In General
Getting Here
Sites
Signals
Floobydust
USGS Maps

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In General

Hagerstown is at the crossroads of what used to be the Western Maryland, the Pennsy, the Baltimore and Ohio, and the Norfolk and Western.  It's now served by CSX (B&O and WM) and the NS (N&W and PRR).  Thru freights on both roads share the ROW going past the Police Station in the downtown area.

The WM had the biggest presence in old Hagerstown, and reached there in 1872.  Because of the decline in passenger traffic, after WWII, the WM ended passenger service completely in 1959.

Back in the 60's and 70's, the Western Maryland was host to many, many railfan events, including excursions to the west and to Baltimore; hosting steamers like 759 and 2102, and the D&H PA's.  When 759 was painted in American Railroad colors for the 100th anniversary of transcontinental train service, the train came back east through Hagerstown and stopped here overnight..... The WM back then was a railfan's dream railroad!

Here's an interesting note.... if you're old enough to remember semaphore type lenses on auto type traffic lights, Hagerstown still had a few around, at least back in 2010 or so when I came across them.  I can't attest to whether or not they are still around, but I have pictures of them here:
http://www.railroadsignals.us/signals/hagerstown/

Anyways, back to reality, there are no Amtrak or MARC trains coming into or going through Hagerstown.

The B&O had a branch from Weverton MD (slightly west of Brunswick) into Hagerstown, passing thru Rohrersville and Keedysville.  It was built in the late 1800's.  There was also a bypass on the east side of town connecting to the WM main, going from Security Jct on the B&O to Security on the WM.  There's supposedly an old B&O depot still in town camouflaged as a car wash.
More info at:  http://wikimapia.org/7351343/B-O-Railroad-Weaverton-to-Roxbury-Abandoned

Hagerstown also had an interurban line, the Hagerstown and Frederick Railway..... construction started in 1896 and saw it's last train around 1958/1961, depending on who you consider the last operating entity.  They ran trolleys and freight service.
For more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hagerstown_and_Frederick_Railway

For other guides of the area, check out the Central Maryland Railfan Guide Homepage


Getting Here

From the north, NY, MA, etc, come down via I78 (and I95) from the Philly area, or I81 from the NY and Binghamton area.  Stay on I81 south through Harrisburg, and it will bring you directly into Hagerstown.

From the west (OH, western PA, etc) or east (as in Baltimore), I70 gets you to Hagerstown. 

Hagerstown is at the crossroads of I70 and I81.

Coming up from the south west, as in TN, southern WV, AL, or SW Virginia, I81 going north gets you there

From DC, southern/eastern VA, I would head up I270 to Frederick after going north on I95 and around DC on the Beltway, and then head west on I70.



Click here for the Hagerstown map in PDF version.

Click here for the Central MD map in PDF version.


Sites


    1         Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum

   

            

           

    These used to be very common along the B&O, and some are still around if you look hard enough.  These were for track side phones before there were radios.


    2         Ex Western Maryland Hagerstown Yard (CSX)

Activity here is very slow compared to what it used to be.... darn.....



     

   

  The yard goes over Burnham Blvd on this very nice looking overpass.

  You don't see many throws like this around these parts.

    The signal maintainers maintain a small presence on the far side of the yard.

         
As old as this structure is, I'm surprised it has survived this long, it uses an auto type signal for controlling the hump movements.


    3          Train Park

 


    4          The Norfolk Southern Yard (Ex Norfolk and Western)

 


    5          Ex Western Maryland Depot



 
 


    6          Hagerstown and Frederick Trolley

West of Hagerstown, off I70, sits a lone H&F trolley, with a couple of signs and a trolley stop bungalow.  When last there in 2006, the trolley didn't look like it was being well taken care of, and had a tarp over the roof.  Maybe 15 years ago or so, there was a pretty big event dedicating the trolley, I'll have to see if I can find pictures from it.....

 

           

  Michael Watnoski walking the line.  The site is actually placed along the old R-O-W.


