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Todd's Railfan Guide to
HARPERS FERRY WV
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Harpers Ferry is an interesting spot on the old B&O mainline heading west from the Baltimore and Washington DC lines that come together in Brunswick.
Harper Ferry offers the railfan many interesting photo ops for railfans with the combination of tunnel and bridges. If you're into hiking, you can also get some real nice views from way above Harpers Ferry. The MARC station is a good spot for pictures, as is a little east of there to catch trains on the bridge leading into the tunnel.
While you're there, don't forget to check out the town and some of the Civil War history.
For the other towns in the area, and for MARC & Amtrak schedules, please check out the Central Maryland homepage.
If you are coming from the west or east via interstate 70, take US340 south from Frederick MD, which is exit 53. From Frederick, Harpers Ferry is about 14 miles south on US340.
Coming up from the south west, as in I81, I usually take exit 307 at Stevensville (you could also go up to exit 317 at Winchester, and take VA7 east to get to US340, but I found it usually takes a little longer than getting off at exit 307). My daughter used to go to school at Virginia Tech, and getting off here made the trip to Baltimore much quicker than going across 66 through DC, or up to Hagerstown to catch 70. At this exit are a bunch of good places to get gas and catch something to eat. Anyways, head east on VA277, which is Fairfax Pike. In about 4 miles, you will hit the traffic light junction of 277, US340, and US522 (take a left and you'll wind up at the East Broad Top! :-). Go straight through the intersection, and you are now on US340. Stay on this as you pass through the small towns of Boyce, Berryville, Rippon, and then bypass Charlestown. You may also be able to catch some Norfolk Southern action as you toot along, but in the 20 some years I've been using this route, I've never caught anything. In Berryville, there is a nice set of N&W CPL signals if you hang a right on Main St and go to the crossing. About ten years ago, they built a bypass around Charlestown, which makes the trip go a little quicker, but the downtown area has some nice shops in it if you have your wife or girlfriend with you. Just follow the signs for 340, and you can't go wrong. Where 340 and WV9 meet up with the 340 heading to Harpers Ferry, there is a standard cloverleaf interchange, just watch the signs. From there it's about 5 miles to Harpers Ferry.
From DC, you have a couple of choices. You can head west from the DC Beltway on either VA7 or VA267, the Dulles Airport Access Road, which is a toll road, and head to Leesburg where you can pick up US15 heading to Point of Rocks. Just on the other side of the river and Point of Rocks, hang a left onto MD464, Point of Rocks Rd, and take that the seven miles into Brunswick, and then another 7 miles or so to Harpers Ferry after 464 meets up with US340.
If you're coming from the north side of DC, I would just head up I270 to Frederick, and then catch US340 south... while it may be a little longer, you don't have the stop signs, traffic lights, and slow moving idiots that plague the back roads.
1 the Harpers Ferry Tunnel
2 the Harpers Ferry Bridges
An early morning WB, lighting is harsh, especially with the lingering haze :-)
3 the Harpers Ferry MARC Station
Even pictures from the parking lot of the station don't turn out tooooo bad.....
4 Shenandoah Sub-Division Trestle
Somewhere up here is a path leading to an overlook of Harpers Ferry. You're on your own, as I have no clue where to find the beginning of the path, but it's suppose to be off of Sandy Hook Road.
5 Harpers Ferry Toy Train Museum & Joy Line Miniature RR
Thanks to Tim Eaton for finding this museum. We'll have to check it out on our next visit to Harpers Ferry. Is has a huge collection of Lionel Standard gauge and O gauge equipment, as well as a 75 foot long operating layout.
Here's a couple of links to get you started:
From Bing maps
From Google maps
From Bing maps birds eye view
Signals at the bridge split, on the Harpers Ferry side of the tunnel. Up until 2005 or so, these signals were B&O CPL's.
These pictures are from way back in the early 70's, scanned from prints
Sights from the station area