Northern Suburbs of Baltimore in Baltimore County

In General
Sights
Station by Station
Signals
Fire and Police
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In General

Location / Name:
Hunt Valley MD
Cockeysville MD
Texas MD

What's Here:
Former R-O-W of the Baltimore & Susquehanna RR (the 2nd railroad in Baltimore), and later the Northern Central, Pennsy, PC, Conrail, and NS
Former PRR freight shed (Cockeysville)
5 Light Rail stations
B&S marble stringers (ties)
Fire stations - BaltCo #17, Cockeysville Volunteers #390
Police station - Precinct 7 - Cockeysville
Plenty of food, shopping, movie theaters, and gas: Hunt Valley Towne Center, Walmart, and the usual other suspects

Data:
GPS Coordinates: 
     Hunt Valley station: 39.496293, -76.654531
     Warren Rd station: 39.496288, -76.654164
ZIP/Cockeysville: 21030
ZIP/Hunt Valley: 21031
ZIP/Texas: 21093

Access by train/transit:
No Amtrak or MARC service
Light Rail Stops:
     Warren Road
     Gilroy Rd
     McCormick Rd
     Pepper Rd
     Hunt Valley
Bus - Local - No 9 Route
Bus - Commuter - No 83S to York

My pages for the nearby communities:
Brooklandville
Hereford and Monkton
Lutherville
Ruxton and Riderwood
Timonium
Towson
The Green Spring branch
And the "old" Map 1 page

The Scoop:

The map below shows the north suburban side of Baltimore... Towson, Lutherville, Timonium, Cockeysville, and Hunt Valley.  It is a very busy, I am in the process of splitting it up into easier to manage sections, this is part of that effort.

The second railroad of Baltimore, the Baltimore and Susquehanna, came through here in 1831-32 heading to York and Harrisburg.  A fairly complete history is on the Ruxton and Riderwood page.  The railroad was re-organized as the Northern Central Rwy after a really bad accident in Ruxton/Riderwood killed 35 people, and the B&S was prompted to reorganize in order to stave off bankruptcy.  The B&S also built the Green Spring Branch, which the Western Maryland used in the beginning before they had their own route out of the city.  They built this route as an alternate way out of Baltimore when the state of Pennsylvania denied the Northern Central access to entering York County.  The R-O-W was double tracked and signaled by WW1.  Local passenger service, known as the Parkton Local, was discontinued in 1959.  Soon after, the line reverted to a single track with passing sidings.  The last passenger train came thru in 1971 with the start of Amtrak, and the last freight train came thru in September of 1972 before hurricane Agnes did its damage to the line and the Penn Central could not afford to rebuild the line (it was easier to have freights go up to Perryville and use that line to get to Harrisburg than deal with the grades and curves of the Northern Central anyways - most of the freights using the line in the latter years were SB because of the grades).

More info can be found at:
     http://www.mdoe.org/north_central_rr.html
     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Central_Railway
     http://wikimapia.org/7137695/Northern-Central-Railroad-Pennsylvania-Railroad-Abandoned
     http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/archiveThumbs.aspx?id=1403&Page=2 surviving railroad stations in Maryland
     http://www.rrshs.org/Maryland/baltimoremd.htm field check of many station sites in Baltimore County

The northern part of the light rail system runs right up the middle of the map, which was the original right-of-way of the Northern Central.  The original section which opened in 1990 and went to Timonium.  The extension opened to Hunt Valley in September of 1997.  Any part of it that wasn't, was double tracked in 2005, and the old marble ties (stringers) were visible along the R-O-W.  Above Cockeysville, the R-O-W is now the NC hikey-bikey Trail, which is very popular with those types.  The R-O-W splits off at Warren Rd., and other than the stub that is still there, not much remains visible.  NS trains stopped running when the light rail closed the track for the double tracking project at the beginning of 2005.  They applied for abandonment shortly thereafter.

21030 or 21031?  Most people will interchangeably use Cockeysville and Hunt Valley.  To a small degree, they are correct, but beware, there IS a HUGE difference.  Before there was a Hunt Valley, the whole area used to be considered Cockeysville.  With the advent of commercial development in the numerous industrial parks of Cockeysville in the area around and below Shawan Road, the post office decided they needed a way to differentiate between the areas, so they created the 21031 ZIP code for Hunt Valley.  In the map below, you can see that the 21031 Hunt Valley area is a small segment in the much larger 21030 "Cockeysville" area.