    6          Site of the Former WM Roundhouse

From the ground, you don't see much if anything, but from the air, you can still see where everything used to be.  Good memories used to be here, especially with 759, 2102, and the D&H PA's coming through here back in the 70's!





    6          CSX Yard Office

This building hasn't changed much since I first saw it in 1969!






Signals


Locations 1 thru 6 start across from the WM yard and progress east in order of their locations.


    1      

Located on Burhans Blvd (at Madison), along the top of the "wye" at the yard, are these unique grade crossing signals.

     

 





    2      

An older signal bridge at W Antietam Street.


    3      

This signal bridge is in downtown Hagerstown, and is easy to get to from either side of the tracks by W Church St and McPherson.

 






    4      

A Norfolk Southern freight is headed north at this signal location, where the signal is controlling a line coming in from the east.


    5      

This is a little north of location 3 and 4 where the tracks diverge.

   

 


    6      

And once past the diverge, is this pair of signals for trains inbound to Hagerstown from Chambersburg via the long way around.

 





Floobydust


Railroad History of Hagerstown

From Wikipedia: Hagerstown's nickname of the "Hub City" came from the large number of railroads (and roads) that served the city.  Hagerstown was the center of the Western Maryland Railway and an important city on the Pennsylvania, Norfolk and Western, Baltimore and Ohio, and Hagerstown and Frederick Railroads.  Also, Hagerstown was formerly served by the Hagerstown & Frederick Railway, an interurban trolley system, from 1896 to 1947.

Hagerstown is currently served by: CSX, Norfolk Southern, and the Winchester and Western Railroads.



The Cumberland Valley RR

The Beginning: The Cumberland Valley Railroad Company was chartered by the Pennsylvania Legislature on April 2, 1831, to construct a railroad from Carlisle to a point on the Susquehanna River at or near Harrisburg. This charter expired, but it was renewed on April 15, 1835, allowing the road to be built from the Susquehanna River to Chambersburg. On June 27, 1835, Thomas Grubb McCullough was elected as the first President of the road, and in August, William Milner Roberts was selected as Chief Engineer.

The initial cost of building the road, including a bridge across the Susquehanna, was estimated before construction at $564,064, and the average annual receipts of the road at $284,617.50, calculated at 100 passengers each way per day at 3 cents per mile, and 35,000 tons of through freight and 51,950 tons of local freight, at 4 cents per ton per mile. $642,000 was raised by local stock subscription and construction began in the Spring of 1836.

The railroad opened for travel from White Hill, near Harrisburg to Carlisle in August, 1837, and through to Chambersburg in November, 1837. The first locomotive, built by William Norris in Philadelphia, had two driving wheels, wooden spokes, and was named "Cumberland Valley,"

The passenger cars carried 14 passengers each and were bought used from the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad, according to the 1887 "History of Franklin County Pennsylvania." The railroad track was constructed of cross ties laid 4.5 feet (1.4 m)apart without ballast, with 5x9 in (127x229 mm) oak stringers serving as rails. Iron bar, 0.625 inches (15.9 mm) thick by 2.25 inches (57 mm) wide, was spiked to the top of the stringers. When service began to Chambersburg, the iron was not laid for the last 3 miles (4.8 km) and the cars were run in on the wooden stringers.

The first Cumberland Valley Railroad Bridge across the Susquehanna was opened for travel on January 16, 1839. The first regular passenger service to Philadelphia, via the Harrisburg, Portsmouth, Mount Joy and Lancaster Railroad, began on February 1, 1839 with the following schedule:  Leave Chambersburg at 4 o'clock in the morning; Arrive at Harrisburg at 8, at Lancaster at 12, at Philadelphia before 6 P.M.  Returning it will leave Harrisburg as soon as the cars from Philadelphia arrived, about 5 o'clock in the evening and arrive at Chambersburg at 10 P.M.

The Cumberland Valley Railroad pioneered the use of sleeping cars in the spring of 1839, a first on any American railroad, with a car named "Chambersburg." The berths were upholstered boards, in three rows, one above the other, held by leather straps, and in the daytime were folded back against the walls. A couple of years later a second car, the "Carlisle," was introduced into service.

