Lab to let them know you were coming (which was always a surprise). Both places have gates where the train was checked for "intruders" and it also got a police escort through both places. This was mainly to flag the many unprotected road crossing on the bases as well as to watch to see if we would derail, which was often. To most crews, it was a real pain in the butt to do but I enjoyed it the one time I worked it."

I did one time see it crossing Pennsylvania Avenue, because I remember being so surprised that trains still ran on the line.

I like the first-person story. I used to bike commute through Bolling AFB and I smile to think of the security hoops they jumped through (and that I don't deal with anymore).

I wonder if a trail on this line is more feasible than the long-delayed South Capitol Street Trail that I remember looking forward to in 2009. My dream is to somehow have a trail connection all the way from the ART to the Wilson Bridge. I'd love to ride loops that way, and I bet it would come in handy for more than a few commuters, too - especially if it was possible to get to the new casino.

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