Crews on the scene of a E. 26th Street, where a sidewalk above a CSX rail line buckled. Photo by Brian O’Doherty.
Crews on the scene of a E. 26th Street, where a sidewalk above a CSX rail line buckled. Photo by Brian O’Doherty.

A portion of E. 26th Street above a CSX train route appears to be sinking, four years after a retaining wall two blocks away collapsed into the rail bed below.

Multiple news reports and posts on social media show the sidewalk running along the southern portion of the road, in the block between N. Calvert Street and Guilford Avenue, buckling, with jagged blocks of concrete tilting toward the train tracks.

The scene this morning as a sidewalk on E. 26th Street began to buckle. Photo by J.M. Giordano

A representative with the freight rail company said Monday morning that it has employees working with the Baltimore City Department of Transportation to assess the integrity of the retaining wall. Train traffic was halted.

“The safety of our employees and the surrounding community is our highest priority, and we are committed to supporting city officials at the site as they work to safely address the issue,” the CSX rep said.

In an update early Monday evening, DOT said it had completed its assessment and crew had begun removing the sidewalk and retaining wall. The agency has closed areas of E. 26th Street and N. Calvert Street nearby to traffic as crews work. “Once this area is secured, plans for a new wall will be developed,” officials said in a tweet.

DOT has been working throughout the day with CSX Transportation and other city agencies to assess the structural integrity of a retaining wall that abuts CSX property along E. 26th Street near N. Calvert Street.

— Baltimore City DOT (@BmoreCityDOT) November 26, 2018

This portion of E. 26th Street will remain closed to through traffic between Guilford Avenue and N. Calvert Street. In addition, N. Calvert Street is closed between E. 25th and E. 27th Streets for equipment staging. Motorists are asked to use alternate routes.

— Baltimore City DOT (@BmoreCityDOT) November 26, 2018

At a press briefing, Mayor Catherine Pugh said the affected stretch of E. 26th Street and parts of N. Calvert Street would be closed for a number of days as engineers assess the structural stability of the retaining wall and keep residents informed. Representatives from the Office of Emergency Management and police and fire departments were also on-site, she said.

“We remain optimistic, so I don’t want to put dates and times on everything,” she said.

Referred to then as a “sinkhole” or a “landslide,” the 2014 collapse on E. 26th Street between N. Charles and St. Paul streets garnered international attention as the paved road gave way and it looked as if parked cars were being swallowed whole.

More than 20 families affected by the collapse received a $1.2 million settlement from the freight train operator and the city nearly two years after it happened. Per The Sun, repairs cost $12 million to $13 million, which was split between CSX and the city.

This post has been updated.

Brandon Weigel is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. A graduate of the University of Maryland, he has been published in The Washington Post, The Sun, Baltimore Magazine, Urbanite, The Baltimore...