Potomac Yard in Transition

Potomac Yard in Transition (HM26GY)

Location: Alexandria, VA 22305
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 49.349', W 77° 2.942'

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City of Alexandria Est. 1749

—Potomac Yard —

Despite its function as a major rail classification yard for many years, Potomac Yard was not immune to the economic pressures and competition from other modes of transportation. Trucks and airplanes eventually reduced the need for goods and materials to be carried by rail and, in turn, the need for rail classification services. Although other factors aided in its downfall, the Yard was closed primarily due to reduced demand for its services. As former Yard Superintendent Jack McGinley stated, "in essence, Potomac Yard had outused its usefulness as a railroad facility." Potomac Yard closed in 1992 after 85 years of service.

The Railroad Revitalization & Regulatory Reform Act of 1976
This law was enacted to restore financial stability to the country's railroads. One outcome was an increase in services provided by Amtrak, the national passenger train system. Amtrak and freight trains often used the same track through the region which frequently resulted in delays for passenger and freight carriers. Ultimately, many freight companies found it cheaper and easier to send their trains along other routes to avoid the Alexandria and D.C. area. While joint use of tracks still occurs at present, re-routing of freight lines in the 1970s reduced demand for classification services at Potomac Yard.

The Final

Years of Potomac Yard

In the mid-1970s, construction of the Metrorail and implementation of a flood control project at Four Mile Run forced track reconfigurations and service disruptions. After a 1986 labor strike at the Yard and 1987 train collision north of Washington D.C. disrupted service again, railroad companies increasingly diverted their traffic west of D.C. to avoid shipping difficulties.

Even after the closure of Potomac Yard, the area remains a transportation hub. Ronald Reagan National Airport, the Washington D.C. Metro, Amtrak, the Virginia Railway Express, U.S. Route 1, and the George Washington Memorial Parkway continue the long-standing tradition of carrying people and freight through this corridor.
HM NumberHM26GY
Placed ByCity of Alexandria
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, April 1st, 2018 at 7:02am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 322119 N 4299072
Decimal Degrees38.82248333, -77.04903333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 49.349', W 77° 2.942'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 49' 20.94" N, 77° 2' 56.52" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)703
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling East
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1800 Potomac Ave, Alexandria VA 22305, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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