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Trolley Photo Tour


Trolley Line #9
Modern day photo tour

Accompanying each photo below are:

Click a photo to see a larger view. Please send your comments and corrections to Steve.


Brief Historical Background: Trolley Line #9

Trolley Bridge

Trolley Bridge
Mile: 0.0 Date: Apr 2001
Ease: A View: NE
Area: A BSTPY: 54
Map: Ho 12 G 9 Topographic Maps

Though Trolley Line #9's westernmost reach was near Main Street and Court Avenue, this tour begins about a quarter mile east at the Patapsco River.

Stone piers from the trolley's bridge over the Patapsco are easily spotted from the north side of the current road bridge. The bridge atop these piers was of steel construction and single tracked. Other parts of this line were double tracked.

As a reference point, B&O's Ellicott City station is less than 200 feet away at the photog's back. The trolley's western limit was adjacent 8390 Main Street, and as such it was Baltimore's only line that ventured into another county.

Links: ~1920, ~1947, 1955, at Oliver Viaduct 1955, view at end in 1955, east on Main St. in 1955


Oella Avenue

Oella Avenue
Mile: 0.1 Date: Aug 2001
Ease: A View: N
Area: A BSTPY:
Map: Ba 40 F 4, Ho 12 G 9 Topographic Maps

Oella Avenue squeezes between two of the piers on the Baltimore County side of the river.

Links: ~1909, 1910 looking slightly left


Trail Sign

Trail Sign
Mile: 0.2 Date: Aug 2001
Ease: A View: E
Area: A BSTPY:
Map: Ba 40 F 4 Topographic Maps

The trail was marked with this sign (spell checker please!) at the Ellicott City end.


Rock Collision
NEW! mid-May 2022

Rock Collision
Mile: 0.2 Date: May 2021
Ease: A- View: N
Area: A BSTPY:
Map: Ba 40 F 4 Topographic Maps

The rock the trolley line had to excavate was formed in a tectonic collision millions of years ago. The trolley line spans three geographic zones at the collision.


Westchester Ave Bridge

Westchester Ave Bridge
Mile: 0.2 Date: Sep 1999
Ease: B+ View: E
Area: A BSTPY:
Map: Ba 40 F 4 Topographic Maps

The winding Westchester Avenue is carried over the trolley's excavation by means of a rickety-looking bridge. Roads here too narrow for school buses kept Trolley #9 operating longer than it would have otherwise.

A picture of the trolley in operation at this spot can be found on page 136 of Joetta Cramm's book Howard County A Pictorial History. This excellent book contains many other historical pictures of the area up and down the Patapsco River that B&O's Old Main Line follows.

Link: view east from bridge in 1955


Column

Column
Mile: 0.2 Date: Aug 2001
Ease: B+ View: S
Area: A BSTPY:
Map: Ba 40 F 4 Topographic Maps

The stone column at left stops well below the current Westchester Avenue bridge. Perhaps a bridge of a different design once spanned the cut, or the column supported the overhead catenary of the trolley.


Cables

Cables
Mile: 0.2 Date: Aug 2001
Ease: B+ View: S
Area: A BSTPY:
Map: Ba 40 F 4 Topographic Maps

Some of the cables that supported the trolley's electrical service can still be found hanging from the rocks above the trail.


Railings
NEW! mid-May 2022

Railings
Mile: 0.3 Date: May 2021
Ease: B+ View: W
Area: A BSTPY:
Map: Ba 40 F 4 Topographic Maps

After 2001, railings were added to the trail. This is a reverse view back to the Westchester Avenue bridge. This is the section with the highest rock walls.


Cut

Cut
Mile: 0.3 Date: Aug 2001
Ease: B View: W
Area: A BSTPY:
Map: Ba 40 F 4 Topographic Maps

Despite 70 years of experience in cutting through hills for railroads, during the 1890s such cuts were still tough work. This was "the unkindest cut of all" since it bankrupted the Columbia and Maryland Railway owners.

The path can get muddy here, hence the wooden platform / walkway. The white objects on the hill at left are a fence that appears to mark the edge of private property.

I'm not sure if the stone seen in the lower right foreground has any particular significance (i.e. if it is a trolley line artifact).


Shallow Arch

Shallow Arch
Mile: 0.4 Date: Sep 1999
Ease: B View: NE
Area: A BSTPY:
Map: Ba 40 F 4 Topographic Maps

This shallow stone arched bridge still carries the right-of-way over Cooper Branch, the stream seen here. The bridge, now over a century old, is looking a little weary, but like the Roman arched bridges that inspired them, these are durable structures. This, as well as a few other masonry bridges and culverts ahead, are the most tangible surviving evidence of the trolley line.


Diverted Stream

Diverted Stream
Mile: 0.7 Date: Sep 1999
Ease: B View: E
Area: A BSTPY:
Map: Ba 40 G 4 Topographic Maps

The builders took an interesting approach here. Rather than construct two bridges to span a tiny bend of Cooper Branch, they cut through the rock to create a new, shorter flowpath for the stream. This trick seems to have been a success, the only notable drawback being soft, muddy ground where the stream had been originally.


Circular Culvert
NEW! mid-May 2022

Circular Culvert
Mile: 0.8 Date: May 2021
Ease: B View: SW
Area: A BSTPY:
Map: Ba 40 G 4 Topographic Maps

Where a creek is not wide, the company built culverts like this.