It's kind of funny how, with the advent of light rail service, that the main line and siding functions of the track in Cockeysville reversed roles.  What is now the light rail's main line at Warren Road, used to be an industrial siding, servicing business' in Cockeysville and the Hunt Valley Industrial Park.  What used to be the Pennsy main line, became the siding.  The line became a local line after hurricane Agnes in September of 1972 and washed out many bridges and trackage north of Cockeysville where it followed the river.  The track went up to the freight shed for many years, then when the MTA took over, ended the line just shy of Cockeysville Rd.  Today, the track goes up far enough to make a usable wye, and you can barely see where the tracks were from Cockeysville Road.  Prior to the end of freight service, you could find a Norfolk Southern or Conrail engine, and maybe a few cars sitting north of Warren Road because they couldn't make it back to the interchange track back at the light rail shops before the start of service.

Several old NC/PRR depots are still around in addition to the Cockeysville Freight Shed: Riderwood, Lutherville, Greenspring, Stevenson, and Monkton.  Three of them are used as homes, and anyone wishing to take pictures of them should respect the privacy of the homeowners!  Monkton serves as the HQ for the Trail.  Please check those pages to view information on them.

More info at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baltimore_Light_Rail

Acknowledgements:
Elliott Plack - Pictures of still standing PRR PL signal and bridge


Map





Portions of older and newer versions of the MTA's light rail map:
 


Sights


 ex PRR Freight Shed

Probably the most visible railroad feature, or fixture still around these days.  Many references I see on the internet are calling this the Cockeysville station, which is incorrect.  The actual railroad station used to sit on "the other" side of York Rd.  These pictures are from May 2014, and as of 2017, it is still around, altho in poor condition.  The MTA is the current owner of the building.  Up until 2005 or so, the tracks from the light rail line actually used to still connect to the track outside the shed, and the MTA kept a speeder in a small shed over the tracks.

 

                   


Taken in the early 70's a few months apart are the two following pictures of the local working in Cockeysville, next to the Freight Shed.  The siding is still partially there.  Would love to have gotten the "no left turn" signal!  Adjacent to where the shed stands, come the two following pictures of a local working one of the Cockeysville sidings.  The engine, an Alco RS-11, or Dl-701, is one of my favorites of the era.  In NYC, they took over the duties in 1969 on the New Haven when Penn Central took over, and stopped using the electric E-33's going over Hell Gate bridge in Queens NY.  The square picture is of the RS-11's making their way north thru Queens next to where my grandparents lived in Jackson Heights.



 


 the Cockeysville Underpass

How did the chicken get to the other side of the railroad tracks?

Simple.  When there was still a right-of-way, York Road went under the tracks in an underpass.  Being only a two-lane affair, it was a choke point in York Road, and filled up with water every time we had a severe storm.  It also included a walkway for pedestrian traffic.  I'm sure Baltimore County and every driver around here praised the day it went away!  Much of the underpass is still there, they just filled it in with dirt, and then paved over it.

 

 

 

 



 the former PRR Cockeysville Station

I don't know when they tore the station down, but it was before 1970 when I first started driving up to Cockeysville to visit my buddy Jim who lives a few blocks away.  I also came up here hoping to get a glance of the local engine working the industrial park, or one of the thru SB Truc-Trains (the route between here and New Freedom PA was uphill AND twisty-turny, so the Pennsy in later years, once they had the Port Road open, really only used this track for southbound freights).  It was well shaded by trees, and even on a hot summer day, was a great place for train watching.  Another thing that made it nice to hang around, was the fact that the railroad had a radio repeater at the south end of the station platform, and the technicians would usually leave the speaker on, so you would know when there was something around.  This was in the days before scanners were common, if you can believe that!  The brick paved platform, on the right side of the tracks as you looked from York Road, was around until the mid 80's.







X marks the spot where the tracks used to be......