Passengers traveling from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia traveled by horse drawn stage for 36 hours to get to Chambersburg, arriving about midnight, then left by rail about 1 am, arriving at Harrisburg about 5 am, in time to catch a HPMt.J&L train to Philadelphia.

"The History of Franklin County Pennsylvania" also claims that the first locomotive cab was constructed in the CVRR shops in Chambersburg in 1841 for a Franklin Railroad locomotive, named "Washington."

Growth: In 1839 the CVRR bought three locomotives for $21,250, and two passenger cars for $4,175; and ran two passenger trains and one freight train each day between Chambersburg and Harrisburg. They boasted that no passenger had been injured in the 2 years that the road had been operated.

Frederick Watts was elected the third President of the CVRR in 1841 and served in the post for 32 years. He reported that total annual earnings were $70,116.82 for 1842. By 1849, annual earnings were $101,084.77, and tonnage hauled was reported for the first time, totaling 37,439 tons, including 7,818 tons of flour, 5,126 of iron ore, 4,247 of coal, 2,123 of grain, and 2,237 of lumber. In that year plans were made to reconstruct the track with heavy iron rails.

  Pioneer Locomotive       The Hagerstown station, built 1883

  The 1916 CVRR Timetable          CVRR system map from 1919

In March, 1832, the Franklin Railroad was chartered by the Pennsylvania Legislature, and on January 16, 1837 by the Legislature of Maryland.  The road was built from Chambersburg to Greencastle PA in 1837, and to Hagerstown MD in 1841.  It owned its own steam locomotives, but these were sold about 1841, when the CVRR began operating the road.  Horse power, rather than steam power, was used during the 1840s and 1850s.  Ownership and operating rights changed hands several times, until 1860 when the track was rebuilt with heavy rails and the CVRR contracted to operate the track.  In 1865 the two railroads were merged.

Daniel Tyler was hired in 1850 to supervise the line's rebuilding.  He hired Alba Smith as Superintendent of the machinery shop in 1850.  Smith served as Superintendent of the railway from 1851-1856, and helped introduced lighter weight "single-wheel" locomotives on the line.  These locomotives included the Pioneer and the Jenny Lind, bought in 1851, and the Boston and Enterprise bought in 1853-54.  In 1999, the Pioneer was moved from its display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. to the as yet unopened National Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem PA. (The locomotive was later moved to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.)

In October, 1862, the Confederate forces destroyed railway buildings in Chambersburg, and on June 15, 1863, during the Gettysburg Campaign, they destroyed all company property in the town, and tore up five miles (8 km) of Franklin Railroad.  In July, 1864 Confederate raiders led by Jubal Early returned and burned the greater part of Chambersburg including most railroad property.

During the 1870s feeder lines such as the Mont Alto Railroad were added in the Cumberland Valley to gain access to iron ore deposits.  In 1873 the railroad extended south from Hagerstown to the Potomac River.  The Mechanicsburg PA Railroad Station was built about 1875.  In 1889, it reached Martinsburg WV and Winchester VA, at the head of the Shenandoah Valley.  The Cumberland Valley was to have a junction with the South Pennsylvania Railroad in Newville, but the ambitious South Penn ran into financial difficulties during its construction and was never completed.

In June, 1882, the Shenandoah Valley Railroad was opened from Hagerstown to Roanoke VA.  In conjunction with the Norfolk and Western Railway the CVRR operated the middle link of the New York-Harrisburg-Hagerstown-Roanoke, Va. passenger trains.  Trains reportedly traveled at over 90 mph on parts of this route.