Arched Bridge

Arched Bridge
Mile: 1.2 Date: Sep 1999
Ease: B View: N
Area: A BSTPY:
Map: Ba 40 H 3 Topographic Maps

This bridge employs the shape of a standard curved arch, and seems to have stood up better than the other, more shallow arch seen above. The bright, clean mortar in places gives evidence of some reconstruction or patching.


Patching Needed
NEW! mid-May 2022

Patching Needed
Mile: 1.2 Date: Apr 2022
Ease: B View: SW
Area: A BSTPY: 52-53
Map: Ba 40 H 3 Topographic Maps

The outlet end could use some patching itself.


Another Brick in the Circle
NEW! mid-May 2022

Another Brick in the Circle
Mile: 1.5 Date: Apr 2022
Ease: B View: NE
Area: A BSTPY:
Map: Ba 40 J 2 Topographic Maps

Another brick-lined circular culvert exists not far from the trail's eastern end. It is similar to one along the ex-Pennsylvania Railroad line about five miles from here, which makes me wonder if the same contractor built both.


Steep
NEW! mid-May 2022

Steep
Mile: 1.6 Date: Apr 2022
Ease: B View: E
Area: A BSTPY:
Map: Ba 40 J 2 Topographic Maps

The trail averages roughly a 3.2% grade, with some sections around 4%. Such grades would be a problem for heavy freight trains, but only the relatively-lighter trolley cars operated here.

This was some of the steepest mileage in the Baltimore streetcar system, plus one of the least-developed areas. A trail walker who had ridden Trolley #9 during the 1950s told me operators would sometimes engage the throttle while heading down the grade (west) in order to thrill passengers, while madly dinging the trolley's bell to warn anyone near. She reported this was no problem unless the car began to sway, at which point a derailment could, and sometimes did, happen. It is difficult to imagine speedy rides like that in today's litigious environment.

The line was signalled, as seen in the photo linked below.

Link: near here ~1955


Edmondson Avenue
NEW! mid-May 2022

Edmondson Avenue
Mile: 1.7 Date: Apr 2022
Ease: A- View: E
Area: A BSTPY:
Map: Ba 40 J 2 Topographic Maps

Where the trail reaches Edmondson Avenue, a Stop sign leans so as to be seen beyond a fence that blocks motorized vehicles from entering the trail.

During the 20th century, Baltimore County planned to extend Edmondson Avenue westward, but community opposition squelched that, and consequently we have an enjoyable trail to walk.


East End

East End
Mile: 1.7 Date: Sep 2010
Ease: A View: NW
Area: A BSTPY:
Map: Ba 40 H 3 Topographic Maps

The trail ends (or begins!) here at the intersection of Edmondson Avenue and Chalfonte Road in Catonsville. Edmondson Avenue was extended west to here from Old Frederick Road around the time Catonsville Middle School was built.

Link: trolley interior 1943


Old Frederick Road

Old Frederick Road
Mile: 2.1 Date: Sep 2010
Ease: A View: E
Area: A BSTPY: 51
Map: Ba 40 K 3 Topographic Maps

Where the trail ends, Edmondson Avenue picks up to help us follow the trolley's path. Just east of Old Frederick Road, this green pole may have been a trolley artifact, but perhaps was a gas line vent. Whatever it was, it is no longer extant.

Originally, the trolley ran along the north side of Edmondson Avenue (left), land that became the median seen here after Edmondson was expanded via dedicated westbound lanes.

Link: streetcar along Edmondson ~1950


Catonsville Junction

Catonsville Junction
Mile: 2.8 Date: Sep 2010
Ease: A View: E
Area: A BSTPY: 50
Map: Ba 41 B 3 Topographic Maps

For the final 9 months of its life (until June 19, 1955), the #9 streecar operated as a shuttle between Ellicott City and here at Catonsville Junction, just east of Rolling Road.

As the current road layout might suggest, a trolley loop had been added here in 1939. Prior to cutbacks, #9 continued to its eastern end at Lexington and Charles Streets.

Links: ~1950, ~1950, color 1951, here 1955, 1955


Delrey Road

Delrey Road
Mile: 4.0 Date: Sep 2010
Ease: A View: E
Area: A- BSTPY: 48
Map: Ba 41 E 2 Topographic Maps

Though it has gone more than a half century without purpose, what may be another green catenary pole remains standing just west of Delrey Road.

Small, parallel streets like that on the right are often remnants of former road or railway alignments, however, in this case, careful examination of old aerial photos reveals this example is neither. Instead the trolley had operated on the left side here. At distant left, crossing over Edmondson is I-695, the Baltimore Beltway.

Link: streetcar memories


System Map 1941
Image courtesy Johns Hopkins University
NEW! mid-May 2022

System Map 1941
Mile: Date: 1941
Ease: View: N (up)
Area: BSTPY:
Map: Ba Topographic Maps

By 1941, Baltimore's streetcar system was evolving into one with buses and trackless trolleys (buses powered via overhead catenary). Trolley line #9's Ellicott City terminal appears toward lower left.

Link: trackless trolley 1947



This tour ends here! If you spot more trolley artifacts along Edmondson, please let me know.

Jump to the Washington - Laurel trolley tour

Or, to the OML at Ellicott City

For other tours here now, select from the map: clickable map

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