 


 Southern End of the NCR Rail-Trail



 NC Marble Ties

These fine examples of marble railroad ties date back to when the Baltimore & Susquehanna (Northern Central) was heading north out of Baltimore in the 1834 time frame.  When the MTA Light Rail was double tracking the northern section in 2005, they "uncovered" many of the ones still left in the old right-of-way.  There were two sections that we saw, one was under Padonia Road going several hundred feet to the south, the other section was at Industry Lane.  I tried like a bandit to get some of them saved, but neither the MTA nor the Maryland Historical Trust wanted to do so, stating that they should be preserved for the future when "we" will know more about discovering their secrets.  The letter I received also asked me if I knew anything about extracting historical artifacts out of the ground without damaging them, but a couple of days after I received that letter, people doing the R-O-W work came along and scraped the top of several dozen of them with a bulldozer while clearing the way for the new track - so much for the state being good guardians of our past.  So, they all got buried and none of us will ever see them again :-( 

The two aerial shots below show where the stones were uncovered and could easily be seen during 2005.  The full size picture is taken from Industry Lane looking south.  In the picture, you cab also see the back of a grade crossing signal that is no longer around.

 




Light Rail - Station by Station


The Baltimore Light Rail system starts/ends on the northern part of the map in Hunt Valley, at the mall.  Too bad for riders, but by the time the current owner of the Mall told the MTA that they would love to have the Light Rail come into the Mall, the MTA already had started on building the station as it is now. 

This map covers the system from the northern end down to the Twin Tunnels in Riderwood.  The longest stretch of track without a stop starts on this map at Lutherville, and goes about 4 miles to the Falls Road station, and also takes in the best scenery of the entire system at Lake Roland.


Hunt Valley


Pepper Road


McCormick Rd (on Schilling Circle)


Gilroy Rd

At Gilroy, the line goes into a single track for its trip through most of the industrial park (it goes back into two tracks for the Hunt Valley station before crossing Shawan Rd).

The NB signal for trains heading to Hunt Valley is fairly unique in that it only displays two aspects as seen below.  Signals like this also show up at the Timonium turn around.

You can almost always count on a meet here, for trains going to HV have to wait for the SB train to clear the single track.

 

      A SB train coming into Gilroy

           A NB train coming into Gilroy and then heading to HV

       

       


Warren Rd

      No right turn signs on WB Warren Rd when taking a right onto Beaver Dam Road.


Warren Rd Grade Crossing

 


Cockeysville Siding

 


Signals


  Pennsy PL Signals

GPS: 39.489855, -76.641851 (close enough, but may not be exact)
One of the few signals I saw on the line, it was maybe a half mile down the track from where the former Cockeysville station used to be.  During the days when the station was around, the Pennsy and the Penn Central also had a radio repeater station located here.  I have a picture of it, but it is a tiny little dot in the distance, because it was taken with a Kodak Instamatic camera.  I'm surprised it got any picture of it at all considering it was totally dark!  :-)  The signal location is about 2500ft from York Rd, and if you want to visit it, the best bet is to drive in on Beaver Run Lane and follow the stream around to the right of way, and then go left, or north from where the bridge would have been.  I wonder if I can get my trailer in there? :-) :-)  I'm surprised that you can see the signal head in the Bing birds-eye view!  The picture at the bottom is what remains of one of the bridges along this section of the track.  The two photos are courtesy Elliot Plack.





 


 


  Pennsy PL Signal Bridge

GPS: 39.482510, -76.645411
I have seen a picture of a SB train passing this location with a signal bridge with 2 sets of Pennsy PL signals located on it, one for both directions.  I have no idea when the signal bridge was taken down, but I would take an educated guess that it was shortly after the Pennsy stopped running passenger service in 1959.  Below is the best picture of it I have found (so far) on the internet.



Fire and Police


NOTE: If anyone from any of the stations or precincts wants better resolution photos for picture purposes, give me a hollar, contact info is here


 Baltimore County Fire Station #17 - Texas
GPS: 39.460536, -76.634168 

    Battalion Chief 11 and 1 sitting outside the station.

            Truck #17.

    Engine #1 at Texas.

 

      Engine #17 caught on NB 83, and then at the station about 30 minutes later going down York Rd.

        Tower 17 at Sam's Club on a rainy night in Texas (MD) on 11/30/2015.


 Cockeysville Volunteer Fire Company
GPS: 39.492298, -76.65065    http://cvfc39.org/





  Medic 395 in Timonium.

     Medic 395 and engine 392 caught near the station off Schilling Road.


 


 Baltimore County Police Precinct 7 - Cockeysville




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New 09/04/2007
Last Modified: 02/10/2017