The End: Regular passenger train service on the CVRR ended in 1952, the last New York-Roanoke train ran in 1961. The PRR's successor, the Penn Central, closed all railway facilities in Chambersburg in 1972. Its successor, Conrail, first renamed what had been known as the Cumberland Valley Branch with three names: Shippensburg Secondary Track (Harrisburg to PENNROAD, south-east of Shippensburg); Hagerstown Secondary Track (from the Reading junction north-east of Shippensburg, through PENNROAD, to TOWN and HAGER towers in Hagerstown); and Winchester Secondary Track. Conrail later (19791980) abandoned the southern half of the Shippensburg Secondary (from the west side of Carlisle to Shippensburg, including street-running trackage on Earl St. in the latter town), opting instead to use the Reading connection for freight trains. Instrumental in this realignment was the placement of a wye track at CAPITOL interlocking in Harrisburg. Conrail also abandoned the trackage on the western portion of the CV bridge in Harrisburg, leaving a wye for Amtrak to turn power. The Winchester Secondary was sold to a short line. The Lurgan Branch name, originally used by Conrail for the ex-Reading trackage that passed through Shippensburg to a connection with the Western Maryland, was retained. Norfolk Southern Railway operates the trackage since the 1999 breakup of Conrail.

The planned CorridorOne commuter rail service between Harrisburg and Carlisle, plans to use the old Cumberland Valley Railroad Bridge



The Western Maryland Rwy

In the beginning.  The Western Maryland Railway (reporting mark WM) was an American Class 1 railroad which operated in Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.  It was primarily a coal hauling and freight railroad, with a small passenger train operation.  The WM became part of the Chessie System in 1973, although it continued independent operations until May 1975 after which time many of its lines were abandoned in favor of parallel Baltimore and Ohio Railroad lines.  In 1983 it was fully merged into the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, which later was also merged into the Chessie System with the former Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, which is now CSX Transportation.

Main line: Baltimore to Hagerstown.  The original main line began with the chartering of the Baltimore, Carroll and Frederick Railroad in 1852, with the intent of building a rail line from Baltimore west to Washington County, Maryland. The Maryland General Assembly changed the name of the company to the Western Maryland Rail Road Company in 1853, and construction began from Owings Mills in 1857.  An existing Northern Central Railway branch line terminating at Owings Mills was used to connect into Baltimore.  The railroad was completed to Westminster in 1861 and Union Bridge in 1862. Further expansion was delayed because of the Civil War. Westward construction resumed in 1868, and the line was completed to Hagerstown in 1872.  This section became the East Subdivision. The company's first major car shops were established at Union Bridge.

In 1873 the WM built its own line from Owings Mills to Fulton Junction in Baltimore, and obtained trackage rights from the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad (B&P) for the remaining two miles of the route eastward to Union Station (later called Penn Station).  It built a branch east of Union Station to Hillen Station, which opened in 1876 and became the company headquarters.  The WM built a connection from Hagerstown to Williamsport, in order to access coal traffic from the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.





Historical USGS Maps


The map below is  composite of four maps from 1912, two from the Hagerstown quadrangle, and two from the Wiliamsport quadrangle.


Disclaimers:

I love trains, and I love signals.  I am not an expert.  My webpages are a compilation of what I find on the topic and subject of the page.  This is something I have fun with while trying to help others.  Please try to NOT be too critical if you feel compelled in writing to me, remember, I'm trying trying to have fun!!! :-)  :-)  Corrections and additions are always welcome.

Please Note:  Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  For those of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, my indexa page has a list of almost everything railroad oriented I can think of to provide you with at least a few pictures to help you detail your pike.

If this is a railfan page, every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct, as of the last date it was worked on.  Once in a while, an error may creep in :-)  

My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a thousand words, especially for railfanning.  Text descriptions only get you so far, especially if you get lost or disoriented.  Take along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still better if you get lost!  I belong to AAA, which allows you to get local maps for free when you visit the local branches.  ADC puts out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their state maps do not have the railroads on them.  If you can find em, I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and concise graphics, and they do a really good job of showing you where tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads.  Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.

By the way, floobydust is a term I picked up 30-40 years ago from a National Semiconductor data book, and means miscellaneous and/or other stuff.

Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given!  Contact info is here

Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.
 

Aerial shots were taken from either Google Maps or www.bing.com/maps as noted, once in a great while maybe MapQuest.  The screen captures are made with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it! 

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